Pamper, Relax and Restore at Charleston's 10 Best Spas

Photo courtesy of Seeking Indigo
Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney
By Clare Sweeney, Charleston Local Expert

Ah, Charleston. Breathe in a sigh of relief because you've arrived in one of the most charming, historical cities in the U.S., complete with wide variety of stellar day spas that mirror its laid-back lifestyle. Of course, 10Best recommends that you explore the Holy City on foot, by bike taxi, carriage tour or rental bike throughout your visit in order to fully enjoy all of the sights, sounds and flavors Charleston has to offer. 10Best also recommends a little post-shopping or post-sightseeing pampering and relaxation in the form of a facial, massage, body scrub or head-to-toe treatment at one of the downtown Charleston peninsula's many comfortable spas.

Charleston's day spas are all conveniently located within walking distance of any hotel or other accommodations on the peninsula, and though advanced reservations are suggested, many spas do take walk-in appointments. Here in Charleston, you'll find spas to fit every budget, every need and every preference. Try one of Charleston's more wallet friendly or walk-in ready spa experiences at Stella Nova Spa & Salon on Society and King Streets, Sweet 185 on Upper King or Elyon Boutique Spa, above S.N.O.B. on East Bay Street.

You may have already made reservations at one of Charleston's many hotels that boast full service spas. For such luxury in-house spa days, look no further than Spa Adagio at Francis Marion Hotel, The Spa at Wentworth Mansion or the stunning poolside Spa at Charleston Place.

10. Elyon Boutique Spa
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Elyon Boutique Spa is an appointment-only day spa and massage boutique located at 192 East Bay Street, on the second level next to Slightly North of Broad. Elyon Boutique Spa is owned and operated by Leah Whatley, an experienced makeup artist and licensed massage therapist. Visit Elyon Boutique Spa for Feet, Body and Hand Massage such as their Hot Stone Massage at $90 for one hour, Salt or Sugar Scrub at $60 for one hour or Milk and Honey Body Wrap at $80 for 75 minutes. Elyon Boutique Spa also offers spa facials like the Firming, Express or Back facials, as well as a Q10 Algae Matrix for 90 minutes at $110. Waxing and Sugaring services are also available for all areas of the body, as well as bridal makeup applications, lash extensions, brow and lash tinting and body peels.

9. Spa Adagio

The Spa Adagio at The Francis Marion Hotel is located in the hotel's lower level, conveniently situated close to nearby parks, museums, shopping and Upper King Street restaurants. Duck into Spa Adagio, whose name means 'slowly, leisurely, gracefully', for a quick nail care treatment or wax, or instead dedicate a full morning or afternoon to this spa's menu of services. Spa Adagio offers Massage Therapy at $55 for 30 minutes, $95 for 60 minutes and $135 for 90 minutes. The spa also offers Deep Cleansing, Anti Aging, Acne, and Gentleman's Facials, as well as various body treatments, including the Sea Mud Wrap and Sea Salt Scrub ($70 and $60, respectively). Look no further than a Spa Adagio Spa Package for the best of all services offered, choosing from the Minuet or Intermezzo to the Ultimate Symphony, which includes a sea salt scrub, mud wrap, one hour massage, facial and mani-pedi.

8. Sand and Sea Salon and Spa
Photo courtesy of Sand and Sea Salon and Spa

The Sand and Sea Salon and Spa is housed within The Wild Dunes Resort's sprawling property on Isle of Palms, a quick half hour drive from downtown Charleston. This relaxing spa and salon facility offers a full menu of massages and spa package experiences. Try the featured Warm Seashell Massage, $99-114 for 50 minutes, or the Red Velvet Massage, $105-120 for 50 minutes for a true touch of luxury. The Lowcountry Essentials package, inluding a massage, body scrub and pedicure priced at $225-255 will pamper you to the fullest, ensuring a relaxed and renewed mentality for the rest of your Charleston area vacation. The Sand and Sea Salon and Spa also caters to younger clients, with children's hair braids, manicures and pedicures and fun facials. Spa appointments should be booked in advance, and can be reserved online via the Wild Dunes website.

7. Seeking Indigo
Photo courtesy of Seeking Indigo

A one of a kind "urban oasis" spa and wellness center, Seeking Indigo brings a colorful, earthy vibe to Upper King Street. Services like Indian Ayurvedic treatments, Reiki and Qi Gong massage are offered alongside organic facials and living meditation classes. Meanwhile, the Seeking Indigo wellness menu features a candlelit yoga studio, detox center, therapeutic massage and adjoining access to The Loft Pilates Studio owned and operated by passionate pilates instructors and former ballet dancers. Seeking Indigo's boutique tunics, dresses, exquisite jewelry and furnishings, and the occasional larger than life-size Buddha figures catch the eye of all King Street passers-by.

