spa

  • Zermatterhoff Alpine Spa

    Bahnhofstrasse 55,
    Zermatt, Switzerland

    +41 27 966 66 00

    Website

    Treatments: $175US -$1000+ USD

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    [review]

    The Alpine Spa is located in the luxe Zermatterhoff Hotel on the main street in Zermatt.  The Spa is located on the lower level of the hotel, down a semi-hidden staircase just off the lobby.

    Treatments
    Each of us had 60 minute aromatherapy massages that were amazing.  Spa therapists were very responsive to the pressure used, temperature of the room, etc and were willing to spend time on specific problem areas if needed.

    There are a wide variety of spa treatments featuring different treatment styles from various countries.   Treatment packages are also available, including multi-day, themed packages as well.

    Facilities
    Spa treatment rooms are located on both sides of the very small lobby.  There’s a small lounge, with tea and refreshments just beyond the lobby.  The indoor pool, lined with large windows all around is very nice.  Comfortable lounge chairs are located along the pool side area.  There is also a sauna, steam room, “cold room” and exercise area with various equipment.  All of the spa facilities here are co-ed.  

    If you’re not staying at the hotel, these additional spa facilities cost an additional $70 USD per day if you wish to use them pre- or post- spa treatment.  While the spa welcomes outside guests, it is definitely driven towards those staying at the hotel.  There is a very small co-ed changing area between the lobby and the pool that has lockers, a shower, swimsuit dryer and sink.  It’s also semi-open to the pool and not connected to the “day spa” ammenities.  If you’re shy, you may want to make other arrangements.  Most hotel guests arrive in their robes for treatments.

    Pricing
    Nothing in Switzerland is inexpensive, but the Zermatterhoff is at the higher end of comparable spas, which is to be expected.  The services are definitely worth the price, but when you factor in the additional charge for the day spa, you may want to consider other spas where everything is inclusive.

    You may want to request a spa treatment room away from the lobby.  When busy, noise can filter into the treatment areas.

  • Four Seasons Denver Spa Deal

    Travelzoo has a great spa deal today for massage ($99) or massage/facial ($199) at the Four Seasons Denver spa.  Good Monday through Friday by appointment only, this is your chance to relax and pamper yourself in the perfect surroundings.  It’s also one of the top rated spa’s in Denver.  Don’t worry about parking either, as the Four Season’s provides valet service at the front door for spa guests.  You can drive right up and be in the spa in less than five minutes getting ready for the perfect spa day.

    We’ve been to this spa several times before and it’s what you’d expect from a Four Seasons Spa.  Luxurious robes, large changing areas, hot spa, steam room and the Four Seasons service you’ve come to expect.  Hurry, these deals sell out quickly.  You can use your spa voucher anytime through March 31, 2014 during regular spa hours with advance appointment.

  • La Maison Arabe Spa – Marrakech, Morocco

    1 Derb Assehbé
    Bab Doukkala

    Marrakech Médina, Morocco

    +21 2 5 24 38 70 10

    Other reviews:

    TripAdvisor

    Treatments: Avg $90 US

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    The spa at La Maison Arabe  is definitely worth putting on your list when visiting Marrakech.  While the spa menu is a bit limited to a hammam and massages, you won’t go wrong here.  La Maison Arabe spa is one of the best designed spas we’ve seen in a long time.  Talk about an authentic, middle east experience coupled with a relaxing, tranquil environment and you’ve got La Maison Arabe.  

    Treatments
    As with some spas, you won’t find pages and pages of treatments.  La Maison Arabe’s list is simple.  Limited to massage, hammam and a couple of additional services, you’ll soon find that this is more than adequate.  We had the basic hammam treatment, which includes a bathing with black olive soap, a full body scrub and then shampoo and rinse in an ornate steam room adorned with tuscan marble.  You lie on a heated marble bench, as the therapist works their magic with the soap, scrub and rinse.  After about 30 minutes, you’re taken into the relaxation room, lit with dozens of candles and a bubbling fountain, where you’re served tea and water.  You relax there for about 15 minutes, before moving on to your full body massage of 30,45 or 60 minutes.

    Facilities
    The spa has 2 hammam and 5 treatment rooms.  The hammam is entirely marble and very nicely sized.  Treatment rooms are average sized, but very comfortable.  What really stands out here is the large, and I mean large, relaxation area that astounds the eye.  Pictured on the spa portion of their website, it’s simply amazing.  The changing areas are small here, which is really the only down fall.  Service at the spa was perfect, from check-in to check-out.  Appointments were fairly easy to get, but we visited during low season.  During high season, it would probably be best to make appointments before you arrive in Marrakech.

    Pricing
    Prices may seem high compared to “local” spas and hammams, but we did a lot of comparison shopping and know that La Maison is really reasonable and your experience here will be very memorable.

