Ask Jean: What’s the Ultimate in Relaxing Spa Treatments?

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected], or tweet us @goop. Below, a q for our new beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean,
What, in your opinion, is the ultimate relaxing spa treatment? —Alex B.

Some people adore facials, others love scrubs and body wraps, I like a massage in the end. But in the very end, what I think is the very-most-relaxing is a giant tub of hot water with only me (and perhaps a love interest) in it. Someday I will go to Japan, it will be snowing, and I will sit in a furo somewhere deep in the mountains (read Kawabata’s Snow Country and you too will be transfixed by this possibility), and exalt.

I have, however, had some pretty incredible furo-ish experiences in the US. I was once lucky enough to visit the epic-ly luxurious Twin Farms hotel in Vermont. The furo was an unassuming, vaguely New England-looking little house on the property; only two faintly-Asian-style lanterns gave a clue to what lay beyond.

You enter through a dressing room, take off your clothes, and descend a few steps into the rest of the house—which is 100% filled with about five feet of hot, still water: The entire house is a bathtub, with walls of windows looking out into the Vermont wilderness. I floated around for what have been at least an hour; I really don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed. *You can’t go to the spa unless you stay at the resort, making the experience expensive on the level of getting oneself to Japan. If someone ever offers (Twins Farms OR Japan), jump.

I had an equally singular, if dramatically less pricey furo moment in New Mexico, at the Ten Thousand Waves Spa in Santa Fe (prices are by the treatment, like a regular spa; you can also stay the night, but you don’t have to). You ascend stairs in the side of the hills, ideally at sunset (the spa overlooks a view quite similar to the Santa Fe Opera), the path lit with Japanese lanterns. You can get amazing treatments at Ten Thousand Waves, including epic massages, but still, if I had to pick one it would be the hour-long soak in a private outdoor tub (tubs from $35 per person per hour) surrounded by pinon pines. I went once when it was snowing, and it was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. When I’m late for something important, stuck in traffic in a not-moving cab, Ten Thousand Waves is what I visualize.

If you get a massage (do: they are the best in New York) at the Shibui Spa in the Greenwich Hotel in downtown New York, you can add in a pre-, furo-esque soak in a bath that they pour a bottle of sake into for good measure. It is worth the extra $$, especially considering that the massages themselves are already on the expensive side (it starts around $220, the extra soak is about $95). While you wait, though, you lounge for free by the Japanese-style indoor pool, where incredibly nice attendants bring you tea and various snacks.

And then there is my bathtub. I put in some body oil (Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil, $90, is made several miles down the road from Twin Farms and is pure, unadulterated heaven in a bath), light several candles, and exalt.