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Soothing Spas in Our Favorite Cities

Refresh, renew, and escape the everyday grind with these indulgent weekend getaways.
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photography courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Palm Beach





Feeling the pinch? The Ritz-Carlton’s Eau Spa will make sure you never show it.


Image
photography courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

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photography courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
Not unlike the rest of the country, Palm Beach, Florida, has changed. The beachy retreat, favored by old-money snowbirds—think Pulitzer, Roth, Lauder—as well as new-money folks—hello, Trumps!—is home to numerous private clubs and prestigious happenings like the Red Cross Ball. But the land of the moneyed was hit particularly hard in the last year or so, thanks in part to a certain gentleman named Bernie Madoff. The result: there’s less money—whether old or new—changing hands on tony Worth Avenue. Collectors are too busy hocking heirlooms to purchase modern art at the annual American International Fine Art Fair. But lest you think that Palm Beach has become—horrors—Panama City, stop that fretting. ERASE THOSE WORRY LINES: All is as it should be at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. Sure, the interiors are every bit as elegant as you would expect, but this is South Florida. The real star of the show here is the grounds. It is located on 7 acres of private golden beach, and offers a million places to kick back and enjoy a cocktail (preferably prepared by the cute and talented bartender at Stir Bar and Terrace). In the summer, work on your tan while you sip drinks by the pool—you have two to choose from. Come winter, grab your special someone and cuddle by the fire pit on the grand terrace. Looking for a little more serenity than drinks can provide? Try the new 42,000-square-foot, $30  million Eau Spa. Every detail of this peaceful place is designed to help you forget your cares, from the customized soundtrack for each particular area to the backward-ticking clock that makes matters of time irrelevant. Focus on your favorite person at the Self-Centered Garden, wish for a lucrative settlement at the copper wishing well, and wash away your sins—and gossip about those of others—in the communal bath lounge. FACE IT: For those still reeling from having to hock the family jewels, there’s the Cornelia Lumina Facial. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and gold are combined with special serum to plump the lips, bronze the décolleté, and create a younger you. Sad about having to let go of the help? Try the Cornelia Signature Four-handed Facial, wherein two—count ’em two—master skin care specialists attend to your every pore. While one professional’s focus is the face, the other works hands, arms, feet, and legs. And as if jewels and people waiting on you hand and foot aren’t enough, nothing says luxury like detox. But don’t worry. A vacation is no time to give up the bad stuff. This is a detox that takes place at a bar—in this case, the Scrub and Polish Bar. Instead of mixing up a Manhattan, bartenders (or “mixologists,” as they like to be called) there use a combination of herbs, oils, and salts to create a potion perfect for you—and they’ll even package your elixirs so you can take them home. Younger-looking skin paired with a goodie bag? Now that’s our kind of detox. —LAURA KOSTELNY


Miami



The Spa at Icon Brickell does whimsy and cranberry facials.


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photography courtesy of Viceroy Miami

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photography courtesy of Viceroy Miami
A trip to the spa at the Viceroy Miami requires a sense of adventure. One must first take an elevator to the hotel’s 15th floor. From there, it’s an Alice in Wonderland-inspired journey across the Viceroy pool deck, which leads to the adjoining tower that houses the 28,000-square-foot spa. Though the walk is short, it might not be so brief. First-timers easily can end up following the wrong rabbit hole on their search for the entrance. No signs mark the way. Plus, the 2-acre terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay boasts a collection of features guaranteed to make the eye wander. Besides the poolside cafe and 300-foot water feature, including the longest infinity pool in Florida, there are also 200 loungers lined up by the pool, an oversize chess set, and an outdoor fireplace accented by an inlaid mosaic tile “rug.” Though it may be tempting to forgo the spa and continue roaming the Kelly Wearstler-designed wonderland, resist the urge. What awaits is worth the sacrifice. WATER WORLD: The whimsical look of the relatively new Viceroy Miami—the hotel opened early last year as the centerpiece of the Icon Brickell project in Miami’s financial district—extends to the Spa at Icon Brickell. Though Wearstler designed the interiors and common areas of the complex, Philippe Starck is the man behind the spa. A 5,000-square-foot water lounge, arguably the most fanciful element in the space, is the first sign that you’re in for a spa experience like no other. There’s no dim lighting or dark furniture here. Set up as a “floating library,” the bright lounge includes floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with books in all-white covers. White sofas and chairs rest in the wading pool and near the fireplace, and a massive yellow crystal chandelier hangs from the 30-foot ceiling and above the three hot and cold coed plunge pools. It’s the perfect place to power down and prepare for pampering. It’s also the perfect place to relax post-treatment. If you grab a beverage from the organic juice bar and settle down in one of the comfy seats overlooking Key Biscayne, be careful. They just might have to kick you out of the place. FACE TIME: Once you’ve finally navigated your way to the spa and reluctantly emerged from the water lounge, it’s time for the main event. Facials, massages, and body treatments abound. Because it’s a customized service, the 60-minute purification facial is an ideal choice for any skin type. The aesthetician begins by gently cleansing the face, which your pores will appreciate, and finishes with a mixture of collagen-promoting vitamin C and skin-firming cranberry. After all that attention, the only thing that will rival your glowing visage is the shiny chandelier back in the lounge. Also recommended: the Raindrop Therapy, a signature treatment designed to align the body’s energy. This service includes a relaxing foot massage that will make slipping on the spa-provided Havaianas flip-flops all the more enjoyable. —RHONDA REINHART



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