Four new hotel spas to splash out on
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Relax in LA, the Maybourne way
When the Maybourne group (they of Claridge’s and The Connaught) took over the old Montage Beverly Hills hotel, you could almost hear the cheering. Best of British hospitality in La-La Land is an endlessly appealing proposal; and while the roll-out is being done in stages (the latest news – the arrival of Dante Beverly Hills, a satellite of the cult-favourite Greenwich Village bar, on the hotel’s roof in July), the spa, blessedly, is 100 per cent up and running.
Like the rest of the hotel, it feels airy and indulgent: a cool sorbet palette and lots of light, but rich materials (note the glittering mosaics surrounding the mineral pool in the spa’s double-height entrance). The treatments mean business – clinical-strength Evidens de Beauté products are used in the oxygen facial, for instance, and NuFACE microcurrent wands deployed to work on eye and lip lines. Be we are in California, after all, so CBD oils and muds feature in the massages and anti-ageing treatments, too (excellent for combatting inflammation). maybournebeverlyhills.com, treatments from $180
In Rome, take the waters in style
All hotel-opening roads seem to have led to Rome in 2023, with everyone from Bulgari to Edition to InterContinental planting flags across its hills. Six Senses Rome, which opened in March, is something of a mixed bag: the public spaces have perhaps a bit too much of a could-be-anywhere-in-the-world design vibe; but the food is excellent (and on-brand: a spaghetti alle vongole was dusted with an improbably delicious algae powder – both healthy and scrummy). Rooms are comfortable but slightly anodyne; suites, on the other hand, skew into wow land, with terraces, travertine kitchenettes and basilica views.
The unqualified win is the spa, which features both a hydro circuit – caldarium, tepidarium, frigidarium – that nods to ancient history, and innovative half-hour “biohacks” (cell gym hypoxy breath training, LED light face mask) that are wholly 2023. I had a massage from an impressively intuitive therapist, then fitted a LED mask on my face while I sipped a fennel tisana for 20 minutes, which left me looking like I’d had a lifting-brightening facial as well. sixsenses.com, treatments from €45
Sydney’s new wellness eyrie
The Capella, which opened last spring and instantly raised the bar to tiptoe levels on Sydney’s hotel scene, has a lot to recommend it: warm, polished staff, an easy harbour-access location, an exceptional 1,500-piece contemporary art collection. And, its Auriga spa: spread across the hotel’s sixth floor are four large and high-ceilinged treatment rooms, each cleverly fitted under one of the listed building’s original copper light lanterns, which frame squares of sky in James Turrell-like fashion (and saturate each space with daylight, which somehow feels very Oz).
The showpiece here is the 20m-long heated indoor lap and vitality pool, at the head of which is a movement platform for yoga and stretching sessions. My fairly straightforward hour-long massage was very satisfying, between the sunlight pouring in and the skill in evidence, but I left wishing I’d sampled the “Connect to Country” experience: black jade, azoria gold, mookalite and other stones gathered, with the permission of First Australians, from far-flung points (the Northern Territory, the Pilbara) are heated and used to loosen muscles, memories, and whatever else is receptive to them, in tandem with oils infused with native botanicals. capellahotels.com, treatments from AU$150
And back to Les Sources, in Bordeaux
Caudalie is a name familiar to the skincare mavens: Augustinus Bader may be the miracle-crème man of the moment, and Dr Barbara Sturm the reigning queen of serums, but Caudalie’s resveratrol-based products continue to walk the science-based talk they’ve purveyed for two decades. Les Sources de Caudalie, the spa-hotel located in the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, is a favourite destination spa among those who know the value of vinotherapy (and a Euro); that the spa – where the half-day Vine and Source rituals can be booked by outside guests (and, during the week, single treatments too) – also taps the waters of a 540m-deep hot spring only adds to the appeal.
A chic, understated top-to-toe renovation is what’s put it back on our radar: 40 rooms and 21 suites, three restaurants, hammam and all, now cast in gentle Flemish tones and tons of natural wood and stone, soothing and spacious. sources-caudalie.com, treatment packages from €274