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Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn, Resort, Spa and Conference Center in Montauk, New York
Julie Register visited this Long Island resort spa, the only thalasso spa in the continental United States, in April 2009

Foredeck Building at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
The Foredeck Building at Gurney's Inn
The beach in front of Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
The wide beach in front of Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
The beach in front of Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Smoothly polished stones
scattered all over the beach

I am strolling on the wide beach in front of my room at Gurney's Inn on the eastern tip of Long Island. The fog has almost burned off. The sky is clear, the air is cool, and the sun is warm. My intention for a brisk walk has evaporated. My attention is drawn to the many small, colorful stones that have been perfectly polished by waves and sand and have been generously scattered all over the beach. Like a little kid, I have to stop and look at each one. I dawdle. The white, red, gold and black stones call me. I pick them up and brush them off. I put them in my pocket to later add to my fountains and plant trays at home. I will look at them and remember this beach, this time, this sun, this sky, the wee trace of fog, the seawater spa treatments and the child within.

I've come to this place to experience the only spa in the continental United States that offers authentic thalassotherapy with fresh seawater. Before I share my experience, let's talk about thalassotherapy. The word "thalassotherapy" was coined in 1869 by Dr. De la Bonnardiere, a doctor from Arcachon, France by combining the Greek word "thalassa" meaning sea and "therapeia" meaning to treat medically. Thalassotherapy is the use of seawater and seaweed to encourage an exchange of minerals to rejuvenate and heal the body. There is a synergy between the ocean and us.

  • Sea Water - The water in the ocean contains the same minerals in the same proportions as the minerals in the human body. After all, life comes from the sea. Have you ever noticed how good you feel after a swim in the ocean? It's not just from the exercise, sun and fresh air (although they contribute). It's also from needed minerals that have been absorbed directly through our skin. In addition to minerals, seawater is filled with negative ions which encapsulate free radicals and reduce the harm done by them to the body. According to Alain Jouan, immersion and motion in seawater for just a few minutes allows the body to absorb, through osmosis, significant amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as boron, sulfur, fluoride, chloride and iodine. Thousands of reactions take place. A few results of these reactions include: stress relief from magnesium, fat burning from iodine, skin repair from silicon and zinc and inflammation reduction from selenium.
  • Sea Air - Sea air is full microscopic droplets of seawater that we breathe into our lungs, and the circulatory system distributes the minerals to the rest of the body.
  • Sea Weed - Seaweed grows in the ocean and has the same minerals in the same proportion as seawater, but it is more concentrated. Some seaweed has more complete minerals than others (such as those off the coast of Brittany, France). Products made from micronized seaweed allow these minerals to be absorbed into the body when applied to the skin (as in body wraps and seaweed baths). Seaweed is also a softening agent and softens our skin.
  • Sea Mud - According to La Fédération Internationale de Thalassothérapie, the ionic concentrations due to the maritime fauna and flora in maritime mud is effectively used to treat rheumatism and certain skin diseases such as acne and eczema. Maritime mud acts physiologically (thanks to its plasticity and to its power of retaining water and heat) and chemically (thanks to the transition of some of its trace elements through the skin).

There are ~100 ocean-side thalassotherapy centers in the world. About 50 of them are on the coast of France (where thalassotherapy was pioneered in the early 1900s), but they are also found throughout Europe and Africa (10 are in Tunisia). They use seawater in treatments such as algae (seaweed) poultices, marine mud applications, underwater massage, baths and showers.

The only way most US spas can offer thalassotherapy treatments is by adding sea salt to tap water treated with chlorine (a toxin readily absorbed by the skin) to create their own "seawater." The exception is the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's. Nick Monte, the forward-thinking owner, researched thalassotherapy in France and opened a center at Gurney's in 1979. The keystone of this center is a well that pumps fresh, filtered, seawater into the swimming pool and Roman baths (which are chlorinated) and into individual therapy tubs (which are not chlorinated since the water in the tub is used once then emptied). Nick died in 2007, but Gurney's remains in the Monte family. The current General Manager is his nephew (son of former GM Angelo Montemarano Sr. who died in 2008), Paul Monte. The inn's Executive Chef is Paul's brother, Chip Monte. Candice Monte, Chip's wife, has been the spa director since 2008 and the fitness director since 2001.

