San Francisco is a superb city for those seeking high-end spa treatments, although the spas themselves are not always located where one might expect. Tucked away in various corners of the city, this range of venues – from the penthouse floor of luxury hotels to communal bathhouses in Japantown – demonstrates that San Francisco’s usual pluralism extends into the world of specialist spas. So take a second to meditate on precisely what your priorities are for your next visit, then match them with a venue drawn from this varied selection of the city’s best spas.
Perched atop Nob Hill with great views over the San Francisco skyline, this stylish spa offers a range of treatments drawing on a diversity of healing traditions. Its interior is designed and arranged in line with feng shui principles, guiding the spa’s positioning of its whirlpool, fireplace, relaxation pool, gymnasium, saunas and 10 treatment rooms. Between them, these areas offer a variety of fitness and beauty treatments and massage therapies. There is also a simple menu of deliciously healthy meals.
An immensely popular spa and yoga studio, International Orange has mastered the art of providing treatments and therapies in a calming and nourishing environment. Working with traditions from around the world, its menu of restorative therapies aim to galvanize the body’s natural healing capabilities. This holistic approach is strengthened by its suggestion that guests practice yoga before and after spa treatments. Moreover, the space itself – 4,000 square feet including a relaxation lounge and outdoor bamboo garden – is simply stunning.
In the heart of Japantown, Kabuki blends eastern and western traditions to provide a broad palette of massage therapies and beauty treatments, along with a specialist expertise in acupuncture. Its 50+ massage specialists offer a great diversity of techniques, covering many modalities of bodywork. Its communal baths are especially popular, drawing on the Japanese tradition of public baths to create a tranquil and meditative space with a hot pool, cold plunge, dry sauna and steam room. Finally, the dark-wood walls and supremely elegant fixtures complete the spa’s restorative ambience.
A smaller spa cultivating a more intimate and personalized atmosphere, Spa Vitale is situated on the penthouse level of the hotel of the same name. Outdoor deep soaking tubs offer panoramic views of the city skyline, including the Bay Bridge, filtering the urban sprawl of San Francisco through an atmosphere of deep relaxation. Inside, three treatment rooms host beauty treatments and massage therapies given by a small team of dedicated specialists.
Nordstrom, a chain of fashion outlets and spas across the U.S., has a particularly plush branch on San Francisco’s Union Square. There are a vast range of available treatments, soothing and beautifying every part of the body, including a small selection specially targeted towards men. Despite its nationwide reach, Nordstrom aims to provide a highly personalized service, building a set of treatments and therapies from its sizeable arsenal to suit each individual visitor.