The Chatham Bars Inn Spa (check your dates for rates) is really a mini-resort within a resort, one created to provide the ultimate in relaxation, privacy, and luxury on Cape Cod. In fact, it is the best resort spa on the Cape, as well as one of the few Leading Spas in North America.
The Chatham Bars Inn is a beautifully restored historic inn with several cottages scattered around its beachfront property amidst the Cape Cod National Seashore, home to many seals. The oceanfront croquet grounds, cabana-lined pool, and near nightly New England clambakes are what makes this resort so popular for weddings, families, and couples. (We welcome you to read our family review of the resort, too, to learn more of the resort’s restaurants, cottages, and recreation.)
But hidden in the far corner of the property is a spa oasis with its own Zen garden pool, treatment building, and special spa suites for guests seeking something restorative. The spa suites are very large, open rooms divided into two: a traditional king-sized room with seating area and fireplace and the open floor plan bathroom of the same size. The centerpiece of the room is its beautiful oval tub.
On one side is a sauna, and on the other is a super fancy steam shower. Only the water closet has its own door, so the open format is best suited for those traveling alone or as a couple. The open format leaves room for massage tables to fit inside your suite. Friends should get their own spa suites or share a traditional cottage on the property where they can sit out on their stone patios, drink wine, look at the beautiful ocean views, and talk incessantly about the children they left at home.
The spa suites are modern in look while the rest of the resort rooms maintain a more traditional decor with a nod to the resort’s 100 years of serving guests. The spa suites are filled with some incredible plumbing. The sink vanities are gorgeous, but the showcase is the bathtub.
I did what every guest before me did and after me will do. I turned the knob to run a hot bath while looking for where the water would come out. With a slam, the water began draining from ceiling above the tub, and— startled— I let out a yelp. The yelp the staff hears every day, I am sure.
Descending down a fenced path, I reached the spa gardens and pool. The gardens were accented with Eastern art and cabanas for outdoor massages. Trees and shrubbery encased the pool like a secret hideaway. The spa pool has an elevated hot tub in the center, and it is not a pool area for exertion or exercise, but for complete tranquility, reading, and librarian-like hushed conversations. Only those guests over 16 receiving treatments may enjoy it.
The Chatham Bars Inn Spa has a nail salon, large locker rooms for each gender, a co-ed lounge, and five treatment rooms. The relaxation lounge is a simple waiting area and is the only co-ed space beside the outdoor pool area, so staying in a spa suite is best for romantic colder weather spa breaks when the pool can’t be enjoyed.
The sea dominates the treatment menu. You can have smooth seashells massage your face at the end of the Tides signature massage. For the ultimate, Cape Cod spa experience, local cranberries—loaded with antioxidants— are used in a salt scrub and made into a cranberry massage oil in the Cranberry Crush.
All facials use the Espa product line from the United Kingdom, used in many Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental hotel spas. You can take the seasonal summer treatment “Summer at the Shore” home with you because both the in-house Ocean Rose foaming body polish and body butter are for sale. My mani-pedi services were excellent and lasted a very long time.
I chose a spring renewal theme, and it was the first time I took a shower while lying down. Imagine lying on an air mattress covered in super soft bedding and an electric blanket outside at night when the sky opens and drops warm rain on you. That’s what part of it felt like. I was given an exfoliation, Vichy cleanse and body polish, and a light massage at the end.
I will say it put the monkeys in my head to sleep, and I left the spa feeling far more centered than when I arrived, and with much prettier hands and feet. I didn’t even want to get dressed again. So I asked if I could wear my robe to my room around the corner, and I did.
I had asked room service if they had lighter spa cuisine since I had no intention of leaving my spa suite ever again. I had the most gorgeous dinner to celebrate my first solo time off in nearly a year. I started with a fresh spring pea soup with these incredibly flavorful buttermilk droplets on a flatbread cracker. The beet and marcona almond salad were made with greens from the resort’s substantial farm down the road in Brewster.
The steamed halibut and vegetables in a lemon basil broth contained fresh sea vegetables, sea beans, that the chef had gathered from the ocean waters that day. They looked like mini garlic scapes but tasted like super fresh haricot verts. If I hired a personal chef, I would want that fish for dinner every night until I had the body I’ve only dreamed of. And for dessert, I had a Greek yogurt panna cotta covered in granola and strawberry-basil compote. I felt a little full and knew I was going to enjoy every last bite of it in the morning with my coffee.
I grabbed my dead laptop to begin working, only to discover I’d brought the wrong power plug. The universe had other plans for me, and I was grateful. I took a second bath before bed with full awareness of how the plumbing worked this time.
I woke up feeling like I had been away from my family and work duties for days. And if you are a morning person, the sunrises from the hotel’s lobby, much less the beach, are well worth it. It is an early bird ritual here, (really early in the summer) so you will have coffee and pastry waiting for you starting at 5AM to enjoy in the main lounge. The main building has a fitness center, too, if you need more than beach walks.
I headed home thinking about a fantasy couple’s spa escape I would make here in the colder months when the room’s fireplace, sauna, and steam room would be amazing after a windy walk along the wintry shore. And I wouldn’t warn my husband before he ran the bath.
I was a guest of the Chatham Bars Inn, but these opinions are my own, and I would return in a heartbeat.
Check your dates for rates for the most luxurious spa escape on the Cape.