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Wellness Weekend: Miami’s hot and wholesome spas

Miami Wellness WeekendMojitos, mini skirts, and partying at Mansion isn’t the holy trinity of a good time in Greater Miami. The cities are overflowing with spas—and not all are bastions of superficiality. We present five (mostly) wholesome, fitness-focused, and feel-good wellness hotels worthy of an on-the-wagon weekend or a last-minute spa spring break.

1. Exhale Spa at the Epic Hotel
Happening Biscayne Boulevard is the new home of the Epic Hotel, set on a marina with Port of Miami views. Its spa is a satellite of the Exhale day-spa dynasty, known for its mind-body CoreFusion classes, GRN spa product line and treatments, and destination-style spa services like acupuncture and sessions with a nutritionist—a perfect notch on Miami’s fitness-focused weight-belt. The half-moon–shape CoreFusion studio on the 16th-floor has floor-to-ceiling windows and the yoga studio gets a view of the gorgeous wrap-around pool deck. By comparison the spa is a bit lackluster, but the treatments aren’t. Try the Deep Flow Massage (60 min, $140) and the new Kahina Giving Beauty facial. Rooms start at $369.

The Standard Miami outdoor tub guest room
The best rooms at The Standard have outdoor soaking tubs

2. The Standard Miami
A part-time party girl with rich inner life, gold bikini, and a killer flying crow pose. That’s the target demographic at Andre Balazs’s not new but definitely still noteworthy destination. It has tough fitness classes and super solid yoga. A king-size hammam and hard-to-find organic spa treatments. Plus an Adult Playground (aka hydrotherapy water park with high-pressure showers and shoulder-kneading waterfall) on the bay. The most progressive spa in town. Weak link: the tiny guest rooms and the asleep-at-the-wheel service. Rooms start at $239; massages at $125 for 60 minutes.

Lady in Palms Hotel hammock Miami Beach
Maxing and relaxing in the garden at The Palms Hotel

3. The Palms Hotel & Spa
A hideaway hotel with hammocks and jungle-like palms that lend poolside privacy; Essensia, a very good, high-end organic restaurant—and a brand-new spa with Aveda treatments. The Chakra Balancing massage (75 min, $175) feels a bit cheesy with its incantations (“red is the color of the root chakra; it corresponds to creativity”), but it yields energy-work magic. I looked like I’d had a facial afterward. Scrubs and body treatments are done in a high-tech water capsule, and ashiatsu back-walking massage is given in open-air (semi-private) cabanas (50 min, $160). Guest rooms (about $300 and up) are West Elm tropical. Weak link: The not-so relaxing Relaxation room was cold and cramped and change rooms that lack privacy. Still, it’s great spa value for Miami Beach.

Canyon Ranch Miami Beach gymThe Canyon Ranch gym faces the ocean

4. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach
The Harvard-of-spas-on-the-beach has fitness down pat. Maybe more so than its immersion spas in Tucson and Lenox. A full roster of almost-killer classes start at dawn, and are lead by fitness experts (no 19-year-old teachers here) and a healthy-living dream team: an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and a East-West physician. (See next week for our in-depth report.) Fitness is punctuated by popular lectures, like Show Me Your Tongue (led by an acupuncturist), trips to the spa, pools, and Aquavana, an indoor hydrotherapy lounge. CR’s calorie-conscious spa cuisine will have you in disbelief over the 300-calorie succulent scallops. Temptation in SoBe is a 10-minute drive away, but most guests stay in-house—and in their yoga pants—the entire visit. Weak link: the where-am-I spa layout. Suites start at $450; right now two-night stays come with $200 spa credit and breakfast for two.

eau spa self-centered garden
Swings in the Eau Spa Self-Centered Garden

5. Eau Spa by Cornelia, at the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach
Less Fifth Avenue and way more fun than its now-shuttered NYC cousin, Eau has washed spa sanctimonious down the drain. The proof is in the $30-million pudding: a 42,000-square-foot water-theme fantasy that includes indoor-outdoor treatment rooms, a photogenic “Self-Centered Garden” lounge, a steam room with a disco ball. And spa cuisine? Cocktails and cupcakes. Gemstone treatments such as the Cornelia Lumina Facial (60 min, $275) put a bit of bling in your beauty but come with results. Weak link: The spa boutique calls out for some Manhattan sophistication. Rooms can go for $349 midweek.

Did we neglect to cover your favorite Miami-area spa? Tell us, here!