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Spa visits have become a recognized activity on the island, and for some people they are as popular as golf and tennis. In fact, spas have become one of the top leisure-time destinations, particularly for golf "widows." And this popularity extends to the men as well; previously spa-shy guys have come around, enticed by couples massage, deep-tissue sports massage, and even the pleasures of the manicure and pedicure.
There are East Indian–influenced therapies, hot-stone massage, Hungarian organic facials—the treatments span the globe. Do your research, go online, and call or stop by the various spas and ask the locals their favorites. The quality of therapists island-wide is noteworthy for their training, certifications, and expertise.
Auberge Spa at Palmetto Bluff. Dubbed the "celebrity spa" by locals, this two-story facility is the ultimate pamper palace. The names of the treatments, which often have a Southern accent, are almost as creative as the treatments themselves. There are Amazing Grace and High Cotton body therapies, sensual soaks and couples massage, special treatments for gentlemen and golfers, and the soothing Belles and Brides package. Nonguests are welcome. Palmetto Bluff, 1 Village Park Sq., Bluffton, SC, 29910. 843/706–6500. www.palmettobluffresort.com/spa.
Faces. This place has been pampering loyal clients for more than three decades, thanks to body therapists, stylists, and cosmetologists who really know their stuff. Choose from the line of fine cosmetics, enjoy a manicure and pedicure, or have a professional do you evening makeup for that special occasion. The Village at Wexford, 1000 William Hilton Pkwy., South End, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928. 843/785–3075. www.facesdayspa.com.
Heavenly Spa by Westin. This is the quintessential spa experience on Hilton Head. Known internationally for its innovative treatments, the beautifully renovated Heavenly Spa incorporates local traditions. Prior to a treatment, clients are told to put their worries in a basket woven from local sweetgrass; destressing is a major component of the therapies here. The relaxation room with its teas and healthy snacks and the adjacent retail area with products like sweetgrass scents are heavenly, too. In-room spa services are available, as are romance packages. Westin Resort Hilton Head Island, 2 Grasslawn Ave., Port Royal Plantation, North End, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928. 843/681–4000. www.westinhiltonheadisland.com.
Spa Soleil. A wide variety of massages and other treatments are offered at Spa Soleil. The tantalizing teas and snacks make your time here a soothing, therapeutic experience. This is an amazing island treasure. Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, 1 Hotel Circle, Palmetto Dunes, Mid-Island, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928. 843/686–8420. www.csspagroup.com.