Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

New Lutsen spa offers locals, tourists ways to relax

Sep 03, 2017 08:29AM ● By Editor
Treatment rooms in the Woodlands Spa at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen offer a relaxing, cozy atmosphere highlighted by the work of local artists and hints of the North Shore. (Photo courtesy of Woodlands Spa)

By Jamey Malcomb, The Lake County News Chronicle - Sep 1, 2017

North Shore residents, tourists and even area hikers can visit a new business when they need a break from daily life, have some sore muscles or just need to relax.

The Woodlands Spa opened last month at Caribou Highland Lodge in Lutsen and caters to more than just visitors to the resort. Owner Brigitte Nies has practiced healing therapies for more than two decades and is an experienced yoga instructor, herbalist and practitioner of "Reiki" alternative medicine. She also owns Ancient Traditions Healing in Grand Marais and has worked to create an environment at the spa that reflects the natural landscape of the North Shore and the artists who inhabit it.

"Here we are really lucky because we live on the North Shore, but I think the reason it is a destination to travel to is because life has gotten so crazy and moves at such a fast pace that people come up north to unwind and heal and connect with nature," Nies said. "So I brought as many natural elements into the services as possible and created longer services to allow people to really take time for some self-care and to really heal and connect with nature."

After running her Grand Marais location for 18 years, Nies said she was excited about the opportunity to open a new location and reach more people.

"I had just come back from an extended trip in Peru," she said. "This opportunity became available, and I started working with Caribou Highlands Lodge to create a pretty special place here."

Woodlands Spa offers yoga three days a week in the Mountain View Conference Room as well as deep tissue, relaxation and hot stone massages that incorporate extracts of cedar, white pine and balsam in one of two treatment rooms. Other services cater to the seasonal visitors to the North Shore, such as hikers on the Superior Hiking Trail.

"Right now we have one that focuses on the needs of hikers and the pains of carrying backpacks and climbing," Nies said. "We'll switch that over in the winter to services more tailored to skiers and snowmobilers."

The spa offers other services, for example mud and shea butter wraps, and has a relaxation room with a view of Moose Mountain. Nies filled the space with paintings and ceramics from local artists, including Heidi Sobanja. The spa also stocks handmade herbal products for guests to enjoy.

Nies emphasized that Woodlands Spa isn't only for guests at Caribou Highlands. North Shore residents are encouraged to come by to unwind and take some time for themselves.

"Living here, we sometimes become overly accustomed to the beauty we live in, and we encourage our local residents to take the time and soak it all in," Nies said.

For a full list of the services offered or to make an appointment, go to