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The Spa Suite: Ultimate Room Service

Growing up, I had to share a bedroom with three sisters (my brother, lucky dog, had his own room), so now I absorb pampering and privacy like an Egyptian cotton towel. Happily, several resorts have created a new experience designed to spoil needy guests like me: spa suites. These cloistered mini-retreats come with facial equipment and massage tables, steam and sauna rooms, oversize tubs and meditation areas. Not to be confused with hotel guest rooms--no beds here--the suites are secluded environments that guests can book for a few hours in order to enjoy an utterly private spa experience. „You no longer have to dress and undress, or shuffle between rooms for treatments. Therapists come to you,¾ says Tara Grodjesk, who is helping to develop spa suites for the Sonoma Mission Inn, Lodge at Pebble Beach, and Auberge du Soleil. „It's ideal to share with a spouse, a close friend, a family member.¾ Better yet, tell your siblings to reserve their own.

GERMANY
Brenner's Park-Hotel & Spa 4--6 Schillerstrasse, Baden-Baden; 800/223-6800 (in New York City, 212/838-3110) or 49-7221/9000, fax 49-7221/38772; half day, $273 for up to four people; treatments extra. Brenner's Park, on the edge of the Black Forest, gets high marks for its extravagant suite, whose East-meets-West décor has nothing to do with Germany's former political status. Quartzite baths, shoji-inspired screens, and Karl Lagerfeld photographs set the stage for an indulgent interlude. On your arrival, a spa butler adjusts the lighting and music, takes special requests--a vintage bottle of champagne, dinner on the private garden terrace--and sets up treatments, such as a Japanese steam bath, enriched with jasmine and orchid blossoms, in a Roman-style radiant-heat room.

HONG KONG
Regent Spa Regent Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Rd., Kowloon; 800/545-4000 or 852/2721-1211, fax 852/2739-4546; 90 minutes, $90 for two; some treatments included. The Regent's five opulent spa suites, with Hermès toiletries, plush terry robes, and English-speaking therapists, appeal to Western sensibilities. Each room also has a sauna, steam shower, solarium, and massage table, so after your feet have been pounded to jelly during a Chinese reflexology session, you can lie back for lavish attention--a hydrating milk scalp massage, a chamomile eye restorative, or a skin treatment with caviar extract.

LAS VEGAS
Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 877/220-2688 or 702/414-3600, fax 702/414-3801; three hours, $500 for two; treatments extra. Walking through the Venetian's casino, it's hard to imagine the oasis of calm in the two spa suites upstairs, which offer seclusion to celebrities who blow into town. But your name doesn't have to flash above the Strip for you to hang out in a private steam shower, burn off buffets on two cardio machines, or soak in your gold-plated claw-foot tub. Each suite also contains two massage tables and a body cocoon (think updated water bed) for therapeutic wraps.

CALIFORNIA
Allegria Spa at Ventana Inn & SpaL Hwy. 1, Big Sur; 800/628-6500 or 831/667-2331, fax 831/667-0573; 21/2 hours, $450 for two; some treatments included. The Couples Room at Ventana's new Allegria Spa takes a design cue from the Big Sur landscape, as do its spa treatments, such as the Moor Mud Facial and Pine Forest Body Scrub, and its menu of bath infusions (juniper, cedarwood, lavender). During the bath, a Zen Alarm Clock will chime after 40 minutes to keep you from pickling. After, wearing fluffy robes and Sensi sandals, sip Ventana's own lemon balm and rose-hip tea, blended by a local botanist.

Spa at Bernardus Lodge 415 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley; 888/648-9463 or 831/659-3131, fax 831/659-3529; 100 minutes, $420 for two; some treatments included. Although Carmel Valley's newest resort is in a vineyard, the only beverage that bubbles in your spa suite is sparkling water. But wine does make an appearance in other ways, as in the Harvest Crush body treatment. The versatile space is designed for wet treatments--mud wraps, seaweed facials, salt glows--as well as skin care and massage on tables positioned under heated ceramic ceiling tiles to keep you toasty during rubdowns. An oversize whirlpool tub dominates the suite's clothing-optional meditation garden.

Spa Ojai Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Rd., Ojai; 888/772-6524 or 805/646-5511, fax 805/640-2004; 50 minutes, $170 for two; some treatments included. The whirlpool on the private walled terrace of Ojai's Sunset Suite faces due west, so it's the ideal spot for watching the sun's dying rays. Massage--aromatherapy, craniosacral, reflexology, deep tissue--is the preferred service, but treatments such as a bitter orange- blossom facial can be arranged. Want to prolong the ex-perience?Book one of the two bedroom suites ($2,000 a night) directly above Spa Ojai, each with its own terrace, outdoor fireplace, whirlpool, and meditation loft.

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