I love the complete escape that I experience enclosed in happy spa time. My mind and body relaxes as I prepare for a wellness treatment to sooth my aches, address specific skin concerns (the main concern is that I am getting old), and enjoy a treatment for both mind and body. A good friend suggested, “hey let’s try the Spa at the Condado Vanderbilt” which kicked off a relaxing day in Condado for food, shipping, afternoon cocktails, and finish our day at the spa.
Condado is a neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico known for shopping and fantastic food. After a little retail therapy in the shops across the street, we returned to the hotel to watch the ocean from the Vanderbilt lounge while sipping delightful rum drinks.
The spa recommends check-in at least 30 minutes prior to service. Since this was our first visit, we checked into the spa an hour before service. This allowed us plenty of time to change into robes, tour the spa, visit the steam room, quick stop in the sauna, and enjoy a refreshing beverage in the stillness room before treatment. I even had time to record a short video while my spa buddy took a quick nap before our appointments.
A monthly tradition for the last couple decades, I was due for a facial. I booked the 80 minute Vanderbilt Signature facial. Starting with a light cleaning and steam, I opted for extractions on my nose and t-zone. Between mask and cleansing, I received a massage for neck, shoulder, scalp, arms, and hands. As someone who types and spend many hours a day in front of my computer, the hand and arm massage are a therapeutic bonus for any treatment, especially a facial! The service was excellent and my face was glowing as I left the room. The real sign of a quality facial? The next day, my skin looked healthy and even better than the week prior (maybe I need facials more often than every month?).
After my facial, I was given a quick tour of the Hammam. It is a marble room for massage in the style of a Turkish Bath. The Condado Vanderbilt Spa is the only location in Puerto Rico for guests to experience the Hammam ritual. The Hammam room is entirely made of marble, including the heated marble table. The treatment includes olive oil soap, exfoliation, and a hydro-therapy rinse. I know what treatment that I will be booking for my next visit – Hammam, anyone?
My spa buddy tried the 80 minute massage and enthusiastically states this was the best massage of her life! We compared experiences over another beverage in the stillness room before heading out to the spa terrace. Massages are offered on the spa terrace, as well as more seating and an outdoor shower. I will certainly request the poolside massage on the terrace for future visits.
While the overall ambiance is luxurious, there are a couple small changes that I recommend.
Room for Improvement
- New robes: Replace the plain robes with a higher quality, soft, luxury robes with embroidery and pockets. The current plain, white robes seem out of place compared to the quality of the spa overall.
- Pool Access: The hotel pools are only available for hotel guests. Unless you are staying as a hotel guest, spa patrons are not allowed to access the hotel pools. The Spa itself does not have a separate pool, or hot tub. To encourage more non-guest spa goers, I would issue a hotel pool day pass for spa guests. Or at least, off a pool day pass at a nominal fee for guests of the spa.
Overall, the service and actual treatments are fantastic! With only a couple minor criticisms, this Spa experience could be truly decadent.