Orlando Feature


Top Orlando Spas

If you hit the ground running after arriving in Orlando, at some point you may need to shift your pace from "fast forward" to "pause." If so, head directly to one of Orlando's resort spas. The area has enough standout pampering palaces to indulge every theme park–weary parent, aching golfer, parched sunbather, and Disney princess.

Each of Orlando's resort spas is known for something special, whether it's the Balinese four-hand massage at the Dolphin's Mandara or customized therapies at the Waldorf. Several spas draw on Florida's citrus-producing region to offer refreshing orange, grapefruit, and lime therapies. And you can go global with massage techniques from Japan, Thailand, Polynesia, and Sweden.

Families who want to stay together can even spa together at treatment centers specializing in youth facials, massages, and manicure/pedicure (aka mani/pedi) packages. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando treats kids like royalty with the Princess Fizzing Manicure and Pedicure. The Spa at Saratoga Springs offers first facials for teens and children.

Make your spa excursion special by planning enough time to use complimentary whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. Most spas offer free access to impressively equipped fitness centers and relaxation rooms stocked with herbal teas, fresh fruits, and other goodies. Book treatments early, and ask about gratuities—often 18% to 20%—which may or may not be included in your treatment or package.

Top Spas

Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa and Boutique. At the Buena Vista Palace's 10,000-square-foot haven for the frazzled fun-seeker, you can settle back in one of 14 treatment rooms for an invigorating facial using botanicals, minerals, and ingredients from the sea, or enjoy a relaxing deep-tissue massage. The Kay Casperson philosophy balances inner health and outer beauty, so after a treatment, guests are offered a free makeup application of Casperson's hypoallergenic products. Those ages 12 and under who choose the Princess Package receive a tiara along with a mani-pedi and makeup session. The spa has a full-service salon, private steam showers, a large dry sauna, separate whirlpools, and an adults-only lap pool for serene swimming. Massage from $120. Packages from $305. There is a 20% service charge. Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, 1900 E. Buena Vista Dr., Downtown Disney Resort Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. 407/827–3200. www.buenavistapalace.com.

Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes Spa. Prepare to be wowed as you enter this lavish, grand spa, Orlando's largest with 40 treatment rooms, a fitness center, salon, private pool, and café—which means it can get busy. Get here in plenty of time to take a tour and get your bearings, shed your tourist togs, don a plush robe, and prepare to unwind. Unisex and co-ed waiting areas with couches and chairs are available, each on a different floor, with tea, water, fruits, and snacks. Treatments include massage, skin therapy, and deep-cleaning HydraFacials that gently extract impurities from the skin. Massage techniques include traditional Swedish, neuromuscular, stone therapy, Ashiatsu, and even one in a hammock, under the stars. Special treatments for mothers to be. Massage from $145; 20% service charge is added. Ritz-Carlton Orlando, 4024 Central Florida Pkwy., South Orlando, Orlando, FL, 32837. 407/393–4200. www.ritzcarlton.com/orlando. Parking: valet parking discounted with spa validation.

Senses—A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. All the senses—sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste—are engaged when you enter this new, Disney-designed and -owned, 15-room spa near the Wedding Pavilion at the Grand Floridian Resort. Soothing fruit-based elixirs start the journey toward serenity, while soft lighting, gentle music, and the aroma of lavender encourage you to shed your stress along with your clothes. Lounge chairs in separate and secluded men's and women's relaxation areas offer you a spot to further unwind as you wait. Pure silk sheets on the heated massage tables surround you in heavenly luxury. Tiny green-glass tiles form a floral mosaic on the walls and on heated lounge chairs in the restful wet room (spend some time looking for the hidden Mickey on the wall). Swimsuits are required in all wet relaxation areas. Treatments include facials, scrubs, warm-stone, Swedish, and aromatherapy massages. A whimsical Mad Hatter chair offers little princesses a special place for a pedicure. Massage from $135. Packages from $375. 20% gratuity added. Grand Floridian Resort, 4401 Floridian Way, Magic Kingdom Resort Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. 407/824–3000. www.disneyworld.disney.go.com. Parking: complimentary self-parking.

The Spa at Shingle Creek. The romance of Old Florida surrounds the Rosen Shingle Creek resort, and most of the spa treatments feature Florida products such as citrus and cedar oils, aloe, and an Everglades sugar scrub. The Calusa Cocoon begins with an exfoliation using grapefruit, eucalyptus, and peppermint-infused clay and ends with a moisturizing wrap rich with citrus oils that relieves stress while feeding your skin. Types of massage include Swedish, aromatherapy, warm stone, and Ashiatsu barefoot massage, in which the therapist uses gravity to reach deep into your muscle tissue. A variety of facials and salon treatments are available, and, for supreme relaxation, you can even add on a 25-minute siesta where you're wrapped in hot packs after your treatment, and awakened by gentle bells. Massages begin at $110. Packages begin at $215. Gratuity is included in the cost. Parking, either self or valet, is validated for day guests. Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Blvd., South Orlando, Orlando, FL, 32819. 407/996–9939. www.spaatshinglecreek.com. Parking: complimentary valet or self parking with spa validation.

