As it turns out, Belinda Carlisle was right: Heaven really is a place on earth. At least, that’s how we feel about these sybaritic spa treatments, which are so blissfully mind-blowing that they’re worth every penny.
By Annie Tomlin
THE CLEARING FACTOR
Mandarin Oriental in New York City
Stretching to nearly three hours, this treatment aims to restore balance through a blend of Eastern and European techniques. It begins with a full-body exfoliation with sea salt and Indian kama oil. Then the therapist performs a lymph-system massage to “open” the body before a Swedish massage. To draw out toxins, cupping—an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine—is performed on the back, followed by a full body wrap with neem black clay. It all ends with an application of lotion, at which point you may very well have reached a state of nirvana.
2 hours, 50 minutes, $685; $705 Thursday through Sunday
The Aman Spa at Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah
Sometimes, it’s good to be babied—and that’s exactly how you’ll feel during this aquatic treatment. Your therapist will cradle you in your pool suite, then proceed to gently stretch your body while simultaneously applying acupressure. Imagine floating while doing yoga and you’ll get the idea. Through careful positioning of the body, tension and tightness drift away in the water.
60 minutes, $225
Miraval in Tucson
An extraordinarily unusual—and impressive—way to unwind, this massage draws inspiration from Buddhist serpentine deities. You’ll rest under sweeping swaths of silk suspended from above, which your therapist will use to wrap, move, and stretch your body. She, too, is suspended from the silk, which means your muscles will be touched by the pressure of her feet, not her hands.
100 minutes, $295
TURKISH HAMAM RUB AND SCRUB
The Standard Spa in Miami
Inspired by Turkish hammams, this signature skin-sloughing treatment packs an impressive amount of pampering in one compact half hour. Start by being bathed with skin-soothing coconut milk, then stretch out on a heated marble bed as your body is exfoliated from head to toe. Need we say that you might enjoy—nay, deserve—a massage as well?
30 minutes, $105
RAINBOW RAIN MASSAGE
Spa Grande at the Grand Wailea in Maui
Performed under a Vichy shower, this water treatment pours warm water (the titular “rain”) over your body as you’re expertly massaged with a variety of sun-dried clays that span the color spectrum. Each has its own therapeutic benefits and essential oils within, allowing you to customize the treatment if you please. Uli, the blue clay, is said to improve skin texture and tone; Melemele, yellow, is recommended for stressed-out folk.
50 minutes, $175
NATIVE DESERT SAGE MASSAGE
Riviera SpaTerre in Palm Springs, California
If you needed a reminder that the Santa Rosa Mountains are just outside, try this 50-minute rubdown, which brings a little of the outdoors in. After a gentle full-body exfoliation, your therapist uses a desert-sage-oil blend to knead knots and tightness into oblivion. The herbaceous fragrance brings forth some of the desert’s best advantages (crisp scents, utter relaxation) with none of the drawbacks (tumbleweeds, rattlers).
50 minutes, $130
Solaya Spa at Eden Roc at Cap Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
How does a facial go from good to great? By being as thorough yet gentle as this complexion-brightening session. The treatment uses enzymatic heat (and Natura Bissé products) to soften, clear, and pamper pores. In addition, a special foaming mask promises “nano-stimulation” to deep cleanse and a “hydrating veil” to moisturize and plump skin. The end result: an even, healthy-looking glow and nary a pore to be seen.
80 minutes, $150
THE AWAKENING MOON
Luna Y Mar Spa at The Resort at Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Inspired by Mexican folk healing, this treatment aims to revitalize your senses. Start with a seaweed-eucalyptus salt scrub before slipping into a seaweed wrap. It all concludes with an herb-infused chili oil massage meant to stimulate the mind and body into creating new beginnings.
2 hours, $300
Ayana Resort and Spa in Bali, Indonesia
First of all, this spa’s setting is as relaxing as it comes; it consists of only two villas, each perched atop rocks overlooking the Indian Ocean. With such a spectacular setting comes an indulgence to match. This treatment incorporates jade stones for a foot bath, reflexology session, and clarifying (and depuffing) facial. A full-body massage uses warm and cool jade stones to release tension, leaving nothing but a state of bliss behind. It’s a heavenly experience for one, but to double your pleasure, be sure to book the couples’ massage.
2 hours, 30 minutes, $565 single; $935 double
TOUR OF TEXAS
The Spa at Lake Austin in Austin
They don’t do things small in the Lone Star State, and thank goodness for that—this indulgent treatment is delightfully oversize, with homegrown ingredients to match. To begin, undergo a prickly-pear exfoliating scrub and a full-body agave nectar wrap to soften skin. “Striking oil,” as the spa calls it, is next; warm essential oils are mixed with massage cream for a 50-minute rubdown. Yes, we most certainly do want to mess with Texas if it feels this good.
110 minutes, $325
(Photos: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Amangiri, Miraval, The Standard Spa, Grand Wailea, Riviera Spaterre, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, The Resort at Cap Cana, The Resort at Pedregal, Ayana Resport and Spa, The Spa at Lake Austin)
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