By Hope S. Philbrick
Most people have many facets to their personalities. So, too, do cities. If you think New Orleans, Louisiana, is all Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, you’re missing a lot. Yes, it’s nearly always possible to find a party somewhere in New Orleans—both of the organized annual festival and spontaneous varieties—and, yes, they can be great fun. But that’s not the only vibe around.
It’s also possible to relax. In divine style.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans is a quiet haven on the edge of the French Quarter. It’s possible to be dancing in Royal Street with the Krewe of Cork during the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) one minute and then slip away for an indulgent retreat here afterwards. It’s a quick walk to an elegant place that feels a world away.
Upon entering the spa, take a look around and you’ll instantly know you’re in good hands. The attention to detail is meticulous: towels in the locker room are not merely stacked, they are artfully displayed. A bowl of face cloths near the steam room is garnished with sliced cucumbers and kept filled with ice that appears never to melt. Toiletries like razors, combs, hair bands, mouthwash and other essentials are available if needed. Products boast delicious aromas.
Before and after any treatment, you can hang out in the lounge. A relaxation room is not only an essential element of the spa experience, it’s a key differentiator between spas: A great relaxation room can elevate a treatment from routine ritual to serious “me time.” The lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans sets a comfortable stage where you can simply be with your own thoughts for a few moments rather than rushing off to the next thing on your agenda. And it’s so elegant, inviting, comfortable and quiet that you’ll want to stay. Under draping chandeliers and surrounded by rich fabrics, several comfortable chairs of various design beckon—so sit upright, recline or sprawl out on a daybed as suits your mood. Sip fruit juice or hot tea. Nibble on dried fruit or nuts. Read a magazine. Take a nap.
When the therapist calls your name to invite you into one of the 22 the treatment rooms, try not to squeal in delight.
As a nod to New Orleans’ famed Café du Monde, I chose the Café Au Lait massage ($145 for 50 minutes; $210 for 80 minutes) among the extensive list of over 100 treatment options.
Before the therapist even begins, I’m asked to slip face down between silky clean sheets on a warm cushioned table.
Working with quick, long strokes and Swedish massage techniques, he manipulates muscles into yielding their stored stress. Back and shoulders get special attention before I’m asked to flip over for the therapist to work on neck and shoulder tension. Soothing coffee and milk aromas emanate from the products. Peppermint, rosemary and citrus essential oils are also incorporated.
When the treatment ends I’m so relaxed it’s a challenge to pull myself upright, wiggle into a robe and open the door.
Fortunately, there are inviting ways to extend that super-relaxed feeling. I head to the steam room to coax the oils deeper into my skin. You might also enjoy the sauna.
When it’s time to prep for departure, private showers boast dozens of water jets…so you could perhaps just stand there and let the water do most of the work.
Trust The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans to attend to every detail so you can experience a luxurious retreat, whether it’s just for an hour or an extended hotel stay.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans has racked up many accolades and is one of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s most award-winning spas: It was selected a Top Hotel Spa in the U.S. and Canada by Travel + Leisure magazine; one of the Top Ten Spas in the U.S. by Elle magazine; named a Top Twenty Getaway by Self magazine; and ranked as one of the Top Ten Platinum Spas by Celebrated Living.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, New Orleans
921 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
-Photos © HSP Media LLC
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