The Waldorf Astoria Spa. Don't try to pour your own tea—your gracious valet is there to serve you and make you comfortable at this huge, 22-treatment-room spa in a very deluxe hotel. Everything is designed for the guest, from custom body treatments and facials, to plush robes and spa slippers that actually fit you. Separate waiting rooms lead to a eucalyptus steam room; experiential shower that surrounds you with water, sound, and light; and a tea lounge. Try the Diamond Body, an over-the-top decadent treatment that incorporates precious stones and gold-enriched creams. The full-service salon offers every service imaginable. Massages include warm stone, Swedish, and deep tissue. Massages from $149. Packages from $380. A 20% service charge is added, but parking is complementary. Day pass $30 for nonguests. Waldorf Astoria, 14200 Bonnet Creek Resort La., Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL, 32821. 407/597–5360. www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com. Parking: valet only, complimentary with spa validation, but please tip.

Senses Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort. The spa may share its name with the Grand Floridian's, and the senses are just as successfully nourished, but the ambience is quite different at this two-story stone-and-wood spa, inspired by the legendary lodges at the mineral springs of the Adirondacks. Fruit-infused elixirs and the scent of frankincense sooth you as you enter either the separate men's or women's waiting room. Signature treatments include the Hydrotherapy package that combines water and stone to exfoliate, soak, wrap, and relax that stressed-out body, and the Bamboo Fusion massage that combines warm stones and an ancient technique using heated bamboo segments. The pure silk sheets surround you with dreamlike luxury. Don't miss the spa's two wet relaxation rooms, with steam bath, pool, and heated, glass-tile-covered lounge chairs. You can even bring the family—there's a couples' treatment room and a manicure and pedicure for kids ages 4–12. Swimsuits are required in wet rooms. Massages from $145. Spa packages from $375. Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, 1960 Broadway, Downtown Disney Resort Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830. 407/939–7727.

Blue Harmony. Infused with the colors of ocean and sky, this spa lives up to its name from the moment you enter. Its signature treatment combines exfoliation with marine salt and oil, polishing with marine salt and lavender, and a massage based in Thai techniques. Body treatments use oil-infused seawater gels to add natural minerals to the skin, and end with a cozy wrap and massage. Two of the eight treatment rooms are outdoors near the relaxation spa garden and hot tub, taking advantage of the blue Florida sky. The serene relaxation lounge offers beverages and tea as you wait for your treatment. Bring the family, as the spa offers treatments for teens and men. Massage from $120. Packages from $140. 14651 Chelonia Pkwy., Downtown Disney Resort Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32821. 407/390–2442.

Mokara Spa at Omni Orlando Resort. Golf courses surround the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, and Mokara Spa offers special treatments to ease tension and soreness in those stressed shoulders and backs. The Sports Massage uses muscle-warming oil, massage, and stretching to make sure you are ready for another round. There are plenty of choices for the nongolfer in the group, which is good, since this resort is far, far away from anything. Separate locker rooms, steam rooms, and relaxation rooms ensure privacy and serenity while you wait for your treatment. A full-service salon offers hair and nail services, and massages include Swedish, hot stone, deep tissue, and mothers to be. Massages from $120. Packages from $205. A 20% gratuity is added to the bill. Parking is validated if you are a day-spa visitor. 1500 Masters Blvd., ChampionsGate, FL, 33896. 407/390–6603. www.mokaraspas.com/orlando.

Portofino Bay Mandara Spa. Adjacent to the bustling Italian-themed square at Universal's Portofino Bay resort, the doors to this Asian-themed sanctuary waft you into a more tranquil world, with bamboo screens, exotic statuary, and silk hangings. Warm blankets comfort you while you wait in the relaxation lounge for one of the 16 treatment rooms. Try the Ceremony of the Hands and Feet, an indulgence that scrubs, exfoliates, and massages your extremities, finishing with a mani-pedi. Separate men's and women's steam rooms and saunas add to the sense of serenity, but the men needn't worry about missing a game, as their lounge sports a plasma TV. Portofino's serene sand-bottomed pool is next door, as is the fitness center. Massage therapies include four hands, deep tissue, hot stone, Balinese, or Swedish. Facials and peels are available, as are full makeup, hair, and salon services. Massages from $89. Packages from $360. 5601 Universal Blvd., Universal Orlando Area, Orlando, FL, 32819. 407/503–1244. www.mandaraspa.com.

