Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing like a commercial holiday to put totally unnecessary and undue pressure on a relationship. Good news is, we can reclaim these so-called holidays, and craft them to be special in our own ways. My way is to go to the spa. I go to the spa anyway, but it’s a good excuse for me to bring my honey with me, as there are usually some very nice Valentine’s Day specials offered at my favorite spas.
We’ve put together some tips and info in case you were thinking about a mid-February escape to the spa, whether you’re together or solo.
While the couples’ massage is a classic “romantic” treatment, it’s not terribly exciting or interesting. Great spas know this, and have created a variety of treatments you can do as a couple (any time of the year) that involve more than side-by-side massages. Three of our favorites at Spa Manners include:
The Romantic Couple’s Journey at the Spa Montage Laguna Beach: The Montage describes this treatment as: “In our sun-drenched gallery suite, begin with exotically fragrant inhalations of aroma oils followed by a lavish orange ginger body polish. Submerge together in a foaming and purifying marine mineral bath while enjoying an aromatic scalp massage. Your skin is lovingly enveloped with a delicate white rose mist. Discover the true meaning of bliss as you both continue on this soulful journey with a hypnotic full body massage.” I’ve done this treatment with my man and one of the therapists described it (with a wink and a smile) as “a scrub, rub and tub” for couples. I can attest that this couples treatment was PURE BLISS. It’s one of my all-time favorites. At $340 or $435 per person (90 or 120 minutes) it is definitely a once a year splurge but so worth it. We enjoyed it thoroughly and were so relaxed and blissed out afterwards. (Our review of the Spa Montage Laguna Beach)
The Signature Bathing Ritual For Two at the Spa Vitale San Francisco: Apparently this is the spa’s most popular service, but that’s to be expected since the dual rooftop tubs are the stars of the show at the Spa Vitale. “Decompress in our hidden rooftop bamboo garden to renew both your body, and soul. Your hot bath is infused with our lavender bath milk and aromatic bath salts. While your body savors the outside elements, your palate is treated to an herbal beverage and fresh fruit, and the tension from your eyes is soaked away with cucumber slices and a cool cloth. Mixed with the background sounds of the city, the bathing ritual creates a unique feeling of serenity that will cleanse your soul and calm your spirit.” Spa Guru has done this with her man who isn’t really a spa-goer, and they both really enjoyed their quiet together time in the tubs on the roof of the Vitale. (Our reviews of the Vitale Spa are here and here)
The KISS at the Standard Hotel Spa, Miami: This hammam-based journey is available as a 90 or 120-minute treatment. You can do this solo or book it as a couple and get everything done side-by-side. KISS stands for “Keep It Sensual and Satisfying.” The Standard’s description for this unique treatment reads “Begin in the Hamam for some warm-up time. Then receive a Standard Massage followed by a complete lathering with a Turkish Hamam Rub and Scrub.” While you can do this treatment as a couple, be aware that while you are in the hammam you’re not alone together — you are among everybody else that’s enjoying the hammam. That might be odd and distracting for some, but I found it more odd to be able to watch other couples getting their treatments than to be on the receiving end, as I had my eyes closed most of the time and was able to focus on the amazing treatment. (Our review of the Standard Spa in Miami is upcoming)
Couples-Based Valentine’s Day Specials for February 2016
- Viva Day Spa in Austin, Texas is offering several Valentine’s Day Spa Packages for both solo spa-goers and couples. One couple’s package looks particularly blissful: The Delicious Duet Spa Package for Two includes sauna time, a 75-minute Swedish massage, several scrumptious body treatments (exfoliation, wraps) and even hot spiced Chai and chocolates!
- The Canyon Ranch SpaClub inside The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas is offering a $25 discount on all the lovey-dovey treatments for the month of February. These include the 50-minute Rasul Romance (a mud masque-based treatment), the seasonal 50-minute facial using Eminence Organics products, the Romantic Rendezvous which uses Pure Fiji Noni products, and finally the “Go Nuts for Each Other” couples massage which uses the fabulous Jindili Macadamia Nut Oil for 50 or 80 minutes. (We at Spa Manners love all the aforementioned products Canyon Ranch is using, and we’ve even mentioned them here)
- Agave, The Arizona Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona is inviting couples to celebrate their special Valentine any time during the month of February with a romantic spa escape for two. Couples can enjoy a relaxing side-by-side massage followed by a complimentary glass of Champagne served in their own poolside cabana at Agave Spa’s Aguamiel pool. Each spa-goer can choose a 50-minute Agave Master Massage, Rollersage or a customized Therapeutic Massage. The Romance Revival Package, which includes a half-day cabana rental, is priced at $298 excluding tax and gratuity, is available from Feb. 1-29, 2016.
