Finding the Stillness Within

Experience luxurious relaxation at Stillwater Spa


I’ve been an admirer of other people’s skin since I was in my teens. At that time I envied my peers who had clear, acne-free skin, as mine was prone to breakouts. I quizzed them about their skincare regimens and tried to find that elusive mix of cleansers, lotions and masks that would keep my skin free from of those oh-so-annoying blemishes.

As an adult, I find myself studying other women’s skin for a different reason: I’m interested in how they fight the aging process. I compare my laugh lines and crow’s feet to theirs. I wonder how they keep their skin so firm and tight. I quiz them about their skincare regimens – just like old times! I’m in my 30s now and to put it simply, I don’t want to look old. I want to ward off wrinkles and keep my skin as smooth and fresh-looking as possible for as long as I can. But I also don’t want to look unnatural or perpetually surprised, so injections and surgery aren’t on my short list of skin treatments at the moment. (Although, I’m not ruling those out for the future. Talk to me in about ten years.)

Because the state of my skin is a source of concern for me, I was eager to try the Bellanina Facelift Massage at Stillwater Spa in Newport. Reading that it is a “holistic approach to obtaining and maintaining younger, smoother and healthier looking skin at any age,” I was sold. Located inside the Hyatt Regency Newport on Goat Island, Stillwater Spa boasts impressive views of Narragansett Bay and the Newport Pell Bridge. The spa’s interior is serene and welcoming, the staff friendly and accommodating. I was given a key to my own locker in the women’s locker room, where I was treated to a soft white robe and sandals. Then I headed to the relaxation area – offering comfy couches, soft music and hot tea – to unwind before the treatment.

Arleen Sweeney, the spa’s supervisor and one of the few certified Bellanina Facelift Massage Specialists in the area, came out to greet me and bring me to my massage room. The treatment was purely luxurious from the start, as I lay down on the heated massage table and Arleen massaged my feet and hands and then wrapped them in warm towels. By the time she began working on my face, I was in complete relaxation mode. After gently cleansing and exfoliating my skin, she got to work on massaging my face, using vigorous (but not painful) whipping, tapping, acupressure and contouring strokes to increase circulation and tone and lift the facial muscles.

An important part of the facial massage is the use of aromatherapeutic oils and Bellanina’s signature product, Honeylift – each have their own hydrating, nourishing or calming effects during the treatment. To end the massage, Arleen placed a snug wrap around my face and under my chin for the “tie-up” step, where my facial muscles are to set in place and promote “muscle memory.” To be honest, the hour or so that I spent in the room flew by because the facial massage put me in such a state of tranquility.

I knew I felt great when it was over, but when I looked in the mirror in the locker room, the results were astounding to me. My skin looked fresh and smooth – even flawless. It felt velvety soft and clean. During my stop at the market on the way home, I’m pretty sure that for the first time, everyone was envious of my skin. Later that evening, my mother told me my skin looked radiant. If this is what happened after one Bellanina Facial Massage, I can only imagine what a series of treatments will do for my skin. Stillwater Spa, I’ll be back.