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The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia - Spa Review

An Urban Sanctuary

by Irvina Lew

The inviting entry of the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia
The inviting entry of the spa


It's not exactly Paris, this city of Brotherly Love, but looking at the wide, mile-long, Champs-Elysée-like Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the Eugene Kohn-designed Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, it feels like it. The hotel's Fountain Restaurant and Café and some special rooms and balconies overlook the stunning statues in the Alexander Stirling Calder Swann Memorial Fountain in the center of Logan Circle. Très Parisienne.

This tree-lined diagonal parkway starts at City Hall and continues beyond the Four Seasons to some impressive and imposing museums—Academy of Natural Sciences, Rodin and the Barnes Foundation (opening in 2010)—until it reaches the Rocky Steps fronting the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As one of the city's most beautiful neighborhoods, it rivals Historic Philadelphia where visitors flock to Independence National Historic Park where the Betsy Ross House, Liberty Bell Center, National Constitution Center, the US Mint, and 18th-century homes on Elfreth's Alley and an 18th-century mansion, the Powel House, are all located.

Subterranean Escape Indoor Pool
Subterranean Escape
Indoor Pool

On a lower level, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia has no such view. Instead, its centerpiece is a large indoor swimming pool placed under a high, lighted ceiling and flanked by a pergola-topped terrace where chaise lounges await amidst greenery. (Having forgotten bathing suits, we quickly obtained disposable ones from the eager staff.) Indoor pools have become a rarity (one hotel in the city replaced it with a ball room), yet, they remain welcoming venues for indoor down time, especially after walking and touring all day or when the weather is less than idyllic.

The superlative subterranean spa also offers an inviting entry, a sauna in both the male and female locker rooms, a state-of-the art fitness facility and five treatment rooms plus a couple's suite. We found the recently renovated urban sanctuary to be the ideal antidote to the autumn chill, especially while soaking in the spacious whirlpool (adjacent to the pool) before a treatment.

For a pre-dinner taste of history, we recommend the 90-minute Philadelphia Freedom Hot Towel Infusion (80 minutes, $195). During the service, warm towels that were soaked in soothing herbs and essences are applied to soothe and soften those muscles about to be worked by massage therapy. For many holistic skin and body care treatments, Naturopathica products are incorporated into personalized services.

Among the many facials on the menu, the Gentlemen's facial is designed particularly for men: it soothes the effects of shaving, deep cleans and—using antioxidants—fights ageing. (50 minutes, $135), Notable in this economy is the Spa Escape, a Monday-through-Friday special that offers a twenty percent discount on any 50-80 minute spa treatment charged to an American Express® Card.

Philadelphia has authentic history, great eats and a wonderful spa!


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