SARASOTA's 10 Best Spa Treatments

By staff June 1, 2005

1. The Ritz-Carlton Members Spa Club. Emphasis: pampering. "Spa" is an acronym for sanitas per aquas, or health through waters, and The Ritz offers a full complement of hydrotherapy and other luxuries. The Aromatic Algae Soak and Hydro Massage can relax, detoxify, slenderize or just plain revitalize. And then there's a massage with hands that move with the gentle anonymity of lapping waves. Go Hydro! $100, 50 minutes. Memberships still available. 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive. (941) 309-2521.

2. Bloom Organics. Emphasis: healing. Bloom's microlift facial combines certified organic botanical preparations-wild plum compresses, masks of seaweed and paprika, lemon or lavender lotions-with low-level electrical stimulation for non-surgical, anti-aging skin care, aimed at feeding the skin and stimulating its underlying collagen and elastin components. Glow on. $880 for a series of eight, 90 minutes each (effects are cumulative). 2065 Siesta Drive. (941) 362-4194.

3. Body and Spirit Luxury Day Spa. Emphasis: kindness. Got a minute? Get a massage. With its Just in Time program, Body and Spirit accommodates customers with last-minute appointments for a host of spa services. Find your softer side with an exfoliating massage. Make new connections (memory and scent are often linked in the brain) with a rub of rosemary and eucalyptus, ginger and pineapple or another marvelous mix here. Plus they're open Sundays! Signature scrub, $75, 50 minutes. 500 Southgate Plaza. (941) 921-1388.

4. The Day Spa at the Met. Emphasis: indulgence. Give in to the treatment. The Met's four-handed massage is the synchronized dance of body work; you have to feel it to believe it. Starting at opposite ends-head and feet-two expert therapists ply their trade with matching strokes that help you, literally, find your center. This 50-minute fiesta puts a spring in your step. $190. 35 S. Boulevard of the Presidents. (941) 388-3991.

5. John Carl. Emphasis: integration. For the skinny on what your skin really needs, from nutritional products to the power of prayer, this salon takes the clinical approach to skin care. The Hydroptimal facial, created to improve skin's uniformity, smoothness and most of all hydration, leaves skin plump and glowing. You can even emerge with an Rx for vitamins, skin care products and make-up recommendations suited to your skin type. $120 for 50 minutes. 1345 Second St. (941) 330-8000.

6. Evolve Wellness Studio and Spa. Emphasis: balance. Overlooking the Manatee River, Evolve offers a holistic three-tiered approach to wellness, with services to unite body, mind and spirit. Working from the premise that all movement starts in the mind, the yoga instructor wrings every drop from this ancient art of movement; here, yoga is a spiritual experience that will cause you to examine your attitude toward hard work and challenges. Group classes $15 each for nonmembers, $100 for series of 10. 908 Riverside Drive, Palmetto. (941) 729-7911.

7. Pineapple Holistic Day Spa. Emphasis: invigoration. With its convenient downtown location and European clean-lined aesthetic, this day spa proffers the perfect escape for men and women with polish. The gentleman's facial and back facial, which combine cleansing, oil-free hydration and many minutes of marvelous massage, are the antidote to long days and too many hours at a desk. This is a great place unwind. $125, two hours. 556 Pineapple Ave. (941) 366-1119.

8. Melody's Skin and Body Therapy. Emphasis: personalization. Try the power of light in a lymphatic drainage treatment that uses oils corresponding to the "five element" theory of Chinese medicine, plus colored light therapy. This facial, which focuses on releasing toxins through the combination of a gentle suction apparatus and the healing properties of pure monochromatic light, reputedly improves circulation, decreases puffiness and fine lines and mitigates both stress and fatigue. $90-$125 for 60-90 minutes. 555 S. Osprey Ave. (941) 952-1810.

9. Colony Beach. Emphasis: relaxation. For the ultimate sybaritic escape, round up some friends for a poolside spa experience. Order up manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials. Add a speaker on nutrition and try your hand at a little yoga en plein air. Tempt your taste buds with tasty niblets and feast your eyes on the beach beyond. Finally, round out the experience with a professional dance demonstration. For groups of 15-30 "spa-fficionados." (Group pricing; call for details.) 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive. (941) 383-6464.

10. Mandala Medi-spa and Yoga Sanctuary. Emphasis: comfort. The "lulur" is an Indonesian tradition that immerses a royal bride-to-be in ceremonial baths, followed by massages for the 40 days prior to her wedding. You, of course, will finish in time to go home to dinner, but they don't stint on the renewing effects. From the jasmine-frangipani rub to the cool yogurt and honey soak in a bath festooned with fresh blossoms, the treatment is positively delicious. $150, 90 minutes. 1715 Stickney Point Road. (941) 927-2278. 

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