The Not Too Far Away Get-Away

Lake Geneva's Avani Spa worth the trip from Chicago

Avani Spa

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Chicago (OK, more like an hour and 45 up I-90 -- but who's counting?) is Chicago's best kept secret oasis.

City traffic, city construction, city heat (or rather, city rain) and all your summer stress dissipate once you reach the Avani Spa at the Abbey Resort. Nestled in a tranquil setting just moments from the sparkling shores of Lake Geneva lays a sprawling 35,000 square-foot facility that could give any downtown spa a run for its uptown money.

The newly renovated Avani (the spa underwent a $1.5 million facelift in 2008) is defined in Sanskrit as "from the earth," and evokes feelings of tranquility, peace, relaxation, and rebirth.

Utilizing inspiration from nature, Avani's materials and décor features natural elements, including cork flooring and uses luxurious water-based treatments featuring the Phytomer/ocean based line, and other products of the earth and sea.

So what tickles your pampering fancy? Massages? Avani's got seven different varieties, including the "Hot Stone Massage" for the ancient arts fan, the "Together Massage" for the cooing couple, and the "4-Handed Massage" for the uber-tense individual who requires the talents of two.

Facials? The facility boasts six different selections, ranging from anti-aging to organic to purifying, complete with oxygenating seaweed masks and all. Body treatments? Check. You have nine options to choose from, such as the Remineralizing Bath, the signature Avani Scrub or the Body Coffee Wrap (said to eliminate toxins and activate fat dissolution.)

Do you need a better reason to fill your gas tank and hit the road? Maybe so. But if you've got any energy left after your rub-down, head on over to the Avani Fitness Center, equipped with state-of-the-art machines and a top notch personal training team. Or, shake that (hopefully post-body treatment cellulite free) booty in a Zumba group dance class. And if you are still searching for that internal serenity, the Fitness Center's got yoga too.

As if that's not enough to send your indulgent li'l self into a tizzy, the services are a mere fraction of your escapism-experience. Also at your disposal are 17 private treatment rooms, dry saunas, steam rooms, eucalyptus inhalation rooms, his and hers whirlpools, a full service salon, organic fresh apples and lemons, cucumber and mint infused waters, private lounge areas with wood-burning fireplaces -- and most breathtaking of all -- an atrium holding a lap a pool with cuisine and cocktail service.

Spa-goers can indulge in Avani's sophisticated VIP Suite sanctuary, complete with a private whirlpool, plasma TV, an outdoor private patio, as well as multiple spa services within the suite itself. Accommodating two to 10 guests, the suite is designed to provide an all-inclusive experience for couples, small groups, and a Cheeky favorite, the ever-popular girlfriend's spa getaways.

Chicago may be the third largest city in the country (with some of the finest establishments available), but sometimes you really do have to get away to get away. Happy pampering.

Jessica, founder of, is calling her girlfriends to plan their next road trip to Lake Geneva.

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