The 11 Best Winter Spa Experiences in and Around DC

From the Watergate Hotel to horse country

February 5, 2020 11:05 am
Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel
Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel

When the real, bitter, bone-chilling cold of winter hits, the last place you want to be is on a treadmill or running errands around the neighborhood. Combine that with tense shoulders that sit at approximately ear level from 9-to-5 and you have a recipe for a very sore, tired and generally apathetic body.

One sure method for combating the havoc winter wreaks on your body is by retreating to one of the many impeccable spas and bathhouses in and around the city. To make choosing one easy, we found our top picks in three different categories: within the city limits, deserving of an overnight or requiring an entire weekend away. 

They’re the best way to end a day skiing, golfing, or, most pernicious of all, conference calling.

The Mandarin Oriental

Within City Limits

Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel
There’s much to love about the Argentta Spa, including an indoor pool and sauna in which to lounge around after your treatment. Those feeling a tad downtrodden from a tough work week should invest in a relaxing body treatment like the Gentleman’s, which calls upon pure essential oils of cedarwood and vetiver grass. For a “facelift in a bottle” that’ll have you looking 100% before a big event or presentation, try the Argentta Couture Facial.

Bliss at the W Hotel
Sore shoulders need to take a trip over to the Bliss Spa at the W Hotel for The Rubber Neck, a 60-minute treatment that puts full attention on working the boulders out of your sorest spot. The treatment doesn’t just utilize massage either: it starts with a “parafango pack” of paraffin wax and mud followed by kneading, stretching and acupuncture. 

The Mandarin Oriental
Treat yourself (or your S/O) to the whole shebang at this luxurious hotel spa with the Oriental Harmony, an experience that focuses on inspiring harmony of the senses. It starts with a foot bath and then two therapists swoop in with a warm body scrub and balancing massage. The treatment is finished off with a simultaneous aromatherapy foot and head massage.

Grooming Lounge
Those expecting to bare it all anytime soon will want to give the Grooming Lounge a quick visit. Take advantage of their waxing package, which includes three waxed areas of your choice: nose, back, butt cheeks or ear hair. It may not be the most glam treatment on this list, but it is perhaps the most necessary. The Lounge also offers a hot lather shave and you can even pick up some products for at-home relaxation like Malin + Goetz candles and a gel mask for tired eyes.

Salamander Resort and Spa

Overnight Trip

Salamander Resort and Spa
Just over an hour’s drive away from DC is Salamander, smack dab in the middle of Virginia’s horse and wine country. Wine tasting is kind of a treatment in and of itself, but we prefer the idea of taking a day off to spend exclusively at the spa. Inspired by nature, it features private stone treatment terraces, aromatic steam rooms, sun-lit relaxation spaces, a couple’s suite and a secluded spa courtyard with an infinity pool. Try their Rasul treatment as a couple for the ultimate bonding experience, a unique Hammam-inspired therapy in a private ceramic temple.

Gaylord National Resort
If you’re looking to spark a little romance, look no further than a lavish overnight staycation at the Gaylord. Between the 19-story glass atrium and sips at the Belvedere Bar, you’ll soon forget that you’re a mere half an hour away from DC. Their Relâche Spa offers couples massage rooms, a whirlpool and a steam room, but if you really want to go all out, they also offer the option of a twosome booking out the entire spa for the evening. 

Lansdowne Resort and Spa
Golf lovers will find paradise at Lansdowne, which is home to three golf courses and a teaching school that will have Saturday duffers perfecting their swing in no time. After 18 holes, become one with your vineyard surroundings by booking a Vinotherapy Facial at their in-house spa, designed to rejuvenate your skin with the power of wine-sourced antioxidants. Take the wine theme one step further with a Cabernet Cacao Manicure and Pedicure to treat those tired hands and feet. 

The Omni Homestead
Looking for a quick vacay from the kids? There’s nothing worse than hiring a babysitter and getting to your relaxing destination only to find … more kids. Luckily, The Omni Homestead has you covered with their year-round adults-only Serenity Garden. Wind down in the warm healing waters of their mineral hot springs or relax poolside in a cabana before heading to the spa for a mineral springs mud wrap. 

The Jefferson Hotel

Away for the Weekend

The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, VA
No, we’re not talking about that Jefferson Hotel. This one is located a few hours’ drive away in Richmond — the perfect distance for a long weekend trip. Insanely opulent in nature, you’ll feel like you’re walking into a palace upon entering the historic hotel. We love that you don’t even have to leave the privacy of your own room to have a relaxing spa experience, as treatments like the Hot Mineral Stone Massage can be booked where the masseuse comes straight to you. 

The Umstead Hotel & Spa, Raleigh, NC
This five-star hotel and spa is located on 12 acres of landscaped grounds with an award-winning and enormous spa. Even without a treatment booked, guests can enjoy separate men’s and women’s facilities equipped with the works: whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms and lounges, as well as a co-ed outdoor current pool. No need to worry about answering emails or hearing people chat loudly on the phone either — electronics are strictly prohibited in the spa. Check out their Vitality of the Glaciers facial, which calls upon a collagen mask and a special “Butterfly Movement” massage unique to the spa.

AIRE Ancient Baths New York, NYC
As if you didn’t already need an excuse to spend a weekend in New York City, there’s also the AIRE Ancient Baths. Upon entering the luxurious, stone-lined spa, you’ll instantly forget that you’re in the middle of Lower Manhattan until you emerge once again. Plan to spend as long as you possibly can in restored historic building (originally an 1883 textile factory), now lit by candlelight. There, take advantage of unique spa treatments like a Wine Bath Experience for Two — submerging yourself completely in the antioxidant properties of Spanish Ribera del Duero red grapes before receiving an hour-long massage.


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