The Out NYC
Unwanted body hair holding you back? Try booking a sugaring session ($15 and up) at The Out NYC’s newly re-launched spa. Not only is the hair removal procedure less painful than waxing, the Out happens to be just one of three places in Manhattan where you can actually get it done. Inside the hotel’s modest, sparsely-decorated treatment room (converted from a former guest room), masseurs apply a brown sticky goo—a simple concoction of sugar, water and lemon juice—to a body part of your choosing (he-bikini, anyone?). After the strands have been ripped out of their follicles, and the proper reparative creams and oils have been applied, you’ll walk out feeling smoother than a D’Angelo song. The only downside? Having to abstain from a post-treatment repose in the hotel’s jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna—the newly hairless skin shouldn’t be exposed to such bacteria-ridden environments for at least twelve hours.
Mandarin Oriental San Francisco
Up on the third floor of the newly-renovated Mandarin Oriental, a lavish 8,000 square foot spa, which debuted in October alongside the refurbished guest rooms, offers four treatment suites with Asian-inspired decor, plus a Tea Lounge. Among the usual range of options offered (massage, aromatherapy, facials, nail care) is the quirky Redeye body treatment ($220), which claims to reverse the effects of moisture-sucking airplane cabins with a brief spell of “brisk dry body brushing.” But if you’re picturing masseurs armed menacingly with broomsticks, think again. The soft fibers of the Sisal brush help stimulate blood flow to deprived areas, and a subsequent hour-long massage loosens up muscles made sore from hours spent cramped in the window seat, cozying up to your tray table.
Four Seasons Toronto
Toronto’s hotel scene took a turn for the better in October when Four Seasons moved their flagship hotel to a new location on Yorkville Ave. The 55-storey building, which houses 250 rooms, 42 suites and two restaurants by Daniel Boulud, also includes a state-of-the-art spa on the ninth floor. Relaxation seekers can go for a dip in the indoor pool, mellow in the steam room, or get their nails done in the salon. But if you’re looking for something a little more masochistic, try a Grapefruit Scrub ($175). The hour-long treatment calls for a unique blend of grapefruit essential oil and crushed walnut shells to be rubbed into dry, brittle skin. An ingredient list that would cost a grand total of $5 at the grocery store—that other $170 must be going towards the ambience.
21C Museum Cincinnati
In addition to its museum-quality art collection (including a series of trademark yellow penguin statuettes dotted around the lobby), the newest branch of the 21C Museum hotel chain features stylish digs, free WiFi, a museum shop, and a 3-room spa. Among some of the more questionable offerings (a $65 bubble bath?) is a 110-minute treatment known as the Raindrop Ritual ($200). Inspired by Chinese water torture (not really), guests lie flat on their stomachs while drops of warm essential oil rain down on targeted areas of the spine. The oils then get rubbed in, helping to “disperse goodness along the nervous system.” A similar effect, we should add, could be achieved by simply lying down in the shower.
Radisson Blu Resort Marina and Spa, St. Martin
Down in balmy St. Martin, overlooking Anse Marcel Marina, the 18-acre Radisson Blu Resort has it all: beaches, the island’s largest infinity pool, and a full-service spa. Since island life always seems to operate at a different rhythm than on dry land, you might not be surprised to learn the spa offers a service called the Chavutti Massage (145 euros), which therapists administer not with their hands but with their feet! After 90 minutes of being rubbed down by the masseur’s ten little piggies, you might worry about smelling like, well…feet. But rest assured: the Aurvedic-inspired treatment uses essential oils by Sultan de Saba, so you’ll leave smelling as good as you feel.