Sandra Ramani - The Robb Report
Add luxury spas to the list of things you can privatize to safely enjoy with your pod - or even alone.
Among the many industries forced to adapt during the pandemic is the wellness field, as spas and salons have had to navigate new and ever-changing safety protocols. For hotel and resort spas located in warmer climates, the most natural fix has been to move things outdoors, with treatment cabanas being set up on the beach or around the pool, and fitness circuits and mini-gyms—and even class studios—also heading al fresco. Touchless services that make use of things like massage beds and infrared light have also become popular, as have touch-free mindfulness therapies such as sound healing and reiki. For places that are offering services inside, more time is being blocked off between appointments so rooms can undergo a thorough cleaning, and both therapists and clients are donning masks for the duration of the sessions.
If you’re really missing the typical spa experience, however, there is another option to ensure safety: Rent the place out. Many hotels and resorts are allowing guests to book exclusive use of their spas so that small groups can have facilities such as swimming pools, hot tubs, relaxation lounges, and more all to themselves, in between enjoying treatments. (Note that in most states, steam rooms and saunas have not yet been approved for reopening.) From Hawai'i to Yosemite National Park to Palm Beach, here are eight soothing domestic spots in which you can safely relax, without a stranger in sight.
RUSH CREEK LODGE
Opened in 2016, Rush Creek Lodge is set on 20 hillside acres in Groveland, Calif., near Yosemite National Park, offering the perfect base from which to explore the park year-round. Nature inspires everything at the lodge, including the new 5,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor Rush Creek Spa, which features warm “waterfall coves” (cascading massage jets inspired by area waterfalls), a Himalayan salt sauna, granite hot soaking tubs, and river rock-hewn immersion beds, as well as indoor and outdoor heated lounge areas. A couple or a party of up to 15 can enjoy the run of the facilities during a two-and-a-half-hour buy-out. Treatments such as therapeutic massages and foot scrubs can be added on, as can sessions in making aromatherapy blends, custom teas, and DIY hand sanitizer; food and beverages can also be ordered in. Couples experience starts at $500, including two massages; group buy-outs start at $1,200 for up to 15 people, not including treatments.
LA CANTERA RESORT & SPA
Views of Texas Hill Country are featured everywhere at this sleek 25,000-square-foot spa in San Antonio, from the cushy relaxation rooms to the outdoor Sky Loft treatment cabanas. The stylish haven is available to book for private use for up to 60 people, with rates including yoga classes in the fitness center (overlooking the infinity pool), a group mindfulness/breathing session, and one massage or facial per person (to be chosen from a curated list of treatments). Guests will also enjoy access to the solarium, Himalayan salt sauna, herbal steam room, indoor saline soaking pool, outdoor infinity pool, hot tub, gym, and workout studio, and the private grotto, which has its own saline plunge pool and patios. Drinks can also be ordered from the juicery and the adult beverage bar. Starting at $20,000 for 4.5-hours, for up to 60 people.
EAU PALM BEACH
Florida’s award-winning Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort was designed with group gatherings in mind, so it’s an ideal place to take over with your pandemic pod for a private day of relaxation. The (Not So) Self-Centered Day of Luxury package accommodates between two and 20 people for quarter-, half-, or full-day buy-outs. Rates include 20 one-hour treatments (choose from a list of massages and facials), plus access to the oversize Jacuzzi, thermal lounge chairs, sauna, and outdoor garden with swinging chairs. Because the best in self-care comes from doing good for others, Eau Spa will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from all buyouts to a local community organization. Rates start at $12,000 for a three-hour buy-out and $4,000 for every hour after; gratuity and service fees not included.
HOTEL VALLEY HO
Built as a mid-century hideaway for Hollywood celebs, downtown Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho has become a design icon for both its architecture and sense of style. Create your own secluded retreat with a takeover of the VH Spa for Vitality + Health, which houses eight treatment rooms, men’s and women’s lounges, and chromotherapy saunas. A full-day buy-out for 20 guests lasts 12 hours and comes with a group sunrise or sunset yoga session on the rooftop, backed by views of Camelback Mountain, plus exclusive access to all the facilities, including the Peleton bike-equipped gym. Also included are up to 20 hours of spa services (the menu features Turkish-style hammam therapies and a signature body scrub and wrap that uses Icelandic moonflower), and wine and cocktails. The full-day buy-out runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is available for up to 20 guests; rates start at $10,000, including gratuities.
FOUR SEASONS RESORT LANA'I
As if being at an idyllic resort on the nearly private Hawai'ian island of Lana’i wasn’t relaxing enough, guests of this Four Seasons can kick back even more with a takeover of the serene Hāwanawana Spa. During the full-day (9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) buy-out, you’ll have the run of the place and enjoy two group yoga or wellness sessions (such as Tai Chi, pilates, or restorative sound healing) that will take place in the gardens. Up to 30 treatments can also be accommodated during this time, so get ready to choose between Osea facials, Lomi-Lomi massages, pineapple-and-sugar body scrubs, and more. The Pamper in Private package starts at $11,500 for a full-day buy-out, including gratuities.
HOTEL DEL CORONADO
Set on Coronado Island, just across the bay from San Diego, the beachfront Hotel del Coronado has over 130 years of history celebrating the best of breezy, coastal California style. The recently re-done Spa & Salon at The Del is now offering an additional way to ease into a beachy frame of mind, with its After Hours package featuring exclusive access to the facilities for parties of six to 15 guests. The buy-out includes use of the hot tub, steam room, relaxation terrace, plunge pools, and more, as well as one 50-minute treatment of each guest’s choice; the selection includes Sea Salt Stone Massages and Restorative Ocean Facials. Light bites, Champagne, parking, and party favors are also included. Starting at $250 per person for a party of six, with a minimum charge of $1,500.
MAYFLOWER INN & SPA, AUBERGE RESORTS COLLECTION
Hospitality and wellness come together at this Connecticut country getaway’s 20,000-square-foot spa, the Well, which offers a range of health and wellness services, daily classes, seasonal retreats, and custom treatments. For a solo guest or a couple looking to really soak up the silence, the After Hours at the Well package gives you free rein of the spa from 9 p.m. to midnight. The experience starts with a three-course candlelit dinner (complete with 100 red roses, a bottle of Champagne, and a hand-crafted chocolate board), then continue with a tarot reading, a signature two-hour Milk, Lavender & Honey Body Treatment, and time for a candlelit swim in the famous Pool House - all set to a personalized music playlist. You’ll also take home three products from the Well Self-Care Collection. The After Hours at The Well package starts at $2,250 for one person and $4,500 for two guests.
CARILLON MIAMI WELLNESS RESORT
With wellness programming at its core, Carillon Miami quickly and creatively pivoted early on in the pandemic, offering an instantly popular “No Touch” menu of services and launching programs designed to draw in more local and long-stay clients. The beachfront resort is also offering some of the more over-the-top experiences we’ve seen, from the chance to purchase high-tech spa equipment (in case you wanted your own $35,000 PureWave bed or $9,900 Halotherapy dry salt chamber) to this 7 Dimensions of Wellness buy-out package. For $77,000, you and up to six friends will have exclusive use of the 70,000-square-foot spa, in which you’ll enjoy an hour of private training, the full circuit of touchless wellness therapies (including time in a salt float bath and prism light pod), one 80-minute massage and 80-minute facial per person, a nutritional lunch served oceanside, a “face fillers party” overseen by a leading plastic surgeon and a product-packed goody bag. The 7 Dimensions of Wellness package starts at $77,000 for seven guests, including all of the above.
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