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Eucalyptus steam rooms, Vichy showers, and soothing soaking tubs at top spa facilities in Denver

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I collect spa treatments on vacation the way others collect souvenir T-shirts. To me, there's nothing better than (literally) washing away a day of hectic travel than with a soak in a hotel-spa hot tub followed by a detoxifying stint in the steam room and a deep-tissue rubdown. I've even indulged in this ritual on short jaunts to Denver, about a four-hour drive from my home in the Colorado mountains.

Now, hotel spas have notoriously high prices on their services, and Denver's hotel spas are no exception. (A 50-minute standard massage will likely cost you $120 or more.) But the benefits to booking a massage at a hotel spa versus a discount chain in a strip mall are the extra-special amenities like saunas and steam rooms, as well as adjacent fitness centers if you'd like to workout before you indulge in a treatment. A comfortable relaxation room for repose before or after a service is typical, and locker rooms come decked out with nice complimentary touches like disposable razors and luscious body lotion. My point: you may pay more for a massage at a hotel spa, but you will enjoy some nice perks, too. So make sure you allow for plenty of time before your service to fully experience the extras.

Here are my picks for the top Denver hotel spas for sublime pampering, whether you're in the Mile High City for business or pleasure: 

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Denver

My 80-minute Colorado Hot Stone Massage at the spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver was one of my best ever (which says a lot, because I've received well over 100 massages in my lifetime). My therapist listened to my needs, and went to work on some extremely tight knots in my neck and shoulders, while simultaneously relaxing me with marvelously heated stones. I was incredibly impressed with her expert touch, and for that, I'll always give high props to this Denver hotel spa.

More unusual services here include the "waterfalls" that feature the use of a Vichy shower (nozzles that will spray water while you're lying on a waterproof massage table). Nifty "beer-infused treatments" are a nod to the many craft breweries and tap houses in Denver; these include the Hops N' Honey Ultimate Pedicure and Mile High Malt Scrub and Microbrew Massage. I like these irreverent daily specials: "Wine Down Wednesday" features a complimentary glass of wine and 20 percent savings on any 50-minute manicure or 50- or 75-minute pedicure, and on "Face the Weekend Friday," receive 20 percent savings on any facial 50 minutes or longer.

Viewfinder Tip: Some hotel spas have co-ed steam rooms or outdoor hot tubs. Always bring along a bathing suit so you won't miss out on steaming or soaking.

Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Denver

Typical spa services are 50 minutes long so that massage therapists can clean and reset treatment rooms in the 10 minutes before a new client arrives at the top of the hour. But treatments at the spa at the downtown Four Seasons Hotel Denver are a full 60 minutes. And trust me, an extra 10 minutes for any rubdown is always appreciated.

Reviving treatments like the 5,280-Gemstone Relaxation massage and the Mile-High Hydromax facial cater to guests who need extra hydration and relaxation to combat the high altitude in Denver. For the ultimate in pampering, check out the Four Seasons Signature Four Handed Massage, where two therapists work their magic on sore muscles simultaneously.

Viewfinder Tip: Confirm whether or not a gratuity has been added to your final bill. Some hotel spas add 20 percent automatically for your spa therapist. 

Facilities are modern and sleek at the Four Seasons spa, with a large soaking tub, eucalyptus steam room, and comfortable chaise lounges in the dimly lit women's locker area. The adjacent fitness center is quite big and stocked with the latest-and-greatest cardio- and strength-training equipment. Floor-to-ceiling windows face the hotel's huge outdoor pool and hot tub.

Spa at The Brown Palace

The Brown Palace is Denver's venerable property dating back to 1892. The downtown hotel has been beautifully kept up through the decades, and if you're visiting Denver, its lobby is certainly worthy of a look-see, with its eight-story atrium and beautiful cast-iron railings and intricate grill work. If you don't overnight at The Brown Palace, consider stopping in for a spot of afternoon tea, a beloved hotel tradition.

Now the spa at The Brown Palace is one Denver hotel spa that I haven't experienced firsthand. But I'd certainly like to, namely to experience one of its soaking tubs, which are filled with water from the on-site artesian well, 750 feet below the hotel, and infused with essential oils for complete relaxation. Other highlights here include the The Brown Palace Signature Wrap, which includes a full-body exfoliation, a marine mud mask, and application of moisturizing anti-aging body cream. Male guests have their own special face, body, and nail treatments on the gentlemen's spa menu.


Fruity mimosa at Mokara Spa

Fruity mimosa at Mokara Spa

Still more Denver-area hotel spas

Two more hotel spas are worthy of a mention. First, Antoine du Chez day spa is in the same building as the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, less than a 10-minute drive from downtown. The spa is not affiliated with the hotel, per se, but hotel guests do have their own entrance to this spa and salon that is well regarded among the locals who flock to the upscale shopping neighborhood for hair and nail treatments. During a recent stay at the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, I popped into Antoine du Chez for a quick eyebrow wax, and I appreciated the tweezing talents of my efficient therapist. When I checked out, I told the front-desk receptionist that I was just in town for the night, and would love to return for a lengthier treatment someday. She promptly handed me a couple of 25-percent-off coupons for "next time." Such nice customer service!

Further afield is the Mokara Spa at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, about a 20-minute drive north of downtown Denver. Popular among business travelers and golfing families in the summer months, the Omni Interlocken is a huge resort, and its full-service spa is certainly worth a visit if you're in the vicinity. Here, I was offered a complimentary mimosa when I checked in for my facial, and my esthetician recommended some products to me only after I asked (I never like it when sales are pushed on me at a spa). She even helped me find a less expensive version of a cleanser and moisturizer when I balked at the initial price. Again, I very much appreciated the friendly customer service. And when you're at a spa to relax and indulge, welcoming and helpful staff can only enhance your pampering experience.

What's your favorite hotel spa?

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

This author has either a relationship with, or received other compensation (which may include monetary or in-kind compensation) from, the product or service providers that are the subject of this post.

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