No time for a holiday? Take yourself on a mini-getaway at Melbourne's best spas and bath houses. You'll emerge relaxed and rejuvenated without having to step into a plane. If you're short on time and cash, visit any of the best massage parlours in Melbourne when you've got a spare moment. Meanwhile, Melbourne's waxing salons will get you sorted if you're after some upkeep.
The best spas in Melbourne
You know you’re on the right floor for the Spa at Sheraton Melbourne when you can smell the jasmine. Service is gentle and informed, with guests who arrive early to their appointments offered tea while they wait. Make use of the spa’s staff, as they know their stuff.
Got a few issues you need kneaded out of you? The spa will soothe your aching body from head to toe and lift the stress off your shoulders with gentle pressure and smooth, flowing strokes. The massage technique is inspired by Swedish, Balinese and Polynesian styles, and there’s a choice of aromatherapy or certified organic oils.
Unlike a lot of other day spas, Belinda Hughes's salon is a natural and organic beauty temple. In terms of face and body products, Hughes only uses the Eminence brand, which was developed in Hungary in the late '50s and brims with cold-pressed, organic and bio-dynamic fruit and veggies.
On the day Time Out visits the Natural Beauty Expert, we are treated to the Eminence signature "Hollywood" facial – a very hands-on, massage oriented experience, which is not only good for lymphatic drainage, but is deeply relaxing. The fact that it's coupled with natural beauty products means that there's no overwhelming fragrance detracting from the experience. The whole concept is a boon for someone who walks on the natural side of the fence.
Traditional Chinese tranquility and modern pampering are melded together in treatments like the sweet and salty body scrub and green tea shower. The pool area looks like something out of Gatsby’s manor – glass ceilings, mint-green tiled swimming pool and a Jacuzzi glowing with emerald green floor lights, all of which looks out onto the CBD skyline.
HÜD is the brainchild of Norwegian beauty Gry Tømte – an émigré who has devoted herself to effective skincare and treatments after suffering the torment of acne in her twenties. The result of Tømte's investigations is her St Kilda Road spa – the perfect union of efficacy (in fact, there's a cosmetic doctor on site), good design and relaxation.
HÜD's interior is the height of Scandinavian cool (think blonde wood, fur rugs, lots of natural light) and the treatment rooms could feature in a lifestyle mag. The mani-pedi room has verdant plant life, comfy recliners and each chair is accompanied by its own headset – the idea being that you can tune out, rather than feel compelled to engage in idle chit chat. Look forward to baby-bum smooth skin and the best groomed brows you've ever had.
Located up on the 27th floor of the Crown Metropol complex, the Isika Day Spa is the pinnacle of quiet luxury. Nothing is overstated or garish, which means that there's nothing to detract from the gob-smacking floor to ceiling views out over the CBD. Only Aveda products are used at Isika Day Spa – a brand renowned for the unusual combination of natural ingredients and high efficacy.
Our therapist is a walking advertisement for Aveda – her skin glows with good health. The facial and massage (which incorporates relaxation and pressure point techniques) leaves us so chilled out that we're beyond speech, which is fine because we're are quietly led back to a large lounge for a herbal tea, which allows for a gentle transition back into the day in our own good time.
Wile away aches and cares at the Japanese Bathhouse in Collingwood. Open since 1999, it had a thorough refurb this year and is looking particularly fresh. Get unrobed and get soaking – the Japanese Bathhouse supplies everything from hair gel and combs to robes and body scrubbers. Ladies and gents have their own bathing areas and the max of ten peeps per bathing area means that things don't get weird. $30 gets you an hour long soak and sauna.
This gem of the west’s main drawcard is its Turkish Hammam chamber, a candle-lit, tiled steam room for one person or two. Temperatures soar as you nourish your skin with body mud made from coffee and vanilla beans. Although the pool house is perfectly handsome, its spa is a touch too chilly.
There's nothing quite like a bath for a spot of relaxation – except for a giant one. Owned by Jerome Borazio's sister (he of St Jerome's Laneway Festival, 1000 Pound Bend and umpteen dozen other awesome ventures around town) – this is a haven in the very heart of the city: a quiet place to relax, unwind and soak away cares and rough elbows.
As a traditional Japanese bathhouse, you have to get nude in front of fellow patrons (segregated between ladies and gents) – but it's worth it. Step up the level of self-care and go for a shiatsu massage. Better yet, get in early for the early bird deal from Monday to Friday before noon and bathe for a measly 18 bucks.
At Peninsula Hot Springs, you can spend hours enjoying the naturally healing waters of the property’s thermal pools and indulging in a day spa treatment. If you’re there with a partner, then book in for a Kodo massage, a treatment inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques and complemented by a range of native aromatic oils to leave you totally relaxed.
The café upstairs is good for a light, healthy meal, while the word on the street is the company is looking to add some hotel rooms and apartments - something that would be a good addition to an already impressive offering. For now, Peppers Moonah Links next door is the ideal place to bunker down in.
A dreary winter’s afternoon is well spent at this beachside health complex, enjoying the 37˚ hydro spa and spacious steam room. With views of St Kilda beach and its palm trees from the filtered seawater spa, you can almost (and sometimes literally) feel the sand beneath your feet and it won’t break the bank.