“It smells like a spa in here.” We’ve all said it—those sensory-specific few little words, that, regardless of the fragrance, just means something good. Sometimes it is as simple as some lavender essential oil or even a candle burning, other times, it’s something more bespoke, crafted specifically for that location. No matter your scent preferences, these 14 spas have smell-good spaces down to a science.
Santa Monica’s steps-from-the-beach ONE the Spa at Shutters is a small space that feels a little bit like a hidden hideaway for solace seekers (even the lounge area is so tucked away, you might miss it before you go in for your massage). But, it’s precisely that privacy factor that makes the space feel so fantastic. Dimmed lighting and flickering candles set the stage, while the scent of Red Flower’s Ocean line (it’s also the star of the in-room luxurious amenities) plays in the backdrop. The official list of accords in the featured fragrance includes sea flowers, herbs and trees, balsam, clove, bay laurel leaf and eucalyptus; somehow, when blended together in this seaside location, they deliver a scent that is undoubtedly “the ocean.”
The clean scent of white tea is always comforting, and, for the Heavenly Spa by Westin it is also a core part of the spa experience they present to guests. As the property’s signature fragrance, the aroma helps guests “shift modes the moment they step through the hotel doors,” and, according to the brand, also helps to balance and inspire. Regardless of what it does for you, don’t skip purchasing one of the take-home diffusers at the gift shop to set up your own scented space after you leave.
Technically, there isn’t a spa (there are some very specific in-room spa services, on request), but New York’s boutique Westhouse offers such a unique olfactory experience, that it would be remiss to not include it in this list. Located just steps from Central Park, the cozy space feels more like your personal townhouse than your average home-away-from-home, with carefully curated touches and an exclusive warm spicy-amber scent that wafts through the lobby and halls by fragrance designers 12.29. The exotic blend is truly memorable, and the magic doesn’t stop there, as the rooms are also outfitted with the opulent DanNa Decker line of candles and bath and body products (it’s the first hospitality partnership for the couture brand).
Hidden within a private lagoon on O’ahu, lies Aulani Disney Resort and Spa, a remote paradise surrounded by plumeria and hibiscus flowers that naturally smell just about as good as the spa. Laniwai—a Polynesian phrase for freshwater heaven—smells exactly how you would imagine a Hawaiian spa would smell, only better. With a mission to truly represent Hawaiian culture, each room hosts an aroma flight of traditional scents like coconut, pineapple, plumeria and papaya scented body butters used during treatments so you can fully experience the fragrant elements Hawaii has to offer. The spa’s signature scent Maile, however, is truly beyond compare. The only way to give it justice is to describe it based on the spa’s theme; a play on light, color and water. The fresh scent fills the air (and complimentary locker room toiletries) with an aroma comparable to the ocean mixed with fresh fruit and flowers and a touch of the way the air smells just before the sun sets.
What does endless sunshine, stunning beaches and a carefree attitude smell like? According to Carmel, CA, organic perfumery Ajne, it smells like “Jumby Bay”—an invigorating blend that highlights fresh lemongrass, bay pimento and a hint of rosewood found at the Rosewood Jumby Bay and its Sense spa. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is making those notes work so well, but it is so undoubtedly “paradise,” and it’s concocted from plants found on the island. The fragrance is diffused not only throughout the resort, but it’s also the signature massage oil found in the treatments and infused into all the body care and home-fragrance products used throughout the spa.
Making a ship smell spectacular is a little tricky. Due to safety regulations, you can’t have a burning candle on board, but the uberluxurious Seadream Yacht Club Spa found a fabulously fragranced way to get around that. Thanks to an electric burner and some carefully selected Harnn aromatherapy oil blends, plus the Camylle essential oils used in the sauna, the spa is a space of exotically scented solace. It also has some serious treatments (La Prairie facials, MoroccanOil hair treatments and traditional Thai offerings, to name a few), but if you just want a whiff of some decadently aromatherapeutic air, just head down for a steam and soak it in (it’s free and open to all guests).
The smell of incense can go either way. To some, it’s a bit too smoky; to others, it’s warm and inviting. The Wayak Spa at Viceroy Riviera Maya goes more toward the “warm” way, offering one of the most unique full-on fragrance experiences we’ve seen. Revolving around the essence of copal (an aromatic tree resin native to the area) incense, the spa has a Shaman-in-Residence who blesses all arriving guests with the incense in a purification ceremony intended to dispel negative energy and prepare them for a positive experience. His message: “The peace and nature of the cosmos will be in all of us.”
Going the indigenous route, New Hampshire’s The Spa at Omni Mount Washington Resort’s scent of “Mountain Mist” is as memorably fragranced as it is effective. Available in the spa’s lotions, scrubs, body washes, shampoos and conditioners (as well as serving as its signature fragrance), it’s infused with Iberis, a local plant commonly known as Candytuft, which has been used since ancient times to relieve muscle soreness; nettle, rich in vitamin E; and rosemary, a soothing, calming, anti-inflammatory herb that gives it that aromatic woody-mint scent.
The magic of Malibu’s cult-classic Kai fragrance has made its way to the East Coast, setting up shop as the signature fragrance at The Spa at the Providence Biltmore. The natural essences of gardenia, white floral and honeysuckle leaves an intoxicating scent everywhere you turn—plus you can take it home, as the spa carries the full line of fragrance, bath, body and home care products.
Pumped through all the vents at Miami’s classic Fontainebleau (including the Lapis Spa) is the perfect green-floral-meets-bamboo-foliage signature scent. The fragrance is complex (but in a good way), and comes across as calming and captivating and delightfully surprising in the oceanfront setting. Crave more? Just look in the gift shop for Staircase-The Signature Lobby Scent candle.
With an aromatherapy angle that is so special it has its own schedule (Monday may be lemongrass but by Friday eucalyptus is featured), Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts creates what it refers to as its “aromatherapy sanctuary,” an always-present signature scent of incense and essential oils you can find not only in the spa, but in all guest rooms and public spaces. Best of all: The front desk can take requests if there’s something specific you favor.
Mysterious and enchanting, the Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia offers unexpected touches at every corner of its desert hideaway location. The Joyambrosia signature scent, collected exclusively for the spa and infused from the Peniocereus Greggii, commonly known as the cactus ﬂower called ‘Queen of the Night,’ greets guests as they make their entrance into the Joya Spa. This rare fragrance (the flower blooms one night only under a full moon) can only be described as an alluring twist on your most complex floral fragrance, but its real draw is its aromatherapeutic properties, as it is said to increase clarity, wisdom and insight.
It’s hard to believe two simple scents such as mango and guava can merge together to create such an appealing and alluring fragrance, but that’s exactly what’s been accomplished with The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach’s brand-new signature Mango Guava candle. The intoxicating blend burns through the spa, making it almost hard to pinpoint the notes, but making it almost mandatory to stop and ask. As an added bonus: A limited quantity of candles are exclusively available to guests as a complimentary gift when they purchase the Taste of the Tropics experience, a 50-minute sensory scrub and massage that exfoliates the body head to toe, getting bodies beach-ready—and deliciously fragranced to boot.
Lovers of uber-luxury fragrance house Le Labo almost have to make the fragrance mecca to one of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties to experience their “official” scent of Le Labo Rose 31. To categorize the unisex scent as simply “rose,” would be an understatement, as it mysteriously makes its way into the warm-spicy category as well. Either way, the evocative scent shows up not only in the air but also in the in-room amenities as handcrafted, made-to-order concoctions.
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