An up-to-date version of this story was published in August 2021. Click here to read.
The word “spa” means a lot of things in Dallas. There are the hotel spas, sprawling and swanky with rooftop pools and subterranean saunas. There are the med spas, where skin-perfecting, tailor-made facials and Botox can be administered in one fell swoop. There are even residential “spas,” which is usually just real estate speak for “hot tub.”
And then there are the true day spas, institutions dedicated wholly and entirely to pampering, and all the little luxuries that go with it. Occasionally they’ll offer waxing or mani/pedis, but their true bread and butter are facials and massages, along with signature sips and services, a relaxation room, and an exceptionally cozy robe.
In true Dallas fashion, we have options when it comes to day spas. So for our purposes, you won’t find any hotel spas here—nothing from The Joule or Spa Adolphus, sorry! And nothing about grand spas like King Spa or Spa Castle, either. Here, we’re talking solely day spas, where you can forget the stresses of life for an afternoon.
We’ve narrowed down the field to help you discover the absolute best spas among our local, daylong retreats.
There’s so much love poured into Vivian’s, a small but welcoming day spa situated at the corner of Ross and Greenville. The evidence is in the details: pedicure chairs and cabinets were all custom-built by a woodshop in the owner’s hometown of Ennis, while white quartz and tufted velvet furniture add to the sophisticated Southern aesthetic in the waiting room.
Spa day treatments include non-toxic mani/pedis, custom facials paired with a botanically-based Australian skincare line (there’s a Jack Black-accompanied option for men), and an array of massages that can include the magical-sounding “Marshmallow Meltdown” add-on.
This spring, the Austin transplant finally arrived at the Neiman Marcus-anchored Shops at Clearkfork in Fort Worth, bringing its pampering-as-therapy ethos and chic, clean-lined aesthetic to the open-air shopping center. The spa prides itself on offering an accessible, “hyperclean” experience, from all-natural skincare and body products (including their own) to non-toxic nails and even salon services. The front-of-house retail section, featuring Sugarfina sweets, Kevin Murphy haircare, and OSEA products, warrants a visit all on its own. (There’s also a steam room—or, at least, a steam shower—that’s worth experiencing.)
Massages start at $115, but consider springing for the Allure-cosigned “Ultimate.” The service features a full body brushing, a massage style of your choosing, and a truly transformational warm oil scalp and neck massage.
With outposts in Dallas, Plano, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, Hiatus is practically a Texas spa institution. But whether you find yourself in the Inwood Village sanctuary, with its billowy white sheers welcoming you to the dimly lit relaxation room, or Plano’s clean-lined sauna, the spa services are consistently solid—and the green tea is bizarrely addictive.
For relaxation so good you’ll never want to leave, schedule a Monthly Retreat, a full-body exfoliation with sea salts and essential oils; Vichy shower, a warm rainfall rinse from the comfort of a massage bed; and a Swedish massage. If you can’t get enough, join the H-Circle members club. Starting at $69, the monthly fee gets you core spa therapies, including a mani-pedi equipped with an anti-gravity chair, noise canceling headphones, and an eye pillow for peak relaxation.
Did you know there’s a luxurious, subterranean spa in NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus? Of course there is. Underneath the bustle of shop girls spritzing perfume is a soothing little world with curved walls and a warm, glowing light. If it happens to be your first visit, just look for the gold-gilded spiral staircase in the cosmetics department (hint: it’s right by the elevators).
Here, you can book makeup, waxing, and facial appointments, all of which correspond to the beauty counters upstairs. Our recommendation: Cle de Peau’s Synactif Facial (complimentary when you purchase two items from the luxury brand’s line), which utilizes three types of facial messages (using hands, a hot steel plate, and cold steel balls), with plenty of attention paid to the décolletage area. Regardless of what you pick, everything falls under the Neiman Marcus umbrella, so you already know it’s good.
NorthPark’s other department store-centric spa may not require a trip to the basement (however elegant it may be), but Spa Nordstrom is still a tucked-away treasure. Inside the calming, second floor retreat, you’ll find an in-depth menu of services—oxygen facials, detoxifying body wraps, lash extensions—but Spa Nordstrom’s greatest gift to our city may be its airbrush tanning.
We’ve trusted our pasty complexion with this spa for all the big events, including our wedding days. The St. Tropez formula casts a bronze color that doesn’t turn orange and fades beautifully during its weeklong lifespan. Guests can also opt for a body exfoliation, which is said to extend the life of the tan.
The Spa at Equinox
Under normal circumstances, we might consider a gym spa iffy at best. But this is Equinox — just washing your hands there feels like a luxury. Naturally, the spa—don’t worry, it’s far-removed from the line of treadmills—offers a killer massage and body wrap options designed for muscle recovery and flexibility. But their selection of facials (including microdermabrasion, HydraFacials, and a fancy-sounding 18k gold situation) is just as impressive.
Bonus: non-members who book a 50-minute long treatment are free to use the fitness facilities for the rest of the day. You have two choices: one near downtown Dallas in Oak Lawn, and the other in Preston Hollow, in North Dallas.