Courtesy of the Hyatt
Pumpkin, gold and luxurious aromatherapy oils. We didn't meet a facial we didn't love for the fall season.
Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Best Hotel Spa Treatments in D.C.
From pumpkin facials to phototherapy, local hotel spas up the relaxation ante this fall.
No one understands the allure of spas more than city-hopping travelers. But whether you’re just visiting D.C. or live here, our local hotels continue to create new ways to pamper and make us feel whole again. We recently surrendered ourselves to four spas and came away with starkly different, but no less praise-worthy, experiences.
Lorien Hotel & Spa; 24 Karat Gold Facial ($200)
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but at the Lorien, gold reigns supreme. The brand new 24 karat gold facial lures me with its moneyed title, but it’ll keep me coming back for its outstanding results.
There’s reason for the extravagance, my aesthetician, Ludmila (lead therapist), tells me. In every product used in the facial from start to finish, you’ll find real gold flakes, which dissolve into the skin and react with the positive electrons in your skin, reactivating them and increasing elasticity, dissolving wrinkles and giving skin that coveted “glow.”
After my mini-science lesson, Ludmila goes to work with her facial analysis, cleansing and toning my skin with an amber-rich toner to pump up its antioxidant quotient.
Cool factor: Each mask is sealed so the chemical composition stays intact, and is then applied to the skin in two delicate pieces. Ludmila even massages my tired feet, which is a tall task considering how ticklish I am, but the hot stone treatment worked wonders after jamming my toes into heels all day.
I walk out feeling revitalized and completely relaxed. In other words, you really are getting the royal treatment.
Four Seasons Hotel; Kate Sommerville Dermal Quench ($225)
As a self-proclaimed “newbie” to the world of facials, I had no idea what to expect and couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised.
At Four Seasons, the VIP treatment starts before you enter the hotel, with valet, greeters, and chivalry from every corner. Upon finding my way to the pristine locker room, I change into a plush robe and the proffered sandals. My aesthetician, Laura, shows me to my private room with a heated spa bed, calming lights and soothing music.
Laura, who’s been with the Four Seasons for six years, says the Kate Sommerville dermal quench is a hydrating treatment in which the skin is cleansed and exfoliated then a special hydrating serum with special vitamins and enzymes is applied with pressure to go deep into the skin (the machine reminded me an airbrush makeup applicator). It’s a great all-age facial, Laura tells me, noting it’s especially great for jet lag, as a special prep for events or a targeted boost to regular skin maintenance.
More concerned about those unseemly wrinkles and bags under your eyes? The Four Seasons offers a number of treatments targeted toward anti-aging without going under the knife or needle. For instance, the Kate Sommerville DermaLucent Phototherapy (also $225) customizable treatment helps to even skin tone, stimulate collagen and can even zap acne on the spot.
Photo credit: Michael Kleinberg
Park Hyatt Washington; Pumpkin Enzyme Facial ($200 for in-room treatment)
Pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin flavored lip balm … if it involves pumpkin, I’m usually a happy camper. My evening at the Hyatt was no exception.
I recently test-drove its new pumpkin enzyme facial, available through Thanksgiving. Apparently the enzymes and acids in pumpkin soften and actually dissolve dead skin cells; from there, pumpkin tightens skin. The addition of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger oils pack your skin with antioxidants. This facial was a treat. The spa at the Hyatt, though located in the adjacent “house,” matches the hotel décor to a T, and is in the works to expand next year. The spa room only fits one, so if you bring a friend, he or she can workout in the adjacent gym, swim a few laps in the pool or indulge in an aromatherapy shower.
Miriam begins my session by asking me to close my eyes. She waves two different aromatherapy oils in front of my nose, asking what one “felt” better. The move, she explains, is to determine the tone of the treatment. Not surprisingly, I opted for the de-stressing lavender over the energized citrus choice (it was 7 p.m.). Between the perfect pressure massage with rosemary and citrus scents (hands, feet and face), the tingling pumpkin mask and the aloe vera and lavender hydrating gel, I was in heaven. Miriam assures me the mask is good for all skin types, which is all the more reason for you to try.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Eye Refresh / 35 minutes ($80) & Top and Toe / 35 minutes ($80)
I enter the spa and immediately swap my shoes for sandals and gladly sip the warm berry tea. As I sat in the relaxation room, I wonder if I have enough time to do it all—the steam room, the jetted vitality pool and the luxurious shower. But in no time my aesthetician, Lisan Valdes, ushers me from the relaxation room to the treatment room for my Top and Toe treatment.
During the foot massage, Valdes (who’s been with the spa since it opened in 2004) pampers my toes, but gently tells me I have issues with my footwear. Time to go shoe shopping, I suppose.
The eye treatment, which comes next, is recommended for strained eyes, which, let’s face it, most of us have. Whether you wear contacts or glasses, or stare at a computer or smart phone screen all day, this rejuvenating treatment gives your peepers a much-needed cleansing boost.
Using special oils and techniques derived from Chinese medicine and aromatherapy experts, Lisan continues on to the head massage. I must admit, the continued kneading of my head, neck and shoulders—mixed with the tranquil environment—sends me into a Far East dream world.
To continue your treatments at home, the spa also offers an array of daily cleansers, lotions and serums for sale (you can bet I’ll be back to stock up).
Our Flyer words to the wise though: Never, ever schedule a facial the day of an important event. You never know how your skin will react, so it’s best not to take any chances.