Spa Finder: great places to relax in Montana

Montana Living spa finder

The Montana spa finder

Montana Living has done the research for you on some of the most elite, unique, cream of the crop spas around the state. Now it’s your job to decide which venue fits your needs—be it relaxation, beauty, rejuvenation, social stimulation, or general wellness, Montana has a spa for you. Just take a deep, detoxifying breath and read on for some healthy good news.

Bozeman Hot Springs, in Bozeman

Bozeman Hot Springs is a world famous natural hot springs, spa and fitness center located in Montana's Gallatin Valley. For more than 100 years, visitors have come to these hot springs, and with Bozeman Hot Spring’s recent remodel, this is a perfect destination for a family trip or an adult getaway. The Bozeman Hot Springs includes more than just a day spa, it’s a hot springs retreat, a fitness center, a juice bar, and a day care.

The Bozeman Hot Springs offers nine different natural hot springs pools that range in temperature from fifty-nine to one hundred and four degrees; they also have wet and dry saunas. A hot soak in a historical pool is the perfect introduction to a day at the facility’s spa, called the Amazon Forest room. For offering much more than just spa treatments, the Bozeman Hot Springs has an impressively long spa menu.

I recommend a couple of the Bozeman Hot Springs’ unique treatments like their “Chocolate Rasberry Truffle.” This forty-five minute treatment is quite decadent. A highly trained spa therapist uses raspberry oil and sea salts to gently exfoliate the body, followed by a soothing warm shower.

“Raindrop Therapy” is also worth a try. This hour-long retreat combines aromatherapy with reflexology and massage. With essential oils applied to specific points of the body, this treatment brings structural alignment and balance to the entire body.

The beauty of The Bozeman Hot Springs is in its versatility. The spa menu has an abundance of choices, the therapeutic hot spring pools are memorable, and for the couple’s that cannot find a babysitter there is plenty for little ones to occupy themselves with or in-house day care is also an option. Be sure to sit back on the Bozeman Hot Spring’s leather couch in front of the fireplace and enjoy a freshly-made smoothie from their signature juice bar.

Cedar Creek, in Missoula

Cedar Creek spa on Missoula’s Main Street is a quiet repose from the city’s bustling downtown. It is the first day spa in Missoula and has been open ten years. Owner and Founder Carla Jones put a lot of thought into the spa’s location and general atmosphere that has greatly satisfied its customers over the years. “We’re kind of tucked away, we’re not very obvious. I wanted to be on the second floor so that you don’t hear the booming stereos, you don’t hear the Hurley engines,” said Jones. Certainly the spa caters to customers who crave pampering and serenity. The waiting room features a river rock and slate backdrop; the spa as a whole integrates more than four waterfalls into the space that brings audio and visual clues to help guests reach tranquility.

“I want them to feel totally relaxed like are kind of cocooned from the outside elements and I really wanted to make it a little lodgy, contemporary because that’s what Montana kind of is, but we remodeled to give it a newer feel,” said Jones. Guests interested in hair services will be pleased to have total confidence in privacy. All of Cedar Creek’s hair stations are partitioned off so that customers may incorporate beauty maintenance gracefully into their spa experience. I thoroughly recommend Cedar Creek’s hot stone massage, which sent me into an afternoon of bliss after the nurturing staff gently catered to my every need. Cedar Creek’s ice-cream pedicure is also lots of fun. The decadent treatment mixes sweet smells and delicious textures to indulge the sweet tooth without compromising the waist-line. Guests must also be sure not to miss Montana’s only indoor waterfall.

Cedar Creek’s Cascading Waterfall treatment helps spa-goers unwind under the seven foot waterfall with ten adjustable pulsating jets that help melt away tension. Cedar Creek is a wonderful day spa and salon destination with its excellent treatments, friendly staff, and cozy décor.

Essentials Day Spa, in Kalispell

“Replenish, rejuvenate, reward yourself,” is the motto at Essentials Day Spa. From a welcoming warm tea, to my Hot Stone Massage, to an after-treatment chocolate, I found Essentials to be right on track. Managing director of Essentials Day Spa Sue Holmgren, R.N., comes to the spa business with a talent and passion for caring for others. The spa has been open for four years and has a long line of repeat customers.

