Great Day Spas 2013: Our 4 Favorite Splurges

If a day spa to you means a place where you can relax for a few hours—if not a whole day—read on. These four day spas offer excellent treatments all around, pampering service, and first-rate facilities.
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Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

200 International Dr.,
Baltimore; 410-576-5800.

This luxury hotel spared no expense on its 10,200-square-foot
spa. Guests walk along a floor inlaid with smooth white pebbles before
being escorted to spacious locker rooms and his-and-hers “heat experience”
areas, which include heated loungers, whirlpools, a sauna, a steam room,
and an experiential shower. These white-on-white lounges offer not just a
place to relax—with hot tea, infused water, and dried fruit—but also
superb views of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Several of the 11 treatment rooms feature in-room showers.
Diana Greer wins raves for massage ($130 and up), as do the marine-themed
treatments ($255 and up).

Of note: If possible, reserve the Tea Tree or
VIP couples suite, which features a two-person jetted tub, a rainfall
shower, and a terrace looking over the water.

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC

2800 Pennsylvania Ave.,
NW; 202-342-0444.

This Georgetown spa’s facilities are pristine. A sauna and
steam room are attached to each changing room, and everything from nail
files to hair products are available near the softly lit
mirrors.

We opted for a 50-minute aromatherapy massage ($145), which was
deeply soothing and eliminated even stubborn knots and sore spots. The spa
is also known for its Kate Somerville ($140 to $160) facials.

Of note: Valet parking (normally $25) is free
for up to three hours with any spa treatment, offering the chance to shop
or get lunch in Georgetown after your appointment.

The Pearl Spa

8171 Maple Lawn Blvd., Suite 100,
Fulton, Md.; 301-776-6948.

This 11,000-square-foot spa in Howard County offers the
luxuries of a big hotel spa without the hefty price tag. And the
sea-themed space has one of the best lounges around: While you wait for
your therapist, you’ll receive a warming neck wrap, a plush robe, and tea;
after a treatment, you can indulge in Champagne and brownies.

Treatments are all serenity-inducing, from massages ($65 and
up) to facials ($70 and up), but the most unusual service is the Blue
Grotto ($85 a person). In a private, herbal-infused steam room, you and
your significant other or best friend wield paintbrushes, covering your
skin with purifying, hydrating clay before relaxing to a light show and
rain shower. Other treatments include a color-therapy bath and a
hammam (a Moroccan ritual).

Of note: Bring your iPod—you can listen to
your own playlist during a treatment.

Red Door Spa

4210 Fairfax Corner
West Ave., Fairfax; 703-968-2922.

The Washington area has eight Red Door Spas, but Elizabeth
Arden fans know that one of the best is in Fairfax Corner.

You’re escorted past the hair and nail stations to a changing
room with plush robes and slippers. Then it’s off to a dimly lit
relaxation area with tea, coffee, water, and an ample selection of
magazines while you wait for your appointment.

The service is warm and friendly. Therapist Mayulee Nelson is
recommended for Brazilian waxing ($75), and we loved John Smith for a very
pampering Signature Massage ($125).

Of note: The changing area is small, with just
one shower in the men’s area, two for women. If possible, book an
appointment for a weekday to avoid crowded spaces.

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