They've also done a great job of furnishing the whole property with - - rocking chairs! (and adirondacks). So naturally, gentle reader, your correspondent is about to comment on those - are they as nice as the spa they adorn?
Well, they are pretty nice - a line of them fill the porch of the restaurant at the spa. They all seemed to be in good shape, and holding up well (of course, that depends on how old they are!). They are from Plow & Hearth, a nice catalog that has sold rockers forever. I'm not familiar with where the rockers are made, although they are imported - not what wood they are - though it's a fairly lightweight wood.
What I like about these rockers is that they are well proportioned, and handsome. The seat height is about right, and the angle of incline is good. I also like the curved back slats - that's rare in a rocking chair. The seat is pretty comfortable, but not as comfortable as others I've tried - they could have really put more curvature into the seat - which makes a huge difference when you're rocking, because a perfectly designed rocking chair takes virtually all the weight off your muscles and bones due to (1) the angle of incline, which shifts weight from seat to back, and (2) well curved seat slats, which spread the remaining weight so evenly over the seat that you feel as if you've lost 50 pounds. That's the magic of a perfect rocking chair, and these are quite that.
Downsides of these chairs: they were a little loose and creaky, and this may be because of the joinery - as you can see, these chairs have exposed screws all around the outside, which is because they are not made with deep, strong mortise and tenon joinery. This type of construction is common in sub-$200 chairs and that's why they don't last and get loose soon. A good mortise and tenon joint is tight and stays tight, while a screw *always* loosens - plus, the joints are generally not super tight anyway on chairs made this way, usually because the wood is a little lower quality and isn't stable, so fits looser just to ensure from an engineering standpoint that they fit when you put them together (the chairs come unassembled). In addition to being a little loose, the chairs are lightweight, as I mentioned, which again indicates a lower quality wood and less strength. While this may be fine for a home, I'm surprised to see a commercial operation like a spa buy residential rocking chairs - someone is going to break them if they climb on them, etc., especially as they get older and more frail.
Another reason Plow & Hearth chairs get loose and break over time is that the back posts are set at an angle - not quite parallel - to the front posts, creating significant torque stress every time it rocks. This is necessary anytime you use straight posts in a rocking chair but still want a comfortable back angle. You can increase the back angle by angling the back post about 30 degrees, as you can see below. Now - most ALL rocking chairs do this - it's just WAY more expensive to cut back posts with an angle in them (ie sort of like the left side of the letter Y) - but I just feel like a resort of this caliber ought to be buying a premium rocker like that because it's so much stronger and more comfortable. The best rocking chair I've found out there is called the World's Finest Rocker and costs about 50-80% more than the Plow & Hearth. I plan to do a post soon about those rockers because I saw them at the iconic Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island MI - but more on that later.
I see how long I've written - hope it's not too much detail!! But this is my thing, as you know from the rest of the posts and the home page. One side of me is always in search of the Perfect Rocking Chair - and happy you've joined me on that quest.