    Because this spa is smaller, it’s advised to book treatments early, especially during high season.
  • Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh Spa

    1 Four Seasons Boulevard
    Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt 

    +20 (69) 360-3555

    Spa Website

    Treatments: $90 USD and up

    Reviews: 
    TripAdvisor

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    Facilities:  The spa at the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh is part of a very large building located towards one end of the Four Seasons Sharm el Sheikh complex.  There’s a very ample lap pool that’s secluded off to one side, as well as a large workout and exercise facility directly behind the check in area.  The workout area features the latest in exercise equipment, along with enough machines even if the resort is at it’s busiest.  The internal lounge areas were large, however, our only one small complaint was the locker area.  It’s very tiny and if there are two or three people arriving/departing a spa appointment at the same time, it can be a bit cramped.  There’s a sauna, access to the outdoor pool area, as well as two large shower rooms.  The waiting area inside the lounge was very comfortable with ample seating and magazines to read while you wait. 

    The spa treatment rooms vary in size, but they’re almost all larger than what you find in other resorts.  The access halls and rooms are dimly lit, which makes it easy on the eyes when you’re done with your treatment.  Rooms have high ceilings and are very quiet, you think you’re the only one in the whole spa.  Very relaxing.

    Service: The spa staff here were wonderful.  From check-in to treatment, everybody was extremely pleasant and helpful.  Reservations, check-in and check-out were done quickly and efficiently.  

    Treatments: There’s a good array of spa treatments available.  In addition to the basic swedish massage, we also tried the Arabic Coffee Scrub and Balinese spa treatments.  All were high quality and extremely well done.

    Pricing: Prices were what one would expect at a Four Seasons.  

    Overall, we really like the spa here.  Appointments were easy to arrange and the staff were more than helpful.  You can read our review of the hotel, here.

    Check the Four Season’s website before you leave home to see if any spa specials are being offered. And remember, make your appointment early, especially during high season.

  • Elements Boutique Resort & Spa

    53/5 Moo 4
    Phang Ka, Surat Thani
    Koh Samui, Thailand 

    +66 77 914 678

    Hotel Website

    2BR Beachfront Villa w/Pool:

    Rack Rate: $595 per night tax inclusive
    Our Rate: $465 per night tax inclusive

    Booked Via
    : Hotel Website

    Reviews: TripAdvisor

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    Location: The hotel is located on the far southwestern tip of Koh Samui, in Phang Ka.  It’s on the complete opposite end from the airport, so a transfer will take around 45 minutes or so, depending upon traffic in the more populated areas.  The resort is about a kilometer off of the main road.  You’ll wind your way through a small residential area and the resort will be at the end.  There are a couple of small convenience type stores about 2km from the resort for any snacks or small items you may want to purchase.  It can easily be reached by a short 15-20 minute walk or take one of the free bikes from the resort.  

    Chaweng is the center of nightlife and activity on Koh Samui.  It’s about a 20-25 minute car ride from the resort.  There are a few things in between, but not much.  We found the location to be an advantage not a disadvantage, but then we were looking for a more relaxing, do nothing vacation.

    While the resort is “ocean front”, it actually is on a secluded bay with shallow water.  During dry season and low tide, you can be as much as 500-100 feet from water more than 1 or 2 feet deep.  It’s still very beautiful, but if you’re looking to be able to jump right into the water from the resort, you may be disappointed.  The beach is sandy in front of the hotel, however beyond that it can be a bit rocky.

    There are many flights to Koh Samui everyday on Thai or Bangkok Airways. Most leave almost hourly from Bangkok or other destinations.  Note that if you do travel via Bangkok and arrive late in the evening, an overnight stay might be required before going on to Koh Samui.

    Rooms: Elements is a very modern, contemporary place to stay.  The resort itself is small and compact, so you’re never far from activities, restaurant, pool or spa, no matter where your room is located.  Larger and more expensive rooms are located towards the pool and beachfront in a “villa” type atmosphere.  Smaller, less expensive rooms are situated towards the center of the resort in “villa” style or “two story” type buildings.

    All rooms are simple, with modern Thai style furniture and furnishings.  We stayed in a 2BR oceanfront villa with a pool, that was directly next to the main resort pool.  The 2BR villa is a walled “compound” that consisted of four separate buildings, a single bedroom in each of two buildings, a central building that housed the living room and kitchen and a small half bathroom in yet another building.  Between the buildings and the ocean, lie the room pool, which was of significant size.  There’s also an in ground hot-tub in the villa.

