Scattered across the cold and windy streets of Chicago, even outside of these ultra-luxurious stay-and-spa centers of the Waldorf Astoria, the Park Hyatt, the Peninsula and the Four Seasons, there are more and more day spas cropping up. We all have our vices and we all like to spend our money in different ways, but there’s nothing better than escaping the chilly Chi-town weather to the warm and soothing touch of a well-experienced masseuse or the tranquil hug of a seaweed wrap. For those ready to experiment, or for those already in the day spa fan club, read on: these five spas have proven themselves among the best of a long list of spas in Chicago.
Whether you’re on a business trip and burnt out from meetings, or on a romantic couples’ weekend, or simply a Chicagoan who needs a quick and special pick-me-up, The Peninsula Chicago has something to fit anyone’s needs. They have regular day spa facilities, like a pool, sumptuous relaxation lounge with dried fruits and water, and a pore-opening steam room, but their services go above and beyond the norm. Some of their treatments simply aren’t seen anywhere else: massages that use jade hot stones, volcanic hot stones or bamboo; treatments that draw from Ayurvedic, Thai, Balinese and Swedish traditions; facials that integrate orbital microdermabrasion light therapy, active peels and age-defying ESPA Lifestage products. Basically, the Peninsula makes sure each client walks out looking fresher, cleaner, younger and a million times more relaxed, because when one pays for luxury treatment, they get a luxury treatment.
Allyu likes to caress zen into every inch of their space, letting energy flow from the exterior of the body into the interior. Their sustainable business practices and ecologically responsible retail partners are included in this case, and subtly, the visitor notices this as they float around all the unique spaces. The spa walls are detailed with textured clay plaster, mesquite and cork floors, reclaimed barn wood, walls made of Wisconsin field stones and adobe seating add to the celebration of natural offerings. The relaxation tent, where guests can head before or after a relaxing massage, is really more of an atmosphere than a room, appointed with plush earth-colored sofas, gossamer curtains and sensuous lights with a small Buddha surveying the room. However, the massages and chakra balancing treatments are what keep guests returning again and again. Their cherished staff all have numerous years in the business and solid massage philosophies. Expert hands paired with gorgeous, natural surroundings, visitors to Allyu will be transported from the middle of downtown Chicago to the zen palace of their dreams.
Located in the ultra-luxe Waldorf Astoria, the Elysian Spa is the epitome of luxury spa: fluffy robes, vanilla infused water, delicious and light spa snacks, a maxed out wet area with dry sauna, steam rooms and whirlpools. This is the kind of place where the money spent for the massage can be stretched out to a whole day and guests can just chill in the pool, hang out in the eucalyptus sauna sauna and lounges and really take advantage of the spa day. However, to the credit of the massages and spa treatments, these people know what they’re doing and the products they use are top-shelf. The lava shell massage relieves muscle tension and increases blood circulation, the homeopathic facial uses custom plant and flower extracts to improve all different types of skin, and the Perfect Lift fuses natural ingredients with micro currents to help achieve the Perfect Lift. So play, stay and soak up the luxury at Elysian.
The ideal spa for the foodie set, NoMI Spa located in the Park Hyatt shares its floor with the upscale NoMI restaurant, and doles out massages and skin treatments hugely influenced by what’s growing in their personal garden and the needs of their clients. Their menu of spa treatments is short – 43 items, and many of them waxing jobs – but that’s because they encourage customizations. That means that every spa experience is unique, upheld by only the highest standards of products and service. Every spa treatment comes with a "bite" and a healthy drink straight from the kitchen, which complements the body treatment so each client can feel perfectly aligned inside and out. Chicago’s only HydraFacial, offered at NoMI, is a can’t-miss, according to such notable publications as Harper’s Bazaar. It detoxifies, protects and re-hydrates the skin using natural ingredients and quality hyaluronic acid and peptides. For a truly unique spa experience using the most cutting edge technology, check out the new NoMI Spa. And hey, if you’re still feeling a bit munchy after all that relaxing, glide across the floor to their signature restaurant.
Even the manliest of reluctant spa-goers will enjoy the Vintage Bourbon massage, and it won’t be just because of the shot of the signature single-barrel nectar you get at the Allium Bar afterwards. This treatment scrubs and massages the skin with a mixture of brown sugar and Kentucky bourbon, followed by a massage of essential oils and hot stones. This is one of the many treatments that make the Spa at the Four Season unique, because in the hotel spa game, luxury alone simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Their monthly spa features offer different, ever-changing and innovative massage therapies that use ingredients like Själ crystals, Japanese white charcoal and whatever else happens to be in season. Regular favorites include the Maui Sugar Scrub and Hawaiian Honey body wrap, the Gemstone and Crystal facial which combines Eastern healing techniques of shiatsu Ayurveda and reflexology with healing bling like rose quartz, platinum, copper, sapphires, rubies, diamonds and pearls. Okay, so maybe luxury does cut it, but only if it’s executed in an original way and incorporates pure ground diamonds.