As spring (finally!) approaches, 'tis the season to start thinking about renewal—from the cleaning out of closets to the reemerging from our winter-induced physical and mental cocoons. To help inspire the latter, this list of seven notable spas for 2013 spotlights both brand-new places and those with exciting news, like overhauled menus, new programs, or re-imagined facilities. No matter the choice, your body will thank you.
Santa Barbara, California
One of the most anticipated hotel openings in recent years, Orient-Express' gorgeous Santa Barbara property welcomed its first guests this March. The property's seven-room, 4,500 square-foot spa is set between the Pacific Ocean and the hills of wine country, and this lush setting is the inspiration for treatments like the Pinot and Cabernet Crush Sugar Scrub, made of grape seeds, brown sugar, and Kaolin clay. Other nature-based services incorporate everything from regional plants to seaweed from Patagonia.
Insider's Tip: Save some time after your treatment to savor the view from the relaxation room, while sipping your choice from the detox tea menu.
When crafting their brand-new hometown flagship, Four Seasons adopted a tasteful, luxury version of the "go big or go home" philosophy—a fact that clearly comes through in this sanctuary, the largest hotel spa in Toronto.The thoughtful design can be seen in the elegant public areas (think underwater music in the pool and shaving foam in the showers) and the seventeen plush treatment rooms. Services range from gold- and gemstone-infused facials to a "scrub bar" and targeted massages, all performed by excellent therapists who have been imported from other Four Seasons around the world.
Insider's Tip: The Deep Tissue Thermal Massage incorporates a minty-cinnamon, muscle-warming product called Yoga Balm, which helps relax particularly tense areas; the balm has proved so popular, it's now available for sale in the spa shop.
Lake Como, Italy
Set on the shores of Italy's Lake Como (aka Clooney territory), the iconic Grand Hotel Tremezzo has introduced some new developments over the last year, including a slew of rooftop suites and a revamped spa menu rolling out this spring. The property has partnered with the much-loved ESPA brand to create treatments that draw upon ESPA's strong skincare background, and that are also inspired by the waterside setting, so look for everything from marine algae wraps to anti-aging facials.
Insider's Tip: As if the romance of Lake Como wasn't enough to sigh over, the two-hour Suite Time Together couple's service, performed in the Private Spa Garden Suite, includes a 90-minute massage each, plus extra al fresco relaxation time.
Hot Springs, Virginia
Thomas Jefferson was once among the first wellness-seekers who headed to Hot Springs, Virginia, to "take the cure" in the natural mineral waters, and this historic hotel has been welcoming guests ever since the Founding Father's time (it opened in 1766.) Among the renovations that have taken place over the years is this May's launch of the Canyon Ranch SpaClub complex, which includes a year-round Spa Garden with river rock reflexology path, a dedicated kids' spa section, a healthy café, and, of course, thermal pools and water circuits. Though this outpost won't have all the offerings of the full Canyon Ranch destination spas, guests looking to do targeted programs will find plenty of classes, talks, and outdoor activities to complement the treatments.
Insider's Tip: Preface services like herbal scrubs and mineral mud wraps with the 1766 Mineral Bath, a 20-minute soak in the 104-degree water that made the area famous. Be sure to check out the natural pool that was just unearthed during the spa's recent overhaul.
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
With the April launch of this LA-area resort's new seaside Bungalow accommodations comes an upgrade of their spa and wellness offerings, too. Bungalow guests can opt in for 3-, 5-, or 7-day retreats that will include things like fitness activities, unlimited dining at the spa cafe, meditation and yoga, spa services, and more, all custom-chosen following a private consultation. Special gifts and amenities, like herbal tea and satchels of lavender and rosemary delivered at turndown, are also part of the experience.
Insider's Tip: Take advantage of the Pacific Ocean-side location by booking a coastal hike or private kayaking excursion
Sedona is known for its spas, and this award-winning one—located at one of the most beautiful (and romantic) hotels in town—is taking things to the next level with a slew of developments that have rolled out over the last year. Guests can now enjoy service using more organic and natural product lines, locally-themed treatments like the Auberge Stretch (a massage specially-designed to target post-hike muscles), and a new spa menu serving things like salmon "BLTs" and homemade taro root chips.
Insider's Tip: Book your spa service when you book your room to ensure a spot in one of the lovely, open-air creekside treatment pavilions, which get snapped-up fast.
Located on the edge of England's New Forest National Park and a short walk from the sea, this intimate Relais & Chateaux hotel has been voted one of the top spa getaways in the country. In fall 2012, the launch of six Treehouse Suites accommodations included the introduction of Treehouse Treatments—three services that were specially designed to be performed in the treetop rooms and that were inspired by the lush surroundings. The signature, two-hour Cocooned in Nature features a body brushing, wrap, and massage scented with native herbs like mint and rosehip.
Insider's Tip: Check the website for special spa programs like the "Treetox", a three-day detox and spa-fest that includes overnights in the treehouse rooms.
Photo credits: El Encanto hotel courtesy of Orient Express; The Spa at the Four Seasons Toronto courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; T Spa at Grand Hotel Tremezzo courtesy of Grand Hotel Tremezzo; Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Homestead courtesy of The Homestead; The Spa at Terranea courtesy of Terranea; The Spa at L'Auberge de Sedona courtesy of L'Auberge de Sedona; The Spa at Chewton Glen courtesy of Relais & Chateaux/Chewton Glen
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