Getting Pampered by the Bay

Writer Catharine Nicol | December 24, 2014


In the SoMa neighbourhood, the InterContinental wows with first impressions of art and their renowned Michelin-starred Luce restaurant. Just as impressive is the I Spa, which welcomes you in with treat after treat; complimentary wine or champagne, a calming change room with a bowl of cucumber on ice just waiting to soothe your eyes, a steam room that restores with the scent of eucalyptus, and treatments using products like Naturopathica from the East Coast and super scientific Jan Marini. Seeing as San Francisco is such a walking town, you might want to try their Sole Retreat, a foot treatment performed as you stretch out on a treatment bed. The espresso foot scrub scours a much needed cleanse and is followed by a paraffin treatment that seems to send energy to the entire body, while the therapist gives you a scalp massage. It finishes up with generous amounts of zingy peppermint lotion, when you’re almost away with the fairies. Massages span the usual list, with massage enhancements that include dry body brushing, head and scalp massage, pressure point work and a self-heating seaweed back mask. A menu of facials runs high-tech and includes peels, micro-current or LED treatments.


A stylish vision of a hotel, from the moment you walk into the St Regis, with its contemporary lobby turning heads with a long fireplace and the swish Ame restaurant, you’re also experiencing their superlative service. Times that by ten, if that’s even possible, when you enter Remède Spa. Walk past the gorgeous indoor pool, sunshine flooding in through the windows. Change in the designer changing rooms, full of space and ambient light, whirlpools, steam and sauna. Wait in the bijou lounge (leave enough time to sip champagne, nibble on local cheese and truffles) and you’ll be collected by your therapist. The customised treatments, spanning facial, men’s facial, massage, body treatments and bath, take spa treatments above and beyond. The level of intelligent discussion on my state of body, mind and spirit before the mix of massage, paraffin application, hot stones, pressure point and lymphatic techniques means that I not only have my body truly nurtured but my mind calmed and my spirit incredibly grateful, and therefore content. As customisation is key here, the menu is small and smart, but also offers extra delights like The Stillness Ritual of a bath with local Sonoma essential oils followed by a Swedish massage with craniosacral, the Micro-Exfoliating Pedicure with hard-skin- busting amino acid peel and even Athlete’s Relief specifically for those in triathlon training.

A sunny day in San Francisco feels like California at its best, and with all that innovative, accessible wellness on physical, mental and spiritual tap, I can’t help thinking, “I could so live here”