Saltwater Pool at Gurney's Inn, Resort, Spa and Conference Center in Montauk, New York
Saltwater Pool at Gurney's Inn, Resort, Spa and Conference Center in Montauk, New York
Women's Roman Bath at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's  Inn in Montauk, New York
Women's Roman Bath at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn
Hydrotherapy Tub at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn, Resort, Spa and Conference Center in Montauk, New York
Hydrotherapy Tub at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn

To complement the seawater, the spa at Gurney's uses Spa Technologies products which combine sea water and specific seaweeds that provide benefits to the skin. I had an opportunity to meet Dan Fryda, founder and president of Spa Technologies, at the Psychic and Holistic Living Fair at Gurney's on the weekend I visited. After completing studies in thalassotherapy, aromatherapy and acupuncture, Dan began formulating marine-based products for spas. He said Spa Technologies uses specially harvested seaweed from Brittany and other quality locations, which is micronized (ground very fine) so that it can be easily absorbed into the skin (in a wrap for example). Spa Technologies has grown in the last 13 years by integrating essential oils, botanicals, seaweeds and algae into the product line to detoxify, regenerate and rebalance the skin.

Dan Fryda, owner of Spa Technologies, at the Psychic and Holistic Living Fair at Gurney's on April 25, 2009
Dan Fryda, owner of Spa Technologies, at the Psychic and Holistic Living Fair at Gurney's on April 25, 2009
Spa Technologies Products used at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's
Spa Technologies Products used at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's

Back to my Sea Water Spa experience...I am standing at the entrance to the Sea Water Spa enjoying the sound of the fountain, admiring the statue of Venus and remembering Thomas Moore's talk on The Spirituality of Venus at the ISPA conference last November. He said taking care of ourselves is something we are called to do, and we need to do. I am thankful that I can take care of myself at this place and with my upcoming thalassotherapy treatment.

Entrance to the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Entrance to the Sea Water Spa
Sea Water Spa Reception Desk at Gurney's Inn, Resort and Conference Center  on Long Island, New York
Sea Water Spa Reception Desk

I check in at the reception desk and am escorted downstairs. I am left in the care of a spa attendant who gets a robe and sandals for me, shows me to my locker and gives me a tour. I put on my bathing suit. I have time for a swim in the pool (co-ed and suit is required) but decide to use the women's sauna and steam room then soak in the Roman bath instead (suit not required). The spa is pretty busy. Most of the women I chat with are there to attend the Psychic and Holistic Living Fair. The Inn offered discounted rates for this event that started at $100 per person (quad occupancy) and included entrance to the fair, a room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, $26 per person credit for dinner, full breakfast and use of the general spa facilities (indoor seawater heated swimming pool, Roman baths, saunas, steam rooms and fitness center) plus 18% service charge and NYS tax. What a deal!

Women's Locker Room in the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn, Resort and Conference Center in Montauk, Long Island, New York
Women's Locker Room in the Sea Water Spa
Women's Quiet Room  in the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Women's Quiet Room in the Sea Water Spa
Treatment Suite in the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Treatment Suite in the Sea Water Spa

I spend a few minutes resting in the Quiet Room before my body therapist comes for me. I am having the spa's 90-minute signature Marine Kur Therapy. My therapist leads me to a lovely treatment suite equipped with two massage tables, a shower and a hydrotherapy tub. The tub is filled and waiting for me. I am instructed to get in the warm seawater. The therapist takes a hose and directs it under the water on the muscles of my body - a hydrotherapy massage. The warmth of the water and the action of the hydro massage are supposed to enhance the absorption of minerals from the seawater into the body.

After the bath, I am led to a treatment table where my therapist exfoliates my body using a seaweed toning gel and a loofah mitt. Sloughing off the dead skin helps the cells absorb the minerals from the seaweed products better.

I am led to a Swiss shower to rinse off. Thankfully, the water is warm. I am asked if I would like it cold for a few seconds to increase my circulation. I decline. I return to the table where my therapist applies a nourishing, mineral-rich seaweed body mask all over my body then wraps me in blankets. While I warm up in the blankets, my therapist gives me a lovely scalp massage. When I have been wrapped long enough, I return to the warm Swiss shower to rinse off. Once again I return to the treatment table where a seaweed body cream is applied. My therapist asks if I would like to remain in the room for a few minutes to rest. I happily agree. I like the feeling of not being rushed out of the room. I eventually get up and get dressed. My skin is noticeably softer.

