Best Spas in Chicago

Chicago's best spas offer wellness, relaxation and a bit of bliss

As the song says, Chicago is a toddlin' town and all that toddlin' can be exhausting. Spas provide much-needed respite from the cacophony of the city, whether it’s just an hour service or a day of retreat and rejuvenation. 

If you’re on the Magnificent Mile or downtown Chicago, the state-of-the-art Chuan Spa at The Langham Chicago, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago SpaThe Spa at Four Seasons Chicago and the Spa at the Peninsula Hotel offer cutting edge five-star services (with price tags to match but it's self care, baby, and you're worth it). Mario Tricoci, a Chicago family business for more than 40 years, is conveniently located on the Mag Mile and a dozen suburbs. AIRE Ancient Baths is an easy cab ride to the West Loop and a multi-sensory journey to ancient Roman, Greece and Turkey for bath experiences extraordinaire. The Spa at JW Marriott Chicago was one of the first in the city to offer an authentic Turkish hammam experience. Book one of the Palmer House's Sesquicentennial Spa-ah packages - 150 years of hospitality, brownies (they were invented here) and now themed treatments based upon well-known figures and spaces of the hotel. 

King Spa, about 30 minutes away and located in a strip mall with a large Korean grocery store as its neighbor, is a traditional Korean Spa that features nine unique saunas for a price that can’t be beaten. Head about 20 miles west and take advantage of Kohler Waters Spa at Burr Ridge. It focuses on hydrotherapy and it's one of the best stand-alone day spas in the Chicago area. 


Outside the city

If you don't mind the required nudity in the open treatment areas (men and women are in separate rooms), then this massive Korean spa is the best deal in town. Located just beyond the city's northern border, the 24/7 sauna has a very international feel. After a rough but fantastic scrub-down, wander in and out of the numerous crystal saunas, and stretch out in the sprawling relaxation rooms, some of which are lined with oversized leather recliners. The order-at-the-counter restaurant lets you sample a variety of Korean food and bento box meals. It's easy to have a relaxing, all-day outing here and for less than the cost of a single massage in a tony downtown hotel spa. reservations are not required - it is a first-come first-serve outfit.

Recommended for Spas because: Unlike Western-style pampering spas, this 24-hour Korean spa is budget friendly and a real respite when you need to unplug for a few hours.

Jacky's expert tip: Put a cooler in the car because you'll want to shop at H Mart just across the parking lot for aisles of Korean specialty items.

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Housed in a restored factory circa 1902 in River West, Aire Ancient Baths Chicago offers a multi-sensory journey via ancient Roman, Greek and Ottoman bath experiences. The signature bath experience includes six thermal baths including hot bath, ice and cold plunges, a warm pool, salt water flotarium and a jet pool. The hot and cold plunges boost circulation, promote flexibility, may enhance immunity and provide a nice endorphin rush. Kind of like love. There are treatments for one or two: for example, Wine Bath Experience for Two submerges love birds in antioxidant and polyphenol-rich Spanish red grapes followed by an hour-long massage with grape seed oil. If it's possible to chill any more, get to the relaxation area to loll on warm marble stone and sip a selection of teas. Here's your chance to Be Present so leave the cellphone, chatter and ideas of Instagramming this sensual, relaxing experience behind.

Recommended for Spas because: A truly transformative experience for single spa goers, friends or couples, AIRE is unlike any other spa in the Midwest.

Jacky's expert tip: Don't fret if you didn't bring toiletries: L'occitane products are supplied to help get yourself back together after your experience.

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An appealing hotel day spa, the Spa at JW Marriott Chicago was one of the first in the city to offer an authentic Turkish hammam experience. Hammams originated in Roman and Byzantine bath houses and the centuries-old wellness ritual is available right in downtown Chicago. The spa's two hammams are especially nice during winters in Chicago. Your olfactory nerve will be tickled as aromatherapy is used throughout services to awaken the senses, mind and body. The full-service spa offers a variety of relaxing and healing massages, body treatments, facials and nail services. The Aching Feet Rescue is great for touring visitors and the spa's Tech-Relief Massage will iron out those sore tendons and muscles from device overuse. The spa offers a luxurious couple's suite for therapeutic soaks in an infinity tub perfectly suited for two (hello, Valentines Day). There are two relaxation lounges, spacious men's and woman's locker rooms, each offering plush linens, slippers, fully stocked grooming area, aromatic showers, steam room and infrared sauna - another nice warm up during a Chicago winter.

