The best things in life may be free but life’s little luxuries that no one else has access to (or even knows about) come in a close second. These 10 spas offer just that—in the form of secret spa treatments that the menu doesn’t advertise—but those “in the know” know to request.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina ditches pretentiousness at the door and opts for a more serenity-without-the-stiffness vibe, but that doesn’t mean the island is without its hidden perks. Ask the front desk at the ever-popular Spa at Sanderling Resort for the Island Oasis (the spa offerings are detailed and even include an on-site acupuncturist, but you won’t find this treatment listed on the menu), a cleansing facial that incorporates natural elements of the sea, along with an algae, spirulina and honey-rich cream that nourishes the body as you receive some out-of-this-world reflexology.
The Ultimate Facial
Texas is a big place, but Mokara Spa in San Antonio is the only spot that secures the prize for being the only location in the state for offering the new, and still secretive, Babor SeaCreation Facial. The facial is fabulous (so is the spa overall), clocks in at an impressive two solid hours, and contains high-tech, deep-sea ingredients that have been tested under years of research to help combat the signs aging. Yes, the facial will make your skin look spectacular, but the spa says this is also the treatment that will tackle stress through its relaxation-inducing massage.
Italy isn’t just pasta, gelato and fabulous shopping—it’s also a serious plane ride for those of us who have to cross the Atlantic to get there. And, for those of us who also aren’t blessed with the ability to step out of stuffy recirculated airplane-air looking rested and radiant comes the Hydramask from Club 10 at Principe di Savioa of the Dorchester Collection. The boosting facial claims to banish any signs of jet lag, boost cell vitality in the skin and refresh after the lengthy flight to Milan. After the treatment, take some time to lounge at the rooftop terrace to take in some of the best views the city has to offer.
Sante Fe, NM, is a special city, especially for those seeking healing modalities and the very best healers with the ability to perform them. The Inn and Spa at Loretto offers just that, thanks to their team of therapists who offer exclusive treatments that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. When you check in, ask for spa director, Suzanne Chavez. She has an “intuitive skill” for connecting guests with the spa’s very best healers and therapists for their needs. It’s hard to explain (and even harder to get into detail on a spa menu, which is why it’s not listed there), but trust us, the team knows what they are doing and they know how to fix your well-being.
Located in the always-serene New York Finger Lakes, Mirbeau Inn & Spa has a big spa menu (plus a plethora of complimentary services like yoga classes, herbal-infused saunas and mineral salt baths) but you won’t find the “The Mirbeau Express” manicure on it. The a 50-minute, anything-but-basic nail treatment includes shaping, buffing, smoothing and an application of the spa’s special body butter and polish. Looking for a more specialized full-body treatment? The spa also offers an array of seasonal treatments that you can ask the front desk for; try the Hot Toddy for the Body Treatment, a lush treatment that uses a blend of bourbon and brown sugar to smooth and exfoliate.
It’s no secret for seasoned spa-goers that Rancho La Puerta offers a true mind-body-spirit wellness experience through its targeted programs, fitness classes, hiking, spa, organic-food fine dining and hands-on cooking. The ranch is all about one-on-one service and, according to the spa, the one-hour Watsu water therapy session is one of its top services (although it’s not publicized on the menu)—and one that many guests say they come to the ranch just to experience.
The Local Secret
Jackson Hole locals swear by Solitude Spa at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa’s Hair of the Moose treatment, the perfect remedy for a long night out or after a hard day hitting the slopes. The name may be kitschy, but after just 15 minutes of Oxygen Therapy in the Tranquility Lounge (followed by a signature drink from their new restaurant, Spur Restaurant & Bar), you’ll see why those seeking some instantaneous rejuvenation sign up for it. But this is one specialty service you have to book ahead of time—it’s only available for a three-hour window during the day and the spa only allows two treatments an hour.
Eyes SurpriseA cleanser of your choice, an application of an eye peel concentrate and eye gel, microcurrent, red-light therapy and lymphatic drainage target all of your aging eye concerns in the Ultimate Lift Eye Treatment at OleHenriksen Face & Body Spa in Los Angeles. According to the spa, it’s the most popular off-the-menu treatments that guests request—and it’s no surprise why: It’s suitable for all skin types, only takes 25 minutes and shows visible results so you can walk out looking revived.
Sweet SerenityThe finale for Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France decadent NaturaBisse full-body scrubs technically isn’t a “treatment,” but it is so relaxing, unexpected and unbelievably zen-inducing that we couldn’t leave it off the list. Instead of your standard offering of a glass of water from your therapist after a session is over, the spa provides a scoop of homemade tropical sorbet from the islands, freshly baked biscuit and (if you request) an allover spritz of Natura Bisse C+C Vitamin Splash, which will leave you looking like you just got the best facial of your life.
You may not need a passport to travel to Hawaii but it’s almost a prerequisite to book an indulgent spa treatment as an out-of-state, relaxation-seeking visitor. The Spa at The Modern Honolulu can help you tend to that task with its healing and transforming treatments (the Éminence Organic Skin Care facials are a must for sensitive skin types; try any of the body offerings that feature the Hawaiian-grown Ola line). There are in-room and poolside massage and spa services if you request, but the spa also offers a special off-the-menu spa treatment, the Atoxelene Oxygen Hand Treatment, which includes a serum and hyperbaric oxygen infusion that targets fine lines and wrinkles on the hands to plump the skin from within.