Best New Day Spa in Virginia

Treatment we had: Classic Swedish massage, $100 for 50 minutes.

What we liked: A curved glass wall enclosing a stand of “bamboo” greets you at the entrance—the bamboo isn’t real but sets a stylish tone. With its soothing green walls and soft lighting, the Lorien has one of the prettiest spas we’ve seen.

The changing rooms are spotless and spacious, with big lockers, a steam room, showers, fluffy robes and comfortable flip-flops to wear, and a generous toiletry assortment that includes everything from shampoo to makeup remover.
The walls seem to be soundproof—the whole spa is wonderfully quiet. There’s a Zen-like relaxation room where you can sink into a comfy chair and help yourself to strawberry-infused water or terrific tea—we were partial to the coconut-scented white tea—and two kinds of snack mixes, including one with coconut shavings, walnuts, and cranberries. (One big complaint: There were no magazines—nothing at all to read—in the relaxation room.) Another plus: Free valet parking.

What you should know: As at many hotel spas, prices are a tad steep. Our massage was good but wasn’t relaxing—the therapist dug into each knot with trigger-point therapy, and I was more sore than usual the next day. (I could have asked her to ease up but wanted the full experience for purposes of this review.)

As I left the massage room, the therapist was waiting—but not to ask me how I felt or offer me a glass of water. Instead, she handed me a product brochure with information about the massage oil—available for $34.25. The sell wasn’t hard, but it was odd.

Bottom line: One of the loveliest spas in the area, with first-class service. We visited right after it opened, and it may work out some kinks—such as the lack of magazines and the product push—to make the experience more perfect.

Lorien Hotel & Spa, 1600 King St., Alexandria; 703-894-3434;

>> See all 2009 Great Day Spas

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.