Recommended for Spas because: The Spa at JW Marriott Chicago was one of the first in the city to offer an authentic Turkish hammam experience.

Jacky's expert tip: The Daniel Burnham-designed hotel also offers an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness classes, a fitness facility with up-to-date cardiovascular and strength training equipment and a team of personal instructors.

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The family-owned Chicago-based business offers skin care and spa services in addition to haircuts, styling and color services. Operating in 13 locations around the Chicagoland area, Tricoci Salons & Spas' team has been clipping and styling hair, massaging and treating skin for over 40 years. One of the latest options is HydraFacial Keravive - a three-step 30-minute treatment that cleanses, stimulates, hydrates and nourishes the scalp. (You get a take-home peptide spray that nourishes the scalp and hair follicles). Check out new Tricoci hair care products powered by science and nourishing Italian botanicals. The Chicago location is located in The 900 Shops of the Magnificent Mile and the lively salon offers all the services busy shoppers and visitors could need: scrubs, wraps, massage and facial therapies, waxing, make-up and lashes, hair and nail services. Look for the new celebrity-favorite Gel-X System by Aprés Nails coming in mid-November 2021.

Recommended for Spas because: Conveniently located on the Magnificent Mile and around Chicagoland, Mario Tricoci offers a roster of cutting edge wellness and beauty services.

Jacky's expert tip: For those driving, parking is a deal in the 900 North Michigan parking garage for just $10 for three hours after validation.

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The historic hotel's Sesquicentennial Anniversary just arrived in 2021 and the spa's doors re-opened adding two locker areas, a medical-grade HydroDermabrasion machine, renovated pedicure stations, new retail lines, and an updated treatment menu. Book Palmer House's Sesquicentennial Spa-ah packages - 150-minutes of treatment with a special 150th anniversary menu of select of treatments and overnight accommodations, available to book beginning October 21, 2021. Consider themed treatments based upon well-known figures of the hotel and meeting places: Red Lacquer Mani, the ultimate nail treatment, pays homage to the hotel's Red Lacquer Room; Potters Polish in Vichy is a body treatment that riffs on the hotel's founder, Potter Palmer. How about Honore's Hydrotub Immersion, titled for Bertha' Palmer's maiden name. It uses water to promote and prepare the body for healing, stress relief, increased blood circulation, detoxification, and muscle relaxation. Check the web site for many more wellness and beauty treatments.

Recommended for Spas because: Not many hotels in the US make it to 150 years-old, and this grand dame offers a modern, luxe spa experience in an historic hotel setting.

Jacky's expert tip: Palmer House just completed a $2.2 million renovation to its pool which is adjacent to an expansive glass dome enclosed fitness facility.

Read more about The Spa at Palmer House →


Chicagoans are used to heading north to The American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin looking for some Kohler time but just 20 miles from downtown is its sister spa: Kohler Water Spa in Burr Ridge. Highly regarded for its innovation in hydrotherapy, the spa has just completed an impressive expansion and renovation checking in at almost 14,000 square feet of restorative space, 21 treatment rooms, a Mediterranean-style café and the latest evolution of the state-of-the-art KOHLER Custom Vichy Shower. The elevated experience now includes more customization in the water droplets (right down to the size and shape), along with chromatherapy and red LED light therapy. Experience the benefits of bathing in mineral-rich and moisturizing marine extracts for improved sleep and overall well-being. Combine a soak and a massage and there are also facials, nail and body treatments and services just for men. An outing here s surely transformative.

Recommended for Spas because: The Kohler Waters Spa in Burr Ridge focuses on hydrotherapy and it's one of the best stand-alone day spas in the Chicago area.

Jacky's expert tip: The Virtual Reality Pedicure includes a foot and leg exfoliation and a guided meditation via a Kohler customized virtual reality headset.

