Idylease was widely advertised around the turn of the century as a modern health resort, offering “All Forms of Hydro-Therapy and Massage.” Idylease was established as “quiet, homelike facility with a staff of physicians that made referrals from their respective practices based in Brooklyn, NY.” The facility boasted Norwegian-trained massage therapists, and the “most approved scientific apparatus for administering baths, sprays, and douches.”
The original Hydrotherapy suite (pictured above) where baths were administered to alleviate symptoms of overeating, drinking or for various nervous ailments. After a hydrotherapy session, the now relaxed guest could seek simple pleasures like a game of billiards, reading before Idylease’s impressive hearth during the winter. For communicating with the outside world, the Hotel was equipped with telephones, but most guests relied upon the more conventional, letter or postcard.
On September 3, 1909, E. O. Wakley used one of Idylease’s hand-tinted postcards to write a friend. Wakley spoke of strong wind and nippy 48 degree weather, but indoors, radiant heat, sunshine, and “hot boxes in the treatment room” prevailed. “I’m improving. steadily,” Wakley wrote, and “hope to be my old self some day!”
As time passed Idylease developed a reputation primarily as a medical facility. In 1954, Dr. Arthur D. Zampella purchased Idylease and converted the resort into a nursing home.
For therapeutic purposes, he constructed a pool in the basement in the space formally occupied by the hydrotherapy suite. Many local resident of West Milford Township learned to swim as part of a YMCA program that utilized the indoor pool at Idylease. The West Milford Township Police Department also utilized the pool in the 1970s and 80s to train for scuba rescue.