Move over, party people and retirees! Miami is the latest spa Mecca. Here are the South Florida city’s four hottest, hippest locations.
Urban Energy: Exhale at Epic Miami
This sleek, playful urban hotel is in the heart of downtown Miami. Located along the Miami River and overlooking Biscayne Bay, the Epic has a knockout nearly 14,000-square-foot wraparound deck on the 16th floor, offering two pools, private cabanas, and panoramic views of the city and Biscayne Bay.
The scene: Epic’s 16th floor is also home to the 12,000-square-foot Exhale spa, a chain distinguished for its unique mind-body approach to fitness. Here, you’ll find expansive sun-filled studios and a lifestyle boutique (think French Connection, Dolce Vita and Michelle Jonas lines, as well as the obligatory Lululemon wear. Note: You’ll have a hard time walking away empty-handed.)
Known especially for its signature Core Fusion Barre and yoga classes, Exhale offers about 52 different group options a week. And there’s always something to celebrate at the spa, explains Esti Prager, spa director, who says that a recent retreat, “Shake Your Chakra,” was a huge success.
The treatments: Lively, upbeat and energetic is how Prager describes the Epic’s clientele. And energy is definitely where it’s at — even with spa services. The most popular body treatment is the invigorating Glow Body Scrub, which begins with a dry brushing and includes application of a citrus body scrub and warm lotion. The most popular facial is the Illuminate Facial, which involves misting the face with an active copper mist that bubbles up and leaves skin glowing.
Also on the menu: some very good alternative treatments, such as acupuncture. This property gets bonus points for being pet-friendly, eco-conscious, and offering complimentary on-demand yoga, Pilates, and meditation channels in room, as well as a basket of yoga accessories for use during your stay. exhalespa.com
Hipster Heaven: The Spa at The Standard
Describing itself as a “holistic hydrotherapy hotel,” the Miami Beach Standard offers a communal spa experience unlike any other. “We want you to play, we want you to have fun and do the DIY stuff that’s so beneficial,” says Dennis Stovall, spa manager. Extra details of note: The Shady Swing Lounge, the Warby Parker beach cruiser bicycles that you can borrow, cost-free, and paddle-boarding galore.
The scene: Ever wonder what an indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy playground looks like? Ponder no longer. With a spa day pass, you’ll have access to 15,000 square feet of fun: Open-air mud baths; a 103 degree F Roman Waterfall hot tub; a 50 degree F Arctic Plunge; a gorgeous mineral-water pool overlooking Biscayne Bay with underwater speakers; a DIY body scrub area; a 12-foot falling water column; a cedar sauna; a sound shower; aromatherapy steam room; outdoor soaking tubs, and lots more. The Hammam, one of the largest steam baths in North America, is a beloved feature of many a spa guest. The communal spa experience is what it’s all about here—there’s even a class called “Stick Together Group Acupuncture,” and the Love Club, a monthly workshop led by a relationship coach.
The treatments: The heated (86 degrees F) marble room is the perfect place to sit and relax muscles or enjoy treatments like the popular Soul Temple and Signature Hammam Rub & Scrub. You may even opt for a warm yoga class in this space. No matter which way you look, you’ll see very relaxed people hanging out in robes. standardhotels.com/spa-miami-beach
Small & Sexy: Renew the Spa at The James Royal Palm
One of the hottest new properties in Miami’s South Beach, The James Royal hotel offers a super-customized take on the spa experience. Drawing inspiration from the ocean and its restorative and healing properties, Renew has a special salt theme and uses the mineral throughout.
The scene: One of the highlights of the spa is the oceanfront deck where you’ll find the outdoor salt bar shower, a great exfoliating pre-treatment option. The spa has partnered with celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia, who has created a variety of wellness teas and drinks and a nutritious food menu of perfect post-spa light bites. He is also available for private consultations. Garcia, who grew up between downtown Miami and Havana, Cuba, has a very real understanding of the benefits of salt water and fresh ocean air. “When you’re bathing in it, or incorporating ocean salt in your products and services, it has an immense value to your wellbeing,” he notes. “Salt is the ultimate natural ingredient for balance and holistic living.”
The treatments: With only six rooms and a VIP Couples’ suite with a tub for two, this spa is small and sexy and prides itself on its superior, personalized service. A signature salt blend is used in the salt-water soaks and healing baths, and all services begin with a nice sea salt foot ritual. jameshotels.com/miami
The Classic: Canyon Ranch
This major spa brand has attracted health-seeking travelers for 30 years. A true destination spa, the Miami Beach location opened its doors five years ago. A serene contemporary property, at 70,000-square-feet, it’s the largest spa in Florida — and it’s got a pristine beach at its doorstep.
The scene: Here you can choose from a myriad of options for what ails you: There are both Eastern and Western medical consultations, diagnostic testing, food and nutrition counseling, topnotch beauty services, alternative and traditional spa treatments, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and much more. You can also opt for an outdoor adventure. While there’s an indoor rock wall to climb, there’s ocean kayaking and a Beach Boot Camp.
The treatments: Canyon Ranch recently introduced five Mini Health Packages ($750 to $1,200 per person) with a two-night minimum. “It’s a taste of Canyon Ranch,” explains Jenna Grelle-Laramee, spa director. “It speaks to people who can’t get away for a week, but can for a few days. We give them real tools they can take away.” For example, there’s the Mini Stress Buster that offers four different 50-minute sessions, each designed to help manage stress levels. Choose from a meditation session, a healing energy session, an acupuncture session and Mind Link Massage. The latter is done on a neuro-acoustic table designed to put you into a deeply relaxed state (you listen to de-stressing sounds and frequencies).
The other Mini Health Packages are: Mini Shed the Weight; Mini Detox; Mini Energizer Retreat, and Mini Bone Health. canyonranch.com/miamibeach