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Shh! Where to find urban tranquility

Sure we love the thrill of a big cosmopolitan city, but once we’re weary of back-to-back buzzing restaurants, cultural events, designer boutiques and the odd horde of gawking tourists, it’s refreshing to find a slice of tranquility amid the chaos. Whether it’s a special spa, a room that brings new meaning to “private” or even meditative landscaping, some hotels have things that make them true urban oases where you can leave the big city behind.

As much as we might love the city we’re visiting, it’s always nice when a domestic vacation has the power to make us feel we actually left the country. At Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown, guests will not only feel nurtured, but that they are staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan. Upon arrival, they are presented with the complimentary signature tea service, where staff welcomes them with a custom brew such as Zen Blend or Sencha.

“The history of this hotel is very deep within the Japanese American community. San Francisco’s Japantown is the largest in the U.S. We have included the community leaders in our development, design and cultural presence,” says Jim Gerney, General Manager.

He points out that the hotel’s signature amenity is its varied bath experiences. Guests can sink into their own deep-soaking tubs with salts for sale in the honor bar; the bath butler can come up and draw one if they feel like being spoiled; or, guests can use their complimentary pass (if they book through the hotel’s website) to discover an authentic communal bathing experience at Kabuki Springs & Spa a few blocks away.

“Each of our rooms has unique Japanese features. The most significant are the Tokanomas (ritual area) and the shoji and fusuma screens. The Tokanoma has an ornamental feature which is designed to aid during meditation and yoga,” says Gerney, who also points out that screens take the place of Western-style draperies.

Now that Donald Trump has set his sights on the Windy City, Chicago’s hotel scene is experiencing a new standard in luxury hotels. The sprawling Trump International Hotel & Tower is comprised of 339 rooms on the first 27 floors of an otherwise all residential building, featuring limestone baths and 1,000-quare-foot suites. Besides views of a stellar skyline, one of the hotel’s defining hallmarks is its Attaché program, where a personal concierge is assigned to each guest.

At 23,000 square feet ,Trump’s spa and gym is the largest found in any luxury setting in the city, according to Colm O’Callaghan, vice president and managing director. But, for those who would rather not deal with strangers en route to their massage, securing one of the 53 spa guest rooms is the best bet. Located on the same floor as the spa or reached via a staircase, these rooms allow guests to stumble back to their rooms with greasy hair, donning bathrobes without the worry of running into anyone.

Feeling good is also a must at the Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa in Dallas. This once-glittering property fell into disrepair, but after a facelift earlier this year, the hotel now flaunts Art Deco-style rooms with touches of marble and mahogany as well as a new spa. This is not just a stop for those heading back from a shopping trip at the Galleria to get a quickie facial, though. Executive spa director Terri Beckham is serious about creating an otherworldly peaceful environment as far from downtown Dallas as possible.

“I hear it all the time: Time is suspended down here,” says Beckham of the 5,200-square-foot boutique spa that takes up the floor below the hotel’s lobby. “We have this imaginary line; when someone crosses into the spa, there’s a discernible notice for all the senses.”

Dim lighting sets the tone, as does the scent of calming lavender patchouli and Himalayan salt crystals to ward off negative energy. Beckham’s number one rule: Cellphones and reading material are banned. “It takes people a long time to realize they need to wind down,” she says. Beckham also trains her staff to cease talking after three minutes.

Sometimes our schedules don’t allow us the luxury of whiling away a few hours in the spa. That’s when the quest for discovering relaxing places becomes even more paramount. Hotel Modera, the boutique property that opened in downtown Portland, Ore., earlier this year, features an unusually calming element: a 63-foot-long, 13-foot-high organic and geometrically designed “living wall.” On the patio off the lobby, guests are treated to this amalgam of green, which integrates 10,000 plants including wood fern, periwinkle, mondo grass, wood strawberry and evergreen huckleberry.

“We see the wall as an abstraction of the idea of nature in the city,” says Jane Hansen of Portland-based Lango Hansen Landscape Architects, who led the project. She says the native forested landscape of Oregon, particularly along the scenic Columbia Gorge, was inspiration. “We hope that it has a calming effect in the courtyard, creating a place for contemplation in the city for hotel guests and the public as well.” So far it seems to be working. Guests of the Modera enjoy reading and sunning on the courtyard, while at night they sip wine and hang out by the fire pits with a meditative garden wall as their backdrop.

Yemliha Toker

Yemliha Toker

I am a professional SEO Specialist and E-commerce specialist. Through my website https://yemlihatoker.com, I am trying to help everyone who wants to learn SEO and to report the wrong known facts about SEO.