Escaping in Style: Spas

Places to go, things to do and see and people who are leaving their mark on the world of style.

By Julia Johns


The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

When escaping to this Four Seasons Spa, it is impossible for guests to forget they are in St. Louis. Marnell Architecture, a Las Vegas firm also credited with the Mirage and Bellagio, recognized the grandeur of the city’s focal points and incorporated them in their design. Brett Ewing, president of Marnell Architecture, explained that the Gateway Arch is “a magnificent sculptural expression on an urban scale.”  Thus, the Four Seasons was crafted to complement the Arch’s geometry in a contemporary fashion: the finished product is an oasis of light. To flood the building with natural light, the architects utilized two separate curtain wall technologies of glass and steel construction on its exterior. Similarly, the cantilevered, three-story Grand Stair is another light-infused, glass structure; the connection of the event spaces, spa and lobby with transparent materials and unobstructed sightlines imparts upon guests the illusion of floating above the surrounding buildings. The 12,000-square-foot glass building frames the surrounding sights: the glistening Arch and sparkling Mississippi river. Once inside, guests will discover 12 treatment rooms including a couple's suite, heat experiential room, relaxation lounges, indoor water features and steam rooms — many of which have floor-to-ceiling windows. Ultimately, the hotel’s elements coalesce into a pillar of serenity and a dazzling beacon of light among the St. Louis skyline.


Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas

Adorned with decor that is one-of-a-kind and displaying art and antiques that are stunning, Lake Austin Spa Resort shows that beauty is essential to relaxation. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, this paradise is the fruit of co-owner Michael W. McAdams’ s labor. In 1997, he and business partner Billy Rucks purchased the spa and began its reimagining. McAdams, who spent 13 years with Trammel Crow Design Centers cultivating an extensive knowledge of real estate and architectural design, built a truly unique getaway by working with craftsmen and artists from around the world. At the resort, guests will take a stroll from one of the 40 guest rooms on their way to the spa. First, this walk leads along a garden path exhibiting more than 300 species of plants. Then, guests will pass by the Pool Barn that houses a crystal-clear, 25-meter lap pool. Finally, they will reach the spa that boasts a façade of Austin stone that was carefully selected by McAdams for the artistic standard it set for the rest of the building. Equally as impressive is the spa’s interior that McAdams spent thousands of hours shopping for from California to Europe, New York to small towns. Lake Austin Spa Resort also takes care to incorporate the area’s local history of handicrafts. There is a display of quilts made by Joyce Massey, tapestries made by Denyse Schmidt, and handcrafted, circular light fixtures of spring green from David Jones. And once all treatments are complete, guests can retire to a state of complete serenity in the 1,000-square-foot quiet area known as the Blue Room.

Bad Ragaz Spa, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

The pride of the Bad Ragaz is its healing waters. Discovered almost 800 years ago gushing from the Tamina Gorge, this water runs at 97.7ºF and has been renowned for centuries. In 1535, the physician, naturalist and philosopher Paracelsus provided the first proof of this life-giving liquid’s healing properties. This moment marked the birth of spa tourism, but it was remarkably different than what we are familiar with today. At that time, visitors were lowered down on ropes into the gorge where they luxuriated for hours at a time. Since 1840, however, the water has been channeled over two and a half miles to the Bad Ragaz. Guests can now delight in the precious waters while relaxing in the pinnacle of modern opulence. The water is considered therapeutic because it regenerates and strengthens the body; the body-temperature water embraces tired muscles and joints while guests relax their minds for a holistic experience. The Bad Ragaz has many different amenities, so guests can personalize their stay. From the historic Helenabad pool, sports pools and garden pools to the Sauna Landscape and Family Spa, there are options for all. Or for a truly extravagant experience, guests can have their every wish fulfilled at the Private Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. Featuring a whirlpool tub, steam bath, adventure shower, relaxation lounge, home cinema, garden terrace, sauna with a champagne cooler and private treatment and dining area, this option is the ultimate luxury.