The Sea Water Spa has 39 treatment rooms and has a staff of 90 employees during the peak season. Here are more photos of the Sea Water Spa:

Pedicure Stations in the Salon on the Main Level of the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Pedicure Stations in the Salon on the Main Level of the Sea Water Spa
Facial Treatment Room on the Main Level of the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Facial Treatment Room on the Main Level of the Sea Water Spa

Showers in the Women's Locker Room at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Showers in the Women's Locker Room on the Lower Level of the Sea Water Spa
Vanity area in the Women's Locker Room at the Sea Water Spaat Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Vanity area in the Women's Locker Room on the Lower Level of the Sea Water Spa
Treatment Room in the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Treatment Room on the Lower Level of the Sea Water Spa
Treatment Room in the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Treatment Room for Two on the Lower Level of the Sea Water Spa
Sea Water Spa Retail Boutique at Gurney's in on Long Island
Sea Water Spa Retail Boutique located on the Main Level
Sea Water Spa Retail Boutique at Gurney's Resort in Montauk, New York
Sea Water Spa Retail Boutique located on the Main Level
Lower Lever Exercise Studio at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn on Long Island
Lower Lever Exercise Studio at the Sea Water Spa
Main Level Fitness Center at the Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn on Long Island, NY
Main Level Fitness Center at the Sea Water Spa

Gurney's registered nurse, Susan Yunker, has worked at Gurney's Sea Water Spa for 25 years. She helps spa visitors design customized activities and treatments that would be best to meet their goals (such as detoxification and weight loss).
Gurney's registered nurse, Susan Yunker, has worked at Gurney's Sea Water Spa for 25 years. She helps spa visitors design customized activities and treatments that would be best to meet their goals (such as detoxification and weight loss).


The spa offers a Six-Day Thalasso Experience that begins with a personal consultation to map out an itinerary which can include hydro-massage treatments in sea water, exercise in the heated sea water pool, body treatments using seaweed products and sea water, nutrition classes and personal training sessions.

The Sea Water Spa's Sun Deck at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
The Sea Water Spa's Sun Deck
located on the Main Level

Other Treatments offered at the Sea Water Spa at the time of my visit include:

Signature Therapies

  • Active Green Argilite Mud Therapy
  • Marine Kur Therapy
  • Montauk Stone Therapy
  • Ultimate Detox Therapy
  • Shirodhora Sanctuary Treatment
  • Head-to-Toe Ocean Radiance Treatment
  • Ultimate Rose Face & Body Treatment
  • Women’s Balancing Cellulite Treatment
  • Aromatherapy Lymphatic Drainage Face & Body

Sea Water Baths

  • Algae Slimming Bath
  • Sea Water Herbal Bath
  • Sea Water Hydrotherapy Bath
  • Sea Water Hydrotherapy Massage
  • Thermalism Sea Plunge (Min 5 guests)

Body Therapies

  • Algae Body Polish
  • Loofah Scrub
  • Maple Sugar Body Scrub
  • Sea Mineral Scrub
  • Brush & Tone Therapy
  • Italian Fango Therapy
  • Ultimate Herbal Body Therapy
    Seaweed Wrap
  • Brush & Tone/Seaweed Wrap
  • Herbal Wrap
  • Sea Water Aromatherapy Treatment
  • Apres Sun Recovery Treatment
  • Milk and Honey Re-hydrating Treatment

Touch Therapies

  • Amma Therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Swedish Massage
  • Swedish Massage with
    Aromatherapy Oils
  • In-Room Swedish Massage
  • Outdoor Swedish Massage
  • Couples Swedish Massage
  • Couples Swedish Massage
    with Aromatherapy Oils
  • Couples Outdoor Swedish Massage
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • In-Room Deep Tissue Massage
  • Outdoor Deep Tissue Massage
  • Couples Deep Tissue Massage
  • Mother-to-Be Massage
  • Neck, Back & Shoulder
  • Shiatsu Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Thai Massage
  • Reiki Therapy
  • Trager Body Therapy
  • Cranio Sacral
  • Lymphatic Drainage
  • Polarity
  • Reflexology

