At the Four Seasons resort, nestled in the Papagayo Peninsula on the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica, people say “pura vida” (which essentially translates to “the good life”) as a greeting, a farewell and, from what we can tell, a rhetorical exclamation meaning “This place is gorgeous and we’re all so lucky to be here.” Life here is indeed good—and things have just gotten $46 million better, thanks to a renovation that includes a sprawling new spa. Indulge in a full-body exfoliation in the Turkish hammam, or opt for a body treatment (like the vitamin C-rich Tropical Replenishment Pineapple Wrap, made with locally sourced fruit) in one of the 18 treatment rooms with large windows overlooking the lush grounds and the ocean. Can’t bear to be inside? Hop between the hot and cool hydrotherapy pools outdoors. Now that’s the life.
Step one: Jet over to Dubai. (May we suggest going direct with Emirates business class? The starlike lights on the ceiling of the plane will make you feel as cool as Kylie Jenner presumably does in her Rolls-Royce, and car service is conveniently included with your ticket. But we digress.)
Located on the very edge of the super-ritzy—even by Dubai standards—island of Palm Jumeirah, the hotel feels delightfully secluded. When you can tear yourself away from your private beach, get thee to the spa, where Guerlain has developed eight exclusive new treatments. The ultimate indulgence is one of the signature facials, using Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Black, the brand’s potent anti-aging line, comprising rare black orchids from Peru. A (decidedly bougie) suggestion from our beauty director: Get a massage before your flight home. Your body will be cocooned in rich oil, which will counter the drying effects of the plane. UAE not in your travel budget? What about Toronto? Guerlain’s first stand-alone Canadian spa will open at Hotel X this fall.
This newly renovated medical spa is the topical treatments arm at Dr. Marc DuPéré’s surgical clinic. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or a med spa by its appearance), in this case you can go right ahead: The opulent space is right on par with the quality of the services. Come for the Biologique Recherche facials (it is the only clinic in Canada that has the same skin diagnostic tool used at the French skincare brand’s flagship location in Paris); stay for the Gucci-wallpaper-adorned rooms.
What separates Fig from the competition is, in a word, style. No detail is spared in the Kitsilano Beach flagship—from the forest-green velvet curtains separating the cozy (also green) treatment rooms to the emerald welcome desk to the mint-green shelves stocked with clean-beauty brands like Tata Harper and Goop. The space and the concept are the vision of Londoner turned Vancouverite Jessica “JJ” Walsh, a former magazine editor—she got her start in the industry as Isabella Blow’s assistant—and consultant for brands including Harrods, Selfridges and Louis Vuitton, but she left it all behind five years ago when her husband got a job on Canada’s West Coast.
“Vancouver is all about wellness, but I wanted to meld that with technology,” says Walsh, who offers a curated menu of treatments—everything from LED oxygen facials (LED lights are purported to have a healing effect on the skin) to microdermabrasion to microcurrents. Also on the menu are “stingers,” a.k.a. Xeomin, a neuromodulator (think Botox), and “fig shots,” energy-boosting vitamin injections. (A naturopathic doctor administers these.)
Patients flock to Dr. Michael Prager for his astute use of Botox (he estimates that he is the top administrator of the neuromodulator in Europe), but don’t miss out on the topical treatments. Make a beeline for the Urban Protect Gold Detox Facial at his new Knightsbridge clinic (which has the warm aesthetic of a family member’s well-appointed home), just a stone’s throw from Harrods. It starts with a hydrofacial (feels like a gentle microdermabrasion but with powerful streams of water) to clean out pores, which is followed by LED light therapy and a glorious facial massage using products from the hyper-edited new Prager Skincare line. There’s zero downtime, so you can peel your glowing self off the treatment bed and walk directly up the block to bask in designer goods.
Facialist Annie Graham devises brilliant custom facials from her downtown-Calgary studio. While you’re there, pick up XO Facecare Lunar Veil, a deeply hydrating overnight treatment mask we love to wear on flights. (It sinks in seamlessly, so no one will know you have it on.) Follow her on Instagram @xotreatmentroom for her smart stories about common skincare concerns.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter