Insider: Couples Spas
Published: May 2009
By Christine Shea
North America's most inviting spas allow you to seek solace in pairs.
What could be more relaxing—or romantic—than an indulgent spa treatment beside your beloved?At these eight retreats, couples can learn massage techniques, rebalance the body through ancient Ayurvedic methods, or simply soak together in a tub of aromatic herbs. And since most of these resort spas welcome outside visitors as well as guests, you can book your bliss for two days—or two hours.
Mandarin Oriental Spa, Miami
The luxury factor is high at this neo-Zen sanctuary overlooking Biscayne Bay. The signature ritual for two, in the grand Couples Suite, begins with a footbath in petal-scattered water infused with essential oils. During the soak and subsequent foot rub, therapists tailor a series of treatments for each of you. Even after your spearmint body polish and Balinese synchronized massage (two therapists per person) is through, stay as long as you'd like—guests are charged per hour ($250 for couples) rather than per treatment. 500 Brickell Key Dr., Miami; 866/888-6780 or 305/913-8288; www.mandarinoriental.com; doubles from $269.
Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe
Perhaps it's the smell of cedar or piñon in the high desert air. Or it could be the faint sound of Japanese wind chimes and the rustling of rice-paper screens. But the allure of this New Mexican spa is most likely the juvenile thrill of baring it all outdoors. Unwind in a private outdoor tub, or schedule an Indo-Asian Hot Oil Massage for Two—a sandalwood-scented massage followed by an herbal wrap—in a couples room with wide-open windows. No peeking. 3451 Hyde Park Rd., Santa Fe; 505/992-9304; www.tenthousandwaves.com; couples Indo-Asian massage $254; doubles from $185.
Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
The remote island setting, enhanced by the spa's celestial Lomi Pohaku massages, makes this Four Seasons a candidate for the top couples retreat. No trip to Hawaii is complete without a generous sampling of the traditional lomilomi: using hands, forearms, and elbows, therapists leave no stress knot unattended. Book the treatment in an oceanfront, thatched-roof Hawaiian hale during the famous sunset on Wailea beach, and it'll be a contender for the romance hall of fame. Wailea, Maui; 800/334-6284 or 808/874-8000; www.fourseasons.com; doubles from $315.
Anne Sémonin Spa at the Plaza Hotel, New York
For tourists staying at the gilded fortress off Fifth Avenue, or New Yorkers looking to cocoon with their companions, Anne Sémonin's first American outpost is an indulgent urban escape. After a long day of shopping at nearby Harry Winston, settle into the Suite de Beauté, outfitted with side-by-side tables, a private whirlpool, and a couples shower. The room can be booked for any of Sémonin's trademark treatments, such as the Fresh Feet Treatment, and is as far removed from the chaos of the city as is possible in midtown. Fifth Ave. at Central Park South, New York; 212/546-5444; two massages in the Suite de Beauté $340; doubles from $280.
Golden Door at Las Casitas Village, Puerto Rico
Fantasy Island meets ancient sanctuary—that's the idea behind Golden Door's Las Casitas location, in a cluster of Spanish-style villas atop a 300-foot sea cliff. Try the Spirit of Life Ayurvedic Journey, a series of treatments involving a warm oil third-eye drip, a body wrap, and a transcendental head massage. You'll emerge rejuvenated. 1000 El Conquistador Ave., Fajardo, P.R.; 800/468-8365 or 787/863-1000; www.wyndham.com; couples massage $198; doubles from $455.
Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples, Florida
With a recent $25 million addition, this grand hotel finally has a grand spa to match. For partners, the treatment of choice is undoubtedly the Feast of Flowers massage, inspired by the property's brilliant rose garden. Fragrant floral essential oils with crushed rose petals are kneaded into weary muscles while you drift off into dreamland in a therapy room built for two. 280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd., Naples, Fla.; 800/241-3333 or 941/598-3300; www.ritzcarlton.com; Feast of Flowers massage for two $250; doubles from $479.
The Caves, Negril, Jamaica
Small in size but with enormous charm, the Caves was made for intimate getaways. Among the handful of thatched-roof huts stands a tiny spa with just enough room for two massage tables. Inside, couples can gaze at the Caribbean—or into each other's eyes—while therapists anoint their bodies and scalps with Aveda oils. Most choose to prolong the magic by requesting a "cave-light" dinner, served at the water's edge on a table carved out of the limestone. If that doesn't light your fire, nothing will. Light House, Negril; 800/688-7678 or 305/531-8800; www.islandoutpost.com; couples massage $187; doubles from $525, including meals.
Avanyu Spa, Rosario Resort, San Juan Islands, Washington
Travel 11/2 hours by ferry from Seattle—or mere minutes via seaplane—and you'll find yourself in one of the most scenic and peaceful places in America. While the spa at this mansion hotel is simple, the quiet that comes with being at the edge of civilization on Orcas Island is what makes it so appealing. Have simultaneous rock massages, and you'll think you're the last two people on earth. 1400 Rosario Rd., Eastsound, Wash.; 800/562-8820 or 360/376-2222; www.rosarioresort.com; two 50-minute massages $180; doubles from $159.