The Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa located in the Catskill Mountains in Phoenicia, New York, is nestled on a 325-acre private nature reserve, 1500 feet above sea level. We heeded the siren call of the Catskill Mountains with their dazzling display of color, the trees wearing their finest colors of gold, red, and orange, and enjoyed an R&R Getaway Weekend at Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa, because to quote the Devon Allman song, Turn Off The World, "...You've gotta slow down, Sometimes, And turn off the world..."
As Luxury Experience followers know, we write about, and experience, all aspects of luxury and luxury lifestyles and products. With that said, we would like to note that the Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa is a different kind of luxury.
Welcome to Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa
Located on a 325-acre nature preserve in the Catskill Mountains, twenty minutes from the iconic town of Woodstock, New York (yes, that Woodstock, the one famous for the concert), the property offers the possibility for guests to hike the many trails and soak up the abundance of nature and the gorgeous scenery.
During our stay in October 2013, we enjoyed taking long walks on the property where we had several magical encounters with a family of deer who also seemed to be enjoying the tranquility of the property as well as the delights of eating fallen apples from the plentiful apple trees.
Deer at Menla Mountain Retreat
Photo by Daniel Aubry
The 4,000 square foot, two-story Mahasukha Spa, which means, "Great Bliss," opened in 2013, was designed by New York City-based architect Duke Beeson under the guidance of acclaimed award-winning designer Clodagh of Clodagh Designs.
Menla's Mission statement is, "For a thousand years, Tibet was called "The Land of Medicine" by its neighbors. It is in this spirit that we named our center Menla, which is Tibetan for "Medicine Buddha." Menla's mission is to offer a world-class spa and integrated healing system, combining the best of Western integrative medicine with elements of Tibetan medicine, Ayurveda, and other holistic treatments."
The Mahasukha Spa achieves the goal set out in Menla's Mission statement, with its 11 well-appointed, state-of-the-art attractive treatment rooms including an Ayurvedic room, couple's massage room, Tibetan herbal soaking tubs, and a 2-person Jacuzzi. There is an impressive menu at the Spa and Healing Center, consisting of Massage and Body Work, Asian Therapies, Tibetan Therapies, and Skin and Body Treatments.
Mahasukha Spa Gate
The Spa is stunning in its design; the exterior of the building captures the flair of the Orient with its graceful curving lines and its use of color, golden saffron with red trim, and a few of the many highlights of the interior is the colorful, intricately carved two-story Tibetan archway with balcony, the bright blue ceiling where suspended large white fabric ball lights evoke images of cumulous clouds set against an immaculate blue sky, and the soothing colors used throughout interspersed with colorful intricately embroidered wall hangings and Tibet art.
During our weekend stay we experienced the Spa's Microcurrent Facial Rejuvenation, and indulged in pampering massages. Menla also offers Yoga and Pilates classes in the attractive and spacious Yoga Studio where its walls of windows maximize natural light, and we took an excellent Lalita (Hatha) Yoga class with Megan Leigh where we learned proper breathing techniques and yoga positions so that we could continue to develop our yoga practice at home or wherever our travels take us.
Megan Leigh - Yoga Instructor
As part of the R&R Getaway Weekend, we attended an interesting Sound Healing Session with musician Thomas Workman in the Yoga Studio, a program on Healing Plants and Essential Oils of the Medicine Buddha's Garden with David Crow who spoke about the primary factors of herbs and "kitchen medicine" and that spices are powerful medicine and good to use as preventive measures, and a program on Dharma & Healing in the Kali Yuga with Robert Thurman, David Crow, and Jai Dev in the Conference Center.
For fitness buffs, there are two outdoor tennis courts, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, and guided treks for guests who prefer hikes of a more adventurous nature, in addition to many fitness and activities programs.
Jai Dev, Robert Thurman, and David Crow
Executive Chef Curt Robair is the talent in the kitchen where the culinary focus is on healthy vegetarian cuisine. The restaurant is located in Delos Inn where meals are served buffet style in the welcoming dining rooms with wood tables and chairs, where a painting graces a wall in the entrance reads, "Seek Happiness," certainly a good thought to start your day.
