Since we’re always looking for ways to improve our self-care strategies, we figured we’d go straight to the holistic wellness pros at Alchemy Mind & Body Wellness Day Spa in Princeton. We like to think we know all the best day spas in New Jersey, but the one that resides in a charming, restored 18th-century red house gets extra credit in our book for total transformational ambiance. Alchemy Day Spa promises if you stay for an hour you leave relaxed; stay for two or three and you leave feeling transformed. We sent myself & Christine from the NJMOM team to try out the Ultimate Alchemist Day Package at Alchemy Day Spa, in the name of research, of course. Here’s how our spa day went down:
The Ultimate Alchemist Package & Experience at Alchemy Day Spa
First things first, we loved the whole experience at Alchemy Day Spa. No detail was missed and the environment and staff were first-class. Bliss doesn’t begin to cover it. We started off with a 30-minute foot soak before a roaring fireplace; the first toe dip into that rejuvenating concoction of organic coconut milk, lavender, and crushed rose petals is sensational. The owner, Denyse Thedinga, was thoughtful to leave us with a glass pitcher of cold water, in case we wanted to temper the foot soak, which was very hot in order to stay warm for the entire 30 minutes.
We were given a chamomile tea and a massage checklist to choose optional enhancements to customize our massages, such as dry brush exfoliation, warm coconut compresses, clay back masque, aromatherapy, and more. As part of the Ultimate Alchemist Package, we were also given a dinner menu from Osteria Procaccini to order anything we liked! The hardest decision all day was whether to choose a Polpette meatball artisanal sandwich or a beet salad, just saying. We’re off to a great start!
We were then shown to our respective 90-minute Alchemist Massage and 60-minute Alchemist Facial. Alchemy Day Spa ticks off all the boxes – fireside massage, amazing therapists and esthetician with literally magic hands, and that peaceful sound machine of lulling waves and birds chirping that made you feel you were at the seaside somewhere. Our massage therapists, Amy Gottschalk and Denyse, slowly walked us through all of our massage ‘enhancement’ selections and explained what each selection meant in a little more detail. Let’s just say, when you drift off to sleep during a massage, that must mean something is right.
Confession: I actually don’t love facials. Something about them makes me anxious to have someone standing over me prodding at my pores. The last time I had an extraction was at the dermatologist’s office when I was in high school. But I would wholly give myself over to Mackenzie Goodwin at Alchemy Day Spa anytime I’m in need of a little skin rejuvenation from here on out. The hour-plus I spent with her during my Alchemist Facial bent the linear notion of time and I felt like I was being pampered for days on end. I’m not surprised, though. She has quite the reputation in my local moms Facebook group; in fact, the recommendations for Mackenzie at Alchemy can’t come through the comments section fast enough whenever there is a thread posted seeking the best facial in town. You know I was trying not to do the awkward happy dance when she introduced herself as my esthetician. In the minutes following my extractions, there was hardly any redness. The process barely hurt (and TBH, that little bit of uncomfortableness I felt is probably just because my tolerance for pain is very low)! So, that’s worth a lot in my book. Plus, my skin glowed! It’s still glowing days later.
After our massage and facials, we were escorted to the Grand Room, an airy room with original arched wall openings and – you guessed it, a flickering fireplace. A dining table was set with our dinner order from Osteria Procaccini. (In case you were wondering, we had both the meatball sandwich and the beet salad, in addition to an octopus salad to start and sorbet to end, because why not?) We kept asking ourselves, how is it possible to not have lifted a finger all day, yet finish feeling so hungry? This must be the very definition of pampered luxury, and it was all thanks to the restorative powers from a day well-spent at Alchemy Day Spa.
The Ambiance at Alchemy Spa
Safe to say, the ambiance at a spa is equally as important as the services rendered itself, and Alchemy Day Spa’s unique location in a two-story historic building certainly adds to the overall exquisite experience. Owner Denyse tells us it was originally a family home dating back to the early 1700s; in more recent years, it was the former Onsen for All Spa, and when that closed, sat empty with plans to turn it into a drug and alcohol rehab center (which didn’t pan out) before finally exchanging into the hands of the now Alchemy Day Spa that is run by Denyse.
When you first walk in, you get the immediate sense you are stepping into someone’s home – from the winding interior layout which begs you to wander leisurely from room to room and an original grand staircase that leads upstairs to the wellness rooms, to natural décor touches like wooden accents. The reception desk, which is made entirely with reclaimed wood, was designed and handcrafted by Denyse and her husband Keith; in it, one slab from the bundle had the word “Love” scrawled on it – reminiscent of something Denyse’s father used to do, which was to leave this word on rocks and stones for strangers to find.
Each space at Alchemy Day Spa is impeccably decorated by Denyse herself in a serene, minimalist style paid with close attention to feng shui. You’ll find yourself in a zen-like retreat – everywhere you turn at Alchemy Day Spa, a working fireplace to warm you up (perfect for our blustery winter spa day!); peaceful views of waving bamboo trees through the windows, as well as bamboo plants inside; you may be sipping tea while relaxing on a rattan egg chair or braided papasam chair. And there’s nothing that says zen more than a massive fountain of Buddha’s head bubbling away quietly.