We asked three local spas for their ultimate $250(ish) retreat. They created. Our staff indulged. And we even came out of our zen-like states to tell about it. So here it is: permission to treat yourself to a day you deserve. Enjoy!

We asked three local spas for their ultimate $250(ish) retreat. They created. Our staff indulged. And we even came out of our zen-like states to tell about it. So here it is: permission to treat yourself to a day you deserve. Enjoy!


Rejuvenation Ritual

What else would you call a spa visit in the middle of a work day but an escape? And that's exactly what I got when I ducked into the Papillon Day Spa, which is discreetly tucked into a ground-floor corner of the Hilton Columbus-Polaris.

Papillon offers The Escape package for all the rejuvenation you didn't think you could fit into four hours. The package features a paraffin manicure and pedicure, a European facial and a hot-stone massage. Lunch from Panera is included, as is a never-ending supply of beverages. You can also add an Evolv heated spray tan. (I didn't try it, but the spa team raved about this new custom-applied tan that basically goes on like a dry powder and doesn't have as strong a "spray-tan" odor as more conventional systems do.)

But back to me and my escape.

Loved the mani/pedi, especially the Fusion brand skin polisher used.

I had never tried a hot-stone massage but, darn, am I sold. The massage left me feeling relaxed but not wobbly, the way deep-tissue massage often can. Palm-sized basalt stones were heated to between 120 to 140 degrees and massaged (with absorbent Biotone oil) along my limbs, back and face. The result is a massage you could get in the middle of a day when you still need to get things done later.

As for the European facial, all I can say is I lost track of how many steps went into it. I remember the deep cleaning, mist, enzyme exfoliation, massage, vitamin cream and an oxygen treatment, but there was probably more.

The result? My family said I looked "glowy."

And I felt it, too.

--Jane Hawes

The Escape

$240

Papillon Day Spa

at Hilton

Columbus-Polaris

8710 Lyra Dr., Lewis Center

614-436-6801

PapillonDaySpa.net



Indulgent Retreat

Four-handed massage: The very phrase piqued the curiosity of everyone I told about my impending four-and-a-half hour Ultimate Spoil Yourself spa day at the Spa at River Ridge.

I didn't have a clue what might be involved, but it was one of the more delightful experiences I've ever had, performed by two massage therapists who worked perfectly in tune with each other. Their artistry wasn't really evident at first, as one therapist worked on my neck and another on my feet. But as they moved on to my arms and legs, they began to work in tandem, as beautifully choreographed as synchronized swimmers. As they moved up and down my back, one standing on either side, they used identical strokes and exactly the same amount of pressure. It was remarkable.

The 45-minute massage was delivered in the private Serenity Room, an airy space boasting a wall-sized TV playing soothing beachside footage. Wow. And that's just one portion of the package-created especially for Capital Style readers and being offered for a limited time.

The Custom Radiance Facial is certainly indulgent as well. My esthetician asked about my skin issues and usual skincare routine before devising a treatment customized for my specific combination of shininess and occasional breakouts. A deep cleaning and exfoliation was followed by some slightly uncomfortable (but very worth it) extraction, then a steam treatment and enzyme mask. Throughout the 90-minute facial, I was treated to moisturizing heated hand and foot massages, plus scalp and shoulder rub-downs. A full week later, my skin was still looking great.

Between treatments, I savored a lovely soup-and-salad lunch from Panera.

An express manicure and pedicure primped my nails.

And before heading out, I got prettied up with a shampoo and style (my stylist used an amazing messy-chic curls technique she'd just learned in Chicago).

It was divine. But the most mysterious part turned into the most memorable. I give the four-handed massage four stars.

--Shelley Mann

Ultimate Spoil Yourself package

$250

The Spa

at River Ridge

6570 Riverside Dr., Dublin

614-766-9946

TheSpaAtRiverRidge.com



Sweet escape

A half-hour into my five-hour spa day, I was already smiling: I had enjoyed a couple minutes of reading in my terrycloth robe, relished a 15-minute tropical-scented sugar scrub massage, and now, I was slipping into a piping hot shower that someone else had turned on and prepared for me. I stayed in for 15 minutes-just because I could. When I finally turned off the water (exfoliator dutifully rinsed), I slipped into a fresh robe and sauntered back to my massage room.

The Body Polish Massage continued, this round with oil, and for nearly an hour. (If you're interested in indulging in just that portion, you can for $88-and I highly recommend it.)

Next up? The Deluxe Papaya Facial. The esthetician purged me of the bad stuff (yes, ouch-but helpful), and then used a cleansing treatment, exfoliating masque and cooling masque. She massaged my face and neck as well.

Afterward, I retreated to the lounge area, where lunch from Panera awaited. (Though I certainly enjoyed my food alone, the room-equipped with a fireplace, several prettily set tables and drinks-is perfect for a girls' gathering.)

My Sugar Buff manicure and pedicure capped the day.

A lovely raspberry sugar scrub was used to exfoliate my hands (yes, this whole day was basically about shedding an entire layer of skin), and I opted for a buff-to-shine instead of a polish.

Finally, my 40-minute pedicure (more exfoliating, more rubbing, more fabulousness) was like the cherry atop a lusciously tasty experience.

-- Kristy Eckert

CMH Sweet Escape

$275

Charles Penzone Grand Salon at Polaris Parkway

771 Polaris Pkwy, Lewis Center

614-418-5350

CharlesPenzone.com