Executive Chef Curt Robair
A few of the healthy, light, and nutritious highlights we enjoyed for breakfasts included Scrambled Eggs, Banana Chai Chia Porridge, Raw Buckwheat Granola, Fluffy Raisin Couscous, Yogurt, Assorted Cereals with Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruits, and Assorted Breads.
A few of the delicious Lunch and Dinner highlights included Pumpkin Soup, Spicy Garlic Kale, Bhutanese Red Rice, French Lentil and Mushroom Ragout, and a Red Cabbage, Corn, Celery Root and Fennel Salad.
Menla has several room categories in different buildings; we stayed in the main building in the 3-story Delos Inn, an attractive yellow and blue bell tower which is the pulse of Menla, the location of its reception area, dining rooms, gift shop, and Tibetan art exhibits. Delos Inn offers guests deluxe accommodations that are also wheelchair accessible.
Our spacious guestroom had a queen bed with a pretty wood headboard and footboard dressed with an ivory down quilt and organic linens flanked by wood nightstands and large ivory lamps with matching shades. Paintings graced the walls and an oriental carpet added warmth and color to the hardwood floors.
There was a large wood chest of drawers, an open closet, a comfortable upholstered chair, a desk chair and a large desk which had an oriental lamp, fresh cut flowers in a vase, and a telephone with voicemail system. Guests traveling with their laptops will appreciate the in-room complimentary high-speed WIFI and hard-wired Ethernet jack.
In the corner of the guestroom there was a convenient vanity and sink, and the bathroom featured a toilet and walk-in shower with signature Menla hand and face soap and organic towels.
What you will not find at Menla is cell phone reception unless you have a WIFI compatible phone, whereby you can connect in any areas at Menla that have a WIFI system. There are no televisions, radios, or alarm clocks in the guestrooms, nor are there any hairdryers. There is also no daily housekeeping for the guestrooms, however as we were only staying two nights and spent little time in our room, it was not a hardship to make our own bed.
Relax in a Chair by the Pond
What you will find at Menla is stunning scenery, expansive areas on the sprawling grounds to explore or simply sit in the chairs by the pond and relax or read a book, take a stroll in the lush garden filled with an abundance of vegetables and herbs that Executive Chef Curt Robair uses in the preparation of food for the restaurant along with edible and decorative flowers that grace the guestrooms and public spaces.
Pink Zinnia White Zinnia
You will also find a well-appointed, luxurious, state-of-the-art Spa, healthy vegetarian cuisine, a diverse selection of interesting programs and activities, and a caring, professional staff who do their utmost to achieve high levels of guest satisfaction. It is a place that attracts a celebrity clientele as well as guests who desire a private getaway with endless possibilities to do everything offered or to do simply nothing at all, your experience at Menla is as you like it, which is sometimes the best experience of all.
Debra Argen Enjoying the Colors
Its convenient location to skiing (Bellayre, Hunter, and Windham Mountains) makes it a desirable spot for winter guests, summer guests will appreciate the opportunity to swim in local rivers, go tubing on the Esopus River, or to go horseback riding in the area. Cultural offerings include nearby art galleries, music, and theatre (Upstate Films, Woodstock Playhouse), and for antique lovers, there is great antique shopping.
Edward Nesta Out for a Walk
The Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa is located in Phoenicia, New York, twenty minutes from the iconic town of Woodstock, New York, a 90-minute drive from Albany, New York, a 2-hour drive from New York City, a 2.5-hour drive from Hartford, Connecticut, and a 3.5-hour drive from Boston or Philadelphia.
Check the website for upcoming R&R Getaway Weekends and R&R Cleanse Weekends at www.MenlaMountain.org.
From the Vegetable Garden - Zucchini Flower
Read more about the Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa in the Spas and in the Chefs' Recipes sections.
Menla Mountain Retreat and Mahasukha Spa
375 Pantherkill Road
Phoenicia, New York 12464
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Apples Ready to be Picked
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