Massage services at Block Island's eco spa. Photo: Koru Eco Spa
When you step off the Block Island Ferry, Koru Eco Spa is easy to spot. Located twelve miles off the coast of Rhode Island on Block Island, it sits atop a local toy shop on the main street in town with windows facing the waterfront.
Founded five years ago by Lauren von Bernuth, Koru maintains a relaxed environment much like the island it calls home. It's the only spa on the island and it attracts tourists, locals, and day trippers who come for eco-friendly services that include facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, hair cuts, and more.
Photo: Emma Grady
When Lauren von Bernuth started Koru she wanted it to reflect it's location and the people of Block Island. Two things that came to mind were, "friendliness," and "nature-driven," she says in an interview, and thus began her journey to create an eco-friendly spa. She attended Esthetics and Nail School in New York and founded the spa soon after, she tells me as I simultaneously have my toes painted with Priti NYC nail polish, part of a pedicure compliments of Koru.
Photo: Emma Grady
From the VOC-free paint on the walls to the non-toxic Priti NYC nail polish, they continually strive to represent the spirit of the island through the products they use and the services they offer. The spa does have it's challenges. Block Island has a short tourist season and the spa is only open seasonally. Weddings, and the fact that it's the only spa on the island, helps Koru keep its doors open.
Pedicure stations. Photo: Emma Grady
The spa is divided into two areas, one open-air area, which hosts the front desk, waiting area, and nail salon, and closed off area, which offers massages and facials. When you're having a pedicure you sit on what looks like a wooden throne, which is made with reclaimed wood and outfitted with organic cotton pillows. Windows are left open and you can catch a breeze while taking in views of the ocean. It smells nothing like a nail salon. In fact, you can't even smell the nail polish.
Photo: Koru Eco Spa
Prior to my pedicure, which was one of the best I've ever had, I enjoyed a complimentary Deep Tissue Massage which used soothing hot stones. Unlike top notch spas in New York City, where you really feel like you've left your surroundings, Koru is less about escaping your surroundings and more about embracing them.
While you're enjoying a massage you won't forget where you are: the Block Island ferry horn and music coming from cars driving by will remind you. But when you're on Block Island, and not in downtown Manhattan, it's hard to care about such minor noises.
Koru's Lauren von Bernuth. Photo: Emma Grady
Koru is in the process of launching a line of mineral sunscreen products, which von Bernuth has wanted to do since they first opened. Called Block Island Organics, the line includes a Mineral Suncreen, SPF 16 and 30+, After Sun Soothing Lotion, and Daily Repairing Moisturizer with SPF 16. Pricing is yet to be determined but the products will be available in-store, online, and at various retailers and hotels on the island, in early August of this year.
If you plan a trip to Block Island to visit the spa, you better make a day of it. With the slow ferry taking around an hour one-way (and the high speed ferry taking half that) the travel alone takes time. If you have a bike, bring it along or rent one on the island where you can explore the island's beaches, light houses, and hiking paths pre-spa services.
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