Expert Tips


Chilling Out at Some of St Petersburg/Clearwater's Best Spas

When contemplating a visit to a health spa there are so many factors you should consider such as expense, the caliber of the facility and the various treatments offered. 

Of course, something else to think about - as they say in Hollywood - is: location, location, location.

If you're visiting the area and you happen to be staying at a hotel such as Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Loews Don Cesar, or The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, all you have to do is slip into their posh spas if you want to be pampered. If you're an area resident and want to savor your spa day beside the sea, these - and others such as Opal Sands Resort and Sandpearl Resort - are excellent options. 

For a quicker - but equally wonderful - experience, the smaller, welcoming  Tranquility Wellness Spa or Marilyn Monroe Spas are excellent options. Smaller day spas may not have all the trimmings such as steam, sauna or Jacuzzi's, but then again, they're probably more cost-effective and produce equally pleasing results.

The savvy ancients were really on to something when they indulged in those long ago therapies!


St. Petersburg
Marilyn Monroe Spas
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

These Orlando-based spas with the rights to the icon's name and likeness are just starting to expand, but fortunately for St Petersburg, there is one conveniently tucked into the trendy Sundial area of downtown. A new concept in day spas, aiming to encourage women to "channel their inner Marilyn Monroe," this Glamour Room also caters to men and children with a selection of specialized services. Massages, facials, manis and pedis and a full service hair salon promise a calming respite from life in the fast lane. Skin products are certified organic and facials range from anti-ageing to relaxing, while massages run the gamut from hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and Swedish. During down time you'll be treated to beverages such as coffee, tea, wine and champagne. Somehow, I suspect that Marilyn would approve!

Botanica Day Spa
Photo courtesy of Botanica Spa

Opened in 1994, Botanica Day Spa is a favorite with locals and visitors alike, prompting them to expand to a bigger location in the near future. Treatments cover a wide range of options from speed waxing, to lash extensions and customized facials and massages. Always leading the list are Brazilian bikini waxing and brow shaping as well as the dermaplaning facial, which exfoliates the skin, ridding it of the fine vellus hair (peach fuzz), so that it can better absorb products. Specialty massages such as the Thai blends the custom massage with stretching techniques developed in Thailand. Special "boosters" such as a salt scrub or scalp massage can be added to any treatment for an extra cost. Of special note is their infrared sauna, which instead of overwhelming you with strong heat, goes directly to the body, increasing blood circulation, relaxing muscles and detoxify.

Sandava Spa
Photo courtesy of Sandava Spa

Located in the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, Sandava Spa promises a relaxing and rejuvenating experience with treatments for both men and women, which includes a selection of luxurious couple's massages. Scenic sea vistas are the perfect backdrop for the customized organic treatments incorporates properties of the sea to promote total wellness. Stress rolls off your back as you give yourself over to the Sun Warm Shell Massage, with specially heated rounded sea shells combined with sea minerals and algae to ease sore muscles and release tension. Another favorite is the 90-minute IntuiTouch 90, an intuitive massage which allows you and the therapist to discover and customize what your body needs and tailor your session with a blend of touch modalities.

Safety Harbor Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

Built on the site of natural mineral springs discovered by Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto in 1539, Safety Harbor Spa has been on the tourist trail since 1925. Choose from more than 50 spa and salon treatments for men and women, ranging from aromatherapy massages to facials and body wraps. Teen packages (boys and girls ages 12 - 17) include limited spa services. Steam and sauna rooms, whirlpools and three swimming pools are an added bonus. Salon services offer hair, nail, make-up and waxing options. Private wellness consultations include tips on nutrition and wellness, healthy aging, stress management and more. Special all day packages are offered, which include a delicious lunch in the cozy Fountain Grill Restaurant.

