In the Lake Region of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, a destination spa is luring craft beer lovers away from weekend getaways of beer samplings and brewery tours. The resort is offering the ultimate beer experience -- the chance to bathe in beer as well as drink it.
The Lodge at Woodloch, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City and about three hours from Philadelphia, just "hopped" aboard the rising craft beer movement. It offers spa treatments with a little help from Delaware's famed craft brewery, Dogfish Head.
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Spa treatments are infused with Dogfish Head's Midas Touch, a sweet-yet-dry beer. The body exfoliation using hops, barley and honey, followed by a beer bath and massage, starts at $250; a 50-minute pedicure beer foot bath is priced at $95. Occasionally, the spa offers a 25-minute hair beer rinse at $40.
"Unknown to many, beer has some curative effects," says Nancy Deaton, spa director at The Lodge at Woodloch. "It hydrates the skin and acts as an exfoliant. It also adds volume and shine to one's hair."
In addition to the beer-inspired spa treatments, The Lodge at Woodloch recently expanded its beer and ales menu. Aside from Dogfish Head's craft-brewed ale, the new menu includes beer from Troegs, a central Pennsylvania microbrewery, San Diego-based Stone Brewing and Wolaver's in Middlebury, Vt.
Depending on their travel date, guests at the spa may also encounter cooking-with-beer demonstrations. They may find Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione hosting beer tastings, informal get-togethers and book signings. Calagione wrote “Brewing up a Business” and “Extreme Brewin,”g and co-wrote “He Said Beer, She Said Wine.”
"We think it's just natural to partner with one of the greatest craft beer companies in the country to teach guests about the booming craft ales industry and the growing following of hobbyists that follow the craft ales movement," says Brooke Jennings Roe, director of marketing at The Lodge at Woodloch.
According to the Brewers Association, 98% of the more than 2,500 breweries in the U.S. are craft brewers, known for making fuller-flavored ales and lagers. During the first half of 2013, approximately 7.3 million barrels of beer were sold by small and independent craft brewers, up from 6.4 million barrels over the first half of 2012.
Luring craft beer lovers, however, is only part of The Lodge at Woodloch's marketing strategy. By introducing beer-infused spa treatments and expanding their beer menu, the spa resort hopes to attract more of the male population, who typically shy away from spas.
"Spas are doing a great job of customizing treatments specifically for men," says Lynne McNees, president of the International Spa Association. "Whether it is changing the oil used in the treatment, the colors in the treatment room, the channel on the TV in the relaxation area or even the title of the treatment to make it more male specific, spas are making those little tweaks to make the spa more male-friendly."
At The Lodge at Woodloch, most female guests gravitate toward the 40,000-square-foot spa while male guests tend to focus on other indoor and outdoor resort activities such as fishing, kayaking and hiking in the Pocono Mountains. Since it began offering beer-infused spa treatments, however, the resort says it has seen an uptick in the number of spa bookings among male guests.
"We have had more men's groups coming, whether for a work retreat, business meeting or guys getaway," Roe says. "The men are trying new treatments that are not typical, such as facials, body treatments and, of course, pedicures. While we can't tie the trend directly to our beer-inspired spa treatments, we feel that it has opened up the awareness to men that spas have something to offer for all genders."
A basic spa package at The Lodge at Woodloch includes accommodations, meals, outdoor activities and use of all fitness amenities. Depending on the room and date of visit, the nightly rate ranges from $299 to $719 per person. For a complete spa package, the nightly rate ranges from $399 to $819 per person and includes a spa service allowance of $125 per person, per night of stay.
The Lodge at Woodloch is an adult spa resort -- no one below 16 years old is allowed in the premises. But guests have full access to its sister property and family resort, Woodloch Pines, two miles down the road.