Read more about Kohler Waters Spa at Burr Ridge →

The contemporary Mediterranean design style with mahogany walls paneled in suede, natural wood flooring and ivory upholstery sets the serene scene at the Spa at Four Seasons Chicago. The signature treatment is the Magnificent Mile massage which is customizable. Expert therapists apply desired pressure, while using your choice of the spa's signature Four Seasons Essential Oil Blends. Indulge in delish seasonal treatments including a Vintage Bourbon Massage; Peppermint Cocoa Manicure/ Pedicure (served with a chocolate treat from the Chef); and a premium anti-aging Arctic Berry Renewal Facial. There are services designed especially for teens as well as vegan nail products. Other special amenities at the Spa at Four Seasons include Eucalyptus steam rooms to help clear out those nasal passages, fitness center to torch calories and an impressive indoor pool and whirlpool. Look into spa packages such as Babymoon, Gentleman's Maintenance and the extravagant Head to Toe which all make welcome gifts for the weary.

Recommended for Spas because: The Spa at Four Seasons Chicago, located near shopping and attractions, is as elegant and soothing as the rest of this luxe property.

Jacky's expert tip: The Roman-columned pool with sky-lit dome made a cameo in Home Alone 2, when Macaulay Culkin famously cannonball dives and loses his trunks.

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Magnificent Mile

Among the many perks for guests at the venerated Peninsula, the spa, spanning the top two floors of the hotel, is a 15,000 sq.ft. oasis in the middle of the Mag Mile. The Sun Terrace stretches the length of the hotel allowing for streaming sunlight and views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. Take a water Pilates class in the 25- meter, 82-degrees swimming pool. Count on treatments that can keep travel fatigue at bay: the CRYO 3R Facial utilizes revolutionary cold techniques to renovate, repair and regenerate your skin; a reflex zone foot massage for tired tootsies; and a hot stone full body massage to iron out the kinks. The spa uses "Subtle Energies" an Australian based aroma therapy product rooted in Ayurvedic and Asian philosophies - and "Biologique Recherche" a French luxury skincare line for highly personalized facials that achieve immediate and long-lasting results.

Recommended for Spas because: The Peninsula Spa is among just a few in the Midwest to carry Biologique Recherche, a French luxury skincare line using botanical, marine and biotechnical extracts.

Jacky's expert tip: Local guests can reserve spa treatments and have access to the full facility including the pool and fitness center when booking two hours of spa treatments in a day.

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Magnificent Mile

Chuan Spa at The Langham, Chicago has been awarded four-stars by the 2021 Forbes Travel Guide Forbes - and it shows. Ensconced in The Langham Chicago, rated a Five-Star hotel by Forbes Travel Guide, Chuan Spa may be the best spa in the city. A Chuan ("flowing water" in Chinese) experience begins with a bathing ritual of hot and cold elements to smooth out the kinks: Herbal or Salt Stone Sauna, shower, Oriental Steam Room, then onto a relaxation recliner radiating warmth. And that's just the beginning. There are wonderful massages, wraps, scrubs, skin treatments and packages for hours of relaxation: the Tao of Detox includes a facial; body scrub and wrap and acupressure massage. HydraFacial MD facial treatments promise visibly transformative results or perhaps Chuan hand or foot therapies or Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments like Gua Sha and cupping will enliven you. The fitness center has Pelotons with with online streaming classes, too!

Recommended for Spas because: Chuan Spa is surely one of the best spas in the city offering more detailed and remarkable treatments than many of the others.

Jacky's expert tip: Chuan Spa is special so even a pedicure is singular - it's waterless and you're in a zero gravity chair for ultimate relaxation.

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Located inside the serene Waldorf Astoria hotel, the spa was designed like a Greco-Roman European Spa. It's spacious (14,000 sq. ft) and includes a state-of-the-art fitness facility with Peloton Bikes and Gyrontronics, impressive lap pool and separate men's and women's locker rooms, each with a Eucalyptus Steam Room, Dry Sauna, Jacuzzi and relaxation lounge. You're bound to find something very special among the wellness offerings and experiences tailored for each guest's needs: how about a muscle repair massage or for something completely different, try Ashiatsu Massage - the therapist hangs onto overhead bars for balance and delivers broad, consistent pressure utilizing the feet and body weight. Look into winning facials such as a Diamond Glow that exfoliates and deeply delivers customized solutions directly into your skin. There are men's services, treatments for hands and feet and waxing. Book a room for the night because you'll be lolled into bliss.

Recommended for Spas because: The award-winning Five Diamond hotel in the Gold Coast boasts an unparalleled spa with signature treatments, health club and salon.

Jacky's expert tip: Experiences are tailored to your specific needs, so don't be shy about communicating your concerns and how a specific treatment can help.

Read more about Waldorf Astoria Chicago Spa →


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky