Be Your Best Self – It’s Time to Relax and Unwind at These Spas

It's easy to get caught up in the stresses of our busy lives. Sometimes though, a day — or even an hour — spent away from everything is all you need to recharge.

Away, Alone, and By One’s Self

Ishnala, a new retreat in North Bend that opened late last year, offers guests an escape, a space to reflect, and an opportunity to learn tools that will keep them healthy in the long-term. 

About 25 miles from busy Bellevue, a tranquil getaway is tucked away in the mountains of North Bend. Eight acres of natural beauty and total seclusion are revealed as a humble wooden gate — with the retreat’s name, Ishnala, carved into the wood — swings open. 

The collection of gorgeously designed cabins, massage huts, saunas, and a meditation studio that dots the property, all set practically in the shadow of Mount Si, is unlike anything the area has
seen before.

“We all need time to get away,” said Diann Pattermann, 70, who founded Ishnala and who has devoted her life to holistic wellness. Her voice, gentle and soothing, served as a soundtrack for the parts of the day that weren’t loud with silence. 

Photo by: Jami Davis

“We are so bombarded constantly with agendas, stress, and toxins,” she said. “This is a place where you can begin to learn how to escape that. How to bring quiet back into your life.” 

Pattermann’s intention for the retreat is to provide people with much-needed solitude and space for self-reflection. This goal is reflected in the name, Ishnala, which is an Indian word meaning “away, alone, and by one’s self.” It is also reflected in the structure of a day retreat, during which up to nine guests partake in certain activities — like guided meditation, food-making demonstrations, or exercise classes — together, while being left to explore the property and book their own massages and sauna times for the rest of the day.

Pattermann is an expert in wellness: She has spent 40 years committing herself to nutrition, meditation, and fitness and teaching at some of the best spas in the world. Now, she’s passing her wealth of knowledge and passion on to her Ishnala guests. 

“Ishnala really is a culmination of everything I have done,” she said. 

With the help of her handy husband, the property — which they had bought 13 years prior — was transformed over the last two years from a place of residence to a fully functional retreat, complete with a meditation studio, a workout room, two massage huts, two saunas, a hot tub (with a stunning view of Mount Si), and a walking labyrinth. The two cabins on the property serve as home to Pattermann, her husband, and her 97-year-old mother — who, like Pattermann, looks and acts a good 20 years younger than she is. 

Photo by: Jami Davis

The highly personal nature of Ishnala is one element of many that makes it unique. Pattermann is welcoming each guest into her home, her kitchen, and her life, giving permission to explore and learn at leisure. 

With this set-up, women are allowed to tap into their inner child: Work emails are forgotten, and phones are

owed in car gloveboxes. People have the time and space they need to be intentionally curious and to escape the fast-paced reality that defines our modern world. For six hours, daily anxieties fall away, and guests can just sit and be. 

“The property lends itself to you,” Pattermann said. “You find a place to be alone and (can) feel very comfortable, like it is your place for the day. I don’t know why you are coming in, but I hope that by coming in, you can look inside yourself and identify what it is you need more of.”  

To help tailor each experience to specific needs of guests, Pattermann offers three different types of day retreats. A Mind Retreat focuses on meditation, journaling, and wood walks; a Wellness Retreat goes into disease prevention and food philosophy; and a Body Retreat offers trail running, core and strength classes, and body philosophy. 

No matter the retreat, however, guests have full use of the grounds; can take classes; and are served a delicious, organic, homemade meal that can be taken to-go in a basket and enjoyed anywhere on the property. 


Photo by: Jami Davis

Though Ishnala hasn’t been open for long — Pattermann started offering classes in the studio spaces in late 2018 and opened it up for six-hour retreat days early this year — it is clear that she has thought carefully of each and every detail before ushering guests into her space. From the journals labeled with each guest’s name that are handed out with pencils, to the shuttles that are available to cart guests around the property, everything is provided, convenient, and easy. Pattermann and her small team of female staff are on-hand for anything you might need, and they do so without being intrusive. 

Beyond providing a comfortable space that feels like paradise — or the best single-day vacation you’ve ever taken — Pattermann wants guests to walk away feeling as though they have learned information that will help them to care for themselves better. Depending on the retreat, she demonstrates meditation, a workout routine, or how to make healthy and natural juice in five minutes. It’s all information that can be applied at home. 

“I want to share with everyone my version of making all of these things convenient for myself, because if it’s not convenient, it can’t be consistent,” Pattermann said. 

And there’s no better person than Pattermann to convince you of the benefits of taking care of yourself consistently: At 70, she said that she still has the same energy level she had in her 30s — an energy that is readily apparent in everything she does. Likewise, her mother, almost 100 years old, moves with ease and prefers to be unassisted.  

“I don’t agree that you necessarily have to feel (worse) as you grow older,” Pattermann said. “You just have to continue to move and continue to eat well. It really is that simple.” 

After all, she said, we have 24 hours in every day, and all you need to do to maintain your health is dedicate a couple of those hours to exercise, meditation, and healthy eating. Six hours spent at Ishnala is about relaxing and reflecting, yes, but it’s also about learning and practicing those habits that Pattermann has mastered over time. 

“You learn how to take care of yourself — and how to love taking care of yourself — and you’ll see,” she said. “The payoff is enormous.”

Photo by: Jami Davis

Salt Mine Arium 

The Eastside’s only salt room, Salt Mine Arium offers a natural, drug-free therapy in the form of salt therapy, which is said to benefit the lungs, skin, and body. Customers are guided into one of the Salt Mine Arium’s salt rooms for a 45-minute session, during which micro particles of salt are absorbed into the body. According to the company, these sessions can help reduce inflammation and cleanse lungs of irritants, making them good for people with respiratory problems — like cystic fibrosis and asthma — and skin problems – like psoriasis and eczema. A session in the room can also be effective for those simply seeking relaxation or a way to strengthen the immune system.

