Five Best: Urban day spas

Where to unwind in the heart of the city. By Sophie Lam and Kate Simon

Bliss, London

The ground floor of this New York import is a contemporary take on a pharmacy, doubling as a shop that sells Bliss and other hip beauty products. Pedicurists sit in front of an improbably stylish conveyor belt, which whizzes the tools of their trade around.By contrast, the treatment rooms, lounge and sauna below are a haven of calm. Jazz plays in the background and brownies, cheese, wine and smoothies are also provided.

Bliss London, 60 Sloane Avenue, London (020-7584 3888; Treatments from £25.

Evian Spa by Three, Shanghai

Decadence and Shanghai: the words are surely synonymous. Where better, then, for Evian to open its first day spa in capitalism-embracing China? One of a clutch of high-end Western firms setting out their stalls in the city, Evian has found a suitably chic home in Three on the Bund, a "lifestyle mall" set in an elegant early 20th-century building on the riverside parade of the same name. Beyond the spa's towering atrium there are 14 tranquil rooms, shrouded in floating white drapes, where therapists carry out French beauty treatments and Eastern holistic therapies. Men are not forgotten, either: they can call in at Barbers by Three for everything from a shave to neck and shoulder rubs.

Evian Spa, Three on the Bund, 3 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai, China (00 86 21 6321 6622; Treatments start at 80 Yuan (£6).

Clay Club & Spa, New York City

You don't have to be a member of this Chelsea health club to experience its Zen interior. Non-members pay a small admission fee to use the state-of-the-art gym equipment, saunas and fireside lounge or roof deck. The minimalist interior makes optimum use of natural daylight, with gaping skylights, white furnishings, bare walls and tiled flooring. Treatments include body and beauty therapies and "healing and energy work" (reiki and acupuncture). The café offers organic food and juices, so you can feel guilt-free about hitting New York's bars afterwards.

Clay Club & Spa, 25 West 14th Street, New York City, US (001 212 206 9200; Admission $20 (£11); treatments start at $105 (£58).

Le Spa Nuxe, Paris

In true Gallic spirit, Le Spa Nuxe is housed in a 12th-century former wine warehouse and offers treatments in a series of vaults and tunnels that have been redesigned for the 21st century. The building's history sits comfortably with contemporary design: exposed oak beams and brick walls are counterbalanced with exotic plants, bleached concrete flooring and dark wood surfaces. Treatments are carried out with the Nuxe range, which use natural products such as seaweed, honey, shea butter and vitamins. There are individual and double treatment rooms as well as a private hammam scented with essential oils perched above a pool of water.

Le Spa Nuxe, 32 Montorgueil, Paris, France (00 33 1 55 80 71 40; Treatments start at €35 (£25).

After the Rain, Geneva

Tucked away in an arcade off the upmarket Rue du Rhône, this offers a city retreat to those in the know. The spa is a suitably cosmopolitan affair, with a host of treatment rooms and a dark slate steam room. The interior resembles a chic apartment, with wooden flooring, glass-bead curtains, cerise or whitewashed walls with matching drapes and flickering candles. Treatments make use of natural products such as damask rose, milk and essential oils, but if that doesn't promote a state of bliss, there's also a henna tattoo artist.

After the Rain, 4 Passage des Lions, Geneva, Switzerland (00 41 22 819 0150; Treatments start at Sfr80 (£35).

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