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ROAD & TRAVEL Spa Review: Four Seasons, San Francisco, California

Heaven on Earth, or to be more precise, in San Francisco

by Hadani Ditmar

"It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world."

Four Seasons San Francisco Spa Review
The Four Seasons San Francisco

Oscar Wilde's likening of San Fran-cisco to the afterlife was written in the 19th century, but I have to say that if I were to imagine the afterlife today it would be a lot like the San Francisco Four Seasons.

In fact, the Four Seasons anywhere is a little bit of heaven and I have yet to find one that disagrees with me. Perhaps it is the incredible consistency of high level service, my late 30's disdain for the boutique hotel that just can't measure up to the five star, or maybe even the rather comforting Canadian factor (Isadore Sharpe of course.)

But if I were to escape somewhere never to be seen again, I would do it at the Four Seasons San Francisco, and in fact more specifically at their spa.

If one actually deigns to leave the impenetrable tower of perfection that is a suite at the FS, where, in a padded cell of comfort one can gaze out at the city below, blissfully unaware of the non room serviced otherworld that lies below, or lie in a bed that is better than valium, one can actually... um... work out.

That's right, if the perfection all gets too much - or "too utterly utter" as Wilde would say - one can sweat with the masses (well, the well toned, chic work out wear masses) and burn some of those fabulously ingested room service calories.

Through a fortuitous arrangement with the LA Sports club (confusing I know - but that's just the name, not the location) hotel patrons (as well as club members) can elegantly perspire on high tech exercise bikes (and 5,000 square feet of all the latest equipment that the exercise prone are sure to know about, plus yoga  and pilates studios) whilst watching the world go by on Market Street.

Of course depending on how prone one is to exercise, the sports club could be either an added bonus in heaven, or a bit of purgatory. For the latter group, a trip straight from the FS suite to the adjoining Splash Spa is highly recommended (perhaps with a pit stop at the juice bar.)

Not to be outdone by the sports club's zeal, the spa consists of two floors - one complete with locker rooms and steam and dry saunas, the other with elaborate treatment rooms.

Four Seasons San Francisco Spa Review
Four Season's Guest Room

The idea here (the entire long name for the huge structure is "the sports club/LA Splash Destination CitySpa) is holistic, all in one health and beauty - with the ideal arrangement being a work out, steam and relaxing spa treatment. Mine didn't quite unfold that way (it took me a full two days to work up the enthusiasm needed for the gym - but I must say I'm glad I did), but if I'd really been on the ball I could have also arranged for a Chinese doctor, an acupuncture treatment or even nutritional counselling. This is the total experience - from soup to nuts.

After the requisite steam and champagne sipping in the lounge, I pondered the two treatments I had chosen - a deep pore cleansing facial and an aromatherapy massage. I must admit it was very difficult deciding on just two treatments from the huge menu that included ones with appetizing names like Green Tea Ginger Wrap and Afternoon Chai but even in heaven one must make choices.

I  was taken to a pleasant room where an angelic aesthetician from Utah gave me a deep pore cleansing facial. After thoroughly examining my world weary skin, she opted for an individualized treatment that inlcuded the luxuriously named Ultra rose Treat eyecream, a masque by Jurlique and Peter Thomas Roth products.

Four Seasons San Francisco Spa Review
Massage Treatment at the Spa

My next treatment, the aromatherapy massage, was administered by a registered massage therapist who had travelled the world and integrated Thai, Indian and Swedish techniques. I knew she was a pro when she spotted some scar tissue and said "forget about these one off spa treatments - you should get some serious bodywork done."

Feeling totally rejuvenated after my massage and facial, my new found calm was put to the test, when I had to dash out into the pouring rain on Market street and run all the way down to the Embarcadero to meet a friend. But despite my rather rude reintroduction into the world outside the Four Seasons spa, the celestial glow lasted a good 24 hours.

If only Oscar Wilde had lived to see this place. I'm sure he would have found it "too utterly utter."

"I have simple tastes. I am only satisfied with the best"
~ Oscar Wilde ~


For more information on the Four Seasons San Francisco visit: Four Seasons San Francisco

For the best spas and wellness experiences in America visit:

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