The hotel victor (miami beach, fl), the brand-new south beach boutique hotel designed by Jacques Garcia, is the city's latest hot spot. It espouses everything hip about the vibrant beach community while incorporating a distinctive European flair. An impeccably dressed crowd congregates into the wee hours of the morning around a tank full of ethereal, luminous jellyfish in the hotel lobby and sways to music in the bar and zero-gravity pool area. Spa V, the intimate spa located on the basement level of the hotel, is the flip side of the busy scene above. It is a subterranean mecca for relaxation filled with flickering candles, reflective marble, and luxurious fabrics that offers decadent European-style treatments and reflects the hotel's atmosphere of indulgence and intimacy.
Left: Spa V features seven treatment rooms in its 6,000-square-foot location on the basement level of the Hotel Victor. Right above: The relaxation room incorporates Hotel Victors jellyfish motif in its decor. Right bottom: Scrub V ($175, 60 minutes), a French seaweed body therapy, is one of the signature treatments offered in the spas hydrotherapy room.
"The idea was to create an oasis of calm and tranquility below," explains spa director Donna Stephenson. "The hotel is right on Ocean Drive, and it's very noisy, hip, and cool. But that's the complete opposite of the spa environment. Spa V is subterranean; an oasis away."
The 6,000-square-foot retreat houses seven treatment rooms, including a hydrotherapy room, a couple's suite, four other multipurpose rooms, and a Hammam, a Turkish-style sauna. In addition, there is a relaxation room that carries the jellyfish motif forward with artwork and custom-designed lamps.
Many of the treatments are customized for the sun-loving, late-night-partying, jet-setting crowd that frequents South Beach. The Jet Lag V ($125, 30 minutes) uses a volcanic mud formula that detoxifies and rejuvenates the body, and the Sun V facial ($150, 60 minutes) is specially designed for overexposed skin. And for those who had a bit too much fun the previous night, the Detox V ($150, 60 minutes) is a seaweed-based body wrap that regulates the body's mineral balance and encourages weight reduction. "We are a party town, so we want to make sure you can have a nice night out, then the next day, you can have a detoxifying body wrap and a cleansing facial or a body scrub, and you can feel alive and awake," says Stephenson.
The spa's centerpiece is the Hammam, the Turkish-style sauna that is the first of its kind in South Beach. This steam-filled treatment room inspired by Mediterranean baths in Greece, Morocco, and Turkey is where guests can relax and soothe sore muscles on a heated marble slab. The Hammam V ($250, 60 minutes) includes a skin cleansing using soft olive-based beldi soap, an invigorating exfoliation, a mask of Moroccan lava clay, and a body-milk hydration.
Clock wise from right top: Spa Vs co-ed steam room encourages group socialization. Guests in the relaxation room can partake in citrus-flavored water and tea before and after treatments. The couples suite is one of seven treatment rooms. Products by Amoressence, Anne Sémonin, and Deborah Lippman are available for purchase in the spa's lobby. The Hammam is the centerpiece of Spa V and is the place where the Hammam V Turkish sauna treatment ($250, 60 minutes) occurs.
"People are amazed by it," says Stephenson. "When they have it, they absolutely love it and just want to do it again." In fact, the Hammam has become such a hit that the spa now offers a home-care kit for purchase that includes all of the elements of the Hammam V, including the Amoressence products used in the treatment, which are imported from Morocco.
Spa V has a two-pronged mission to serve both local and hotel visitors and sees about a 50/50 split between the two. The spa's clientele is approximately 70 percent female and 30 percent male, but Stephenson has noticed an increase in male guests. No matter who the client is, though, the spa's staff tries to incorporate the hotel's mission of service, meeting clients at the door, hosting tours of the spa, and escorting them to the treatment rooms.
"We are a boutique hotel and a boutique spa," explains Stephenson. "The idea is that of one-on-one personal interaction. We guide guests through the entire experience."
So far, the philosophy of exemplary service in a European-style setting has been successful. The spa is close to capacity Friday through Sunday, with each of the eight full-time therapists seeing four or five clients per day. During the week, each sees two to three clients per day. Hotel guests can also partake in poolside massage services and in-room treatments. And this is just during Miami's off-season. According to Stephenson, "Moving forward, Spa V will have all the rooms filled all the time."