Bucket List Spa Day Trips


Whether it’s an annual tradition or a long overdue catch up with your best friends, a spa day is no doubt the blissful recharge you’ve been craving. We combed through our city guides and pulled out a few tried-and-true favorites (Aire in New York, International Orange in SF) to turn down the dial, plus added a few new spots our beauty editors have been testing out. Each of these offers a little something for everyone in terms of facials, massages, and steam rooms for afternoon-long idylls—but for those who want an entirely new-fangled experience, we’ve thrown in a cryotherapy session and sweat lodge on both coasts, too. (Also featured: a few of GP’s favorite spots in London.)

New York

  • Aire Ancient Baths<br><em>Tribeca</em>

    Aire Ancient Baths

    Tucked away in Tribeca, this is one of New York City’s best spa secrets—which also happens to look a bit like the Temple of White and Black from Game of Thrones. You descend via a candle-lit stairway into an equally moody space with many baths and steam rooms (all sorts of different temperatures, from hot to ice-f-ing cold to a sublime extra-salt version where you float like you’re in the Dead Sea), where you’ll likely be content to hang out for a while. They also offer really great massages—some of Manhattan’s best, actually.

  • Chillhouse<br><em>Lower East Side</em>

    Lower East Side

    A sort of choose your own wellness adventure, this light, bright, Lower East Side spa has a luxe nail salon with 5-free options, massages, and a café all under one roof. Start your experience with an adaptogen-spiked turmeric latte (they have their own line of Chillblend powders to help you relax, energize, and detox) while you check out the nail-art menu that changes seasonally—we’re totally obsessed with the Matisse- and Yayoi Kusama-inspired designs. Massages range from the short Express (25 minutes of deep tissue work) to the more-intense, aptly named hourlong Chill Pill.
    Photo: Dillon Burke

  • Bamford Haybarn Spa <br><em>Brooklyn Heights</em>

    Bamford Haybarn Spa
    Brooklyn Heights

    Tucked inside the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, the Bamford Haybarn Spa is a 5,000-square-foot Nordic-style oasis marked by hand-carved doors and branch shelving. Here, in the nine treatment rooms, Lady Carole Bamford applies her “global wellness” approach to the menu of treatments that range from massages to facials—all of which are guided by Ayurvedic principles and use the brand’s in-house line of skin care.

  • Kryo X <br><em>Midtown</em>

    Kryo X

    You won’t get pedicures here, but the full-body cryotherapy session—in which you stand, in the buff, in a chamber that’s chilled to roughly -240°F for two to three minutes—is bracing, but more bearable than, say, an ice bath, since there’s no moisture in the liquid nitrogen-cooled air. We left feeling less stressed and more centered, and we slept better, too. Started by doctors to holistically treat patients with arthritis, cryotherapy is believed to stimulate the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems and reduce inflammation, improve mood, lower anxiety, and enhance overall well-being. If you’re super worried about chattering teeth, start slow with a brightening cryofacial.

  • L’Appartement Caudalie Spa<br><em>Upper East Side</em>

    L’Appartement Caudalie Spa
    Upper East Side

    Walking into this Madison Avenue spa feels like you’re entering an especially light, bright, chic private home—and that’s on purpose—the space is inspired by co-founder Mathilde Thomas’ Parisian apartment. But in place of Netflix and chores, you’ll find four service rooms when you can get amazing spa treatments, all using Caudalie’s signature grape- and grapevine-infused products. Body treatments include the sublimely relaxing Honey & Wine Wrap to the targeted and effective Slimming Concentrate Treatment, but the star of the show is the Caudalie Grand Facial Treatment—which uses grape-seed polyphenol-rich products to give you a lasting glow.

  • FaceLove <br><em>Financial District</em>

    Financial District

    If you’ve never had a massage dedicated to relaxing the muscles in your jaw, forehead, scalp and entire face…it’s insanely relaxing. FaceLove’s three signature treatments—FaceLove, PureLove, and WholeLove—all focus on massage, exercise, and acupressure to stimulate circulation and release inflammation. (Treatments are offered as 30 or 45-minute sessions.) Not only will a clenched jaw or furrowed forehead feel miraculously released, you’ll emerge looking pretty amazing, too.

