Blissful Brew

Famously located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is renowned for its beer, among other things, boasting an impressive array of large and small breweries and ranking first in the country in beer production per capita. It should come as no surprise, then, that beer is at the heart of one the most popular treatments at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Denver—the Hops 'N Honey Ultimate Pedicure ($105, 75 minutes). This sudsy service involves a soak in a warm tub filled with a dissolved Hops 'N Honey Me! Bath Ice Cream Ball, an exfoliation and foot mask, a paraffin dip, a massage with Milk-and-Honey Lotion, and a polish application. But most guests say their favorite part of the experience is the chance to imbibe a selection of three local microbrews, which are served throughout the treatment. This isn't the only service to which spa-goers in the Mile High City are raising a glass, however. Many of the treatments in the 6,800-square-foot spa pay homage to the spa's mountainous locale.

Aside from the beer-inspired experience, several spa services are on tap to help ease the ails the region can cause. "The city of Denver rests at an altitude of 5,280 feet—a mile high," says Kate Morrison, director of spa and retail. "This elevation can cause stress, dehydration, and dryness for the skin and body, and we have several services to combat those issues." Among the healing highlights is the High Altitude Oxygen Facial ($125, 50 minutes; $174, 80 minutes), a purifying skincare service that oxygenates, illuminates, brightens, and revives the complexion. Another hydrating favorite is the High Country Tranquility Wrap ($115, 50 minutes), during which guests are enveloped in an essential oil blend derived from locally grown ingredients like cedar, orange, palmarosa, rosewood, and vanilla. The Colorado River Stone Massage ($165, 70 minutes), meanwhile, is a healing rubdown with heated stones that is perfect for those who have enjoyed the area's outdoor pursuits.

The Rocky Mountains also inspired the spa's design and layout, as did the desire to provide guests an excess of elegant amenities. Since the word "spa" is derived from the Latin words sanitas per aquam, meaning health through water, each of the eight treatment rooms is named after a different waterfall in Colorado. "The rooms are very spacious and have customizable temperature, lighting, and audio, and each of our massage and esthetic tables are upgraded with a Tempur-Pedic pad that provides warmth to each guest and enhances comfort by evenly distributing weight," says Morrison. "Our Mertensia Suite includes both a private relaxation room with a minibar, a plasma television, and comfortable seating, as well as a couples' treatment room with side-by-side massage tables and a custom-built shower for couples' hydrotherapy services." Additional amenities include private relaxation lounges, aromatherapy steam rooms, indoor whirlpools, a water wall in the entryway, and a tranquil co-ed seating area that features a cozy fireplace.

According to Morrison, when the spa underwent its multi-million-dollar renovation in 2008, "the concept was to bring a resort-style spa experience to a downtown urban setting." This approach has garnered a loyal following from both locals and hotel guests—a typical weekday sees 30 to 45 guests per day, while up to 80 clients can come through the doors daily on the weekends. A number of spa and accommodation packages, as well as targeted promotions and treatments, attract hotel visitors, such as the Executive Massage ($165, 80 minutes) for business travelers and the Recover Touch Nighttime Facial ($115, 50 minutes) for guests looking for a good night's sleep. Local clients are enticed by such extras as complimentary valet parking, as well as spa discounts courtesy of a membership at FORZA Fitness Club, a state-of-the-art workout haven that is connected to the spa and available for both hotel guests and area members. FORZA members are offered a discounted menu of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, and haircuts, and they also receive 20 percent off regularly priced menu and retail items.

No matter where spa-goers call home, the 22-member spa team has been trained to make them a priority. "One lesson this struggling economy has taught us is the value of each guest," says Morrison. "We are more appreciative than ever for business, and we have heightened our focus on personalized, exceptional service in every guest interaction."

OWNER: The Ritz-Carlton
SPA DIRECTOR: Kate Morrison OPENED: May 2008

70% female 30% male

6,800 square feet; 8 treatment rooms

aromatherapy, body treatments, couples' treatments, facials, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, makeup application, massage, nailcare, prenatal services, reflexology, salon services, sunless tanning, waxing

The Hops 'N Honey Ultimate Pedicure ($105, 75 minutes) and the Colorado River Stone Massage ($165, 70 minutes)

The Couple's Romance Package ($425, 2 hours), which is performed in the Mertensia Suite and includes a Couple's massage, a Couple's Tranquility Wrap, and two glasses of champagne

Astara, BeingTRUE, Cirepil, Comfort Zone, Deserving Thyme, Me! Bath, Naturopathica, OPI

Oakworks, SpaSoft, Star Trac, Tempur-Pedic, Ty Robes, Zendals

Spa Strategy (Denver)