the people who visit them, spas come in all shapes and
sizes. Lovers of hot stone massages and seaweed body
wraps can choose from day spas, destination resort spas
and our favorite, the hotel spa. We can’t imagine
anything more indulgent than staying in a luxury hotel
that features the ultimate amenity: a full-service spa.
Once you’re done being spoiled, there’s
no need to hop in your car and face the busy streets.
Simply wander back to your room and take a nap. With
every luxury hotel opening its own lavish spa these
days, it can feel impossible to choose. Let us help
by providing a list of our favorites.
SPA WITHOUT WALLS: The
go all the way to Hawaii just to lie inside a windowless
treatment room? At the Spa
Without Walls, the Hawaiian landscape—with
its orchids and coconut palms—is just as important
as technique and ritual. The al fresco hales (cottages)
are tucked amid waterfalls, streams and lily ponds.
Two are cantilevered over water and feature special
windows in their floors so that you can gaze down on
koi fish swimming below during your massage. There are
also five private oceanfront cabanas where views of
the Pacific and gentle trade winds mingle seductively
with your Lomi Lomi massage. Among the treatments that
incorporate local ingredients, we recommend the Big
Island Vanilla Coffee Exfoliation.
THE SPA AT THE EQUINOX: The Equinox
Experience the ultimate Vermont spa vacation at this pampering spot in the midst of the Green Mountains. Treatments are bountiful and incorporate local elements, from a maple body scrub to the signature "Equinox Legend", which makes use of fragrance-infused sugars, salts and crushed nuts to bring you closer to nature. Needless to say,
the bounty of Vermont is important, from fresh mountain
air to the healing waters of the Equinox Springs. And although the setting is rustic, as are
the exposed beams sheltering the heated indoor pool,
this place is the last word in luxury.
THE RITZ-CARLTON SPA: The
Hotel & Spa
it comes to luxe spa pampering, the residents of Los
Angeles can be very demanding. They have choices aplenty,
and they know how to weed out the best from the rest.
At the top of our picks in this area: The
Ritz-Carlton Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington
Hotel & Spa in Pasadena. In this soothing setting
in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley, the spa
offers treatments inspired by Carita from Paris. Because
the surroundings are inarguably all-American, we were
pleasantly surprised by the authenticity (and downright
decadence) of the Nirvana package, which includes a
proper Ayurvedic consultation, cleansing Bindi treatment
and Shirodhara, a ritual in which warm oil is poured
on your third-eye chakra in a steady stream to bring
on profound relaxation.
THE SPA AT SALISH LODGE: The Salish
Lodge & Spa
is the best word to describe this spa, which is a showcase
for Pacific Rim style. Details such as hand-crafted
Shoji doors and therapeutic pools that gaze on Mount
Si blend Japanese Zen with Pacific Northwest calm. As
for tranquility, they aren’t fooling around. Even
in the pool area, which is open to all guests (albeit those of an adult age), there is a “no
talking” policy. This means you can relax beneath
the “waterfall” in total silence. We tried
a fabulous lemongrass body scrub and the heated river
rock massage, which was the best we’ve had. Couples
will love the special treatment space in a converted
guestroom with its own stone fireplace. On your way
out, buy some of the spa’s wonderful soaps to
take home as a souvenir.
ONE&ONLY SPA AT OCEAN CLUB: One
& Only Ocean Club
spas were flowers, the Caribbean would be the Garden
of Eden. And when it comes to which sinful fruit to
pluck, we think you’ll be tempted by the One &
Only Spa at Ocean Club. While you can take your massage,
scrub or body wrap in a regular room, we prefer the
alternative. Each of the eight private, Balinese-style
villas has its own garden with daybed and jetted tub.
All treatments in the villas begin with a floral foot
wash ritual and include a Japanese tea ceremony. You
also get an extra twenty minutes after to enjoy a waterfall
shower or simply relax. Along with Elemis products,
the spa incorporates natural spices, fruits and minerals
indigenous to the Bahamas into its rituals.
SHAMBHALA: Uma Paro
knew it was only a matter of time before some savvy
hotel group decided to set up camp in one of the most
beautiful and untouched places in the world. And because
the majority of Bhutan’s inhabitants are peace-loving
Buddhists, it’s no wonder that group was COMO
Hotels & Resorts. COMO’s Uma brand is heavy
on Zen philosophy, which is showcased in its COMO Shambhala
spas. The emphasis is on healing and tranquility, qualities
that are right at home in the Himalayan kingdom. Pampering
yourself in this remote land means nurturing peace both
inside (treatments cultivate inner serenity) and out,
with views that gaze over the stunning Paro Valley.
Hyatt Hong Kong
only is this fabulous spa inside a hotel, it is a hotel
in and of itself. Those who don’t want anything
to come between a day of pampering and a good night’s
rest can book one of the 23 residential-style Plateau
rooms or suites; the Plateau Deluxe Suites even have
their own private treatment areas with steam facilities
and thirty-square foot Jacuzzis overlooking the harbor.
Another notable is the size of this eleventh floor spa.
Its 80,000 square feet comes as a pleasant surprise
in a city so condensed. Along with the fitness center,
the spa also includes gardens, a 50-meter outdoor heated
pool and a jogging track.
LILY WELLNESS & SPA: Hotel
was a time in Eastern Europe’s rich spa history
when spas were solely about healing. Thankfully, as
the Lily Wellness & Spa proves, we’ve come
a long way. In the centuries-old cellar of the Hotel
Hoffmeister, classic curative rituals join contemporary
aesthetic treatments using Sisley Paris products. And
there are plenty of therapies for pure relaxation, as
well. The picturesque spa incorporates the city’s
ancient medieval walls into its architecture, and the
hotel itself is just steps from the foot of the Old
Castle in the city’s 17th century Old Town, a
UNESCO protected site.
SPA GIVENCHY: Hotel
Note: This property is now Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez
its soothing neutral interiors and tranquil terrace,
this pretty spa captures the light-hearted glamour of
the Côte d’Azur. It is located on the hotel’s
seventh floor, along with the rooftop pool that overlooks
the Bay of Cannes. Just as jetsetters come to the French
Riviera from around the world, so too do spa treatments,
from the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage to the four-hand
Ylang Ylang massage to the traditional favorite, the
Swedish massage. A sauna and solarium are nice extras,
and the sleek outdoor lounge chairs add to the feeling
of cachet. The 9,000-square-foot spa exclusively uses
SANCTUARY SPA: Twelve
Apostles Hotel & Spa
going to a spa is all about getting centered, the Sanctuary
Spa gets you off to a good start. It has a center, literally.
Wellness here revolves around an indoor hydro pool,
which is flanked by a brine pool and hot and cold plunge
pools, all in a natural rock setting. From here the
health bar and treatment rooms branch out, reaching
as far as two secluded mountain gazebos for outdoor
therapies. Deepening your encounter with Mother Nature
is the use of indigenous plant extracts such as Cape
May, Snowbush and Chamomile. You can also choose a massage
that incorporates the gentle use of South African crystals.
For more traditional types, therapies from Clarins are