By Sandra Ramani
November 10, 2014
Credit: JW Marriott Houston Downtown

The JW Marriott Downtown Houston recently unveiled the new Spa by JW concept—which will roll out to 20 more properties in the coming year. Designed for both the hesitant spa novice and the time-strapped guest, the idea is to “de-mystify the spa experience, make it more accessible, and make it easier for guests to enjoy on their own schedule,” explains Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President & Global Brand Manager for JW Marriott.

Each Spa by JW will feature full-service treatment rooms; reception areas and lounges where even non-spa-goers are encouraged to hang out and order snacks; plus décor and retail items that reflect the location—so things "are never cookie cutter," promises Gaskins.

The biggest point of difference are the no-appointment-needed Express Suites, a collection of smaller treatment alcoves set in the reception area, and designed for those on the go. Each is outfitted with cabinets and benches—so you can stow your luggage and get a quick backrub before check-in—plus what we call the “Rolls Royce of massage chairs.” Among the chair's never-before-seen amenities: LED mood lighting, an aromatherapy diffuser, heated seating, noise cancelling technology, and a docked iPad that displays soothing nature videos.

Throughout the spa, treatments and products are categorized by desired result—Renew, Invigorate, Indulge, and Calm; there's also a NightCap menu for late-night services. Here, we breakdown what to book in each category, plus one carry-out item for the super time-crunched:


If You Have…

  • 12-minutes: Zone out with a relaxing Scalp Massage while your phone recharges
  • 60-minutes: From the NightCap menu, the Sleep Deeply aromatherapy massage has been specially-formulated to encourage deeper Zzz's
  • To Go: With organic chamomile, skullcap, nettle leaf and more, Soothe by Ikati Tea melts stress with each sip


If You Have…

  • 12-minutes: The Aching Feet massage revives tired dogs, while stimulating points to help jump start the body
  • 60-minutes: Using a cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants, and hyperbaric oxygen, the O2 Infusion Facial visibly hydrates and lifts skin
  • To Go: Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Scrub, made with coffee, pink grapefruit, frankincense, and more, will aid circulation


If You Have…

  • 12-minutes: The ideal solution for a pulled-together look, try the buff-and-polish NailShine (can average about twenty minutes)
  • 60-minutes: The combo of citrus oils in the Detox & Revive body treatment helps revive sluggish (and over-indulged) immune systems
  • To Go: Liana Krissoff's Vegetarian for a New Generationcookbook highlights the tasty side of healthy meat- and gluten-free dishes