Friday, September 27, 2013

Spa Slut: The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco

Forget Rice-A-Roni and Ghirardelli Chocolates, the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental is the true San Francisco treat. It seems like it’s always tough for urban luxury hotels to create a real “destination spa” environment when they are confined to a vertical building. Based on the names and prices, I have gone to many top luxury hotels in major cities and expected great things. But instead I have been underwhelmed by spas that were obviously jammed into a few renovated hotel rooms.

So you can imagine I wasn’t expecting Shangri-La when I visited the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco. Of course I should have known better. When I lived in New York City, I was a huge fan of the Mandarin Oriental Spa New York, but that spa is in a different hemisphere. Of course I had thoroughly examined the website and knew San Francisco wouldn’t have the same extras (like the Vitality Pool or Amethyst Crystal Steam Room )that are featured in NYC’s larger location.

Frankly, once those elevator doors opened I didn’t need any extras… I felt instantly transported to an exotic luxury spa, perhaps in Bali or Thailand. The ceilings are sky high (so in other words, the Mandarin didn’t break my cardinal sin of taking over a few hotel rooms) and the reception area has two dimly lit areas with sumptuous and silky seating areas.

As soon as I approached the reception desk, I was told to make myself comfortable while the attendant brought me delicious tea and a warm towel to begin my “journey.” He took my street shoes and replaced them with spa slippers. Pure class.

After about five minutes I was whisked away to my spa suite. Yes, I said “suite”. Who needs crowded locker rooms when you can get your own private spa suite, equipped with a bathroom bigger than my first apartment? The bathroom features a rain shower big enough to hold four people and a dressing area equipped with everything one may need for getting ready post-treatment — deodorant, lotions, hairspray, etc.

The attached treatment room was beautifully appointed with mood-lit high ceilings and Balinese-inspired furnishings. I spent the next two hours indulging in a massage and facial, enveloped in the delicious scents of the Aromatherapy Associates oils and products used throughout both services.

I went with two separate services, but don’t follow my example. If you truly want to indulge, the best way to spa at any Mandarin Oriental is to book a Time Ritual. A Time Ritual, booked either in a 1 hour and 50 minute or 2 hours and 50 minute time frame, is a “custom tailored” service where you can choose to do as many or as few services as you like. For example, you could do a body scrub, massage, and facial in your time ritual and ask that 60 of the minutes be massage. Basically, you’re the boss and you get to spend your time any way you like.

Whether you choose specific services or a Time Ritual, make sure you leave yourself enough time post-service to relax in the spa’s Relaxation Tea Lounge. The roomy tea lounge is dimly lit and features comfy chairs and loungers to conclude your relaxing “journey”. You can sip the spa’s signature tea, snack on healthy nuts and dried fruits, or just bask in the tranquility before braving the loud streets of San Francisco.

Services at the San Francisco Mandarin Oriental Spa start at $175. To book a service, call +1 (415) 276-9608 or email mosfo-spa@mohg.com.

Janna Posted by Tags , ,

Leave a Reply