The start of a new season can take a little getting used to — especially a transition that has us stashing the sandals and sunscreen and breaking out the layers, leaf bags, and baking spices all within just a few weeks. With all of the back-to-school  activities, social gatherings, and holiday planning to come, there’s no better way to recharge than with a visit to a few of Chicago’s best spas — and no better treatments to indulge in than those focused on everything we crave come fall. Just in time for cooler months, here are four of the season’s top services to check out now, from massages and manicures, to body polishes and peels.
Located in the Park Hyatt Chicago, this upscale spa goes all out for its treatments, which include body therapies, facials and massages (they’re also the only Chicago spa to feature the patented, advanced technology of Hydrafacial). While a body polish is on offer year-round, it’s only now that guests can experience the Bourbon Bubbler variation ($140), an intoxicating blend of brown sugar and Kentucky whiskey that calls forth aromas of gingersnap and pecan. After hydrating with honey-scented lotion, it’s time for happy hour: NoMI bar’s All Roads Cocktail — a rich, nutty melding of Plantation 3-Star Rum, cherry liqueur, vanilla-chai syrup, and apple cider — greets guests post-treatment.
There’s always a new experience to be had at this 22,000-square-foot spa on the Langham Hotel’s fourth floor, where more than 40 treatments focusing on traditional East-meets-West techniques are available. Most recently, that’s the warm autumn thermal mineral body buff ($165), a multi-step treatment that stimulates circulation with a dry brush before removing dull surface cells with fine buffing grains and hydrating with a rich dose of aloe and jojoba cream. The best is saved for last, when a cooling balm with autumnal aromas like menthol, rosemary and pine is applied to shoulders and feet and massaged in with Himalayan salt stones. Be sure to arrive early to take full advantage of the spa’s decadent amenities, from the Himalayan salt sauna and Oriental steam room, to a series of heated stone loungers.
Plenty of pamper-yourself packages are available for guests at this fifth-floor R&R retreat in the Wit Hotel, making it easier than ever to kick back, relax, and take the afternoon off. Their latest spa staycation comes in the form of the Cozy, Spicy, and Warm package ($275), a three-hour treatment designed to help guests relax, recharge and radiate. Start things off with a Swedish massage before treating your feet to a pedicure, complete with a pumpkin cream, hot towel wrap, and pumpkin lotion. Get ready to put your best face forward with the final touch: An exfoliating and cleansing facial featuring hot paprika, an ingredient known for its circulation-boosting benefits that will leave skin aglow.
The trek from the city is worth it at this Forbes Four-Star, 6,500-square-foot wellness and beauty spa, where six luxury rooms serve as the environs for a variety of head-to-toe treatments, from facials and massages, to wraps and body peels. Pumpkin is the focus for their Fall Mini Package ($165), an hour-long getaway that starts off with a fresh enzyme pumpkin facial that instantly boosts radiance and repairs dull and congested skin, and is followed by a pumpkin sole soother, a lower leg and foot exfoliation using pumpkin spice body scrub and body cream.
Treat yourself, then pay it forward…
If there’s one time of year when we could all use an afternoon to press pause and enjoy a little pampering, it’s in the fall. Busy parents have survived a summer of keeping kiddos busy while school’s out, only to come back fast and furious to helping with homework , packing lunches , and sports , and work starts to heat up again now that everyone’s back from summer travels. So, while we want you to go ahead and treat yourself to one of these experiences (or gift one to a busy friend or loved one), we hope you’ll also pay your good fortune forward by donating your time, things or money to one of these great organizations:
Nicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers food, drink, travel and lifestyle. When she is not planning her next adventure, she can be found commuting between bakeries, yoga classes, live music shows, and libraries in her hometown of Chicago. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Nicole is also the founder of Doors Open Dishes , an initiative committed to keeping the doors open to the group homes and workshops of individuals with special needs by partnering with chefs and restaurants across the city. Follow her on Twitter (@Write_To_Eat ) or on Instagram (@WriteToEat ).