    All of the “villa style” rooms are very private, with 8 foot walls surrounding each.  On the end of our villa, was a wooden screen that you could open to look out directly on the beach and ocean.  Almost all of the buildings in our villa were floor to ceiling glass on two sides.  During the very hot months, the air conditioning can have a hard time keeping rooms cool, even with the draperies shut.  The kitchen area included a small refrigerator as well as dishes and barware.  A flat screen TV was in each building and free wi-fi was available throughout the resort with fairly decent speeds.  Housekeeping was twice daily and the rooms were immaculate.

    Facilities: The hotel has a pool, exercise room, full-service spa and restaurant with small bar.  The exercise room is very large, with floor to ceiling glass on three sides.  There’s a wide range of exercise equipment as well as free weights.  There’s a small changing area and locker room as well.  The pool is a large rectangular shape with chairs and umbrellas down each side.  It opens on to the beach area, which includes additional chairs and umbrellas.  

    The restaurant is open-air style, with additional patio seating outside.  A small bar that’s elevated a few steps above one end of the restaurant, is a great place to relax in the afternoon or before lunch of dinner.  The food here was excellent.  There’s a great combination of traditional Thai food as well as Western favorites.  If you don’t see what you like on the menu, all you need to do is ask and either the Thai or Western chefs are happy to accommodate your requests.  Prices are reasonable.  There are also a couple of theme nights during the week, such as BBQ night.  Breakfast is included in most room rates.

    The spa here is really unbelievable.  You can see our separate review of that, here.

    Staff:  The staff at Elements was exceptional.  The entire crew were extremely helpful and accommodating, no matter what we needed or what we wanted to do. We’ve been to Thailand many times and we can truly say, that the service here is top notch, not only for resorts in Thailand, but most places around the world.  In addition to transfers to and from the hotel, we also hired one of the hotel’s staff members to take us on a tour around the island for a day.  The vehicle was always stocked with cool towels and bottled water or soft drinks to help survive the hottest part of the day.

    Pros: A very relaxing getaway at a very reasonable price.  Food and spa re great and the resort has a very quiet atmosphere.

    Cons: If you want to be near the hustle and bustle of Koh Samui, this may not be the option for you.  Also, if you want to be directly on the ocean, you may want to seek out other resorts.

    IAH TIP:  Occasionally the hotel has special rates on Jetsetter.  Rates are lower during off-season.

     

     

    For more photos of the hotel and Koh Samui, visit our photo gallery by clicking here.

     

  • Elements Boutique Spa – Koh Samui, Thailand

    53/5 Moo 4

    Phang Ka, Surat Thani
    Koh Samui, Thailand 

    +66 77 914 678

    Spa Website

    Spa Treatments: $15-$60 US

    Reviews: TripAdvisor

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    Elements Boutique Spa Koh Samui is located inside of the Elements Resort.

    Facilities: The spa is located within the resort and has several treatment rooms.  While the rooms are a bit small, they’re very comfortable.  While all can be enclosed, most of the time they are “open air”.  Even on the hottest days, the breezes keep rooms cool and make for a heavenly experience.  Your greeted with soothing cool towels and a very nice iced or hot tea.  There are no additional facilities such as steam rooms, locker rooms, etc., but with a resort this intimate, you won’t miss them at all.

    Staff: If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know the Thai people are extra ordinarily friendly and pleasant.  The spa staff here takes that to a whole new level.  They are all very professional and genuine.  All of us had various therapists while we were here and each and everyone was excellent.

    Treatments: There are plenty of spa treatments on the spa menu.  During our six day stay, we tried most of them.  Our favorites were the Hot Compress Herbal Massage and the four hour Elements Signature Massage.  If you get a bit too much sun, the After Sun Recovery Wrap is especially nice.

    Pricing: Prices are very inexpensive.  But don’t think that means the quality of the treatments suffer, they don’t.  On some days, we did two to three treatments a day because of how reasonable they were. 

    IAH TIP:  Because spa treatments are so reasonably priced, it’s highly advisable to book very early.  We booked our treatments two months in advance to make sure we could get in.

  • Mandarin Oriental Spa, Washington, DC

    1330 Maryland Avenue Southwest
    Washington D.C., DC 20024

    (202) 787-6100

    www.mandarinoriental.com

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    The Mandarin Oriental Spa, is located inside of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

    Facilities: The spa and fitness center is located on its own floor, right below the main lobby of the hotel.  The spa is very well designed.  As you exit the elevator bank, you walk down a long hallway to reach the check-in desk.  The distance means its extremely quiet and relaxing.  The check-in and waiting area is very large.  Men and women have their own separate steam rooms (wet and dry), and plunge pool.  Locker rooms are large with separate shower and sink areas.  The spa has several treatment rooms, larger than most spas.  Treatment rooms include light therapy units and electronic massage tables.

    Staff: All of the  Mandarin Oriental spa staff  were very friendly and accommodating.

