Virtuoso Life March 2018 Urban Wellness: 5 Great City Spas

Urban Wellness: 5 Great City Spas

The pool at Aman Tokyo’s spa is a serene perch above the city.
The pool at Aman Tokyo’s spa is a serene perch above the city.
Photo by Aman.
The wellness retreat, once the purview of far-flung destination spas where teams of experts oversee multiday escapes, has come to the city. "Travelers are looking to take the time for self-care wherever they go," says Kiron Dhaliwal, a San Ramon, California-based Virtuoso advisor who focuses on wellness travel. "For some that might mean a massage or a facial, but for others it might mean something deeper, something more spiritual.” Hotels in cities such as Tokyo and New York are catering to this desire with expanded offerings and programs staffed with specialists not typically found at urban properties. “Having a healer or an acupuncturist at a city hotel spa is such a departure from the expected,” says Dhaliwal. “And it’s very exciting.” Here, five hotel sanctuaries that elevate spa-ing in the city.
ESPA Life, Corinthia Hotel London 
At 10,826 square feet, ESPA Life, ESPA’s flagship facility on four floors beneath London’s Corinthia hotel, is one of Europe’s largest and a local favorite. This spa promotes a holistic approach to well-being with a cadre of naturopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists, osteopaths, personal trainers, and other spa professionals. There’s also a membership program for Londoners who demand more from a spa and fitness experience.

Going a step or three beyond exfoliation and deep-tissue massages, ESPA Life therapists introduce breathing and visualization techniques designed to focus awareness on the present. On the active front, the spa’s Bodyspace facility offers programs that target physical and mental transformation – a fitness assessment and a personalized program tailor-made to achieve goals, for instance, whether they be running a 5K or summiting Everest. Gait assessment, heel-strike analysis, and a regimen to continue at home are part of the package. On a more relaxing note, the Thermal Floor features a glassed-in amphitheater sauna with 360-degree views, a fireplace, and an ice fountain, as well as a 30-foot steel-lined pool that reflects the water’s ripples on the ceiling for a soothing effect.
Corinthia’s amphitheater sauna. 
Corinthia’s amphitheater sauna. 
Photo by Corinthia Hotel London.
Nescens Spa at La Réserve Genève, Geneva
In Europe, spas continue to focus on science-based treatments, as at La Réserve Genève, the inaugural spa site for the Nescens brand (developed at Geneva’s Center for the Prevention of Aging at the Clinique de Genolier). Here, skin care begins with an in-depth analysis by specialists in preventive and aesthetic medicine, followed by cell-regeneration therapies, targeted massage techniques, and antiaging treatments. Nescens promises visible results after the first treatment. Therapists explain the composition of products and provide skin-care advice for continued results at home. Figure-shaping treatments, as well as personalized fitness programs that combine coaching, treatment, and nutrition, round out the menu here.
The lounge life at La Réserve Genève.
The lounge life at La Réserve Genève.
Photo by La Réserve Genève. 
The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown 
From crystal therapy to a collagen-stimulating ultrasound procedure, this Four Seasons spa fuses treatments featuring high-end skin-care lines (Dr Burgener Switzerland and Hungary’s Omorovicza) with alternative-medicine techniques from resident healers who focus on meditation, acupuncture, and yoga, among other practices. The result is a sanctuary where ancient beliefs, nature, and innovation meet.

Occupying the hotel’s entire third floor, the space has seven treatment rooms and a 75-foot lap pool with shimmering mosaics and lots of natural light. The new Haute Couture program includes a skin analysis every three months, which Dr Burgener Switzerland then uses to create a custom cosmetic line. Over the course of a year, guests return to the spa for facial treatments that incorporate antiaging technologies as well as personalized products. For a more spiritual encounter, book a crystal healer session, which promises to access the inner layers of the subconscious and concludes with a customized crystal selection aimed at creating greater balance in the body and mind.
Poolside peace at the Four Seasons New York Downtown’s spa.
Poolside peace at the Four Seasons New York Downtown’s spa.
Photo by Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. 
Aman Spa at Aman Tokyo 
Secreted in remote corners of the globe – a valley in Bhutan, say, or an isolated Indonesian beach – Aman resorts offer guests the chance to discover the soul of a place through meaningful cultural immersion and soulful but spare design. For its 27th property, the hotel brand went off-script, opening an 84-room hotel in the world’s most populous metropolitan area.

Set on the 33rd and 34th floors of the Otemachi Tower, the Aman Tokyo Spa blends urban flair with classic elements of a traditional Japanese ryokan (inn), such as camphorwood, washi paper, and stone. Seasonally themed treatments bring touches from the natural world to this retreat above the city. The Summer Journey, for example, which takes inspiration from the local custom of going to the forest to cool down in warmer months, focuses on slowing down, hydrating, and quieting the mind with a scrub and wrap that incorporate hinoki cypress leaves, Japanese mint, and dokudami herbal tea. After a macrobiotic lunch, try a centuries-old holistic procedure such as shiatsu, then contemplate the Tokyo skyline from the 98-foot pool or a stone bath inspired by an onsen (hot spring).
One&Only Spa, Cape Town 
Set on a lush private island overlooking the marina on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, One&Only Spa’s eight spacious villas blend African influences with a clean, modern aesthetic. African elements are at the forefront on the spa menu too, including in the Only Here collection of treatments, which incorporate local and indigenous ingredients. The African Journey, for example, begins with a rooibos-and-rock-salt scrub, followed by a massage using orange and baobab oils and a rungu stick, a wooden throwing baton popular with some East African tribes, to ease tension and soothe muscle aches. The treatment ends with a rooibos tea ceremony.
Island Escape: One&Only’s Cape Town Spa. 
Island Escape: One&Only’s Cape Town Spa. 
Photo by One&Only Cape Town. 

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