Serenity Now

Luxe local spas offer new ways to reset and relax with a mix of Old World-inspired treatments, royal rituals and new technologies.

BY January 1, 2022
The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s spa promotes holistic wellness. Clients are encouraged to arrive early for morning meditation sessions on the beach and yoga prior to their whole-body treatments. (Courtesy JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort)

After the last two years, self-care and wellness are nothing short of necessities. Luckily, top local spas—many of which are in hotels and resorts—are up to the task, with tech-assisted services and healing treatments. While standard Swedish and deep-tissue massages are still on the menu, today’s spas are also offering modern takes on age-old therapies and treatments featuring advanced innovations. 

The Om Spa   

Nestled in an unassuming plaza across from Waterside Shops, Om Spa offers treatments that combine Eastern and Western techniques. Owner Mary Krupp, who lived and trained in Thailand, offers an expansive menu of services that showcase ancient modalities and global rituals. 

One of the most intriguing offerings, the Lanna Tok Sen massage, originated in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and dates back 5,000 years. During the 60- or 80- minute treatment, a therapist moves a wedge up and down the length of the body, rhythmically tapping it with a special wooden mallet. The intense vibration helps release tight muscles, while the cadenced tapping lulls clients into a meditative state. “It’s like an earthquake on the body that loosens up muscles and tension,” Krupp explains. “In Thailand, we believe that illness comes from blocked energy trapped in the body. This treatment helps unblock that energy.” 

The session also includes traditional Thai massage and stretching, which leaves the body born-again limber. For added serenity, request that your treatment takes place on the back deck, which overlooks a lake and is surrounded by the tranquil sounds of nature.

Spa by JW at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort 

The healing begins well before you step inside the sprawling two-story Spa by JW, as guests are encouraged to join the resort’s early-morning meditation on the beach, followed by a yoga class focused on mindful movement. “We’re concentrating on the entire wellness experience, and these morning classes help calm the mind and prepare the body for a treatment,” spa director Paul Nunez says.

Pre-pandemic, Nunez and a team of therapists collaborated to develop an experiential journey exclusive to the spa, representing the best of what they offer. Aptly called the 5 Senses, the 80-minute treatment engages touch, sight, sound, smell and taste. Instead of the expected ambient music, JW has a Bob Marley soundtrack playing throughout, the lively music perking up the ears. Touch translates into an invigorating scalp massage with a spearmint-infused oil, moving into a deep and fast whole-body massage using lime-infused oil and hot stones. The movements work in tandem with the upbeat music. At the end of the treatment, guests indulge in the taste portion of the experience with a refreshing mojito-inspired frozen treat. When the treatment is over, spa guests can access the property’s playground of amenities, including the hot and cold plunge pools, sauna, steam room and mineral pool. 

The Spa at Naples Grande Beach Resort

This serene spot in North Naples puts holistic care at the forefront of its wellness offerings. The Spa at Naples Grande underwent a major facelift in 2020, creating an all-encompassing wellness program with touchless services, like salt flotation tank and sauna treatments; quiet areas for meditation; and a few different cryotherapy services firm up skin and leave you feeling reenergized.

Always at the forefront, The Spa at Naples Grande Beach Resort offers high-tech, touch-free treatments. (Courtesy Naples Grande Beach Resort)

Naples Grande’s spa and fitness director Yenier Marrero credits society’s overall shift toward adopting a more wellness-oriented mindset for the spa’s new focus. He sees people shying away from invasive, chemical-based services, like Botox and fillers, and moving toward practices that utilize natural remedies, like the spa’s Éminence facials. The treatment uses organic products from the skincare line to naturally cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize your skin. If you’re still wary of close-contact treatments, you don’t have to miss out on a relaxing experience. Just opt for massage treatments with the spa’s new equipment, like the PureWave VEMI (vibroacoustic, electromagnetic and infrared) massage table, which uses auditory stimulation and vibrations for a hands-free experience.

SpaTerre Naples at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort  

Prepare to be pampered at LaPlaya’s spa, set in a seven-room beach cottage. SpaTerre recently brought back its Javanese Royal treatment, which is fashioned after a 40-day ritual to pamper royal brides-to-be in Java, Indonesia. 

The 110-minute session begins with a golden-hued, turmeric and rice flour exfoliating scrub, scented with jasmine and frangipani flowers. “Turmeric is packed with powerful antioxidants and rice flour softens the skin,” spa manager Teresa Palmeri explains.   

The indulgent Javanese Royal treatment at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort’s SpaTerre is inspired by a 40-day ritual for brides-to-be in Indonesia, with exfoliation, moisturizing and Balinese massage. (Courtesy LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort)

Post-exfoliation, a cooling yogurt mask is applied for added moisturizing. That’s followed by a 20-minute soak in a teak tub sprinkled with bright rose petals and aromatic oils, then a 50-minute Balinese rubdown, during which the therapist transitions between skin rolling, using their fingers to gently pull the skin away from the tissue and roll it forward to help release muscle tension and pain, and long, relaxing strokes using fragrant essential oils and acupressure to work out knots. It’s so relaxing, you’ll wish you could experience this on repeat for 40 days. Pro tip: Arrive early and spend 25 minutes in the spa’s new infrared sauna.

Kay Casperson Spa at South Seas Island Resort 

Hyper-focused on newer, glow-up skin technology, spa founder Kay Casperson recently debuted a tool of her own creation: a facial device featuring seven LED lights that address various skin problems. The apparatus is used during the spa’s Signature Facial, and settings can be fine-tuned to target everything from acne to dark spots. It also harnesses the anti-aging powers of radiofrequency, using heat and energy waves to stimulate collagen production and boost skin elasticity, and has a setting for electrical muscle stimulation, which uses microcurrents to tighten facial muscles. (Guests are welcome to purchase an instrument to incorporate into their at-home routine.)

As a full-service day spa and salon, guests can also indulge in mani-pedis, blowouts and the like. For those who don’t have a lot of time to get away from it all, Casperson offers mini-services, like the 25-minute “Glow and Go,” which includes a quick-but-potent facial complete with a serum made of vitamins A, C and D, plus a makeup application. The treatment is popular with those who want to leave ready for a night out or special event.