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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.
Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa and Boutique. At the Buena Vista Palace's recently reimagined spa, you can settle back for an invigorating and holistic facial (50 minutes, $115), using botanicals and ingredients from the sea, or a relaxing deep-tissue massage (50 minutes, $144). Princesses ages 12 and under are not forgotten: a mani-pedi and makeup session ($65) includes a tiara. 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. Parking: complimentary valet or self-parking with spa validation (please tip valet).
Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes Spa. Prepare to be "wowed" as you enter this lavish, grand palazzo–style spa—Orlando's largest with 40 treatment rooms. It won't take long to relax as you float past gauzy drapes, shed your tourist togs, and don an ultraplush robe. Ritz-Carlton Orlando, 4024 Central Florida Pkwy., South Orlando, Orlando, FL, 32837. 407/393–4200. www.ritzcarlton.com/orlando. Parking: valet parking discounted to $5 with spa validation.
Senses—A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. All the senses are engaged at this spa, owned and operated by Disney. Scents, colored lights, and Disney orchestral music combine to relax you. Warm-stone massages, aromatherapy massages, and heated lounge chairs offer comfort, and a whimsical Mad Hatter chair offers little princesses a place for a pedicure. 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. Supreme luxury awaits you at this spa at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort near the Orange County Convention Center. The romance of Old Florida envelops you during the Calusa Cocoon (50 minutes, $130), which begins with a skin-silkening apricot scrub. Next, your therapist massages a blend of essential oils such as lavender and ylang ylang into your skin before wrapping you like a papoose in a foil-like blanket. 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 (please tip valet).
The Waldorf Astoria Spa. Don't try to pour your own tea—your gracious valet is there to serve and make you comfortable. Spa slippers aren't one-size-fits-many; they're sized to fit you. Instead of fancy therapies, the luxury Guerlain treatments on the spa menu are kept simple so that therapists can focus on customizing them to meet your needs. 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.Updated: 09-2013
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