Louise Carr de Olmedo
It’s mid-week in the city and you’re feeling it. Your back is killing you. Your head is pounding. Hectic Buenos Aires life takes its toll. You need a break. You need a spa break. But you can’t afford to spend two days at a country estancia. You need to relax, refresh and rejuvenate with a day spa experience at one of BA’s best spots for urban recharge. Check out these 12 restorative city retreats for the perfect quick pick-me-up.
1. Home Hotel Spa
If you haven’t been Home, you haven’t experienced possibly the coolest boutique hotel and spa the city has to offer. Aside from the quite frankly awesome pool deck and bar, Home Hotel in Palermo Hollywood offers an urban spa experience to rival all others.
The Californian-style stretching massage, Thai Shiatsu – a dynamic technique using rocking movements on pressure points -, hot stone, and deep tissue massages are all deeply indulgent. Facials and special jet-lag busting packages put a spring back in your step. But you’re going to want to stay the whole day (or at least a few hours) – the Express Day Spa option includes a 50-minute massage, use of the pool, dry sauna, and sun deck, plus breakfast or afternoon tea. The Full Day Spa also includes a light lunch and a 30-minute facial.
Best for: a cool, unique day spa experience that ticks all the boxes.
Home Hotel Buenos Aires: Honduras 5860; +54 11 4778 1006.
2. Faena Spa
Set in the opulent barrio of Puerto Madero, Faena Spa in the luxurious Hotel Faena is a true gem. Focusing on mind, body and spirit, the spa provides the sort of decadent relaxation and attention to detail that you can’t find just anywhere. Private scented baths, yoga studios, blissful massages and therapeutic healing therapies combine to send you up and out of city life and among the clouds for an hour or two.
The Spa Packages are the most interesting – and tempting – and combine yoga, fresh juices, sauna, authentic hammam, ayurvedic massage, vegetarian lunch and a variety of chakra treatments for a whole-day event.
Best for: supreme, take-a-break-from-your-life relaxation and mind-spirit therapy.
Faena Hotel: Martha Salotti 445; +54 11 4010 9083
The “Green Apple” is tucked away in a small, third-storey apartment in Recoleta and provides a welcome and convenient respite from the busy streets. Verde Manzana offers a particularly strong menu of massage therapy and facial treatments, along with some “gourmet spa” treats like Chocoterapia and Fangoterapia – which sounds crazy but actually just means mud-pack.
While there’s no pool or day spa package, Verde Manzana has a cozy feel, is highly unpretentious and great for a good-value massage or facial.
Best for: a quick pick-me-up in between lunch date and dinner.
Verde Manzana: Arenales 1974; +54 11 4811 8360
4. Four Seasons Spa
You’d expect to see a spa at the Four Seasons, right? They do everything here from detoxifying exfoliation to deep tissue massage, jet lag treatment to hot stone therapy. They even have a special massage designed for polo players. As you would expect, none of it is cheap. At all. However, if you’re staying at the Four Seasons you may not notice the extra couple of hundred dollars on your bill. It’s all good quality, though, and the facilities are suitably luxe. The Tango Porteño therapeutic massage sounds pleasant, but at $3000 for 80 minutes I would at least expect live dancers and a full steak dinner afterwards.
If you can afford to spend longer in the spa, there’s a Mother and Daughter package or a Couples package that lasts three hours and includes lunch.
Best as: a gift from a well-off relative in the States who is concerned you are burning the candle at both ends.
Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires: Posadas 1086/88; +54 11 4321 1200
5. Ahín Spa at the Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
A luxury offering, Ahín means welcome ceremony for an honored guest in Mapuche language, this spa is set in a spacious, airy building with lots of lovely natural light and tranquil views. It’s probably the best-equipped spa facility in the city boasting 8,000 square feet of space with five spa rooms, hydrotherapy, an indoor lap pool, fitness studio, and soaking tubs.
Spa packages are available which combine the best of the treatments ranging from decadent hot stone massage to detoxifying mud therapy. And excellent attention to detail ensures that all needs are catered for.
Best for: a get-away-from-it-all few hours of luxury in the heart of the city.
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires: Avenida Alvear 1661; +54 11 5171 1234
6. Markus Day Spa for men
Slick and super-stylish, Markus is an exclusive day spa for guys who want to wind down and enjoy a massage, body treatment, facial or even just a supremely close shave. The Markus interior is all polished oak wood and chic pastels, and the service is equally smooth.
Day spa packages include use of the hydrotherapy suite, massages, hot towel shaves, massage, lunch and drinks, and last for three hours or the whole day – seven hours of relaxation that will seem like days.
Best for: men (obviously), specifically well-groomed metrosexual men looking to kick back for a few hours in soothing surroundings.
Markus: Av. Callao 1046 and Uriarte 1867; +54 11 4811 0058 and +54 11 4833 6907
7. Dosha Spa
Dosha – armonia corporal – is more of a massage place than a spa but the massages are top-notch, and you can also find a range of other treatments like exfoliation, facials, and aromatherapy. The locally owned and run place offers superb value for money, too, so you can fit one of these massages more easily into your weekly budget.
It’s an unpretentious place with welcoming owners – and there’s a massage school if you feel like learning the tricks of the trade.
Best for: a great-value, no-frills massage in comfortable surroundings.
Dosha: Peña 3010;; +54 11 4800 1728
8. Experiencia Nirvana
Located in the heart of popular Palermo Soho, this is a holistically pleasing, soothing retreat from the busy barrio. Experiencia Nirvana offers one- and two-hour “rituals” for him and for her – choose from Chocotherapy, Californian massage, “gourmet” massage, hot stones and Vinotherapy plus more. The couples’ massages and therapies are particularly popular, and packages are available that combine therapies with meals in the attached restaurant.
While “experiencing nirvana” is a bit too much to expect, you do walk away feeling lighter, brighter and calmer.
Experiencia Nirvana: Honduras 4747; +54 11 4834 6407
Relax! Here Are a Few Extra Recommendations
9. Zia Grazia
Not strictly a spa, Zia Grazia is a great little place for facials and body treatments. Treatments include hydrating facials, back, neck and foot massages, and these can be put together into “spa” packages for a full body recharge. The products are a little bit different and all good quality. Zia Grazia is on Medrano in Almagro.
Zia Grazia: Av. Medrano 64; +54 11 4958 7333
10. Alvear Art Hotel Spa and Fitness Center
Worth it if only for the stunning view from the pool. The Spa and Fitness Center at this premier hotel provides a stunning panorama to go with your massage or time in the hammam. There’s a fully equipped gym to work off those steak dinners, too.
Alvear Art Hotel: Suipacha 1036; +54 11 4114 3432
11.Villa Isidro Hotel Boutique & Spa
Good quality, plenty of therapeutic treatments in the heart of San Isidro; Av del Libertador Gral San Martín 15935; +54 11 4742 3366
12. Duque Hotel Boutique and Spa
Small and well-formed spa in Palermo Soho; Guatemala 4364; ; +54 11 4832 8189