  • Rise by We<br><em>Financial District</em>

    Rise by We
    Financial District

    WeWork—the round-the-world network of comfy, breezy (decidedly un-corporate) workspaces rented out to people and businesses—has always been an ideal HQ with its meditation rooms, retreats, and fitness class offerings. And now with Rise by We, its new holistic wellness club in NYC’s financial district (more locations to roll out down the line), the brand’s dreamed up a respite from the swivel chair where you can get up and move in any number of workout classes, from kickboxing to yoga to personal training sessions, as well as stoke some serious relaxation vibes at their Superspa. There are steam and sauna rooms, amazing massages, a circulation-rousing cold water plunge, and a communal—and coed—hammam area. The juices at the spa’s café—killer.

  • Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel<br><em>Tribeca</em>

    Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel

    It’s always an effort to sit up after a massage, but it’s nearly impossible to wrench yourself off the table after one of the treatments at the onsen-modeled oasis that is The Greenwich Hotel’s Shibui Spa in Tribeca. The Japanese aesthetic—lanterns softly illuminate the heated pool in the main lounge area and embellish the treatment rooms, low-slung day beds, guests padding around in the best-looking Japanese Yukata robes—sets a tranquil mood. Prepare to be smoothed down in botanical oils that leave your skin glowier than you’ve ever seen it. During the Drunken Lotus massage, essential oils are worked all over your body, then tired muscles are stoked back to life as they’re enveloped in hot, sake-soaked towels. The seasonal aromatherapy bath soaks are over-the-top and can be added on to any treatment. (Think: you, in a tub, steeping in healing ginger-infused waters.)

  • Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York <br><em>Midtown</em>

    Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt New York

    Inside a Christian de Portzamparc-designed skyscraper, the Park Hyatt New York sits directly across from Carnegie Hall and offers some of the biggest rooms, square-footage-wise, in the city. Perhaps an even bigger draw, though, is the 13,000 square foot Spa Nalai on the 25th floor, which is divided into a fitness room, 65-foot lap pool, and six suites offering everything from treatments on a sand quartz bed (the only one of its kind in NYC) to “off-menu” services like cupping, manual lymph drainage, and reflexology. They’ve also teamed up with MNDFL meditation studio to offer a series of private and semi-private sessions.

Los Angeles

  • The Now <br><em>Silver Lake</em>

    The Now
    Silver Lake

    By way of a serene neutral interior—complete with cactus plants and lots of driftwood—this massage spa aims to recreate a little piece of Tulum in the center of Los Angeles. They’re also open until 10pm, catering to a crowd that can’t always break away during the day for some spa time. The best part, however, is the pricing: $35 gets you a 25-minute massage ($95 for 85 minutes). They recently launched a monthly membership service which is pretty great too, for those who want pampering more regularly. While you can book an appointment through their site or app, they also allow walk-ins. Silver Lake is their newest location, (the original is in West Hollywood) with two others in Santa Monica and Studio City.
    Photo: Tessa Neustadt

  • Shape House <br><em>Santa Monica</em>

    Shape House
    Santa Monica

    Also known as the sweat lodge, this spot, which boasts a pretty major Hollywood following, is exactly that. Equipped with small, cozy rooms where you get into an infrared bed, the idea is that you sweat it out for 60 minutes at a time, while you watch TV, read, or listen to music. Bring a friend—you won’t get to chat during the session, but you can talk all about it after. People tend to sign up for memberships and come several times a month (or week) and complement the sessions with lymphatic drainage, which is meant to boost the detox process.

  • Tikkun Spa<br><em>Santa Monica</em>

    Tikkun Spa
    Santa Monica

    Tikkun is the next level when it comes to Korean spas, combining high-tech far infrared heat with traditional Korean sauna therapies. So, if you want to lay down in a Himalayan salt brick tiled sauna, or sit in a Hwangto clay room, you get the added benefit of far infrared heat. And, in addition to the sauna rooms, there’s a long menu of massages and kick-ass body scrubs to complement the sauna time. We’re burying the lede though, because the real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release—not just a steam douche—that balances female hormone levels. If you’re in LA, you have to do it.