For Essentials’ summer clients, the first thing they do upon arrival is schedule a treatment. What the spa lacks in expansive space it makes up for in genuine hospitality and quality treatments. “It’s been a vehicle for spreading good feelings, good things. The bond is really special [with our guests],” said Holmgren. “It’s nice to be able to give to people.”

As a traditional day spa, Essentials sets its mission on nurturing its guests. Essentials offers a convenient way to recharge and renew as it is located directly behind the downtown strip in Kalispell. “When you come in you’re going to be safe. It’s all going to be okay,” said Holmgren. The Hot Stone Massage at Essentials is excellent, as is its skincare treatments that utilize the spa’s own active, natural skincare line, Essentials Skin Therapy. With Holmgren’s nursing background, it is safe to say that the skin treatments are truly results oriented.

“Essentials has enabled me to be a big part of the community. We want to give back, we feel blessed to do that,” said Holmgren.


Spa Town at Paws Up, in Greenough

Spa Town at the Resort at Paws Up is absolutely a spa of its own; It is difficult to find a spa that matches Spa Town’s unique quality in setting and atmosphere. Spa Town is series of canvas tents that open to a beautiful meadow and the vastness of Montana rolling hills and Montana peaks in the distance. It is set among the pines and wildflowers and the tents are connected by a decks and boardwalk.

There are changing tents and showers that open to the blue sky. Spa Town’s General Manager Terre Short explained just how original an experience guests should expect. “Because [guests] stroll down a boardwalk to enter Spa Town, they likely expect a rather rough or simple spa set up – but instead it is quite luxurious, with plush linens, heated blankets (when necessary) and a breeze blowing in from the spectacular views,” said Short. The philosophy of Spa Town is similar to other spas, but the journey the guests take to reach that goal is decidedly different. “Our goal is to promote relaxation from the moment your toes hit the wooden walkway – a relaxation born of feeling in touch with the nature that surrounds you,” said Short.

Short explained that at Spa Town, guests are not in a hallway, or building to receive pampering—they are among the trees, wildflowers and wide-open spaces that makes people all naturally relax and listen to the birds, the pitter-patter of the squirrels and chipmunks The treatment not to miss is Spa Town’s “Four Paws.” This is a treatment during which two therapists work on one person simultaneously. “The sensation transcends ‘decadent,’” said Short. To conclude all treatments, guests should try a rain shower in Spa Town’s outdoor shower enclosure where Short described the sun streams through the pines to warm your face as you rinse.

Spa town is actually a part of the environment in which it exists. Spa-goers who crave outdoorsy relaxation and luxury together, must take a trip to Spa Town.

Remedies Day Spa

in Whitefish, West Glacier, East Glacier, and at Whitefish Mountain Resort

For spa-goers looking for a truly memorable Montana experience, Remedies Day Spa is the spa to visit. A day or a few hours at Remedies is a completely original event, perfect for guests who desire “at-home” comfort and something different from the typical spa scene. Owner and founder Jennifer Krack opened the original Remedies Day Spa in Whitefish during October of 2000. “I wanted to create a spa that was a little bit like the anti-spa, because I had been to them all over the country and they were pretty predictable. I wanted to create a Montana experience at a spa,” said Krack. The concept behind Remedies is based on an idea that has not yet appeared anywhere else in the country.

Remedies represents a new, fresh take on spa culture. Literally all the Remedies Essential Products are made from food, from scratch, right in the kitchen. Krack developed the product recipes herself and enjoys teaching her spa guests how to make their own skincare products from items straight from the cupboard. “Homey is definitely the word, so many people walk in here and say, oh, does somebody live here. I wanted to create the feeling of coming over to your best friend’s house so you can kick back, put your feet up and no one would come holler at ya,” said Krack.

Spa guests are welcomed by an ushering to the spa’s kitchen table where they are offered hot tea and freshly home-baked cookies. I had the opportunity to try Remedies’ “Kitchen Fassage,” a group spa experience unlike any other. Krack gave every guest a headband, a whisk, and a bowl as she taught us how to mix up skincare products and helped us give ourselves our own facial. Another treatment not to miss is Remedies’ “Whipped Wrap,” during which a massage therapist paints the guest with whipped cream and honey and the guest chooses from antique jars of clays and powdered herbs to add. The guest is wrapped in a heated blanket and let to “cook” for half an hour. It is a very decadent treatment.

