The Spa at the Highland
When Exhale Spa closed during the pandemic, the powers that be at The Highland Dallas decided it was time to open its own space.
“They saw the potential,” says spa director Simona Stefani, who, with 15-plus years’ experience opening and managing spas, was hired last September to lead the charge.
She got to work leading the renovations—“the remodeling was done, basically, corner to corner,” she says—and planning the new services.
Stefani says she wanted to promote a holistic lifestyle with the new spa, with organic products and indulgent treatments. She looked at other luxury DFW spas and what they were offering, “and then I selected mainly the crème de la crème.”
That crème de la crème resulted in a jaw-dropping menu of more than 100 treatments, including massages, facials, body wraps, waxing, peels, and more. You can get a CBD Infusion Body Wrap with Vital Body Therapeutics products, which Stefani claims does wonders for pain management, or a Jan Marini enzyme facial. Of course, there’s a Swedish massage on offer, but you could also try the Lava Shells Massage, the two-in-one exfoliating and regenerating Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, or The Highland Experience, which is a two-hour head-to-toe massage.
There’s a facial for men with ingrown beard hairs and products and treatments especially geared toward teenagers (however, you must be at least 16 to go to the spa). “I was trying to target everybody with all sorts of concerns,” Stefani says.
But Stefani’s not done yet. There’s also a gym in the new space and fitness classes, like yoga, Pilates, power-core, and weights, begin in March, and Stefani says a new cedarwood sauna is in the works.
Memberships to all these facilities is $150 a month—you’ll get access to the sauna and heated outdoor pool, unlimited fitness classes, and discounts on spa services and hotel rooms.
The Spa at the Ritz Carlton
How do you keep your spa open while it’s being renovated? That was the big question at the Ritz Carlton, says spa director Scott Studstill, when the luxury hotel closed its 12,000-square-foot space last November for a $3-million revamp.
“We wanted to create a luxurious environment still,” Studstill says. “We still wanted to offer a Ritz Carlton service.”
What resulted was a somewhat pared down list of offerings—there weren’t steam rooms or showers, but the Ritz was able to offer almost the entire treatment menu, from manicures to massages. Guests checked in on the first floor and were handed a glass of champagne before being escorted up to the “spa suite,” which took over six hotel rooms on the fourth floor.
“In all honesty, it went by as flawless as it could be,” Studstill says.
But after just a few months, the Ritz re-opened the new, reconfigured spa to much aplomb in January.
The new space was inspired by the Dallas Arboretum and employs softer colors and floral imagery. “Our spa before was beautiful and it was great, but it didn’t make you feel like you were anywhere special,” Studstill says.
The new spa, he says, will transport you out of Dallas. “I don’t feel like I’m in the city anymore. I feel like I’m in a surreal environment.”
Perhaps the pièce de resistance—and certainly what Studstill hopes to be the spa’s iconic image—is the new floral trellis at the spa’s check-in. Hand-forged by local artist Larry Whiteley, the piece features an intricate array of steel flowers and vines arching over the front deck.
The Ritz Spa has also revamped its menu, adding newer services and new products. There’s the popular two-hour Calm, Balance, Delight treatment, which features craniosacral therapy techniques, CBD, and a full-body massage, as well as redesigned Diamond Facial using Natura Bissae products, which will improve your skin’s glow and elasticity, Studstill says.
The spa is also expanding its salon and gym services, hiring yoga instructor Shelley Beeson.
All in, “we want to be seen as a destination spa” Studstill says. He hopes that once someone experiences the Ritz’s new space, they’ll never want to go anywhere else.