- Milk + Honey Spa (several locations in Texas) has a nice retreat planned for couples and they are also extending their hours over the Valentine’s Day weekend (Feb. 13-15) so that couples can enjoy some spa time together after work. Their couples retreat package includes a 60-minute massage in the couples room, a signature facial and an M + H manicure.
Loving Yourself Treatments & Celebrating Singlehood Specials 2016
Don’t let being single on Valentine’s Day get you down because it’s just a made-up commercial holiday anyway. Celebrate singlehood and treat yourself with a self-loving treatment — there are so many amazing options! And a hint for partners of spa-goers: gift certificates make great Valentine’s Day pressies so your loved one can get the fabulous spa treatment of their choice. Some Valentine’s Day specials for solo spa-goers celebrating single status include:
- The 50-minute Infinite Loving Massage and 80-minute Full Body Restorative Treatment at the Palms Spa – Aveda located in the Palm Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida.
- Viva Day Spa is offering a 6.5-hour All-Day Package, which was voted Austin’s Best Spa Package by Austin Monthly. It certainly looks fantastic, as it includes a whole day of yummy-sounding treatments from head to toe. Seriously, it looks sublime, and if I were in Austin I’d book this day for myself in a heartbeat.
- The Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona is offering a Chocolate Champagne Massage featuring chocolate body butter and a Champagne exfoliation at a $35 discount for Valentine’s Day week.
- Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, California is offering “Romance Month Specials” that solo spa-goers can enjoy. Their specials use products that we at Spa Manners love, including Body Bliss and Eminence Organics. Choose from the delightful-sounding Chocolate Lovers package (scrub, wrap, massage, sparkling wine), the Roses & Toesies Pedicure and the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Facial by Eminence.
Pro Tips and Etiquette for Visiting the Spa on Valentine’s Day
Some of these tips are applicable to visiting the spa on holidays in general because on feast days or major holidays, lots of food and booze are involved. You can read them all in our Thanksgiving at the Spa post but here are some, and more, that apply to Valentine’s Day.
- Don’t eat a big meal before getting on the massage table. Eating heavy before a massage makes for a very uncomfortable experience. You will be laying down, and laying down on your stomach. It’s best to schedule your massage before your romantic dinner, or at least two hours after a big meal. And really, do you want to be burping while someone is working on you?
- Best not to drink alcohol around a massage. I once had a really bad night in Las Vegas after a deep-tissue massage and a few drinks afterwards over the course of the evening. Oh the pain… I was hung over even before the morning hit me in the face. I didn’t know it at the time, but a massage actually increases the effects of alcohol (because massage releases toxins from your muscles) — think drunk again, or drunk on the table. Nobody wants that, especially the spa or your therapist. Alcohol increases the toxic load on the liver when combined with a massage, and is also dehydrating — not at all good for the body. I realize that many spas offer bubbly on Valentine’s Day, but boozing around a massage is simply not the greatest idea. Some therapists and practitioners advise not drinking alcohol at all within 24 hours of a massage.
- Hit the restrooms before a treatment. All this drinking (water) makes for a full bladder and higher chance that you will need to go mid-treatment. Make sure you go to the bathroom before your appointment to avoid any awkward moments and disrupting your Zen, especially if you are with your sweetie.
- Tip well. If your spa practitioners have done a good job, give thanks to them for working hard to heal you on a special day when they could be with their honey by tipping more than you normally would. This goes for any major holiday, by the way. They are being generous with their time on the holiday, and you should respond in kind.
- Be appropriate. When you visit the spa with others it’s really easy to just fall into hangout and chill mode with your pals. But it’s the spa, not your backyard or inside your home, so please be considerate of other spa-goers and your therapist(s). If you’re a couple, please just be appropriate around everyone and not get too intimate in the coed spaces. I once went to a spa where there was a couple getting a little too cozy with each other in the lounge. I guess it was tempting since they were naked underneath their robes, but come on! If you’re with a friend, try to keep your spa voices going or consider just shutting the hell up for a day to unwind and decompress. If you’re by yourself, it’s great to love yourself by taking good care of your health and wellbeing, but for god’s sake don’t take care of yourself (you know what I’m talking about) at the spa. Recently I visited a local spa where a woman was completely buck nekkid in the sauna (totally fine) but as she laid down hogging an entire bench for herself (not cool), she continuously rubbed herself all over her body (not cool at all). I’ve also heard stories from my massage therapist friends about completely inappropriate behaviour by spa-goers on the table. Seriously folks, know and respect the bounds of propriety at the spa.
Enough of the bummer talk, get thee to the spa and enjoy all the wonderful treatments and services your spa has to offer this Valentine’s Day!