With the addition of a spa, The Lodge of Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks offers even more relaxing getaways
By Deborah Reinhardt
If loves burning embers have cooled down enough that you can tread on them with bare feet, its possible you and that special someone in your life havent had enough quality time together.
This Valentines Day, give the best gifttime and yourselfto someone you love. Theres a place in central Missouri that can help spark loves embers into a roaring fire.
Finding amoré in the Ozarks
The Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks has welcomed guests for 35 years. While water recreation and golf seem to be the biggest draw to the lodge, I think this place was made for romance, especially with the addition of Spa Shiki in September 2000.
Upon checking in at the lodge for a just-the-two-of-us weekend, I welcomed this place as my haven. Like any good resort, the lodge offers guests everything on site: dining, recreation, entertainment and of course, great accommodations. There are more than 300 sleeping rooms and 85 two- and three-bedroom condos. Ask for a room that overlooks the lake or cloverleaf pool.
The 400 acres at the resort are perfect for strollingno matter what season. Spring through fall, take a walk through the landscaped Japanese garden and steal a kiss on the footbridge. For warm-weather visits, theres plenty of water recreation. Swim in one of the four pools (an indoor pool is great for winter escapes) or sun on the beach or swimming dock. Sunset cruises are also available on site.
Even though guests are in the middle of bustling Lake of the Ozarks, its easy to slip into a private world where couples can do as much or as little as they desire.
Chilled wine, warm candlelight
Dinner in a fine restaurant is part of almost any romantic escape. There are two choices at the lodge, and both are excellent.
HKs Steak House, named for the lodges developer Harold Koplar, serves hearty steaks, chops and seafood. Pick a bottle or glass of wine, and enjoy a memorable meal. Its a warm, friendly restaurant where casual dress is acceptable. HKs is closed in January.
Toledos Dining and Jazz Bar, open seasonally, offers an extensive menu that featured items using local ingredients. Hear jazz Thursday through Sunday evenings. Specialty pizzas are available after the dinner hour. Casual dress was the rule here, as well.
Other dining options at the resort include Breezes restaurant or SoleilA Sidewalk Café.
Get rubbed the right way
A visit to Spa Shiki was the highlight to our couples weekend at the lodge. Tension drains from your body, even after entering the facility. Unlike some spas, Spa Shiki (shiki meaning four seasons in Japanese) is unpretentious, but guests find a wide variety of treatments.
The Japanese theme was used in honor of Mr. Buffy, the Japanese landscape artist and caretaker who worked at the lodge for more than 30 years, and lived in a teahouse on the premises.
We were welcomed by a receptionist and taken to the appropriate locker rooms. Lockers held our clothes and personal items, and robes and slippers became our dress for the duration of the visit.
I started the experience with 10 minutes in the steam room (the attendant added lavender to enhance the experience). We waited for our therapistsDana Metrailer and Vicki Bethelin the sanctuary room. Complimentary teas and fruit are available while waiting for treatments.
The spa has a room for couple massages. Each of us had our own therapist whom provided a Swedish massage designed for our needs. This traditional massage method loosens tight muscles, increases circulation and improves skin tone. Then theres the relaxation factor. Tabletop fountains and candles added to the peaceful experience. After 50 minutes, I was reluctant to get off the massage table.
We indulged in the whirlpool after our massages, and relaxed in the sanctuary room before dressing and leaving the spa. What a satisfying way to bridge our morning and afternoon.
Ann Moloney, director of Spa Shiki, said romance isnt the main mission for the spa, but the lodges romance package is extremely popular. Interestingly, more men than women book it.
Men may come into the spa not knowing what to expect, but by the time they leave, theyre hooked.
We realize this is not in the comfort zone for a lot of men, but when they leave, theyre more willing to buy into the spa thing.
People need to reconnect with themselves. Our couples really wind down and kind of dig it, Moloney said.
Less than a days drive, Lake of the Ozarks and The Lodge of Four Seasons is a great place you can whisk your true love to for a weekendor weekof romance. Your heart, and rejuvenated spirit, will be glad you did.