From strip malls and airports to even the local Walmart, spas have popped up virtually everywhere. These places cater to time-starved and stressed-out clients who just want to buy a little relaxation. In contrast to day spas that offer just an hour of peace and quiet, hotel spas promise to keep that glow lasting just a little bit longer (is there anything better than going to your room in a fluffy bathrobe?). If you’ve ever left a meeting rubbing your shoulders and thinking, “I could really use a massage,” you’re onto the idea of spa retreats, where business and pleasure go hand in hand.
Hilton Short Hills Hotel
The Hilton Short Hills Hotel enjoys a prime north Jersey location right across the street from the Mall of Short Hills. If New Jersey is a state governed by shopping malls, then this mall is certainly its queen—it’s like having the bold-faced names of Madison Avenue all under one roof. While retail therapy can be a way to blow off steam from a long day of meetings, the Hilton’s eforea spa is the best choice. This elegant spa shares a contemporary design with guests; clean lines and simple décor amp up the serenity quotient, while the facility doesn’t miss a beat with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a movement studio, state-of-the-art fitness center and 14 treatment rooms. Enjoy an intimate day-long retreat with private yoga or Pilates sessions before succumbing to an hour-long craniosacral massage or a 90-minute detoxifying body wrap. Don’t have an afternoon to spend at the spa? Enjoy a lunchtime break or book a time sensitive 30-minute service. “We try to understand the client’s needs and time frame. How much time do they have? Are they entertaining clients?” says Miriam Liberman, spa director. “We are able to recommend treatments or customize a specialty menu based around individual needs.” The Hilton will even bring (some of) the spa to you, offering hand and neck massages right in the conference rooms. The Hilton’s convenient location places it near many area offices—the hotel even offers complimentary shuttle service to neighboring corporations. But with a 24-hour business center, meeting rooms and indoor and outdoor event space, doing business right here might just be a whole lot more appealing.
Imagine a place midway between New York and Philadelphia where an exit off the highway takes you straight to the entrance, a train stop is three blocks away and an international airport is under an hour away. The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick is all that and more. “We’re steps from the State Theatre and George Street Playhouse, and there are restaurants for every palate. It’s like a major city on a much more intimate scale,” says Pat Weldon, director of sales and marketing. The Heldrich is a meeting and event destination with 25,000 square feet of function space, 235 guest rooms and 13 suites. The Spa at The Heldrich is located on the third floor, making it a convenient spot for recharging pre-or post-meeting or inviting attendees to enjoy a well-deserved break. The spa features a fitness center, indoor swimming pool and four treatment rooms. The treatment menu is packed with everything from massages and body treatments to facials, but the downtime moments are pure genius. These quick treatments (10-minute foot massage, 15-minute chair massage) are designed for those with little time on their hands.
Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort
The luxurious Grand Cascades Lodge is the jewel in the crown of the Crystal Springs Resort. The graceful arches of the Adirondackstyle architecture blend perfectly against the striking Kittatinny Mountains in northern New Jersey. Inside, the lodge feels like a gracious European mountain resort and the amenities—seven golf courses, a four seasons indoor biosphere pool complex and the awardwinning Restaurant Latour with 135,000-plus bottle wine cellar—are unmatched. Grand Cascades Lodge is also home to Reflections Spa, a perfect choice for spa retreats. “We are well equipped to handle groups due to the amount of rooms within our spas and the spacious waiting areas,” says Michelle Abate, director of marketing. “Guests rave about the quality of our services and the spectacular décor, as well as the generous added value provided to our clientele. Reflections Spa provides pampering with a complimentary hot salt foot soak and pink champagne and specialty chocolates, while guests at Elements Spa (located at the sister hotel, Minerals Hotel) can enjoy a rose petal foot soak with essential oils and Epsom salt, as well as handmade granola and specialty organic teas.”
The Water Club at Borgata
The Water Club is the ultimate hotel within a hotel. This 43-story, $400 million hotel may be technically part of the Borgata (you can pass through to the hotel without going outside), but it truly stands on its own. The Water Club gives the impression of being an intimate boutique property in Atlantic City, yet this contemporary masterpiece pulls out all of the stops with 800 guest rooms and suites and 18,000 square feet of elegantly designed, state-of-the-art meeting and event space. Best of all is the two-story Immersion Spa, located on the 32nd floor. Step off the elevator into a contemporary, Asian-inspired space with soothing dark tones, distinctive artwork and natural elements. No detail is overlooked here, where even the hallways are lined with smooth river rocks and bamboo stalks. The 16 treatment rooms invite guests to indulge in a wide variety of beautifying and relaxing treatments. “We have various packages that are available for groups at Immersion that may include either an 80-minute or 50-minute experience and poolside manicures/pedicures performed by the Immersion pool,” says Jennifer Aarons, director of spa operations. “For groups at Immersion, we actually try to limit to no more than seven due to the space availability at Immersion. We have a wonderful lap pool with lounge chairs for guests to relax and enjoy the view of Atlantic City and the shore before and after their spa experience. While relaxing, guests can also enjoy lunch from our spa cuisine menu.” In addition to being the perfect place to unwind with colleagues, the spa is actually an event venue unto itself. “With floor-to-ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean, Immersion Spa at The Water Club is one of the most awe-inspiring locations for special occasions,” says Mark Vanderwielen, vice president of hospitality. “Sitting 32 floors above sea level, the space is easily transformed into a cocktail reception for up to 120 guests or a private dinner for 80 guests.”
This privately owned and operated hotel in Livingston is a meeting planner’s dream with 183 guest rooms and 16,000 square feet of meeting space. “We have been named in the top 10 best hotels in New Jersey by U.S News & World Report for the past three years,” says Giulia Racchi, director of sales & marketing. “We are also a Four Diamond hotel for 11 years since opening, something only 3 percent of hotels achieve.” The Westminster is also home to the much-lauded Strip House restaurant, which was rated three-and-a-half stars by New Jersey Monthly. “One of the unique elements we offer groups is that all of our food and beverage comes from the executive chef at Strip House,” says Jennifer Cooper, director of catering and special events. “Groups can experience restaurant-quality food in our banquet spaces.” The Westminster’s Deluxe Spa, located within the hotel, offers 20 different therapeutic and relaxing treatments. The spa’s three treatment rooms offer a respite from the everyday, though services can be brought to guest rooms or even the meeting rooms. “We’ve had massage chairs delivered to meeting rooms for 10-15 massage breaks,” Racchi says.