Spa Prunifolia blooms like an azalea amid resort golf at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain

By Tom Spousta, Contributor

PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Everything is connected through nature at Callaway Gardens, so it was a natural fit when it came to the name of the resort's new spa. Brightly-colored and scarce, the Prunifolia Azalea became a symbol of Cason and Virginia Callaway's mission to turn a depleted landscape into a vacation destination.

Lodge & Spa Prunifolia at Callaway Gardens
The Lodge & Spa Prunifolia at Callaway Gardens opened less than two years ago.
Lodge & Spa Prunifolia at Callaway GardensPrunifolia Spa - Callaway Gardens
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Spa Prunifolia has been scripted as another key part of Callaway Gardens' rebirth, spa-speak for a rejuvenation of the body and soul. Its upscale, rustic design and mix of light and dark earth tones perfectly blend with the Lodge, the 150-room hotel where it's located.

The Lodge & Spa are less than two years old, but feel like they opened only last week. Ditto for the spa facilities, which exude those subtle touches that can make the difference between an average appointment and a truly relaxing experience.

For example: the treatment tables. Ever feel like you're squeezed into an old cot at some spas? Or like you're almost suffocating in the face rest?

Spa Prunifolia's tables are extra-wide, so you'll be able to breathe easily. And speaking of breathing -- the face rest felt larger, more comfortable and better padded, too.

The steam room has a cozy, built-to-scale vibe (directly across from the same-sized sauna) and soothes the senses in a unique way. Eucalyptus oils are soaked into a sponge-like filter and mixed with the steam, distinguishing this room from your run-of-the mill spas.

When it came time for a Spa Prunifolia massage, the Irish Moss Detox Body Massage and the Ginseng & Peppermint Muscle Repair Treatment sounded interesting. Maybe next time. I chose the Callaway Gardens Custom selection, combining Swedish massage and a choice of aromatherapy oils.

Most golf resorts need to offer more golf-specific massages and treatments. Actual therapies could be tailored accordingly, but simply naming a treatment or two something like the Post-Round Swing & Muscle Relaxer might attract more golfers -- men and women.

Lounges in general could use more beverage and reading options, but that's a minor detail. Spa Prunifolia performs its mission to the high standards set by Callaway Gardens, and along with the Lodge and new facilities planned for the Mountain View and Lake View golf courses, has played a key role in rejuvenating this golf destination.

Tom SpoustaTom Spousta, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tom Spousta keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. He has covered golf and other sports for USA Today and The New York Times. Tom lives on a Donald Ross-designed golf course in Sarasota, Fla.

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