  • Tomoko Spa<br><em>Beverly Hills</em>

    Tomoko Spa
    Beverly Hills

    Tomoko in Beverly Hills is a transformative experience from the moment you walk through the doors, where it’s likely Tomoko herself who will hand you a pair of slippers before leading you into the traditionally minimalist, Japanese-style pre-treatment relaxation area for tea, the first of many pots they’ll brew for you. There’s no communal changing area or locker rooms, as each of the four treatment rooms is set up with all the amenities of a luxury hotel room (shower, closet, bath, vanity, etc.). A single treatment can take up to four hours with all the trimmings—starting with a foot soak and reflexology massage, and ending with post-massage herbal tea and mochi ice cream.
    Photo: Tessa Neustadt

San Francisco

  • International Orange<br><em>Marin</em>

    International Orange

    Part yoga studio, part day spa, International Orange (IO)—named after the paint color of the Golden Gate Bridge—is a huge open space of Zen, with locations in Pacific Heights and a gorgeous new outpost in Marin. IO has both restorative and vinyasa yoga available (group classes, private sessions, or workshops). And that’s all in addition to a spa menu rife with massages, facials, and more.

  • Nob Hill Spa <br><em>Nob Hill</em>

    Nob Hill Spa
    Nob Hill

    Situated inside The Scarlet Huntington Hotel, this spa has a Zen-like, indoor infinity pool (no diving/swimming laps here) that leads out onto an outdoor patio with a picturesque Nob Hill view. Inside, there are ten treatment rooms for massages and other body treatments, facials, and manis and pedis, including a handful of services designed for the guys. Nob Hill Spa is also home to a gym, steam and sauna rooms, and a fireside lounge. Guests of the hotel have complimentary use of the spa, and visitors can purchase a facilities-only day pass Monday through Thursday.

Austin & Dallas

  • The Spa at the Joule <br><em>Downtown Dallas</em>

    The Spa at the Joule
    Downtown Dallas

    The sleek subterranean spa beneath the The Joule hotel offers both traditional and experimental spa treatments in a relaxing environment. Many of the facials use Tata Harper products; body treatments include Swedish massage, cupping therapy, and Thai table massage; and there are brow treatments from threading to microblading by local brow expert Rula Sharkawi. There’s a steam room with a giant amethyst shining in the corner (thought to encourage tranquility), sauna, shower, and the Vitality Pool, a body-temperature pool with jets that gently massage the skin, encouraging circulation and lymphatic drainage. Book a 50 minute or longer service and get a free spin, kickboxing, or yoga class at the neighboring Vital Fitness Studio.

  • Lake Austin Spa Resort <br><em>Austin, Texas</em>

    Lake Austin Spa Resort
    Austin, Texas

    Just 30 minutes outside of downtown on a particularly spectacular bend in the river, Lake Austin is as amazing as day spa as it is an overnight retreat with friends. Either way, you can use all spa facilities, the restaurant (many ingredients come from an on-site organic garden) and participate in daily fitness activities from water yoga in the stunning, barn-enclosed warm pool, paddle boarding, and hikes to river-based workouts). There are more than 100 services on the extensive mind- and body-nourishing spa menu—everything from standard Swedish to Chinese-medical cupping treatments—with specific options for mothers-to-be, couples, and groups. You can either book by service or by time; post-treatment, you can lounge by the series of swimming pools in the large hillside garden.


  • Cowshed at Soho House Chicago<br><em>West Loop</em>

    Cowshed at Soho House Chicago
    West Loop

    This British import, located inside the Soho House in Chicago’s buzzy West Loop, offers extraordinarily comfy treatment chairs and farmhouse vibes. It’s particularly popular for its indulgent manis and pedis (60 and 75 minutes, respectively) and each of the chairs features its own TV and freshly brewed tea served in a teapot is available upon request. There are only five treatment rooms, but they’ll do everything from facials (some with SkinCeuticals products) to body wraps, scrubs, and deep tissue massages.

  • The Peninsula Spa<br><em>Magnificent Mile</em>

    The Peninsula Spa
    Magnificent Mile

    Occupying both the nineteenth and twentieth floors of the Peninsula Chicago, the hotel’s Asian-inspired spa and wellness facilities are pretty next-level. (There’s even a half-Olympic length swimming pool that overlooks the Chicago skyline.) The treatment menu is exhaustive—spanning everything from a bamboo massage to balance your qi to hot stone massages that use a generous helping of ESPA oils to cover every inch of your skin in long, sweeping motions. They’re also one of the first to feature the cult Biologique Recherche products, which is incorporated into several of their facials. (The Biologique Recherche Lotion, P50 is akin to a facial in a bottle.) Meanwhile, the 75-minute Holistic Feet treatment is an anytime-of-year luxury: in addition to a sea salt scrub and paraffin treatment, therapists tailor an aromatherapy acupressure-point massage.


