With precious personal time frequently squeezed under the weight of towering workloads and packed calendars, stealing time to rest and reconnect with our nearest and dearest can seem all but impossible. Happily, insiders at some of our favorite spas know the feeling and they’re responding with a host of services created with couples in mind.
This spring, the spa at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa earned a new five-star rating from Forbes, cementing its status as one of the best in Southern California (As if rumors that celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow like to relax here weren’t enough evidence of that.) Among its offerings for couples is the two-hour Lover’s Ritual. It begins with a romantic couple’s bath, a warm sun bake incorporating essential oils and clay, and a refreshing rinse, before concluding with the massage of your choice. Another option, the two-hour Sensual Plunge, combines an aromatic bath — think frankincense and essential rose oils — with a restorative couple’s massage. For utmost privacy, book a 60- or 90-minute massage for two in the Outdoor Duet Suite. It’s surrounded by lush landscaping and features a private lounge, outdoor shower and dual-treatment cabanas.
Rancho Valencia’s 5,000-square-foot adobe home, Hacienda, has three King bed suites, each with a garden patio, wood-burning fireplace and private bath.
Before and after their spa service, couples can relax together in the spa’s serene co-ed lounge, where beverages, fresh seasonal fruit and homemade banana bread are on offer. One can’t-miss amenity we recommend trying together at the start of your spa visit is the hydrotherapy circuit, which you can do on your own or, on Mondays, with guidance from a spa staffer. The circuit comprises alternating, timed stints in a sauna and a cold plunge pool — a combination that boosts circulation and immunity and will leave you feeling wide-eyed and energized.
Travelers who like to stay fit together can sign up for a number of studio classes in the resort’s fitness rooms (they range from spinning to Pilates to TRX). But if total R&R is in order, book a cabana at Rein, the adults-only pool and bar area. In the shade of your cozy cabana, you can sip refreshing cocktails or fresh juice, snack on light bites, and sneak in a nap à deux.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon provides direct access to a private parcel of the geopark.
Reach out to spa director Kristi Dickinson ([email protected]) for assistance in setting up a just-right spa stay, and general manager Coni Thornburg ([email protected]) or director of sales and marketing Mark Phillips ([email protected]) to reserve one of the resort’s 49 cozy casitas (book one with a whirlpool on its patio). The resort’s three-bedroom, adobe-style Hacienda has a private pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, five fireplaces, a garden patio, a full kitchen with Viking appliances, and an outdoor dining cabana — all the makings for a complete couple’s retreat.
More news came from the spa world this spring when The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland opened its doors, giving guests the unprecedented opportunity to stay directly on the geopark’s otherworldly grounds. After checking in, wrap up in a plush, terry robe, grab your better half, and get to the resort’s sprawling, minimalist spa. It provides direct access to a private parcel of the geopark, which means guests can soak in the lagoon’s warm, healing waters away from the crowd. A service you won’t experience anywhere else is the outdoor, in-water massage, during which, you’ll recline on a thin, foam float in the Retreat Lagoon while a massage therapist works vitamin-rich algae oil into your skin and coaxes kinks out of your neck, shoulders, back and limbs.
The Lagoon Suite has a private lagoon and a terrace.
To experience the lagoon’s mineral-rich products to their fullest, insiders recommend wrapping up your spa visit with the full-body Blue Lagoon Ritual. The intimate experience is set in a dramatically low-lit section of the spa and comprises stations where guests self-apply scrubs and masks derived from the lagoon environment before rinsing off under rain-style showers.
Though The Retreat’s spa is already unique in its exclusivity, guests in search of absolute privacy can have it by booking The Lava Cove. The secluded, self-contained spa within the Retreat Spa has its own entrance, lagoon, butler, wood-burning fireplace and gourmet chef.
The full-body Blue Lagoon Ritual uses the powers of three natural wonders: silica, algae and minerals.
Contact Hulda Stefánsdóttir ([email protected]), director of sales and business relations, to handle your resort and spa bookings. She’ll advise on the best rooms to choose depending on whether you prefer to gaze out at the lagoon or the geopark’s moss-blanketed lava fields. (Tip: Top pick of all is the spacious, two-room Lagoon Suite.) She can also assist with reservations for the seven-course Chef’s Table experience at the resort’s spectacular restaurant, Moss, complete with a wine tasting in its cavernous, subterranean cellar.
When it comes to romance, few destinations deliver the way Jamaica does. Just ask parents-to-be Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who were photographed together early in their courtship while attending friend Tom “Skipp” Inskip’s wedding at Round Hill Hotel and Villas in Montego Bay. The resort may be favored among young royals, but it also happens to be home to what we say is one of the island nation’s most memorable spas.
The spa at Round Hill is situated in a restored 18th-century plantation house with 10 acres of lush, beachfront lawn unfurling before it.
Reached via a long, scenic pathway that winds from the resort through lush greenery along the Caribbean’s edge, the spa is situated in a restored 18th-century plantation house with 10 acres of emerald-green, beachfront lawn unfurling before it. Here, a popular pick for couples is the spa’s Rendezvous Package, which includes a 50-minute couple’s massage, a 30-minute Taster Facial and a 50-minute signature foot treatment and pedicure. To really up the romance quotient, book the Spa at Sunset Package, which offers a 50-minute couple’s massage, Champagne and a fruit or cheese platter served on the Welcome Wharf pier.
Let spa manager Keisha Darby ([email protected] or [email protected]) know if you’d like to book an ultra-romantic treatment space, such as the Garden Loft or the spa’s couple’s suite (you do). She can also help arrange a massage for two by the sea, as well as a spa dining experience complete with light options, like arugula salads and chilled gazpacho, made with local, organic ingredients.
The Master Villa Suite at the resort has a private, open air living room with views of the ocean.
Other helpful contacts include general manager Omar Robinson ([email protected]), director of sales and marketing Linda Lawrence ([email protected]; 011-876-956-7050), and head concierge Kingsley Blake ([email protected]; 011-800-972-2159), a kind, longtime Round Hill staffer who will treat you like royals whether you are or not.