Facials

  • Ocean Radiance Facial
  • Hydra-Active Facial Treatment
  • Thermo-Active Replenishing Facial
  • Three Layer Anti-Aging Facial
  • Gentlemen’s Hot Towel
  • Balancing Facial
  • Quick Cleanse for Men
  • Back Facial
    • Incorporated with Facial
  • Vitamin C Facial
  • Oxygenated Facial
  • Luminous Facial for Hyper-Pigmentation
  • Anti-Blemish Facial
  • Sinus Soothing Facial
  • Calming Anti-Oxidant Facial
  • Complexion Perfection Facial
  • Rose Lymphatic Facial
  • Eye Contour Treatment
    • Incorporated with Facial
    • Incorporated with 70 min Facial
  • Self Heating Mud Incorporated w/Facial
  • Paraffin Hand Tx Incorporated w/Facial
  • Paraffin Foot Tx Incorporated w/Facial

Aromatherapy

  • Aromatherapy Scrub & Hydro Massage
  • DeStress Aromatherapy Bath & Massage
  • Coffee & Exotic Essential Oil Body Treatment
  • Peppermint Lavender Thermalism Treatment
  • Detoxify and Revive Therapy
  • Nourishing Rose Body Therapy
  • Muscle Soother

Manicures & Pedicures

  • Solar Manicure
  • Solar Pedicure
  • Luxury Spa Manicure
  • Luxury Spa Pedicure
  • French Manicure
  • French Pedicure
  • Paraffin Manicure
  • Paraffin Pedicure
  • Paraffin Hand Treatment
  • Paraffin Foot Treatment
  • Sports Pedicure
  • Polish Change
    • with French
  • Pedicure Polish Change
    • with French
  • Nail Art (Per Nail)
  • Tips or Wrap (Per Nail)
  • Gel Fill (Per Nail)

Hair Services

Waxing Services

Tannning Services

Makeup Services

  • Makeup Application
  • Makeup Lesson with Application
  • Wedding Makeup Trial Application
  • Wedding Day Makeup Application

Fitness & Wellness

  • Biofeedback
  • Body Composition Analysis
  • Comprehensive Fitness Evaluation
  • Nutrition Consultation
  • Personal Training
  • Personal Training with Master Trainer (Weight Training, Yoga or Pilates)

Fitness Classes

  • Group Exercise Class
  • Spinning Class
  • Nature Hike
  • Ocean Air Aerobic Beach Walk


Treatments for Teens Ages 13-17

  • Ocean Radiance Facial
  • Teen Makeup Application
  • Teen Manicure
  • Teen Pedicure
  • Wave Massage
  • Teen Mini Facial Package
  • Teen Spa Day
  • Special Sweet 16 Party

Treatments for Children Ages 4-12

  • Child Haircut
  • Princess Up Do
  • Princess Manicure
  • Princess Pedicure
  • Princess Package

Spa Day Packages

  • Day Of Beauty (Ladies)
  • Day of Vitality (Gentlemen)
  • Ultimate Spa Day
  • Mother & Daughter Package1
  • Mother To Be Package

Wedding Package

  • Deluxe Wedding Package
    for the Bride
  • Deluxe Wedding Package for
    the Groom
  • Bridal Party Pampering


I am staying in room #556 of the three-story Foredeck building which was built in 1962. My room is pleasantly decorated. It faces the ocean and has a spacious deck area with two lounge chairs. I can walk right out onto the beach. The same room feature that lets me hear the wonderful sound of the surf in the room also lets me hear everything (and I do mean everything) my nocturnal upstairs neighbors do.

Room #556 in the Foredeck Building at Gurney's Inn, Resort and Conference Center
Room #556 in the Foredeck Building at Gurney's Inn, Resort and Conference Center
Guest Room at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Deck of Room #556 in the Foredeck Building
Guest Room 556 at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, New York
Bathroom of Room #556 in the Foredeck Building

Gurney's Inn features 109 ocean front and ocean view suites, staterooms and studios and five cottages. In addition to the spa, there is dining at The Sea Grill and Caffe Monte (spa cuisine menu is available in all of the Inn's dining venues), drinks and entertainment at the Port O'Call Bar and six event rooms that can accommodate up to 350 guests.

