01 of 06
ESPA at Acqualina
Acqualina Spa by ESPA, the first ESPA-branded spa in the United States, is truly a cathedral of relaxation with an impressive 20,000-square-feet devoted to pampering.
The two-story spa features 11 multi-functional treatment rooms and an extravagant private spa suite for two, along with the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful outdoor terrace complete with a spa pool, heated jet pool, and Roman waterfall – all set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
One could easily spend their entire stay taking in the waters at this impressive 20,000 square-foot cathedral of relaxation. The pampering campus includes:
walk-in "snail" shaped shower
relaxation areas with ocean views
a private outdoor pool and courtyard
a fitness center
The five-diamond spa just unveiled its Optimal Skin ProFacial & ProMoisturizer which I recently was lucky enough to experience. Acqualina Resort & Spa is the first property to offer this exclusive treatment, which is designed to rebalance, hydrate and revitalize, using the Tri-Phase cleansing technology enhanced with Clarisonic brushing for a deep cleanse, while the bestselling ProSerum combines the potent natural actives of a serum with the advanced nourishment of a face oil to deliver visible skin health and radiance.
I have slightly sensitive skin, so I was prepared to have a beet-red face after the treatment, but surprisingly, there was very little redness. It was almost nonexistent compared to the time I got microdermabrasion. And while I didn’t have major anti-aging concerns going in, I did notice that the deep crease on my forehead and the furrow in between my brows were smoothed out. And that was immediately following the procedure.
The spa also features lavish water-based amenities my favorite part of which was the experience shower that featured cool artic or warm Caribbean mists. The spa’s his-and-hers relaxation lounges are stocked with teas, cookies, and fruit which made for a comfortable spot to transition between treatments.
I also love the crystalized steam room with its mood-enhancing colored lighting. This is an eastern alternative method known as Chromotherapy. Chromotherapists believe light in the form of color can be used to balance energy lacking from a person's body, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.
The spa also features a detoxifying Himalayan Salt Wall (Acqualina is the first Florida resort to offer this), and seasonal spa treatments, including the Thai Massage and AMA Releasing Abhyanga.
02 of 06
Carillon Resort (formerly Canyon Ranch)
There is only one word you need to know when embarking on a spa experience here: Aquavana. That's the term for the water universe contained within this sprawling North Beach hotel, a campus of New Age healing and wellness (read a review here). Measuring at over 70,000 square feet, it's the largest and most ambitious spa in Florida. Designed by David Rockwell, the vast array of facilities include a crystal steam room, a rain shower with options like “Caribbean Monsoon” and “Polar Mist” that surround you with water, cool mist and rainforest sounds, two separate saunas (one scented, the other not), a cool air igloo with a choice of scents (mint, menthol and eucalyptus), footbaths and thermal heated loungers.
You should give yourself at least an hour before your treatment to explore these water-based therapies as well as allow for time post-treatment to continue to relax in the interactive facilities. Go for the Abhyanga massage, an Indian technique that involves copious amounts of aromatherapy oil and smooth, gentle movements to penetrate the oil deeply into the body. After your treatment be sure to take a dip in the hotel's rooftop pool, lined with bamboo and offering mind-cleansing views of the ocean and beach.
03 of 06
Lapis Spa at The Fontainebleau
One could easily spend an entire day taking in the “waters” at this megaspa at the famed oceanfront resort. Borrowing elements from Turkish hamams and Japanese hot spring retreats, this multi-level shrine to relaxation is, like everything at the Fontainebleau, large and lavish. Specially mineralized water courses through the spa’s pools, tubs, and showers, containing calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and copper all sourced from red seaweed farmed on the Brittany Coast.
Water therapy takes on architectural proportions in the “water tunnel” a hallway with dozens of water jets at varying temperatures that mimics the effect of walking under the rain (in your skivvies). Start off your “water journey” with a dip in the co-ed pool, a 75-foot long mineralized pool featuring both cold and hot jets (the hot jets relax the body as the cooler jets invigorate). Follow that up with by lounging on one of the marble hamam loungers, heated to 105 degrees, that envelope you in warmth. Afterwards, there are trips to the jacuzzis, eucalyptus steam room, individual baths for mineral-soaks and circular steam showers that pound your back with soul-penetrating cascades of steam and water. Curl up in your robe in the sun-filled lounging area, where flat-screen TVs provide ample distraction while you refuel on snacks and tea before a treatment in one of the ocean view rooms.
04 of 06
Bliss Spa at the W Ft. Lauderdale
The first Florida location for the New York brand, this cheerful blue and white hideaway packs a punch – a nail parlor, mens' and womens' lounges (with uber-comfortable white leather chairs), five treatment room and a beauty boutique hawking the spa’s namesake addictive products like lemon body butter and their dimple-dashing “fat girl slim” cellulite cream. Go for the “double choc” pedicure, which includes a chocolate milk skin-smoothing soak and a cup of hot chocolate for you to enjoy while your piggies are pampered. That ought to pair well with the spas’s unlimited brownie bar, for those days when you need some sugar therapy.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Agua at the Mondrian
The first thing that greets you at this white-on-white pampering den tucked away on the second floor of the hipster hotel is a metallic receptionist desk reminiscent of a disco ball, and the previous night’s revelries. Designed by Dutch wunderkind Marcel Wanders the intimate space – only 4,000 square feet – manages to pack in the necessities like a lattice-enclosed princess mani-pedi room, a petite relaxation room overlooking the hotel’s gardens and a steam room. Agua is also the only spa in the United States to carry Swedish skincare line sjal and nontoxic nail polish brand Butter London. Added bonuses: you can order food from hotel restaurant Asia de Cuba and the After Hours Aqua massage is available until midnight – in case you want to hit the clubs afterward.
06 of 06
Aveda Spa at the Palms Hotel
The soothing sounds of falling water and the woody, spicy scents of Aveda products permeate the experience at this spa. An apothecary store redolent with rosemary, mint and citrus doubles as the entrance to the boutique spa located below ground level. Designer Allen Saunders gave the space light and connected it to the resort’s expansive outdoor gardens via windows in the relaxation room that offers views of a waterfall and steps that connect the floor above. “Most spas are dark, but we wanted something that felt light and fresh,” said Saunders. A glass water wall divides the retail area and the relaxation room, providing a smooth transition between the two spaces. “It was important for us to have that eastern light come through the relaxation area through the rippling water wall into the retail space. There’s a luminosity that comes through the entire space.”
A turquoise and beige palette dovetails nicely with Aveda’s product packaging, while the steam room is outfitted in metallic gemstone-colored bisazza tile, giving it a warmth that most white-tiled steam baths lack. There’s pleasure in the details here, from a small stone sink is filled with cold towels that are constantly refreshed with an ice fountain to iPod docking stations in each treatment room, allowing guests to customize their own massage soundtrack.