In Colonial Williamsburg, a spa day comes with a dose of history

Head to Williamsburg (think 18th century bonnet-clad maidens, not hipsters) to have a spa-tacular experience. That’s right, the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginina offers a world-class soaking experience. One intrepid reporter (and academic historian) from Racked tried it out and raved about it.

Housed in a three-story freestanding building on on the grounds of Virginia’s history theme park, she got to test its Century-Inspired Signature Experiences — a historic spa experience.

One might not think of cleanliness as a top concern of 18th century folk, and that would be correct. The reporter explains the elaborate wet and wild experience she participated in was a more common practice of slaves and free people of color than white colonists — who didn’t bathe regularly.

But those visiting the Colonial Williamsburg spot get all the relaxing services we’ve come to association with a modern luxury spa experience: steam room, rain-head shower, whirlpool, padded chaise lounges, and even fruit-infused water. But there is one added twist: they toss in a bit of history in the bathwater. The African Traditional Bath & Strengthening Massage ($285) the reporter tried out began with a glass of cold spring water, a ritual reminiscent of “taking the waters” — drinking mineral water for health. Then she was given a bath with dry herbs rubbed into the skin and dry brushed off, culminating in an arnica oil-infused bath by candlelight, followed by a massage.

While she wasn’t super impressed with how historically correct the offerings were, she did give the experience a big, relaxed thumbs up in terms of luxury and relaxation. Those wanting to test it out for themselves can book a 60-minuter massage for $110 plus tax and tip, which includes a daily pass to use the facilities. [Racked]