Spa Diary: Acqualina Spa by ESPA at Acqualina Resort & Spa
Stepping through the entrance of Acqualina Resort & Spa, guests are instantly transported to another world. One is whisked away from bustling Collins Avenue and straight to a grand Italian palazzo complete with immaculate service, stunning views, grandiose architecture, and museum-quality art. Yet right outside lies the most stunning stretch of white sand beach just up the coast from Miami.
Here’s what you’ll love about Acqualina Spa by ESPA:
The world-class, 20,000 square-foot facility features state-of-the-art treatment rooms, healing heat and water rituals, and relaxation lounges.
The two-story spa overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and provides guests with a tranquil sanctuary.
The private and special occasion Royal Spa Suite is perfect for couples and groups, and has a magnificent outdoor terrace retreat.
The spa embraces the legendary European Day Spa philosophy that each visit is a journey, offering a signature selection of Ayurvedic-infused holistic, restorative and meditative treatments for face and body.
For the ultimate mind-body connection, Acqualina Spa offers yoga and other premier wellness services, in addition to a healthy spa menu.
Acqualina Spa by ESPA, tucked away around the corner from the hotel lobby, only pulls you deeper into the most relaxing side of this luxurious world. The spa is the perfect mix of light and dark with sun-splashed alfresco areas and a dimly lit hydrotherapy and thermal circuit. The spa incorporates the ESPA line into all of its treatments while embracing a European day spa philosophy. That means each visit is a journey—whatever you choose from the Ayurvedic-infused holistic, restorative, and meditative treatment menu.
The check-in area is unassuming and has comfortable seating—it camouflages the stunning five-star spa beyond. Still, it has such an appealing array of beach and spa gear and accessories for retail that you’re bound to leave with at least one souvenir. And your first one plops into your lap upon check-in: along with a cup of hot tea, every guest also gets a sachet of pink Himalayan salt to save and savor however they wish.
For a truly elevated experience, book the Royal Spa Suite. Here, you book based on time as queen or king of your very own private spa within a spa on a separate floor above the rest of the spa. It’s literally elevated above the spa and comes with dedicated therapists. The experience begins with an elevator ride or short staircase, flanked by a cascading waterfall wall to reach it. There is a separate sitting area with shimmering chandelier, snacks, and two velvet chairs.
Through one more door is the actual treatment room with a dedicated wraparound balcony and a steam shower for two. You’ve certainly already gathered that is no ordinary treatment room—it’s expansive and opulent. The décor came from Fendi after all, and the impeccable Italian taste shows through in every detail.
When I reached out to arrange my visit, the Royal Spa Suite came with the property’s highest recommendation. Clearly it was the way to go for the ultimate mother-daughter experience. I had dreamed about having a treatment here since I first saw renderings of the suite several years ago, so walking through the door was an absolute pinch-me moment.
It managed to surpass my sky-high expectations and bringing along my mom only made it better. This was her first spa visit of this caliber, and she went in wide-eyed and grinning from ear-to-ear. That was before we both snuggled into the side-by-side treatment beds for our 90-minute customized massages ($325 per person).
The Royal Spa Suite treatment offerings match the luxurious space. Treatments include time for a 60- or 90-minute massage with 30 minutes of relaxing time or three to four hours of ESPA Time ($650 per person) in the exquisite suite. It’s perfect for couples, mother-daughter pairs, or small groups of friends.
I tend to ask lots of questions during a facial treatment, but during massages I’m much better at letting go, becoming mute aside from a few mumblings about pressure or temperature. During this massage my therapist calculated exactly the right pressure immediately and made her way from knot to knot, releasing tension from head-to-toe. She read my preferences and muscles’ needs to a T for near-perfect customized massage that I never wanted to end. I also could tell my mom’s massage was going along well as she kept up a stream of compliments for her therapist.
Time flies when you’re having fun—even utterly relaxing fun—and that counts double for The Royal Spa Suite. Mind and muscles mush post-massage, we munched on the herb-infused cookies and sipped tea until it was time to depart and return to the beach.
Insider Tip: With any spa that has hydrotherapy or thermal circuit, arrive early to linger in each feature and repeat. Also, bring swimwear (or purchase a chic new suit in the boutique) to enjoy the co-ed pool terrace. This private patio for spa guests-only has a heated jet pool, Roman waterfall plunge, and shaded seating. You can easily make a day of it and enjoy an ESPA bento box lunch.
Parking: The hotel has valet parking.
Pricing: Facials start at $160 for 50 minutes and go up to $325 for an 80-minute high-tech service. Massages ($175 and up) and signature treatments ($170 and up) range from 50 minutes to three hours.
[Photos by Jennifer Nied]
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer who resides in New York City with her husband and her dog Poppy. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she has spent the last decade writing and editing for print and digital publications. She loves adventuring around the world on her snowboard and her running shoes. Follow her on Instagram: @jennifer_nied