Wellness Weekend: Miami’s hot and wholesome spas


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Mojitos, mini skirts, and partying at Mansion isn’t the holy trinity of a good time in Greater Miami. The cities are overflowing with spas—and not all are bastions of superficiality. We present five (mostly) wholesome, fitness-focused, and feel-good wellness hotels worthy of an on-the-wagon weekend or a last-minute spa spring break.

1. Exhale Spa at the Epic Hotel
Happening Biscayne Boulevard is the new home of the Epic Hotel, set on a marina with Port of Miami views. Its spa is a satellite of the Exhale day-spa dynasty, known for its mind-body CoreFusion classes, GRN spa product line and treatments, and destination-style spa services like acupuncture and sessions with a nutritionist—a perfect notch on Miami’s fitness-focused weight-belt. The half-moon–shape CoreFusion studio on the 16th-floor has floor-to-ceiling windows and the yoga studio gets a view of the gorgeous wrap-around pool deck. By comparison the spa is a bit lackluster, but the treatments aren’t. Try the Deep Flow Massage (60 min, $140) and the new Kahina Giving Beauty facial. Rooms start at $369. www.epichotel.com

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The best rooms at The Standard have outdoor soaking tubs

2. The Standard Miami
A part-time party girl with rich inner life, gold bikini, and a killer flying crow pose. That’s the target demographic at Andre Balazs’s not new but definitely still noteworthy destination. It has tough fitness classes and super solid yoga. A king-size hammam and hard-to-find organic spa treatments. Plus an Adult Playground (aka hydrotherapy water park with high-pressure showers and shoulder-kneading waterfall) on the bay. The most progressive spa in town. Weak link: the tiny guest rooms and the asleep-at-the-wheel service. Rooms start at $239; massages at $125 for 60 minutes. www.standardhotels.com

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Maxing and relaxing in the garden at The Palms Hotel

3. The Palms Hotel & Spa
A hideaway hotel with hammocks and jungle-like palms that lend poolside privacy; Essensia, a very good, high-end organic restaurant—and a brand-new spa with Aveda treatments. The Chakra Balancing massage (75 min, $175) feels a bit cheesy with its incantations (“red is the color of the root chakra; it corresponds to creativity”), but it yields energy-work magic. I looked like I’d had a facial afterward. Scrubs and body treatments are done in a high-tech water capsule, and ashiatsu back-walking massage is given in open-air (semi-private) cabanas (50 min, $160). Guest rooms (about $300 and up) are West Elm tropical. Weak link: The not-so relaxing Relaxation room was cold and cramped and change rooms that lack privacy. Still, it’s great spa value for Miami Beach. www.thepalmshotel.com

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The Canyon Ranch gym faces the ocean

4. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach
The Harvard-of-spas-on-the-beach has fitness down pat. Maybe more so than its immersion spas in Tucson and Lenox. A full roster of almost-killer classes start at dawn, and are lead by fitness experts (no 19-year-old teachers here) and a healthy-living dream team: an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and a East-West physician. (See next week for our in-depth report.) Fitness is punctuated by popular lectures, like Show Me Your Tongue (led by an acupuncturist), trips to the spa, pools, and Aquavana, an indoor hydrotherapy lounge. CR’s calorie-conscious spa cuisine will have you in disbelief over the 300-calorie succulent scallops. Temptation in SoBe is a 10-minute drive away, but most guests stay in-house—and in their yoga pants—the entire visit. Weak link: the where-am-I spa layout. Suites start at $450; right now two-night stays come with $200 spa credit and breakfast for two. www.canyonranchmiamibeach.com

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Swings in the Eau Spa Self-Centered Garden

5. Eau Spa by Cornelia, at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach
Less Fifth Avenue and way more fun than its now-shuttered NYC cousin, Eau has washed spa sanctimonious down the drain. The proof is in the $30-million pudding: a 42,000-square-foot water-theme fantasy that includes indoor-outdoor treatment rooms, a photogenic “Self-Centered Garden” lounge, a steam room with a disco ball. And spa cuisine? Cocktails and cupcakes. Gemstone treatments such as the Cornelia Lumina Facial (60 min, $275) put a bit of bling in your beauty but come with results. Weak link: The spa boutique calls out for some Manhattan sophistication. Rooms can go for $349 midweek. www.eauspa.com


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