There is actually a lot going on at Gurney's this weekend. I stop by to watch the filming of the American Dream® Show, a Hamptons WVVH TV show aired in the tri-state area and hosted by Ingrid Lemme, Gurney's Marketing Director.

Filming of the American Dreams Show at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, Long Island
Filming of the American Dreams Show at Gurney's Inn
The Psychic and Holistic Living Fair at Gurney's Inn on April 25, 2009
The Psychic and Holistic Living Fair at Gurney's Inn on April 25, 2009

I attend the Psychic and Holistic Living Fair. There are tarot, palm, flower essence and angel readers, health coaches, massage therapists and more. I attend and enjoy the Morning Tobacco Prayer led by Deep Arrow (Lorraine Simone, M.S. Ed., C.Ht., SVF), founder and director of the Moonfire Meeting House. Phil, a naturopath, does some energy work on me - some time on energy (mine is low), some time on my physical being and some time on the cosmic (I am following the path I should be on). He tells me that energy is infinite, yet some people have huge energy voids and will try to use my energy. If I choose to let them have it, I must get mine refilled. Ways to do that include meditation, reiki session and chakra work.

Before I leave Long Island, I go to the Montauk Point Lighthouse, which was commissioned by George Washington and built in 1797. I climb the stairs to the top and enjoy the spectacular view.

Montauk Point Lighthouse
Montauk Point Lighthouse
View from the Top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse
View from the Top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse

"The cures of sun and sea impose themselves on most illnesses."
~ Herodotus ~
484 B.C.

Salus Per Aquam. Health by Water.

More Information

Contact

Sea Water Spa at Gurney's Inn
Address
290 Old Montauk Highway
Montauk, NY 11954
Inn Phone: 631-668-.2345
Spa Desk: 631-668-1892, 631- 668-2345 Ext. 7600
Salon Desk: 631- 668-2996
Web Site:
http://www.gurneysinn.com/

Sea Water Spa FYI 

Appointments - In order to guarantee the availability of your preferred time and service, please make your appointment 1-2 weeks in advance for individual services and 5-6 weeks in advance for spa packages and groups.
Spa Technician Preference - Please note your preference of a male or female spa technician at the time you are making the reservation.
Health Concerns - Please notify the spa reservationist if you have physical ailments, disabilities or allergies. The spa reservationist will get you in contact with the Spa Nurse.
Pregnancy - You will want to avoid treatments using deep pressure and heat, such as hydrotherapy, herbal wrap, and deep tissue massage. Also avoid heat facilities, such as the Roman Bath, Sauna, and Steam Room. Pre-natal massage, Brush & Tone, Nourishing Rose Body Treatment, and salon services are recommended.
What to Bring - Gurney's Inn provides robes, towels, shower slippers, and lockers. All you need to bring is exercise clothing and proper footwear if you plan to work out, and a swimsuit if you plan to use the pool.
Valuables - Lockers are provided for guests receiving services or exercising. All valuables should be left in hotel room safes before visiting the Spa. For guests wearing jewelry, safety deposit boxes are provided upon check-in. The Sea Spa at Gurney's Inn is not responsible for items left in the spa.
Locker Rooms - Available are clothes lockers, private showers and dressing rooms, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Please bring private items such as deodorant.

Arrival - Arrive at least 30 minutes before your first appointment to allow yourself ample time to check in, change, and familiarize yourself with the Spa. Please shower before using the facilities and prior to having your treatments.
Dress during Treatments - For massage or thalasso, you may wear undergarments or a swimsuit if this would be more comfortable for you. Your therapist will leave the room while you lie down on the table and drape yourself with a large towel. Please keep in mind that the therapists are trained to drape you discreetly and to protect your privacy at all times.
Service Charge - All services and packages are subject to an 18% service charge. From the service charge, all service providers receive 15% of the service price. The balance of the service charge is distributed amongst support staff of the spa and the house.
Tips - Tips are not required but are appreciated. Many guests leave a tip in addition to the service charge in recognition of superior service. A suggested guideline for tipping is $5 - $10 for 30 minute services and $10 - $20 for hour services.
Subject to Change - Services and Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
Cancellation Policy - Please note, a 24-hour notice before your scheduled appointment is required or you will be charged full value of the service. ALL NO SHOWS will be charged the full value of the service.

 

photos copyright 2009 Julie Register

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