Added to Miami's collection of spas in April 2009 by the legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, the new Lapis Spa is a spacious and luxurious facility inspired by the world's traditional thermal spas.
Mineral enriched water therapies are, of course, the focus of the spacious, two-level, 30-treatment-room sanctuary and the heart of the spa is sleek co-ed lounge area with a multi-temperature, 75-foot, mineral pool. It's one of several communal areas encouraging socializing.
Socializing is, in fact, one aspect of the spas industry that is becoming more popular - other spas that focus on the socializing are Quebec's Nordik Spas and the Standard Spa Miami. Taking a cue from earlier times, the socialization of spas is a welcome development as consumers become increasingly immersed in digital communities.
When the Fontainebleau opened in 1954, it was the largest and most luxurious hotel in South Florida. With the $1 billion (U.S.) hotel expansion and renovation completed in late 2008, I wouldn't be surprised to learn the iconic hotel has regained that status.
In keeping with the rest of the mega 1,500 plus-room resort, Lapis Spa is on all accounts, luxurious. The design is sleek and modern and the décor is a combo of earth-toned textures from smooth gleaming marble, to warm tufted wool blankets, to stark glass walls draped with soft sheers. Look for waffle robes in a soft sand colour, lockers enhanced with interior drawers, and snacks and refreshments beautifully presented.
In addition to the co-ed mineral pool/lounge there are also private men's and ladies' spaces each with eucalyptus-infused steam room, sauna, a large mineral water jet bath plus semi-private, marble soaking tubs used for therapeutic soaks such as the Stress Buster or the Muscle Ease (each $35 U.S. for a 25-minute soak).
One of the more novel water features in the Rain Tunnel. Incorporated into the water circuit, the "tunnel" (more like a wide corridor) allows guests to walk through for an automatic down-pouring of warm and cool waters at varying strengths. Unfortunately, this "complicated engineering structure" (as one spa attendant called it) was under repair the day I visited so I didn't get a chance to experience it.
Another feature is the Deluge Energy Shower raining down from 14 feet overhead. With the push of a button you get that cleansing feel of being caught in a sudden downpour of a warm, tropical rain.
The spa menu is extension and prices are in keeping with those of a luxury property. Fifty-minute massages start at $140, 50-minute facials at $130. Also on the menu, are the exclusive Tracie Martyn services and products. Outside of her New York spa, Fontainebleau is the only location in the world to offer Tracie Martyn treatments such as the Resculpting Facial - also dubbed the Red Carpet Facial due to its celebrity fan base. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to try it. Even with the 20 per cent discount kindly offered by the spa, at $325 U.S. for 60 minutes, it's a little too rich for my budget. The facial has been featured in Vogue, and New York Magazine declared it Best Facial two years in a row.
I loved the tranquility and sense of luxury here. And, even though the spa is huge there are so many separate areas and semi-private spaces within those areas, I'm sure it never feels really crowded. It's definitely one of those special spas where you can go and spend the day just "taking the waters." A day pass to experience the Lapis Ritual Water Journeys is $25 to $40 U.S. depending on the time of day. Well worth the price for a day activity.
For more information on Lapis Spa & Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, go to: www.fontainebleau.com.
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Anne DimonTravel to Wellness is a website dedicated to spa + wellness-minded travel around the world. Go to TravelToWellness.com for more great spa + wellness articles.
Located: Toronto Canada
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