4 New Global Pampering Hotspots

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Russian-style saunas with birch branches to invigorate the skin, Alpine reenergizing massages, private hammams and caviar body treatments are just a few of the luxuries being unveiled by the Four Seasons at spas around the globe.

The spas, at Four Seasons hotels in St. Petersburg, Milan, Geneva and Shenzhen, are aiming to be among 2014's best new pampering hotspots, focusing on authentic, locally inspired treatments and over-the-top amenities.

The spa in Geneva for instance, Spa Mont Blanc at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, was more than three years in the making and includes such things as an infinity edge pool overlooking Geneva, Roman hammams and a massage circuit pool that prepares the body for a hands-on massage.

"These are the things that make a difference between a normal spa and a destination spa," Jose Silva, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, said during a recent phone interview. "People will say, 'I've been to spas, but I've never seen this before.'"

The Four Seasons has been at the forefront of the movement to include spa experiences as part of a hotel's offerings. Its first opened in 1986.

Spas in Geneva and Milan opened in October. St. Petersburg and Shenzhen spas are scheduled to open in early 2014. The luxury chain will be opening four additional hotels in 2014 in Dubai, Moscow, Orlando, Fla., and Johannesburg -- all with cutting-edge spas

But these spas are about far more then just deluxe amenities.

The spa in Geneva for instance, features highly trained therapists, some with medical backgrounds, and the treatments offered involve locally sourced products, Silva said.

"Two-thirds of our therapists have a medical background. They either have had chiropractic or shiatsu or Chinese medicine training, which are each typically four to five years of medical training. And the other members of our team are trained by them. So one of the first unique things about our spa is we elevate treatment from masseuse level to chiropractic or Chinese-medicine level. The precision of what is being done to the body is very different."

Spa Mont Blanc is also the only spa in Geneva to use exclusive Swiss Perfection products, Silva said. The local company makes products aimed at stimulating cell metabolism and enhancing the skin's natural renewal process. Treatments involving the products don't exactly come cheap: from 450 to 800 Francs per treatment at Spa Mont Blanc, or from about $500 to $880. The $500 treatments include such options as a cellular eye contour treatment that lasts 45 minutes or a cellular neck and decollete treatment, also 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, for $880 the spa offers the Cellular Exclusive Lift Concept, which among other things is supposed to improve firmness and promote cellular renewal. It also includes rejuvenating techniques to smooth away wrinkles.

The spa, open for only a little over eight weeks, is sold out nearly every weekend, Silva said. During the week the spa averages about 200 treatments.

"Our clientele are the affluent, but it's also people who have made a life choice. They want to be connected to the current time and like to be current and in style," Silva said.

The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Milano was also years in the making, Spa Manager Natasha Boiarciuc said.

Located in the former wine cellar of a 19th century palazzo, this 8,600-square-foot spa is under three buildings and retains the rustic original vaulted ceilings. Its amenities include a 46-foot lap pool and changing rooms equipped with Turkish baths.

And then there are the treatments. Your skin will be treated with such opulent ingredients as caviar to lift and firm and pure gold to stimulate regeneration and activate revitalization. The cost to have these precious ingredients help you look younger is about $230.

Milan spa goers can also indulge in anti-aging rituals based on ayurvedic principles with products made by Sodashi, an all-natural, chemical-free skincare line from Australia. A Sodashi Ultimate Age Defying facial, aimed at restoring vital energy to the skin, costs around $300.

While the facials and skin care available here may be among the best that can be had, Boiarciuc says that's not what makes this particular spa so special and worth a visit.

"We are unique not because of the products we use or the facials we offer -- because a lot of spas can do a good job with those things -- but we create a very particular atmosphere for our guests, that is very personalized," Boiarciuc said, calling the spa's serene ambiance something close to magical.

"We like to connect with our guests and their mood and understand what treatments they need," she adds. "It's an emotional experience as well. We focus on really creating a unique and magical atmosphere for guests."

If Russian palaces are your idea of luxury, the Luceo Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg may be worth a visit. The four-level spa is built within the triangular courtyard of the 19th century palace.

Highlights at Luceo Spa include an "experience shower" that has fiber optic lights, the Russian-style sauna with birch branches and a line of treatment products being created exclusively for the spa by the high-end brand ila.

The spa in Shenzhen is being developed for globetrotting business travelers and will include a 24-hour fitness center, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, indoor pool and outdoor pool.

Each spa features stylish, lush and innovative architectural details and relaxing lounge spaces that are also part of the chic retreat experience.

The spa in Milan combines the use of wood and highly tactile upholstery on the walls and floors, as well as dark peach glass accents to create a cocooning and sophisticated ambiance.

"There is a lot of natural wood on the floor, and if you touch the wall, it's like velvet, because of the material chosen. It was all tailor made, even the colors that were used, were tailored made for us," Boiarciuc said.

The Spa Mont Blanc in Geneva, meanwhile, includes four types of lounge relaxation spaces for guests to use before or after treatments.

"One is a library with a fireplace and a sky dome, so a very relaxing library. Another one is a quiet room -- a darker room if you want to be quiet and rest. The third area is roof sundeck. And the fourth room is by a pool, where you have loungers overlooking the city. So you have four different kinds of experiences."

Design features in Geneva range from an organic blend of local materials such as mountain stone, regional wood and aged oak to marble from a renowned local quarry. Bespoke furniture and original artwork were used to create a private home feel, akin to a luxurious mansion.

"What we're trying to do as a company is to create that destination element and level of quality at our spas," Silva said.

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