High-Energy Healing

While most spas boast of being tranquil sanctuaries where everyone is encouraged to speak in hushed tones, the new spa at South Beach's latest hotspot Gansevoort South is breaking with tradition and embracing a different sort of spa-goer—those looking for a livelier experience. From the man who transformed the fitness industry with his hip and trend-setting gyms, The Spa At David Barton Gym is fitness guru David Barton's first foray into the spa world. Eschewing the tried-and-true formula to which most spas subscribe, Barton embraces Miami's energetic vibe with an innovative and luxe spa that delivers visible results. "Our spa offers a range of quick-fix treatments in an unexpectedly upbeat and social environment," says spa director Tricia Bannister, noting that the Buddhas and Zen music, common fixtures in many spas, are nowhere to be found. Instead, spa-goers will find a stimulating setting in which to indulge in a host of results-oriented treatments while kicking back with friends or preparing for a night out on the town.

The club-like gym sports all the latest high-tech fitness equipment.
The club-like gym sports all the latest high-tech fitness equipment.

The spa, with its vibrant colors, rich fabrics, dim lighting, and pulsing club music, is a natural extension of Barton's newest and largest gym to date. "This new location is the first of seven gyms I'm opening around the country over the next two years," says Barton. "No beach demands a rock-hard body more than South Beach, and no city demands a cool place to work out more than the jet-set mecca of Miami." With a 30-foot domed glass ceiling, reflecting pools, and a hand-inlaid mosaic floor, the Moroccan-inspired lobby offers newcomers their first hint that this isn't a typical gym. Instead, members and guests enjoy working out to a rotating roster of DJs from across the country. Operating out of a booth located on the second level, which overlooks the gym floor and a dramatic 50-foot sculpture suspended from the ceiling, the DJs lend an energetic feel to the space.

The treatment rooms (pictured) and common areas (below left) are decked out in rich, vibrant colors.
The treatment rooms (pictured) and common areas (below left) are decked out in rich, vibrant colors.

That high-energy feeling can also be found in the 10,000-square-foot spa, which features 10 treatment rooms, a couples' massage lounge with ocean view, an aromatherapy steam room, and more. Spa-goers share the spacious men's and women's locker rooms with the gym's 3,200 members. Hotel guests and those who book a spa treatment are given access to the high-tech fitness facility at a specially reduced rate of $15, as opposed to the typical $50 fee. Members enjoy unlimited access to the oceanside pool, complete with bar service, and a membership menu with special pricing available Monday through Wednesday.

Because the spa caters to both hotel guests and gym members, it was important to ensure that the entire clientele would be happy with the experience offered. "Our goal was to create a range of treatments that would satisfy the needs of our gym members and, at the same time, satisfy our hotel guests expecting luxury treatments in a luxurious environment—all the while still being uniquely David Barton," says Bannister. "We also wanted to provide treatment plans and competitive price points for local members interested in receiving frequent nail treatments."

Spa-goers and gym members share the Moroccan-themed locker room.
Spa-goers and gym members share the Moroccan-themed locker room.

According to Bannister, vanity plays a significant role at the spa. As a result, most of the services are aimed at treating the external. For example, the spa's signature treatments include The Cougar ($275, 90 minutes), an anti-aging facial, and Hot Pants ($190, 60 minutes), an exfoliating treatment with microcurrent designed to tighten and tone the booty and thighs. "There is a lot of curiosity about our Amplifications, which are 15-minute treatments performed with the Ultra II, an anti-aging device from Ageless Aesthetics," says Bannister. Relying on products from Ling Skin Care and Sonya Dakar, the spa reinforces its commitment to delivering visible results. "We chose lines that are recognizable, fun, and results-oriented, yet also utilize quality ingredients, which is the way of the future," says Bannister. With that in mind, she looked for products that were vegan and formaldehyde- and paraben-free. Handling approximately 70 to 100 clients each day, the spa's five full-time and 25 part-time employees encourage guests to extend the results they achieve in the spa with a variety of homecare products that also boast instant results.

The relaxation area features decorative wood furnishings and colorful paper lanterns.
The relaxation area features decorative wood furnishings and colorful paper lanterns.

While most spas today promote total well-being and the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, The Spa At David Barton Gym is all about maximizing external beauty. It's certainly in line with what one would expect from the man who achieved cult-like status in the fitness arena after championing such a concept in his growing fitness empire and adopting the slogan, "Look Better Naked." "They say beauty comes from within," says Barton. "I say, let's help it along."


(Miami Beach, FL)

OWNER: David Barton

SPA DIRECTOR: Tricia Bannister

OPENED: November 2008


72% female, 28% male


10,000 square feet;a

10 treatment rooms


$1.5 million


aromatherapy, body treatments, couples' treatments, energy work, facials, fitness, hair and scalp treatments, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy, LED therapy, makeup application, massage, microdermabrasion, nailcare, nutrition consultation, outdoor treatments, Pilates, prenatal services, reflexology, waxing, yoga


The Barton Detox Massage ($150, 60 minutes; $225, 90 minutes)


Barton Bootcamp ($1,600, 8 treatments), an eight-week series of The Barton Signature Facial, microdermabrasion, and a customized homecare program


Chadsworth & Haig, Comphy Co., Cutler, European Hard Wax, Havaianas, Jessica Nails, Ling Skin Care, Sonya Dakar


Ageless Aesthetics, Kohler, Living Earth Crafts, SpaBiz


Paul Bennett Architects (New York City)


Bill Sofield, Studio Sofield (New York City)


WTS International (Rockville, MD)