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Plaza Premium Lounge Offers Ila Spa Treatments at Heathrow

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Between long security lines, delayed flights, and mind-numbing jet lag, it seems impossible to shake the anxiety that comes along with traveling. Thankfully, Plaza Premium Lounges offer a place to decompress before taking off—regardless of airline or traveler loyalty memberships. Their first European lounge recently opened at London Heathrow.

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India's Vana Malsi Estate Reinvents the Spa Experience

Meditating in the Bodi Tree room

A trailblazing retreat at the foot of the Himalayas is reinventing the spa experience.

Set on 21 acres of lychee and mango orchards in the forests of India’s Uttarakhand state, 150 miles north of New Delhi, Vana Malsi Estate is the opposite of a tough-love boot camp. It’s a luxury ashram with an East-meets-West treatment menu, a farm-to-table ethos, and a sleek Modernist design, softened by the sounds of birds, rhesus monkeys, and melodious flute players.

Since it opened last spring, international jet-setters have been using Vana as a one-stop rejuvenation shop. After an initial consultation with a holistic doctor, guests receive a custom-tailored program that includes sessions across various disciplines. Therapists might draw on an ancient healing practice called Sowa Rigpa, from the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute; a Chinese-medicine doctor may read your tongue and face to pinpoint ailments. Flute vibrations elevate meditation classes, held in outdoor pavilions, and days end in a private Watsu pool at the spa.

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Hotel Spas to Visit Now: Guerlain Spa

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There’s nothing quite like the hotel spa experience. You can book an appointment last-minute; ride the elevator wearing just a bathrobe (with no shame); bask in a beautifully designed space; and head back to your room without even glancing at a bill.

These days, hotel spas are stepping up their game, partnering with top beauty brands to bring a new level of sophistication to their treatments and products. Here, one of our favorites:

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New York City’s Knickerbocker Hotel Partners with Celebrity Hairstylist Ted Gibson

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An exciting new development is about to hit Times Square—famed stylist Ted Gibson is moving into the Knickerbocker Hotel, a Beaux Arts-style landmark property opening this fall.

The scissor siren will oversee on-site salon services (in addition to his Fifth Avenue flagship and outpost at the W Fort Lauderdale); provide cuts for high-end clients that include Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o (a service that will set you back $1,200); and, most importantly—take on the newly minted role of Style Curator.

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Go! Julien Farel’s JF Men Spa at the Loews Regency New York

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To all American men, I have an announcement: it’s time to let go of your spa phobias. Set aside any machismo sentiments, because there’s never been a better time to be a man—and a well-groomed one, at that.

As an editor who covers beauty and wellness, I’m always on the lookout for the latest in skin-care, cosmetics, spa treatments—you name it. Few trends have been as hard to miss as the current emphasis on men’s grooming. And few have found a way to capitalize on the increasing spa-friendly audience as famed stylist Julien Farel with JF Men, his new men’s-only floor dedicated to full-service grooming, at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City.

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A New Luxe Hotel Spa: L. Raphael at the Four Seasons New York

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There’s no shortage of five-star hotels here in Manhattan. Five-star hotels with top-notch spas—now, that’s another story. The Four Seasons New Yorkrecently upped its game with a complete design overhaul, replacing the crammed check-in area with a warm, silver-and-chocolate-toned lobby that feels both spacious and inviting.

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The Moment: Queenstown, New Zealand

queenstown new zealand

5:24 p.m.

It feels much later than it is at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat—45 minutes outside of Queenstown in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. But the afternoon meditation session is about to begin, and after the exhausting day you’ve had, a good stretch is just what your body needs. Today’s 6 a.m. yoga class seems like a distant memory after that 10-mile hike on Mount Judah, high above Lake Wakatipu, where only your labored breathing pierced the silence. Why, again, did you sign up for this weeklong test of endurance? Now you remember, as the sun begins its slow descent behind the snowcapped mountain peaks, drenching everything in a golden glow. The calming energy of the studio—and that incomparable view—clears your mind as each exhalation coaxes the tightness from your muscles. Transformation couldn’t come at a better time. Or place. aro-ha.com; all-inclusive. $$$$

—Frances Hibbard

Hotels
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

Photo courtesy of Aro Ha Wellness Retreat

March Vacation Deals

Westin Hilton Head

Want to practice your photography skills in Mexico or cruise the Mediterranean? This month’s deals have you covered.

Art & Culture

Beijing and Shanghai: 36% off insider’s tour

Springtime in China package includes:

• 6 nights' accommodations, divided between Fairmonts in Beijing and Shanghai, provided by Kensington Tours, a bespoke outfitter with global expertise
• Explore the M50 art district, Shanghai’s action-packed creative hub, with an in-the-know local
• Airport meet and greet
• Private guided tour of Beijing including stops at Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall
• Private excursion in Shanghai, including visits to Jade Buddha and Yuyuan Garden
• Internal flights and chauffeured transfers

Cost: From $1,750 ($292 per night)

Book by April 30. Blackout dates apply: April 18–May 1.

For more information or to book, please visit Kensington Tours.

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Beauty Road Test: Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer

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Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.

The product: Clinique Superdefense SPF 20 Daily Defense Moisturizer; $47

Pros: I admit it: sometimes the sheer selection of facial potions, lotions, and—dare I say it, BB or CC or even ZZ creams—is enough to make me feel like breaking out in hives. I’m all about simplicity in the morning, so I’ve fallen head-over-ballet-flats in love with Clinique’s new moisturizer: it helps minimize the appearance of UV damage, prevents future damage with an SPF 20, and leaves my skin with a long-lasting dewy glow (thanks to ingredients such as barley and wheat germ extract). I’ll spare you the science-y details behind why it works, but lemme tell you: it does.

Cons: I will probably have to buy a new jar every month, I’m so addicted to the stuff.

Verdict: Packable.

Photo Courtesy of Clinique

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Cruise News: Celebrity Partners With Canyon Ranch; Royal Caribbean Offers Virtual Balconies

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Sailing the high seas just got even more relaxing: Celebrity Cruises announced a new partnership with the iconic Canyon Ranch (a rumored getaway of luminaries from Oprah to Julia Roberts, who are rumored to have visited their Tucson location). Spas, salons, and fitness offerings on all 10 ships will be Canyon Ranch-ified come April. Look for Reiki healing energy therapies, aromatherapy-infused steam room, and its beloved and inspiring wellness workshops. (I visited Canyon Ranch Lenox last year, and adored my courses on gratitude and—yes—knitting.)

In other news? Eighty one interior staterooms on Royal Caribbean’s brand new Navigator of the Seas come with…wait for it…virtual balconies (above), floor-to-ceiling screens that project what’s happening off-ship in real time, replete with the sounds (was that a squawking sea gull?). My favorite part? Each has a very secure-looking balustrade. Safety first.

Kathryn O'Shea-EvansKathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @ThePluckyOne.

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International

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