Traveling to sprawling, bustling world cities like London and Paris is unquestionably exciting, but even for the most energetic traveler, urban journeys can be sensory overload. Thank goodness for lavish spas that transport you from pounding the pavement to the ultimate in pampering. Not surprisingly, many of the best ones can be found at luxurious hotels where spoiling you rotten is business as usual. The most standout spas not only provide superb services by skilled clinicians, but also create a unique sense of place with inventive design elements, eye-catching décor, and sometimes even great views of the cities in which they’re situated. You can emerge from a trip to any of these outstanding spas with your feet expertly massaged, your hair perfectly coiffed, and your serenity firmly intact. Then, it’s time to hit those city streets once again! Aman Spa at Aman at Summer Palace – Beijing, China As the former guesthouse of the notoriously extravagant Empress Dowager Cixi, the atmospheric Qing Dynasty surrounds of the Aman at Summer Palace resort were originally built as a royal retreat, and today the onsite spa reflects that luxurious history. The gorgeous setting boasts soothing low lighting, warm earth tones, and traditional Chinese touches like delicate carved wooden screens and antique wedding chests. Nine gorgeous treatment suites (all doublesbring your significant other) offer everything from state-of-the-art treatment beds to private steam showers. Traditional therapies, like reflexology, hot gem stone massages, and botanical scrubs, are combined with the most modern techniques to provide the ultimate in East-meets-West pampering. Ciel Spa at SLS – Los Angeles, CA Designer Phillipe Starck has taken opulence to the extreme in this striking, ultra-modern spa in the SLS Beverly Hills hotel. From the billowing curtains to the gleaming floor tiles to the custom massage beds, it’s a total “white out.” Typical of Starck, there are tongue-in-cheek design accents like the disembodied hand-shaped candelabras, but what stands out here is the classic luxury rather than the ironic flourishes. Get pampered with an Eve Lom facial, tune into your own “music therapy” selections in the acoustic resonance beds, get intimate with a couples’ package (side-by-side soaking tubs and synchronized massages for two), and unwind with spa cuisine by acclaimed chef José Andrés in the relaxation lounge. Dorchester Spa – London, UK The central chandelier in reception, made entirely of South Pacific pearls, epitomizes the persona of this totally refurbished (to the tune of several million pounds) spa: glamorous, Art Deco decadent, and deliciously over the top. Set below street level at the elegant Dorchester hotel, the space dazzles start to finish, from its swank white-on-white reception area to its sexy, darkly paneled post-treatment relaxation lounge. Follow up indulgent treatments like the Carol Joy London Diamond Facial and the Kerstin Florian Caviar Facial with something equally indulgent for your palate: sophisticated afternoon tea is served in the on-site Spatisserie, where you can sip champagne cocktails and nibble on lush cakes. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental – New York, NY This upper-floor spa at the plush Mandarin Oriental, New York hotel offers unparalleled views of Central Park and the Hudson River through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Though you’ll appreciate the stunning skyline vistas, you’ll be equally glad that the hectic city seems far, far away. Soothing beige and gold décor and vibrant orchid arrangements create a serene, Far East-inspired paradise. While the massages and aromatherapy incorporating Asian methods provide expert relaxation, heat experiences like the vitality pool and amethyst crystal steam room melt away any remaining traces of New York-induced stress. Get further refreshed with an herbal infusion in the Oriental Tea Lounge. George V Spa – Paris, France Its no surprise that a spa inspired by the sumptuous Versailles palace would be the height of over-the-top pampering, but the George V really pulls out all the stops to make you feel like royalty. The signature anti-aging facial incorporates 24-carat gold; private treatment rooms are similarly gilded and lavishly appointed in authentic 18th century Toile de Jouy; and the elegant pool is wrapped in trompe loeil garden murals. Though it’s set underground at the Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, the spa still manages to seem sunny (special lights shining in the pool and Jacuzzi are designed to replicate daylightcomplete with sunrises and sunsets). Even your hair will be radiant with essential oil treatments and plant-based products in the salon. Jennifer Garcia-Alonso is a Co-Founder of The Purple Passport. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.
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