Relâche Spa & Salon at Gaylord Palms Resort. The 20,000-square-foot spa is in the Everglades Atrium of this giant, Florida-themed resort, and guests may feel like explorers in a tropical wilderness as they make the trek toward tranquillity. Once inside the doors, cares and clothes shed, the soft pastels and generous chaise longues of the tearoom radiate serenity. Fresh fruit and beverages keep you hydrated while you wait, then it's on to serious relaxation. Try one of the signature Florida treatments, such as Islamorada Glow using coconut milk, pure cane sugar, and tropical oils, or the Clearwater Hydrating Wrap, where warm stones are applied after exfoliation, along with a vitamin-filled moisturizing wrap. Massages include hot stone, bamboo, Thai stretching, deep tissue, aromatherapy, and more. Massages from $75. Packages from $300. A 20% gratuity is added on to bill. Day pass available for a fee. 6000 W. Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee, FL, 34746. 407/586–4772.

The Spa at Hilton Orlando. From the deeply cushioned chaise longues in the waiting room, where guests relax in fleecy robes and cozy blankets, to the complimentary infused water, juices, teas, and fruits, guests are made to feel cherished from the moment they enter this big (15 treatment rooms) resort spa. Orange blossom is the source of the oil for the signature Neroli massage, and essences of rosemary, pine, and lavender soothe the senses during aromatherapy treatments. Massages include Swedish, deep tissue, and heated stones, and guests are welcome to linger in the steam room, full-body showers, or full-service salon, or to have a treatment in a cabana by the pool. Special services are available for youngsters and teens. Massages from $75. Packages from $335. An 18% service charge is added. Day pass available. Self-parking is free for nonhotel guests. 6001 Destination Pkwy., Orlando, FL, 32819. 407/313–4300. www.thehiltonorlando.com.

The Spa at Hyatt Regency Orlando. Getting to this 22,000-square-foot, full-service contemporary retreat, set at the heart of a huge convention resort (formerly The Peabody), can be quite a hike, so guests are happy to shed their clothes and cares, don fluffy robes and slippers, and settle in for some serious rejuvenation. The separate locker rooms offer whirlpools, steam room, and showers, and guests have access to a private serenity pool, where they can soak before and after their treatments. Massages include deep tissue, aromatherapy, and warm stone. A variety of facials and complete salon services are available. Massage from $125. Packages from $425. Gratuity added. 9801 International Dr., I-Drive area, Orlando, FL, 32819. 407/284–1234. www.orlando.regency.hyatt.com.

The Spa at Orlando World Center Marriott. Finding the spa in this sprawling, multitower resort can be a challenge, but once you arrive at the lower-level entrance, tranquillity rules. Robes and slippers are provided in the locker rooms, but there are no private changing rooms. If you are modest, you must retreat to the bathroom or shower. The waiting room is co-ed. Steam rooms, pool, and fitness facility are available for use before or after a treatment in one of the 14 treatment rooms. The Around the World in Eighty Minutes massage combines international massage techniques, and the World Center Aromatherapy Escape starts with tea and a deluxe cleansing of your tootsies, then proceeds to an aromatherapy massage and wrap for total relaxation. Massage types include pressure, warm stone, and Swedish. Massages from $120. Packages from $200. Gratuity at guests' discretion. 8701 World Center Dr., Lake Buena Vista Area, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32821. 407/239–4200.

The Spa at Rosen Centre. An intimate spa in a resort right across from the convention center, The Spa at Rosen Center caters to busy, stressed-out businesspeople as well as bridal parties, girlfriends' getaways, and more. Once clothes and cares are exchanged for luxurious robes and comfy slippers in the separate locker rooms, guests move to the serene, candle-lit, and aroma-enhanced separate relaxation rooms. The men's room has a TV for those who can't or won't miss a game or the news, but the sound is off, making sure that relaxation is the ultimate goal. If those muscles need a real workout, be sure to experience a traditional Ashiatsu massage, where the masseuse, supported by a wooden frame, uses gravity and her bare feet to reach deep into those knots. Massage techniques include Swedish, therapeutic, deep tissue, warm stone, Ashiatsu, and Asian-fusion barefoot. Massages from $125. Packages from $335. Day pass available for hotel guests and nonguests. Parking validated for nonguests. 9840 International Dr., I-Drive area, Orlando, FL, 32819. 407/996–1248. www.thespaatrosencentre.com.

nèu lotus spa at Renaissance Orlando at Seaworld. Let the world's cares disappear as you recline in the candle-lit relaxation area, or make use of the steam room before your treatment at this bright, modern spa. An Asian-style barefoot massage can work the knots out of the most tense muscles, while the hot-and-cold-stone massage offers a more relaxing, restorative experience. Facials and skin treatments combine skin rejuvenation with shoulder relaxation and scalp massage. The spa also has a 2,600-square-foot fitness center with the latest equipment and a full-service salon. Massages include barefoot, aromatherapy, hot and cold stone, and bamboo shoot. Massage from $75. Packages from $239. Gratuity at guest's discretion. 6677 Sea Harbor Dr., International Drive Area, Orlando, FL, 32821. 407/248–7428. www.neulotusspa.com.

Updated: 2013-09-10

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