In a busy city like Chicago, we can all do with a spa day every once in a while. Spas are designed to relax the busy mind and after the tumultuous ride that the last couple of years have provided, you can’t be blamed for wanting to drift off into serene solitude. Add to that the strains of the midwest winter and everything happening on the planet, and there’s never been a better time to take a break and treat yourself to a little R&R.
Whether you’re looking to soak away stress and restore your mental balance, alleviate aches and pains in bones and muscles, or simply find refuge from the cold in a warm bath, spas are medicine for the mind, body, and soul. From therapeutic massages to rejuvenating facials, these Chicago spas and bathhouses cater to all. So if you’re seeking somewhere to obtain that ethereal feeling you have returning to the real world after a restorative spa day, read on.
1. AIRE Ancient Baths in River West
Located in a restored historic River West factory dating back to 1902, these baths are inspired by the traditional Roman, Greek, and Ottoman ancient experience of bathing. This preserved structure has been restored to its original splendor and you can now find optimum relaxation within the exposed brick, wooden beams, and industrial columns of the building.
The unique body and mind experience offers baths of different temperatures, relaxing massages, couples experiences, and more. .The signature bath experience includes six thermal baths including hot bath, ice and cold plunges, a warm pool, salt water flotarium and a jet pool.
2. The Peninsula Spa on Magnificent Mile
You can bet your bottom dollar a hotel that was recently ranked the best hotel in the United States is going to have a good spa setup. Spanning the top two floors of The Peninsula Chicago, The Peninsula Spa offers an extensive list of modern and timeless treatments inspired by Ayurvedic and Asian philosophies. These include “an all-natural hot stone massage that combines ESPA aromatic and holistic oils with the Abhyanga body recovery massage, a spiritually rewarding Ayurvedic massage.”
The hotel also boasts a 25- meter, 82-degrees indoor semi-Olympic swimming pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows offering stunning sweeping views of the city. The Peninsula Spa is also one of only a few spas in the entire midwest to offer Biologique Recherche, a French luxury skincare line using highly personalized facials made from botanical, marine, and biotechnical extracts.
In addition to a fitness center, a yoga area, a sun terrace, and an array of different treatments there is also a euphoric relaxation lounge where a true Zen-like state can be accomplished courtesy of fluffy comforters nestled away in draped enclaves near a crackling fire.
3. Kohler Waters Spa in Lincoln Park
This 20,000-square-foot Lincoln Park spa is home to 21 treatment rooms, a thermal suite, a sauna, a steam room, and a cool plunge pool as well as an outdoor terrace. There are also 2 Kohler Custom Treatment Vichy Showers and Hydromassage Experience Pool— experiences custom-designed by Kohler’s hydro experts. You’ll find a range of state-of-the-art amenities at Kohler Waters Spa and more than 50 innovative water services, therapeutic massages, and body treatments.
4. Langham Hotel Chuan Spa in River North
Found inside the 5-star Langham Hotel, Chuan Spa is a conveniently located award-winning spa. The spa’s many different treatments are inspired by traditional Chinese medicine which is why the spa itself is named ‘Chuan’ which means flowing water in Chinese. Upon passing through the spas ‘moon gate’ you’ll encounter herbal and salt stone saunas, oriental and eucalyptus steam rooms, and a healing liquid pool offering customized sound and light therapy among many other amenities. From acupuncture and cupping to HydraFacial MD facial treatments, Chuan Spa has something for every need.
5. Palmer House Spa in Theater District
Palmer House Hilton’s three-level health club includes the opulent Palmer House Spa and a new $2.2m heated indoor pool. There is everything you could need to relax and unwind. Only last year the hotel celebrated its 150th-anniversary reopening the spa with more locker areas, renovated pedicure stations, an updated treatment menu, and a medical-grade HydroDermabrasion machine.
Specialty treatments like the Chicago Fire and Ice Massage, which uses a mix of heated and cooling salts, and Honore’s Hydrotub Immersion, which uses water to relieve stress, relax muscles and help with blood circulation.
6. Allyu Spa in River North
Named after the Quechua word for community, the Allyu Spa in River North is a sustainably built and consciously operated luxury day spa. Unlike the hotel lobbies and lavish waiting areas that you’d expect from some of the others, upon arrival at Allyu Spa you’ll find yourself waiting in a serene, dimly lit tented chamber.
That’s only the start of the unique experience offered here. Guests will walk through corridors sculpted with Wisconsin field stones and adobe cob seating before showering surrounded by Moroccan plaster walls. Allyu Spa is about simplicity over extravagance and you’ll find all the usual treatments and services here without any overindulgence.
7. The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago in Gold Coast
Some may recognize the 50-foot Roman-columned indoor pool and sky-lit dome from Home Alone 2. You know it’s going to be a pretty elegant setup if it’s been featured in a film and The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago certainly doesn’t let you down when experienced in real life. A wide range of seasonal treatments and healing massages offers something for everybody but it’s the unforgettable ‘Skylight Swim’ experience for couples that is the most eye-catching.
Booking a ‘Skylight Swim’ costs a hefty $800 but for that the 50-foot Roman-style indoor pool is closed to all other guests and transformed into “an exclusive sanctuary of serenity and romance.” The experience begins with a signature couple’s 80-minute massage and concludes in the pool area with a bottle of Champagne and canapes prepared by the onsite culinary team.
8. InterContinental Spa on Magnificent Mile
Another spa located in the heart of Chicago’s luxury shopping corridor, the InterContinental Spa is a three-level facility complete with private treatment rooms and Finnish hot dry saunas. You’ll find all the quintessential spa services such as massages, body treatments, and facials here, all available in a wide range of styles to provide the perfect experience for each body’s needs.
It’s the style of this spa, however, that makes it stand out. Boasting Gatsbyesque glamour, the InterContinental Spa is actually home to the oldest pool in Chicago and has recently undergone extensive renovations. The pool is surrounded by hand-painted Spanish tiles that give the spa a unique Mediterranean feel you won’t find in many other spas. There is also a stunning hand-carved terracotta fountain of Neptune to make you feel like you’ve escaped to another time in history.
9. Waldorf Asturia in Gold Coast
The Waldorf Astoria is another Gold Coast gem that offers a euphoric European escape. The hotel describes itself as having “Parisian-style charm, moments from Michigan Avenue” and its spa certainly isn’t lacking in elegance. Whether you’re swimming in the lap pool, kicking back in a hot tub, or relaxing in the eucalyptus in the steam room, the 14,000 sq ft spa has everything you could need to relax and unwind. For a real reset, however, the signature five-hour Restore Package includes a massage, a facial, a pedicure, and even lunch.
10. PIVA Beer Spa in Noble Square
While many of the spas on this list provide lavish 5-star experiences, PIVA is known for something a little different. As well as a variety of massages, facials, and your usual spa features, PIVA offers heated halotherapy salt rooms which are said to be beneficial for breathing, skin clarity, and general well-being.
That’s not, however, as you probably guessed by the name, the only unique option at PIVA Beer Spa. The headline act is without a doubt the beer soaks which involve sinking back into a huge larch wooden tub filled with near 100-degree beer, herbs, and hops. The spa claims that the extracts of hops, barley, and brewer’s yeast can help alleviate various respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, and bronchitis whilst also helping to improve numerous ale-ments (sorry), such as restoring damaged skin, revitalizing damaged hair, and helping to clear acne. Antioxidants found in beer alleviate oxidative damage of cells, lipids, and DNA whilst anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties help make the skin, softer, clearer, and more hydrated.
[Featured image from intercontinentalspa.com]