Fun mementos of the spa experience at Remedies include the Remedies Essential Products home-made lip balm, lotion bars, and fizzing bath “muffins.” Remedies is perfect for group parties as it is geared towards spending together time at the spa, but also offers an exceptional retreat for individuals in need of a little original TLC.

Sorella’s, in Missoula

The historic Independent Telephone building in downtown Missoula is home to a wonderful family-owned spa that guarantees professional quality treatments and exceptional hospitality.

Owners and Founders Judy Brodsky and her daughters Jennifer Brown and Beth Stensrud decided to start a salon and day spa business with a commitment to customer service back and have been in service since 1997. Sorella’s, appropriately, means “sisters” in Italian. “We really want people who come through that door to feel welcomed and cared about and have really a total experience from their time here. I think we also have a really unique facility, a very pretty facility,” said Brodsky. Sorella’s maintained some of the historical integrity of the building after undergoing a major renovation.

The facility is three-stories with forty-five hundred square feet. Sorella’s has services on all three levels: pedicures and manicures on the lowest level, the salon and retail area on the main level, and the spa on the top floor. The spa features two aesthetic rooms, two massage rooms, a wet room and two bathrooms with steam showers and a laundry facility. With the building’s original marble stairs leading up to the spa at the top floor, guests are welcomed with class and style. There is a small waiting area with plush couches and a serene fireplace that encourages spa guests to begin their relaxation process before their spa treatments commence. Treatments to be sure to experience are the “Caribbean Hot Stone Pedicure” and the “Vichy Shower Treatment.”

The Vichy Shower treatment is a new experience for even the most seasoned spa-goers. It’s a great exfoliating treatment and recommended for people who enjoy the feeling of being submerged in warmth and tension-relieving water pressure. Both sisters Jennifer Brown and Beth Stensrud enjoy the customer service aspect of the business that they can provide to their customers.

“The interaction with people, having this vision that it’s a great place for people to come and escape whether it’s for an hour or five hours--that’s the best thing, creating an environment that gives people the opportunity to do that,” said Stensrud.



Spa at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, in Whitefish

People have been coming to Whitefish Lake since the early 1900’s to relax, recreate, and rejuvenate--the Spa at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake offers a luxurious opportunity to continue this tradition of health and wellness.

Spa Director Stacey Averill is dedicated to the care and comfort of the Spa guests, a feature I can personally confirm. As I stepped into the Spa, I first noticed the light of the fireplace dancing on the wall and was summoned to relax in the Spa’s soft textured chairs.

My massage therapist introduced herself to me kindly, offered me some hot tea and placed a warm neck pillow over my shoulders as I cuddled up with a cozy blanket. “Amazing customer service, I would say is definitely what sets us apart. Our biggest thing is making a personal connection, finding out what the guest’s needs are, what they’re trying to get out of the session,” said Averill. After both my exceptional “Hot Stone Massage” and my favorite facial to date, the Spa’s “Hydradermie Treatment,” I felt as if I had known the therapists for years. They made a sincere effort to cater to my every concern and I was convinced of their dedication to and passion for their work. The Spa’s Hot Stone Massage incorporated a combination native smoothed Flathead River stones and cooling marble pieces to melt away tension.

The Hydradermie Treatment facial exceeded my expectations with its exquisite deliverance of personalized gels through mild ionized current applied by rollers. There is no better way to achieve the benefits of deep cleansing, purification, oxygenation and maximum hydration than through this dream-like experience.

During the Spa’s summer season the Lodge at Whitefish Lake offer its unique outdoor pavilion for lakeside and poolside morning massages, making the spa experience truly special. The Spa at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake caters to clients who are looking at the spa as part of a lifestyle change, as a part of their wellness and taking care of their health instead of just a luxury. The décor of the treatment rooms is artsy and tasteful, with warm colors that encourage guests to feel they are going on a real escape. With its rain dump shower, steam, hot tub, fitness center and opportunity for lunch or dinner post-treatment the Spa at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake is all about the full service experience.

An hour or a full day at the Spa at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake leaves guests wondering, “Why can’t every day be like this?”