A unique spa experience

A spa treatment room at Seraphina, located on the third floor of JW Marriott, 235 Louis St NW, Grand Rapids. Photo courtesy of AHC Hospitality.

If you’re looking for a way to warm up and hydrate dry skin this winter, a downtown Grand Rapids spa offers some unique therapies.

Seraphina, located on the third floor of the JW Marriott, served as a recent respite from the cold for yours truly. Unique in that, in addition to traditional services associated with spa treatments, included in Seraphina’s self-care package is access to the hotel’s pool and steam room. It also comes with a pot of tea, and some snacks to enjoy while you wait.

My treatment started with a trip to the locker room, a cushy gray robe, some Lemon Lift and a Kind nut and berry bar. After a chance to unwind, I was guided to a room where an infrared sauna blanket awaited. The tasteful blue, gray and white interior was accented by pleasant lighting and ambient music. As I lay completely engulfed in the infrared sauna wrap, which can best be described as a cross between a sleeping bag and a weighted blanket, sounds of pan flutes and sitars resonated throughout the room and my consciousness drifted into the ether. It was other-worldly. 

After that truly relaxing warming experience, I was able to shower and get ready for the next phase– a cocoa moisture full body wrap. This intensely hydrating service smelled good enough to eat as the hydrating mask was applied to all extremities by a very professional salon technician, who was just the right amount of chatty. The treatment products were chosen, taking into consideration my skin type, and included ingredients like water, glycerin, natural clay, rich coffee grounds, green bean coffee extract, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, and vitamin B-5. 

After the application, I was wrapped with a cellophane-like material and then ensconced in a heated “cocoon” while I enjoyed what the salon calls an “express” facial, a misnomer if ever there was one. Brendalee the technician applied cleanser, exfoliant, hydrating solutions of all types, each followed by a hot towel. I lost track of how many times a layer of aromatic solution/paste/lotion was applied. Five, maybe six times? In between, a scalp massage served to further relax me. 

According to the literature the salon provided, express facial begins with “a cleanser followed by an exfoliant, then mask and finally moisturizer and eye cream for a fresh dewy look.” 

They’re not wrong. Several days later now, my face is still noticeably brighter and appears to have fewer wrinkles. The dark circles are also less noticeable. 

After the treatment I enjoyed the steam room, followed by a cold drink of water. All-in-all, a truly unique experience that felt like a mini vacation. Unlike a lot of hotel spas across the country, Seraphina welcomes local clientele, with no overnight stay required. Book the “Thaw in the Spa” package is here.





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