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Lads' Day Out

Chris Tubbs

Photo: Chris Tubbs

The spa according to Philippe Starck is appropriately minimal: a soothing world of billowy white curtains, pale beech floors, artfully designed lighting, and, of course, therapists who look as though they were airlifted from the runways of Milan. Secluded on two floors of Ian Schrager's new Sanderson hotel in Soho, Agua attracts a growing clientele with a full range of treatments, many of which—aromatherapy facials, cleansing back massage, chest and back waxings—have been created especially for men.

The best way to experience Agua is by booking one of its daylong men's packages, which generally include exfoliation, full-body aromatherapy massage, facial, and manicure-pedicure. Hotel guests have access to Sanderson's gleaming new gym and the privilege of ordering healthy dishes, such as shrimp salad with steamed asparagus, from Spoon, the hotel's Alain Ducasse restaurant. Lunch can be taken either in the relaxation room on one of Starck's white faux—Louis XV chairs by a gurgling fountain, or on a chaise in your personal white-curtained pod, equipped with a tiny TV and headset with a choice of music. 50 Berners St.; 44-207/300-1414; massage from $55, packages from $240; Spoon lunch from $17.

Champneys Piccadilly
In a city renowned for its private clubs, Champneys is perhaps London's clubbiest spa. Exclusive, expensive ($4,000 a year for first-time members), elegant (marble staircases, frescoed ceilings, gilded columns)—Champneys caters to cool and connected Londoners who don't come just to exercise. Since the spa introduced the French Decléor system of facials, massages, and skin-care products designed specifically for guys, they've been lining up for its 70 health and beauty treatments.

For non-members, Champneys offers a Spa Discovery Day that gives men (and women) the run of the club for eight hours as well as a massage, lunch, and as many classes—from Alexander Technique to Ashtanga yoga—as they can fit in. Any package allows visitors a dip in the huge Roman pool, with its blue mosaic tile, Greco-Roman statues, and real palm trees. Cap the day with a soothing meditation session (read: nap) in the womblike relaxation room, which faces an enormous bubbling aquarium. In April, Champneys introduced CityPoint, its new facility in a dramatic glass skyscraper in the City financial district. Advance membership was reportedly 84 percent male, so CityPoint plans to add more programs just for men. 21A Piccadilly; 44-207/255-8000; day rate from $186, massages from $65; Spa Discovery Day $171; Decléor facials from $64.


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