Travel

By Kelley Granger

The garden at Eau Spa

South Florida has long had a reputation for spicing things up, so it’s no wonder that a concept as exciting as Eau Spa has hit the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. The new spa is the last piece of a four year, $100 million renovation project that the entire resort has undergone. Characterized by design that’s stepped away from the traditional buttoned-up approach of Ritz-Carlton, the look is better described as whimsical and quirky. Those two words are taken to a very hip extreme at Eau Spa.

Take your typical spa and turn it on its head. Replace any lulling, Enya-esque music with buoyant Brazilian tunes upon entry. Throw a couple of disco balls in the steam room. At Eau Spa, it’s about relaxation, but also about playfulness and socializing. These ideas are the cornerstone of the spa’s “play, pause and perfect” philosophy. It’s all a little secret garden meets Alice in Wonderland – a giant chess set sits outdoors in the garden and baroque design details meet peculiar elements like a chandelier made of upside down crystal wine glasses.

The scrub and polish bar at Eau Spa

One of the coolest aspects of the spa is the veritable buffet for the body – dubbed “scrub couture,” a range of ingredients like salts, vanilla, mint, and pumice await at a do-it-yourself scrub and polish bar, where you can concoct your own body treatment with the aid of a resident mixologist. The customization doesn’t stop there, though – nineteen treatment rooms can be tweaked to your preference via LED color therapy lighting, your choice of aromatherapy scents, and a selection of music (reggae, classical, or smooth jazz) to suit your mood.

A sunlit villa and the whimsical mirrored entrance to the spa

Intimate experiences can be booked at a couple’s spa villa, which offers outdoor rain showers, garden enclaves, and extra-large soaking tubs, but communal spa experiences are fully encouraged in the bath lounge, full-service salon, fitness area, and the Self-Centered Garden. The garden is a magical open air space that is a full-sensory experience – you’ll hear the tinkling of wind chimes, smell lemongrass and lavender, and watch butterflies flit among flowers as you swing on a hanging chair and let your toes graze a shallow pool of water.

So much of the Eau Spa experience lies in the atmosphere, but let’s not forget the treatments. As expected, the spa delivers some beauty bling (like a diamond-infused hand and foot soak), freestyle massages where you direct the precise areas to be massaged, and exotic add-ons like a frangipani hair and scalp treatment. The spa and its treatments are truly the stuff of dreams, but even the wildest dreams aren’t this elegant and elaborate!

Eau Spa at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach
100 South Ocean Blvd.
Manalapan, Fla. 33462
http://www.eauspa.com

Originally published July 2009
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