Each room can accommodate eight people at once, and a special room is designated for children under 10, complete with a salt “sand box.” The spa recommends a series of treatments for those with chronic conditions in order to see symptoms subside. 

Salt Mine Arium also offers massages, acupuncture, reiki, yoga, and meditation.

Suwannee Thai Spa

If you’re used to having facials in which you’re poked and prodded and leave with your skin aflame, it might be time to change gears and try out a Thai facial. The owner, Suwannee, handcrafts her products in an authentic and traditional Thai style — products she uses to give gentle, medicinal, and therapeutic facials that make skin glow. 

The traditional Thai facial is done with all-natural oils that are blended specifically for each client’s skin type. In an hour-long session, which is $69 for members and $79 for nonmembers, Suwannee cleans your skin; applies the facial oil; and massages your face, neck, and upper back and chest. Perhaps the most unique is the homemade steam herbal ball that is pressed onto the skin, which reduces pain and stress and increases blood circulation. 

Other types of facials are also available, as are upgrades, like deep cleansing, anti-aging, and collagen rejuvenation.

Suwannee Thai Spa

Holistique IV Lounge 

Holistique Naturopath Medical Center in Bellevue will be opening Washington’s first walk-in IV clinic this April. The IV lounge is a more medical approach to relaxation, where you can receive IV therapy or a vitamin shot, as well as other therapies like acupuncture and reflexology. 

IV therapy assists health and well-being by giving cells a quick boost of nutrients. The approach has been popular in Los Angeles and Las Vegas to cure hangovers; Holistique, however, will focus on overall wellness, hydration, immune boosting, and sports recovery. 

Visitors can also choose to get a quick shot of vitamins, like B12 and vitamin D. These treatments, like the IV therapy, are a safe, simple, and quick way to help people feel their best. 

The grand opening of the IV Lounge will be on April 26 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Holistique Naturopath Medical Center, 1200 116th Ave. NE Ste C, Bellevue.

Balinese Massage at Tulalip Resort Casino 

Courtesy Tulalip Casino

If you haven’t been to Bali, chances are you probably haven’t had a traditional Balinese massage experience. It’s not often you see it on a spa menu — because not a lot of people are trained to do it. But you don’t have to travel far. This amazingly relaxing massage — complete with oils from Bali — is available at the T Spa at Tulalip Resort Casino, and it’s awesome. 

The moment you walk into the luxurious T-Spa, you feel the stress melt away. In the changing and relaxation area, there is a crackling fireplace, comfy furniture, and sauna — both dry and wet, to unwind before and after your spa experience.

The Balinese massage is 75 minutes of a deep, full-body massage with a unique rhythmic twist. Tropical aromatherapy oils transport you to another place.

Yuan Spa 

Courtesy Yuan Spa

Whether you are in need of a massage, facial, manicure, or hair-removal service, you can get it all — and more — at Yuan Spa. The spa balances modern spa technologies with ancient healing philosophies from Asia, which include traditional Chinese therapies. 

Gua-Sha therapy, for example, is a 2,000-year-old Chinese massage practice in which problem areas are scraped with a tool to improve circulation, which can help with chronic pain and illness. Similarly, cupping therapy — which involves cups being applied to the skin to create a suctioning effect — is an essential component of Chinese medicine and is offered at Yuan Spa. 

Massages and many of the other services at the spa come with a complimentary day pass to use the hydrotherapy area, which includes bathing pools, body polishing salts, a sauna and steam room, and a cool sea salt pool. Hydrotherapy can help stimulate muscles, condition skin, and detoxify the body. 

Tranquil Waters Boutique Spa 

Looking to be pampered on a budget? At this Renton spa, all you need is $150 to get both a massage and a manicure (after which you can hang around at the pool, steam room, whirlpool, and fitness center). According to Jennie Wiese, regional director of spa operations, the better price point in comparison to Seattle is due to Renton being a less-competitive area.

Neither quality nor variety is sacrificed, though. Treatments like a Bamboo Foot Ceremony or Golden Lotus Ginger Wrap are available on top of hot stone massages and customized facials.

The spa is associated with the Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, which offers stunning views, cushy stays, and a delicious restaurant — you know … just in case you want to splurge and tack a staycation onto your spa visit.

Tranquil Waters Boutique Spa

Still Spa at the Woodmark Hotel 

Located right on Lake Washington, this luxurious spa has special deals up its sleeve for almost every day of the week, from Massage Mondays to Fancy Fridays. You probably want to check out their over-the-top spa packages, though — especially because you’ll get 20 percent off your hotel stay when you book one.

You could, for example, treat your mom to a special day with the Pampering Mom package, which is four hours of total bliss that includes a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure, and lunch. Or, you can go big and treat yourself (you deserve it!) with all six hours of the Ultimate Spa Day: a hot stone massage, detox wrap, oxygen facial, manicure and pedicure, and lunch.  

Still Spa

Recoop Spa

Courtesy Recoop Spa

Listed by the Zoe Report as one of the top spas in the United States, Recoop Spa offers just about anything you could want from a spa — including a section that caters to men. A wide range of massages is available, from deep tissue and prenatal to couples and trigger point. 

Recoop Spa even offers a 30-minute massage 101 course, where you can bring a significant other or friend to learn how to give a professional-level back and neck massage (the lesson is then followed by a 60-minute massage for both of you). 

Treatments designed specifically with men in mind include facials that battle ingrown hairs, manicures, and waxes. After all — spas aren’t just for women, and we can all benefit from extra me-time every now and then.  

is an assistant editor at 425 magazine.
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