Pampering Plus


So the holidays are over and now we’re stuck with plain old winter. Short, gray days. Long, cold nights. That “nothing special” time of year, which leads to irrational thoughts like, “Do I really need to shave my legs this week?” and “Pajama Jeans are totally acceptable for the office, right?”

Well, snap out of it. What you need is a vitamin D supplement and a reminder to feel happy in your (dehydrated and flaky) skin. Try one of these luxurious spa treatments to lift your spirits and give your body some much-needed lovin’ to tide you over until spring.


You glow, Cleopatra! Legend has it the Egyptian queen slept in a gold mask every night to preserve her youthful complexion. Now modern-day girls can get the Midas touch with the 24k Gold Facial, $350, at Mt. Washington Spa. “Gold’s anti-inflammatory properties help to lighten, brighten and tighten the skin,” says manager Katie Attman, who says the precious metal is applied as a paper-like mask paired with an ultra-hydrating nano-mist and silk-infused gel moisturizers to help the benefits, quite literally, sink in. 1600 Kelly Ave., 410-664-3400,


Can’t jet off to Turks and Caicos? Slough off your winter woes with the Epicurean Papaya Pineapple Body Scrub, $75, at Studio 921 Salon & Medi Day Spa. The full-body treatment takes your mind to the islands, while exfoliating dead skin cells and promoting circulation. If you’re a total beach babe, add on an Airbrush Tanning Session and Shimmer Shot, $45, for a sparkly, sun-kissed look that lasts up to two weeks. “The color is totally customized,” says Annie Sumi, a massage therapist. “So you can walk out looking like whatever Hawaiian Tropic model you love most.” 921 E. Fort Ave., 410-783-7727,


Luxury is for lovers at the Four Seasons Baltimore, where you can rent the ultra-sleek VIP suite for a relaxing and romantic Couples Spa Retreat, $1,200. This decadent date includes a welcome foot ritual, aromatherapy bath for two and the spa’s signature body treatment, a sea salt scrub with warm oil body massage. “We pamper you from head to toe for four straight hours,” says spa manager Toni Sullivan. In warmer weather, couples can enjoy champagne on the terrace overlooking the harbor. Or skip the view for some, ahem, private time in the suite’s high-tech “experience shower,” complete with hot steam, therapeutic shower heads and twinkling colored lights reminiscent of stars. 200 International Drive, 410-576-5800,


Madonna’s personal assistant was recently spied carrying a bulky beauty contraption out of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Turns out, the Material Girl’s “secret skin care weapon” is the Intraceutcals Oxygen Infusion Facial, available locally for $185 at La Papillion Spa & Gift Boutique. “It’s like a tall drink of water for thirsty skin,” explains chief aesthetics officer Madeleine Homes, who says the facial delivers a potent cocktail of antioxidants, vitamins and hyaluronic acid that plump up fine lines (especially around the eyes) and leave your skin red-carpet ready in a flash. We hear it’s so effective, other celebs like Fergie and Kim Kardashian use it to immediately (albeit temporarily) erase the signs of partying and jet lag before appearing on high-def TV. 12 Galloway Ave., Cockeysville, 410-252-1400,


Frankly, we feel miffed when we get a shampoo or spa treatment that doesn’t include a scalp massage. That’s why we head to Spa in the Valley for 75 minutes of glorious, above-the-shoulders action with the traditional Shirodhara Treatment, $122. It all starts with an “energy balancing” to calm and center you, followed by an Ayurvedic face massage focusing on “marma points” to relieve tension. Finally, the aesthetician gently pours warm sesame oil over your forehead and scalp for an almost hypnotic effect that simultaneously nourishes your hair. (If you can stand it, leave the oil in overnight to maximize the benefit.) Be sure to ask for Cindy Turner, who studied at the London Center of Indian Champissage.  118 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, 410-771-0200,


Nature lovers looking for a different kind of “oil change” may want to try Absolute Balance, $145, the newest holistic therapy at The Pearl Modern Spa and Boutique.  Enjoy a full-body application of a palette of six luscious organic oils before you’re swaddled in soft sheets and receive a hand, foot and décolleté massage. The treatment features exotic flower remedies from Lotus Wei (recently named one of Oprah’s favorite things) designed to nourish your skin—and your soul—with scents said to inspire love, happiness, inspiration, peace and vitality. 8171 Maple Lawn Blvd., 301-776-6948,


Beauty connoisseurs go gaga (or should we say, ooh la la?) over Darphin, the luxury skin care line from Paris. Here in Baltimore, we often fancy the Darphin Divine 8 Flower Lifting Facial, $185, at About Faces. The lush, 1½ -hour treatment uses a special serum made from essential oils derived from eight different florae to help fight the signs of aging. Bonus: In February, About Faces is launching new treatments from another fab French line, Caudalie, which is only available at a few U.S. locations. Five locations, 410-675-0099,


As much as we want to look good, we really want to feel good. Enter the Day of Wellness, $375, from Ojas, pronounced OH-jus, an ancient Sanskrit word meaning “fluid of life.” The five-hour experience begins with a private yoga or pilates lesson, where you can increase your flexibility while getting personalized tips from a pro. Then enjoy a custom massage with aromatherapy, healing stones and warm towels, along with your choice of a 30-minute reiki, reflexology or cupping treatment, and an organic customized facial. Round out the day with an acupuncture session designed to soothe mind, body and soul. 1501 Sulgrave Ave., 410-664-6527,


We love the traditional shoe exchange at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in D.C., where you can kick off your kitten heels and settle into rubber slippers for an afternoon of Eastern-inspired tranquility paired with modern amenities. Don’t labor over the luxe spa menu. Just book the signature Time Ritual, $495, a 2½-hour bespoke experience for whatever you’re craving that day. The possibilities are endless, from a Shea Butter Belly Wrap for expectant moms to a mineral makeup application fit for the Real Housewives of D.C. Our favorite: the Oriental Bamboo Massage, a deep-tissue treatment similar to a hot stone massage, but performed with warm bamboo rods. 1330 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., 202-787-6100,


“You don’t have to live at the Ritz-Carlton to enjoy the same luxuries,” says Marilyn Horwath, the nurse/entrepreneur who recently took over the space formerly known as Chas to open Baltimore Spa & Salon. Now a full medi-spa, the menu is as schmancy as ever, including the Nature Red Flower Arctic Berry Omega Body Boost Therapy, $250, a six-part ritual where skin is nourished and cleansed with organic milk and powerfully exfoliated with bioactive peat enzymes. The lymphatic system is stimulated with a mushroom and phyto-nutrient wrap followed by an ionizing mist to oxygenate. Then, like a perfect crescendo, the treatment ends with a Vichy raindrop shower, followed by an application of rich arctic berry extracts, cypress and birch oils before you head back to reality. 801 Key Highway, 410-625-2427,

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