Vinoy Salon & Day Spa
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club - one of St Petersburg's historic resorts - is home to one of the area's well-known spas. A host of services for body, hair and nails beckon for both men and women in a small, but comfortable setting. Body scrubs, facials, and a variety of massages - including one for couples - help melt away the stress of everyday life. For a true indulgence, try the holistic Oligomer re-energizing treatment, combining mineral-rich seawater and seaside plant oils to rebalance the body's skin cells. A steam room and plunge pool complement the spa experience.

Clearwater Beach
The Spa at Sandpearl
Photo courtesy of Sandpearl Resort

Tucked along the tranquil waters of the Gulf Coast, the Spa at Sandpearl offers a host of ocean-inspired treatments and salon services in a soothing oasis where stress-release is guaranteed. Named "One of the Top Spas in North America," by Condé Nast Traveler readers, spa offerings include everything from warm stone massages, to hydrating body wraps, detox treatments, refreshing facials, skin enhancements and more. Specially designed spa mixers - perfect for bachelorette parties - welcome 20 or more guests to participate in a social event and mingle, while savoring miniature spa services. Those treatments average about 10 minutes, but guests can indulge in several while they're there.

Tranquility Wellness Spa
Photo courtesy of Tranquility Spa

This small, multi-faceted spa is centrally located in downtown St. Petersburg and boasts a host of services for the body, face, nails and psyche. Recently taken over and revamped by French couple Églantine and Luca Leguerchois, treatments - enhanced by natural essential oils - offer a definite "Je ne sais quoi" French flair, while combining the best of both countries. The focus is on total wellness and leaving your worries behind from the minute you trade your shoes for comfortable spa flip flops at the front door. This is the only place in the area offering the unusual deep-tissue Ashiatsu massage, whereby the therapist is suspended from the ceiling while using only her feet to knead out your aches and pains. While you're there, order lunch from next door Meze Restaurant and dine at your leisure at the spa in between treatments.

Clearwater Beach
Opal Spa
Photo courtesy of Michelle da Silva Richmond

The recently opened Opal Sands Resort houses a small, but appealing spa featuring a host of soothing facial and body treatments for both men and women, in a beautiful setting. A tastefully appointed relaxation room with sweeping views of the sea offer the perfect sanctuary from which to prepare for the stress-relieving treatments you'll find here. A special favorite, the Signature Body Renewal starts with a slow brushing of the skin followed by a gentle exfoliation enhanced by essential oils and a de-stressing massage. For in-depth facial experiences, the SWiCH, Oxygen and the Resurfacing facials are favorites. Manicures, pedicures and waxing services are also available.

St. Pete Beach
Spa Oceana
Photo courtesy of Loews Don CeSar Hotel

One of the area's most popular spas is located in the legendary Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St Pete Beach. In keeping with their name, Spa Oceana recently revamped their spa menu to offer treatments related to some of the world's oceans - with products indigenous to those destinations. The Indian Ocean menu focuses on India, Bali and Tibet with treatments incorporating elements such as bamboo, mandarin and singing bowls into their rituals. As you might expect, the Pacific Ocean selection showcases floral scents, coconut and fresh pearls. Atlantic Ocean options pamper with magnolia, citrus and beach grasses. The focus is not only on relaxation but on healing with a host of therapies and treatments for both men and women. A full service hair and nail salon complement the soothing spa services.

Palm Harbor
Salamander Spa
Photo courtesy of Salamander Spa

This recently re-branded spa is already making its mark with locals as well as visitors to the area. The focus here is on well-being and signature treatments are designed to "energize, assimilate, focus and let go through the movement of fluids within the body in order to harmonize, fortify and heal." You can't go wrong with any treatment you select - and the options are impressive. The signature Salamander Spa Ritual offers a mesmerizing scalp massage, followed by a body massage and an exfoliating foot scrub and heated towel treatment, sure to cure whatever ails you. For an exceptional experience, indulge in one of the Elemis Biotec facials, which re-boot the cells and renew the skin. It may just take years off of your face! Be sure to have a spa lunch while you're there - the selections are amazing and it's delicious.


Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

She has written hundreds of articles...  More About Michelle