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Spa PROFILES: Koru Eco Spa in Block Island, RI
courtesy Koru Eco Spa
New England is famous for its summer retreats: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket. But for eco-conscious tourists and those committed to nature conservancy, the first stop on any Northeast jaunt will likely be the ferry to Block Island (BI), located 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. This porkchop-shaped “Bermuda of the North” boasts more than 40 rare or endangered animals and retains a full 40% of the land conserved as untarnished, open space. And residents and visitors alike are intent on keeping it that way—bikes are the preferred mode of transportation, and even in the high-end restaurants and inns, air-conditioning is a dirty word.
So it only makes sense that as BI’s lone day spa, Koru Eco Spa would embrace a commitment to the environment. For Lauren von Bernuth, owner of this 1,300-square-foot space, dedication to green goes beyond her facility’s moss-colored linens. Von Bernuth opened the business in 2007 after falling in love with the island during her summer breaks from Tulane University.
“I’m passionate about making the environment and our customers’ health a top priority,” she says. “We’re not selling a gimmick because being organic is trendy; we really want our clients to get a top-quality experience that also happens to be natural.”
Indeed, Koru’s hair, body, skin, makeup and nail services feature only high-end, 100% organic products, including vegan wax, reports the spa owner. “It was sort of shocking to find out what’s in some of the regular stuff,” von Bernuth says. “My belief is, the fewer chemicals, the better.” The spa’s treatments also blend in natural ingredients from the island itself. Examples include the Block Island Sacred Stone Massage (50 min./$135; 80 min./$175) that makes use of large, heated rocks selected from the area’s 17 miles of beaches, and the Spa Manicure (50 min./$55) and Spa Pedicure (50 min./$65), which incorporate honey from a local apiary.
But environmental awareness goes beyond products and services. The spa offsets its carbon emissions as well. Paint on the walls is non-toxic, uniforms and linens are made of organic cotton—even the four pedicure stations are fashioned from reclaimed wood. “I found an artist in Brooklyn to make them,” confides von Bernuth. “They’re like the opposite of the vibrating massage chairs you see in a lot of nail salons.” —Shari Goldhagen