    Treatments: The spa menu has a wide variety of spa treatments.  Most massages are a minimum of 80 minutes, giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy.

    Pricing: Prices are a bit high, but we felt after our treatment that it was worth it.  Rates increase for weekend appointments.

    Make sure to allow plenty of time before and after your appointment to enjoy the facilities, especially the experience showers.

     

  • Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC

    1330 Maryland Avenue Southwest
    Washington D.C., DC 20024

    (202) 554-8588

    www.mandarinoriental.com

    Deluxe Water View Room:

    Rack Rate: $315 per night + tax
    Our Rate: $255 per night + tax
    (Discounted, Event Rate)

    Booked Via: Direct w/Hotel

    Reviews:TripAdvisor

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    We’ve been to the Mandarin Oriental DC several times.  If you’ve never stayed at a Mandarin before, you’re in for a great experience.  We’ve also stayed at the Mandarin in San Francisco, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and we’ve always had consistently good experiences and the DC outpost didn’t disappoint.

    Location: The Mandarin is located just a short 10 minute walk from the National Mall, very near the Smithsonian.  Directly across the highway is the Jefferson Memorial.  It’s also near two Metro stops.  L’Enfant Plaza is the closest, with the Smithsonian stop just a bit further away.  One disadvantage is that there aren’t many shops or restaurants near the hotel.  While there is a Starbucks, sandwich shop and CVS right across the street, you’ll be headed to the Metro or a good 15-20 minute walk to other shops or restaurants.

    Rooms: Rooms here are average sized and very well appointed.  Beds are very comfortable and they all have the “signature” Mandarin bathroom.  It consists of a large soaker tub, separate shower with marble throughout.  Bathrooms here tend to be larger than in most other hotels.  Rooms on the Tai Pan club floor tend to be a few square foot larger, plus you’ll also have access to free breakfast, happy hour and all day snacks.  All rooms have large windows, a spacious work area, flat screen TV and plenty of outlets to connect your electronics.

    Facilities: The hotel has two highly rated restaurants.  For less formal fare, Sou’Wester is the hotels more casual dining spot serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  CityZen, open for dinner only, is one of the DC areas most highly ranked restaurants.  Advance reservations are highly recommended, even if you’re a guest in the hotel.  There’s also the Empress Lounge, located in a large open area right inside the hotel entrance and a small coffee shop just off the check-in area.  Also on-site is a sensational spa and workout facility, which has a separate review here.

    Staff: Everyone at the hotel from the doorman and front desk staff, to the maids are always very friendly and helpful.  During our stay we did have a small concern at the Spa.  The issue was resolved quickly and very professionally.

    Pros: Great rooms, great spa and five star treatment.

    Cons: Restaurants and stores are a 20 minute walk or metro ride away.

    The spa and restaurants are popular, so if you’re planning a visit to either, reserve early.
     

     

  • Garza Blanca Resort Spa – Puerto Vallarta, MX

    Km. 7.5 Carretera a Barra de Navidad
    Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Mexico 48390

    (322) 176-0700

    www.garzablancaresort.com

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    The Garza Blanca Resort Spa, is located inside of the Garza Blanca Resort, about 10 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta on Highway Mex 200.

    Facilities: The spa is located on the 7th floor of the newest building at the resort.  The spa has several treatment rooms, of which two are double treatment rooms with large verandas overlooking the ocean.  The men’s and women’s changing rooms are equipped with about 12 lockers, double sinks, toilets and two showers.  There is no steam room.  Each changing room is rather small.  There is a good sized workout room with cardio equipment and free weights.  There is no real waiting area for the spa.

    Service: Everyone is the spa were very pleasant.  Appointments were easy to get, however, at the time we visited, the resort was not very busy.  We were a bit concerned that spa appointments were kept in a journal, not a calendar.

    Treatments: The spa menu is rather standard.  Several different massage types, along with scrubs, facials, manicures & pedicures.  Not really any “exclusive” or “special treatments”.

    Pricing: Prices were on the high side.  They were comparable to treatments at higher end spas in the US or Europe.  For example, $120 US for 50 minutes.  In Puerto Vallarta, most highly rated spas charge around $45-$60 for 60-70 minute treatments.

    You can’t beat the convenience of having a spa on-site.  We had the basic swedish massage for 90 minutes and it was one of the better massages we had had in a long time.  Even though it’s pricey, you will walk away feeling refreshed.

    Alternatives: If you’re looking for alternatives, that may not have all the ambiance of the resort, but still have great treatments, Metamorphosis Day Spa (review), Venus Sunshine Spa (review) or Blue Massage Spa (review).  We have not had the opportunity to try these, but they were highly ranked on TripAdvisor.

    Ask for a treatment room facing the ocean.