You might not hop on a plane just to have a facial or a massage, but beauty treatments certainly are a wonderful indulgence when away from home. As you may expect, some of the most popular city break destinations are headquarters to the world's most expert beauty estheticians, who warrant a beautifying visit during your stay. How can you skim the sidewalks in Paris or London when you're feeling drab?
Grabbing an appointment takes a bit of planning ahead—and admittedly somewhat deep pockets—but then what's a city break without a little splurge? (Plus, if they're good enough for Gwyneth and Madonna...) Here are the most enticing treatments that, if we were to stumble upon unlimited funds, we'd book a flight for. At they very least, they're worth earmarking time for as you're traveling.
The cozy London headquarters of Vaishaly, just off Marylebone High Street, are low key, but her signature facial is impressive enough to attract a laundry list of stylish leading ladies, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Rachel Weisz, and Elle Macpherson. What makes it so special is a unique facial massage technique that relaxes the muscles and minimizes puffiness (especially from jet lag) and fine lines.
There's a three-month waiting list for a £250 facial with Vaishaly herself, but a treatment with a member of her team (she personally trains them all) can be booked on shorter notice and is £100.
Contact: +44 (0)207 224 6088
In the world of facials, Tracie Martyn is a major name in Hollywood—her clients include Madonna, Kate Winslet, and Susan Sarandon—but she's actually based in New York, and her downtown Manhattan salon is an understated, peaceful space on lower Fifth Avenue.
Martyn's trademark treatment is the Red Carpet Facial—even its name is trademarked—which is a customized facial based on use of an LED light with a mild electrical current that firms and tones skin. It runs about $500—a lot for a facial, but cheaper than a face lift, which your friends may well think you had when you get home.
Contact: 212-206-9333; email@example.com
Paris (and beyond)
Considered by beauty insiders to be the king of pedicures, Bastien Gonzalez developed a foot treatment that's focused on callus removal, foot and nail conditioning, and massage instead of (easier to achieve, less important) perfectly painted toes. His treatments are offered in a large handful of luxe hotels (like the One and Only resorts and the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong), but for the ultimate pedi, insiders book 6 weeks in advance for time with Gonzalez himself, who works out of a Paris hotel room for a couple weeks each month (as well as a week each month in London and New York.)
Products by Ole Henriksen are easy to find nationwide in stores like Sephora, but the genesis of the popular line lies in the brand's Los Angeles Face/Body day spa, tucked in a little nook on Sunset Boulevard.
Here it's not about having treatments from Henriksen himself but indulging in the spa's distinctive so-called rituals: nearly two hours of a combination body scrub and massage that leaves skin extra-smooth and you infinitely more relaxed.
Contact: (310) 854-7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credits: 1. Courtesy Vaishaly; 2. Beautiful Young Woman Receiving Facial Massage via Shutterstock; 3. Courtesy Bastien Gonzalez; 4. Courtesy Ole Henriksen