Spa Review: Taking the Waters at Senses, A Disney Spa

Four days of a fully loaded, all the bells and whistles visit to Disney World can really take a toll on a not-as-young-as-I-used-to-be body.  For those of us needing a little sprucing up, or just some quality “me time,” there are two locations of Senses, A Disney Spa.

Heated tile loungers invite relaxation.

Heated tile loungers invite relaxation.

As part of a media visit to get to know Disney’s Golden Oak luxury residential resort community, I was given a choice of add-on activities, including a spa treatment. Having Golden Oak’s uber concierge-style resident services team arrange for personal (as well as residential and resort) requests is just one of the many lovely perks of living large at Disney.

A Little Bit of Upstate New York In Florida

Although there are two locations of Senses, including one right next to where I was staying at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, I ordered up the Signature Revitalizing Blueberry Facial from the Senses Disney Spa menu at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort in Downtown Disney.

Since I live so close to Saratoga Springs, the upstate New York city whose Victorian-era wellness retreats inspired the Disney spa, I was curious to see how close it is to the original.

I was told that the darker color palette, with lots of deep blues and greens, alluded to Saratoga Spring’s equestrian heritage. Yet entering the spa, I was struck by the organic quality of the décor. The front desk was covered in a green onyx veneer, and backed by a wall with rustic wood and stone paneling. And as I climbed the stairs of the two-story building, I was encouraged to look for hummingbirds—a spa motif symbolizing strength and tranquility—amidst the twig and leaf rails.

Taking the Waters

Elixir station at Senses, A Disney Spa.

Fruity “elixirs” at Senses, A Disney Spa.

My first stop on the spa journey was at an elixir station that reminded me of “taking the waters” in Saratoga Springs, NY. Luckily, it’s nothing like its inspiration.

As one of the few naturally carbonated springs in the country, Saratoga mineral water is reputed to have all kinds of medicinal benefits. Visitors who can stomach the sulfurous scent (smells like rotten eggs!) fill up water bottles at any of 17 taps throughout the city, many housed in elaborate Victorian architecture.

The Disney spa version features three much tastier elixirs (Relax is Strawberry, Renew is Pomegranate Limeade, and Imagine is Mango Tango.) Although I only tried the Renew elixir, I’m confident that all of the juice flavors are equally delicious.

The Water Cure

Given that Saratoga Spring’s popularity hinged on the purported benefits of its mineral waters, it’s no surprise that hydrotherapy became an important part of the “Queen of Spas” retreat menus.

A hummingbird in tile symbolizes

A hummingbird on the wall above the hot tub symbolizes strength and tranquility.

Likewise at Senses, hydrotherapy plays an important role. I regretted not having more time to relax at the spa before my scheduled facial. The hot tub was so inviting, and even in passing, the scent of eucalyptus emanating from the steam room was already at work loosening up my asthmatic lungs. But it was the heated green tile lounger that caught my interest.  It looked deceptively solid, but up close its warmth was soft and pliant, begging to be napped on.

And as if that isn’t enough H20 goodness, there’s the Saratoga Springs Hydrotherapy Treatment and Massage Experience that includes a warm stones massage and deep soak. Ahhh!

Blueberries for Sandra

Alas, my evening plans didn’t leave time for a nap. I went straight to the locker room where I was provided with a plush robe and sandals to wear during the blueberry facial, if I so chose. Concerned that my clothes would end up covered in blueberry stains, I gratefully wore the robe. But there was no need to worry.

The translucent potions used on my face relied on blueberry’s antioxidant qualities to soften skin, not its color. In any case, during the facial and massage I lay under a sheet while my robe hung on a warming rack.

At the end of the 80-minute treatment, I was a puddle of relaxed mush. And that’s before I nibbled on a fresh-made Mango Curry Antioxidant Jelly and trotted over to the Relaxation Chamber. Even with a refreshing snack of cucumber-infused water and mini healthy cupcakes, it’s a wonder I didn’t fall asleep right there on a leather lounger!

Renewed and Ready to Party

My only regret was that I didn’t book a longer spa package. The three-hour “Me Time” with bath, massage, facial, and pedicure was tempting. Or even better, the “Saratoga Springs Getaway,” a four-hour extravaganza that added a body wrap to the experience. Not to mention that with all the possible add-ons, you could literally spend the entire day at the spa. Imagine that!

Last stop was back at the locker room where showers and beauty supplies are kept on hand for freshening up before heading out.

I don’t know to what extent the Senses, A Disney Spa, resembles the 19th century wellness retreats of Saratoga Springs. Contrary to my kids’ beliefs, I haven’t been around that long. But I can say that after a couple of hours on the Journey of Renewal, I was more than ready to celebrate another magical night at Disney.

Sandra Foyt makes her home in New York and writes about family travel at AlbanyKid.com and all sorts of vacations at GetawayMavens.com. Disney Golden Oak hosted her stay.

5 Responses to “Spa Review: Taking the Waters at Senses, A Disney Spa”

  1. 1

    This spa sounds like the best way to lengthen your life with body cleanses and antioxidant drinks. looks great too. thanks for sharing.

  2. 2
    slova says:

    useful post I was in Florida

  3. 3

    I just don’t know how these kids can spend all day running in Disney World…. I just don’t have any clue. That spa does sound lovely. It’s a perfect end to a tiring but fun-filled day. :)

    Thanks for the advice.

  4. 4
    Hannah says:

    Can’t wait to go back to America and go Round America travel soon. I think traveling in America is more laid back than traveling around the world, and we can use the rest. Love the photos. Would love to get in a spa too. :p

  5. 5

    Hi Sandra,

    There is no doubt on the fact that there are numerous benefits of Spa treatment, it not only relaxes body parts, but also prepare it for the future endeavor. One thing I really like about the post is of hydrotherapy, it’s one of the important part of spa treatment and many people don’t knew about so thanks for briefing this with us.

Leave a Reply