I-Spa, the in-house spa and fitness center attached to San Francisco's Intercontinental Hotel, has managed to avoid the pitfalls which often plague hotel spas and is well on its way to establishing itself as a legitimate destination for locals and tourists alike.
Reception: Actually locating the spa can be a bit of a challenge upon arrival, as there isn't really any signage directing visitors to the spa on the 6th floor (the elevators aren't visible from the lobby entrance). However, a quick inquiry with the doorman solves that problem, and you'll soon be on your way to the spa reception area. The reception staff are all very friendly, although there's generally only one receptionist working at any given time, so there may be a brief wait.
Massage Therapists: Fabulous - and isn't that what going to the spa is really all about? The massage therapists are very professional, and it's clear from the start that they know what they're doing. Without a doubt, the I-Spa has managed to hire and/or train some of the best in San Francisco.
Treatment rooms: Really lovely - the linens they use on the treatment tables are superb. As you slide in between the pristinely laundered, high thread count sheeting, it's obvious this is a facility that maintains high standards all around. The table itself is firm enough to be supportive, yet still comfortable. The treatment rooms are aligned in a long, serene hallway with warm wood flooring that adds to the calming environment as you enter and exit the rooms.
Facilities: Everything about the sparkling clean facilities is soft and soothing. The major drawback with I-Spa is the lack of a hot tub in the locker room. There is a steam room, which is excellent but somewhat small.
Extras: 3-hour validation for valet parking is available to all spa guests; rare, if not completely unheard of for any other spa in San Francisco.
The Luxe Junkie