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Pro-Tip: Plan Your Vacation Around a Facial

Here's what it's like to go to a spa on a yacht.

Pro-Tip: Plan Your Vacation Around a Facial
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Imagine emerging from a three-hour spa session—a 90-minute body sculpting treatment paired with a 90-minute facial. You stroll out of the treatment room with a glass of champagne in hand, enveloped in a plush terry-cloth robe, and make your way to the relaxation room while taking in the vivid blue waters of St. John. You’re trying to decide whether you should A) head to the sauna, B) go for a quick session in the steam room, C) soak in the hot tub while listening to the rolling waves, or D) all of the above.

No, this isn’t a fantasy—or at least, it doesn’t have to be. It all can happen aboard the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s Evrima, a 623-foot-long yacht which I boarded for five nights in March. I’d never been on a cruise before, and before this trip, just hearing the word alone conjured a vague image in my mind of Disney adults and screaming children eating mediocre, all-you-can-eat buffet food. The reality, however, was a very different story. This cruise—or, rather, yacht excursion—was a luxury hotel that happened to be on the water. I began my days and ended my nights on the private balcony in my two-story suite. It was 429 square feet—larger than many NYC apartments—with a bathtub, king-size bed, and a living room.

The boat set sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, then skirted to the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands before returning to our starting point. In BVI, I visited The Baths National Park and walked on the trails through remarkable rock formations before swimming in the clear waters. When the yacht docked in St. Maarten, I made my way to a local beach club where I read All Fours by Miranda July and spoke broken French with the bartender. I went snorkeling on the US Virgin Islands, where I was floating and looking for what felt like forever until I was eye-to-eye with a massive sea turtle. I drank infinite glasses of Moët champagne, ate charred octopus at lunch, and Chilean sea bass for dinner.

After wearing myself out on the above, I ambled toward the spa, which was the reason I was on this boat in the first place.

The spa sits on deck nine and has five treatment rooms, a steam room, a sauna, a relaxation lounge, and a beauty and grooming salon. For several treatments, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection partnered with the beauty brand 111Skin. There’s the 90-minute Celestial Black Diamond Body Sculpting Treatment; the 90-minute Celestial Black Diamond Non-Surgical Lift Facial; the 90-minute Molecular Hydration Treatment; the 90-minute Original Harley Street Facial; and the Evrima Signature Manicure and Pedicure.

Passengers can also opt for one of the Wellness Journey Collections, a curated spa and wellness experience for the duration of their voyage. Each journey includes an initial wellness assessment, either an “immune boosting infusion” or a “beauty and wellbeing elixir,” an array of body and facial treatments, private wellness experiences (think body sculpting workouts and ocean healing meditations), and custom wellness, body, or skincare prescriptions to continue the wellness journey at home. The Black Diamond Collection journey, curated by 111Skin, includes a hydrabrasion treatment, fasciae strength training, 3D functional yoga, mat pilates, cyro sculpting, and more.

Evrima’s spa terrace

Christopher Cypert

“High-end hotels have really upped their game on the health, wellness, and spa front with very specific and often obscure offerings,” shares Yolanda Edwards, founder of YOLO Journal, a luxury travel magazine. “And on the beauty side of things, you have hotels getting very competitive with wanting to have very exclusive offerings.” Japanese ryokan, Turkish hammams, and Belgian thermal springs—modern-day spas exist in the same lineage as these global traditional and restorative rituals. It makes sense then that the spas of today have returned to their roots. Once known as a site for being primped and pampered, luxury spas are now taking a more holistic approach to health and wellness. And with good reason: the travel experience has changed, especially in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2022 McKinsey report, consumers view wellness through a wide lens, “encompassing not just fitness and nutrition but also overall physical and mental health and appearance.” And according to a June 2022 report by Grand View Research, the global wellness tourism market is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2030.

View of Evrima from the sea

View from above deck

111Skin’s products can currently be found in 96 hotel spas, including the Santa Marina Mykonos, Four Seasons Anguilla, and the Rosewood Baha Mar. The spas serve, in some ways, as a testing ground for the brand. “We used the [111Skin] body products in spas for five years and clients would always ask, ‘Can I purchase this product?’ And it wasn't available for sale,” shares Eva Alexandridis, co-founder of 111Skin. After countless requests, the brand decided to release the 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Body Cream. “It’s great because when we launch [the product], it's already [been] tested.”

Before my three-hour spa treatment

Like all the clients before me, I’m also a huge fan of the brand’s Celestial Black Diamond Body Cream. The rich formula sinks in immediately, leaving behind hydrated and soft-to-the-touch skin. It’s been a godsend to my body care routine.

On the morning of my treatment, the boat had just arrived in the British Virgin Islands, after departing from the dock in San Juan. I arrived at the spa and changed into my robe and slippers, before my aesthetician, Thip, came to grab me from the relaxation lounge. My treatment began with a full analysis of my skin. Thip asked me what my skin concerns were (hyperpigmentation and dehydration) and what products were currently in my skincare routine. After that, the session began with the Celestial Black Diamond Non-Surgical Lift Facial—it was an hour and a half of cleansing, toning, massaging, peeling, masking, lifting, and firming. Then, Thip moved onto the Celestial Black Diamond Body Sculpting Treatment. It was another 90 minutes of pure indulgence that included a full-body exfoliation and deep tissue massage. (Special shout out to Thip for working out the knots in my shoulders.) After three hours of bliss, which included a short nap, Thip gave me a list of 111Skin product recommendations for my skin type, and I floated out of the room, as if I was moving in slow motion. My face was glowing and my cheekbones, sculpted. My body was plump to the touch, and I felt as if I’d just left a restorative yoga class.

The most relaxing skincare treatment is always the vacation skincare treatment, so who could blame someone for planning their trips around it?

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