  • Tierra Santa Healing House <br><em>Mid-Beach</em>

    Tierra Santa Healing House

    Unlike most spas, which favor whites and neutrals, Faena Hotel‘s Tierra Santa is a burst of color: A rainbow-striped rug runs through the spa’s lobby, which is outfitted with bright Juan Gatti artwork and floral-printed poofs. Inspired by an array of South American (and some South Asian) healing traditions, Tierra Santa houses a Turkish-style hammam and has a full wet spa experience (from waterfall shower to herbal steam room, wet scrub, sauna, and ice parlor), and many of the treatments include ritualistic wellness aspects. The Hamam Rose Ritual is a highlight: During the treatment, as you lie on top of a warm marble slab, a therapist will scrub your entire body for what is likely to be the most thorough exfoliation of your life. Following this, you’ll be covered in soft foam, then a soothing clay, and later treated to a massage. (Other massage options are more conventional, as are the facials.) Led by two partnering doctors, Tierra Santa also has a holistic, preventive medicine program, including testing, exams, detox, and digestive health offerings.

  • The Standard Spa <br><em>Belle Isle</em>

    The Standard Spa
    Belle Isle

    Whether you’re lounging on the heated marble steps of the enormous, co-ed Turkish-style hammam, sipping fresh-pressed green juice while the ocean glitters before you, doing serious yoga or pilates—or all three plus an astrology reading and a pedicure–a few hours here truly takes you out of the everyday. Located inside The Standard, the spa’s sleekly modern ashram-meets-sybaritic-retreat has everything: Within the hammam, there are shiny metal tubs for individual pre-treatment baths; beyond that, there a Roman-waterfall hot tub, mud lounge, Finnish sauna, an infinity pool and an arctic plunge. There’s every sort of massage and facial, plus goop-ier options like crystal-infused masks, biopuncture, and workshops on hypnocoaching, sound healing, crystal healing, and more. The food couldn’t be healthier or more delicious, and the on-an-island setting is about as gorgeous as it gets.
    Photo: Adrian Gaut


  • The Aman Spa at the Connaught <br><em>Mayfair</em>

    The Aman Spa at the Connaught

    Hands-down one of our favorite places to stay in London, the Connaught in Mayfair manages to strike a balance between charming and yet totally modern. The hotel’s 5,000-square-foot spa (the only Aman Spa of its kind outside of the resort group), is just as incredible as you’d imagine swathed in floor-to-ceiling marble. At just five treatment rooms strong, there’s a welcome intimacy here—all treatments start with an herbal infusion to help you unwind and then treatments take from Chinese, Indian, and Thai influences. (Each of the treatment rooms has its own private steam room.) During the week, the spa hosts a 20-minute lunchtime meditation that’s free and open to the public.

  • ESPA Life at Corinthia <br><em>Covent Garden</em>

    ESPA Life at Corinthia
    Covent Garden

    The Corinthia in Covent Garden is one of those places that generally lives up to all the hype. As soon as you enter the space you immediately understand why: the interiors are dark, it’s covered in Italian marble, and the vibe is moody but polished. The ESPA is one of the city’s largest with twenty-nine treatment rooms and even a stainless steel swimming pool. Along with a robust roster of treatments—signature facials and massages—there’s also a selection of customized treatments that focus on detox, sleep, pregnancy, and weight loss. The best part? Their day spa offerings include access to everything from the gym and thermal floor to the sauna and steam rooms.

  • KX Life <br><em>Chelsea</em>

    KX Life

    At its core, KX (pronounced “kicks”) is a members-only gym with a roster full of workout classes and in-house nutritionists, in addition to having one of the prettiest locker rooms in town. There’s also a restaurant and juice bar and a spa—the latter of which is the only thing that’s actually open to the public. Last fall, they opened KXU, a pay-as-you-go (and wallet-friendlier) model on Pavilion Road which may not have all bells and whistles that KX Life does, but features a detox-promoting infrared sauna, a cryotherapy chamber, massages, and rose-gold hued changing rooms. Their easy-to-use app makes it easy to book on the fly, too.

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