Holly V. Kapherr
Holly V. Kapherr

I could have sat, swinging gently in that wicker bucket chair, dangling my feet in the tepid water, sipping Champagne, tucked deeply into my soft white terrycloth robe, listening to the bridesmaids giggling over their spa lunch forever. I was staying at the Eau Palm Beach for the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival in December and had a few off hours for some "me time." Having visited the spa on a previous stay, I knew what was in store, and I couldn't resist the $60 day pass.

The hotel's website describes the spa as "our Forbes Five-Star spa wonderland," and to my mind, that's not an exaggeration. The 42,000-square-foot temple of relaxation can make guests feel spoiled rotten, even amid Palm Beach's gaudy excess. Even if visitors aren't getting a full treatment in one of the 19 treatment rooms, the day pass affords them the opportunity to turn off their mind, leave their phone in the locker and just breathe.

A personal concierge takes guests to the check-in area, where they'll be given a lit votive candle and led to the large, circular pool in the middle of the room. The concierge asks the guest to make a wish and send your candle off into the middle of the Wishing Well. It's cheesy, but it's the kind of cheese you can't help but want more of.

Visitors can don their swimsuits, envelop themselves in the terrycloth robe, then pad off to the wet spa. That's where I fell asleep instantly on the heated tile lounge chairs to the roar of the oversize Jacuzzi tub; an oculus overhead provided just enough natural light to be therapeutic. The wet spa also houses the sauna and steam room, where guests can create their own body scrub (for an additional fee) at the Polish Bar before hitting the steam room, where they will come out smelling like a rose -- or a gardenia or jasmine flower, if they prefer.

Then, it's outside with a couple of minicupcakes, fresh from a local bakery, and a cup of tea. The Self-Centered Garden is where visitors will find those basket chairs that I loved so much; a dozen of them hang from a pergola over an inches-deep dipping pool. There are other options, as well: shaded daybeds, chaise lounges, plush couches. The garden also features a bronze fountain that provides the garden's soundtrack.

Moving indoors, there are loungers in the relaxation room where guests can grab a magazine, preferably one with the local social gossip, and settle in for a few extra moments of solitude.

The spa at the Eau Palm Beach not only pulls off an ultra-relaxing atmosphere but also doesn't take itself too seriously. It's relaxed enough that guests don't feel like they're walking on eggshells but heavenly enough to make them feel as though they're walking on air.

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