6. Stella Nova Spa
Photo courtesy of Clare Sweeney

Settled into a century-old historic home on Society street, Stella Nova Flagship Spa is a serene getaway from the bustle of Charleston's busy streets, offering a luxurious but affordable menu of treatments. The two story Society street spa once housed the company's salon services, but these have since moved to their boutique location at the corner of King and Society streets. Stella Nova's comfortable atmosphere is ideal for its many massage, skin care, waxing and nail treatment offerings. Signature Massages start at $88 for one hour, with Aromatherapy, Hot Stone and Deep and Detailed Massages listed at $108 per one-hour service. Stella Nova is well known for their Signature, Express, and Micro Mini Peel facials, as well as their express and spa manicures and pedicures. Waxing and threading sessions are also available for all areas of the body. Combination packages are also available for longer spa sessions.

5. Sweet 185
Photo courtesy of Alice Keeney

Be kind to your body. That's the message, and the mission, of the staff, services and organic boutique at Sweet 185. Conveniently located on Upper King Street, Sweet 185 is Charleston's pioneer sugaring studio. Head to this eclectic day spa for an alternative to your typical wax, in the form of a sugaring treatment. Sugaring, an ancient Egyptian tradition of hair removal, uses an unheated mixture of sugar, lemon juice and water, and is gentler than wax treatments. Sweet 185 sugaring is conducted by experienced sugarists, who have undergone months of training and are passionate about their techniques. Sugaring can be applied to all areas of the body, with affordable rates: brows and underarms $22, legs $129-168, bikini $42-58 and Brazilian $70-75. Sweet 185 also offers lash tinting, holistic massage and oxygen therapy, as well as wedding day prep and pamper sessions. Walk-ins are welcome, though advance reservations are recommended!

4. The Sanctuary Spa at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Photo courtesy of The Sanctuary Spa at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

A Forbes 5 Star Award winner for seven years running, The Sanctuary Spa at Kiawah Island Golf Resort offers top-level luxury to both its guests and those only visiting the spa facilities. The colors, decor and atmosphere of the 12-room Sanctuary day spa reflect the native flora and coastal nature of the island, the ideal setting for the spa's mineral whirlpools, steam room and sauna. Use of all spa facilities, such as the aqua retreat area, is complimentary for all guests on the day of scheduled service. Sanctuary services include Sodashi Luxury Facials, Body Rescues like the Avocado Coconut Wrap, and Body Fusions, such as the Lowcountry Bamboo or Ocean Fossil Fusion. Massages offered include a Head to Toe, Hot Stone, Maternity or Thai theme, with enhancements available to add to each. Lash and brow tinting, waxing and private yoga and pilates sessions are also available on the Sanctuary premises.

3. The Spa at Wentworth Mansion
Photo courtesy of The Spa at Wentworth Mansion

Housed in what was originally the property's stables, The Spa at Wentworth Mansion still embraces visitors with its high ceilings, exposed wood beam rafters and comfortable, rustic style. The Spa at Wentworth Mansion, a local Urban Nirvana spa, offers a variety of luxurious skin care, massage and full body treatments at its tranquil Wentworth Street setting. Skin care rituals include a Royal Face and Back, $170 for 90 minutes, a Gentleman's Facial, $110 for one hour and a Couples Retreat. The Hot Stone Massage might be the perfect ending to a long day of Charleston exploration, offered at a rate of $135 for one hour of treatment. Full body sessions include a Rubbed and Wrapped service, $225 for two hours, and a Detoxifying Wrap at $135 for one hour. For Wentworth Mansion's best Urban Nirvana spa services along with your stay at the hotel, book the Wentworth Spa Experience, including a king bedroom, couples massage and more.

2. Earthling Day Spa
Photo courtesy of Earthing Day Spa

Earthling Day Spa, conveniently located on East Bay street downtown, offers a tranquil escape from the touristy buzz of nearby Market and King streets, making it the obvious choice for your post shopping pit stop downtown. Get out of the sun, off the street, and into an Earthling robe for a massage, facial, body scrub or mani-pedi. Owning up to its worldly name, Earthling offers a selection of "Treatments From Around The World," including Thai Detox, Nirvana and Bindi Herbal Bliss treatments. If you're serious about dedicating time to self pampering, look no further than Earthling's spa packages, many of which include a fruit and tea break. The ultimate spa-cation at Earthling is the All Day Retreat, which includes an organic detox, facial, hand treatment, hour massage and peppermint leg and feet treatment. Nail care and waxing is also available at Earthling, along with private and small group pilates instruction.

1. The Spa at Belmond Charleston Place
Photo courtesy of Spa at Charleston Place

The Spa at Charleston Place is well known for its authentic dedication to traditional luxury spa massages and other treatments, as well as its beautiful facilities, gift shop, hot tub and open air pool. Charleston Place massages include the Swedish, $135 for 50 minutes, the Deep Tissue, $145 for 50 minutes, and many other unique offerings such as the Mother to Be Massage, Moroccan Oil Scalp and Neck Treatment or the Warm Stone Massage. These massages are all available for couples. Skin and body care is taken seriously at the Spa at Charleston Place, where facials are offered for every skin type and gender. Waxing and nail care treatments are among the many other popular spa services here. Reservations are strongly recommended, even if you are already a guest of the hotel. Gift cards are available at the spa gift shop, along with skin care products, robes and other gifts.