The Broke Girl's Spa Guide: 10 Awesome Spots To Chill

Sadly, the reality of city living is that spa days are more special occasions than regular healing rituals. Where once steam baths and grooming galore used to be virtually free of charge, today an afternoon of pampering can rival the cost of rent — and a gal has got to have a roof over her head. So, in the name of relaxation for all, we've rounded up 10 places where you can refresh and renew while getting the most bang for your hard-earned buck.
Those looking for a mental-health day can take advantage of the luxe facilities at Balance Spa (Gym! Sauna!) in the Palmer House for just $20. If you've got maintenance on the brain, ZaZaZoo's BYOB nail services are both inexpensive and fun — even without your gal pals. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. That's right. We just stepped in to save the (spa) day.
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The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

No, you don’t have to be a professional lady-who-lunches to visit the Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel. In fact, there’s a package that’s perfectly suited to weary members of the workforce. The “Weekday Winter Wellness” deal offers $30 off a 55- or 80-minute massage booked Monday through Thursday, through the end of March. That means the Vintage Bourbon Massage, which typically starts at $160, will run you $130 on a weekday.

Okay, so it’s not a total steal, but the service includes unique elements like a “Bourbon Bubbler” scrub, a massage with oils and smooth heated stones, and a post-rubdown drink (bourbon, of course) at Allium Bar.

The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 East Delaware Place (between Rush Street and Michigan Avenue); 312-280-8800.

Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons
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Allyu Spa

Allyu Spa is all about earth-friendly healing. Decked with reclaimed barn wood and Wisconsin fieldstones, the airy space has a natural, healing vibe that we just can’t get enough of. Luckily, the spot’s got services that are easy on the wallet, including the $35 Sauna Therapy. Sitting for 30 minutes in the trippy “Far Infrared” sauna can provide benefits like detoxification, stress relief, and improved cardiovascular health. But, our favorite side effects may be the free access to the Moroccan shower rooms and relaxation area that you’re entitled to afterward.

Allyu Spa, 600 West Chicago Avenue (at Larrabee Street); 312-755-1313.

Photo: Courtesy of Allyu
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Exsalonce Salon & Day Spa

With patterned wallpaper and plush lounge furniture, Exsalonce Salon and Day Spa has a homey vibe that puts us right at ease. The Roscoe Village spot offers all kinds of stress-blasting services, and there are some treatments that cost less than $35. The $25 Eye Rescue uses firming proteins and therapeutic vitamins to give tired-looking eyes a lift. A reflexology session, also $25, improves circulation and feels fantastic to boot.

If you just need a chill spot to unwind, consider picking up a $25 “Spa Oasis” package. For an hour, you can lounge around sipping tea, nibbling healthy snacks, and warming up in the sauna and steam shower.

Exsalonce Salon and Day Spa, 2150 West Roscoe Street (at Leavitt Street); 773- 327-4848.

Photo: Courtesy of Exsalonce
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Blow by Blow

Getting our hair expertly tousled makes us feel pretty and presentable, and gives us the bouncy tresses to match. We insist you give it a go before your next night out, but don’t blow your budget on the service. Instead, head to Blow by Blow. The girly new Oak Street salon offers expert blowouts for $35. Even better, there are dope deals throughout the week. On Thursdays, a makeup-and-blowout combo will run you $60; on Mondays, 10-minute head massages are on the house.

Blow by Blow, 67 East Oak Street (at Rush Street); 312-867-0332.

Photo: Courtesy of Blow by Blow
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Trump Chicago Hotel & Tower

With 10-foot windows overlooking the glittering skyline, the health club at the Trump Chicago isn’t exactly a dump — and its classes aren’t bad either. With everything from Zumba to spin class and barre chisel to get your heart pumping, the spot offers day passes for $30. After torching calories, hang around for some well-deserved pampering in the steam room, sauna, and deluge shower.

Trump Chicago Hotel & Tower, 401 North Wabash Avenue (at Kinzie Street); 312-588-8000.

Photo: Courtesy of Trump
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The Ruby Room

The Ruby Room’s got a cure for whatever ails you — or your chakra. With a slew of new-age offerings, the Bucktown Spot has services for the faint of cosmic energy (and cash). On Sundays at 9 a.m., there’s an hour-long group meditation for $17 a head. Energy healers dole out tips on quieting your mind through focused breathing and visualization, which we think is a pretty far-out way to start a fresh week.

You can also book a one-on-one intuitive reading for $55 on any day of the week. The reader will help you get rid of stagnant energy and unproductive beliefs; those who’ve tried it swear you leave with a little more spring in your step.

Ruby Room, 1743-45 West Division Street (at Wood Street); 773-235-2323.

Photo: Courtesy of Ruby Room
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InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

A pool day in the dead of winter? Yep, it’s possible, if you purchase a $25 day pass to the InterContinental’s pool. Built in 1929, the Junior Olympic swimming pool is flanked by an indoor fountain and surrounded by Spanish tiles. It’s the kind of spot we can see Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe splashing around in. The day pass also offers access to the sauna and plush locker facilities.

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 North Michigan Avenue (between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue); 312-944-4100.

Photo: Courtesy of InterContinental
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The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago

We found another great deal at an incredibly ritzy spot: the spa at the Ritz- Carlton hotel. The Mag Mile mainstay has a $135 “Savor and Spa” package that includes a 55-minute massage or a 50-minute facial, plus a $25 dining credit at Deca. Guests can choose from services like the Yoga Facial or the aromatherapy massage; at the on-site Deca, under-$25 snacks include the croque monsieur sandwich or the grilled waygu burger.

The package also includes four hours of free valet parking, so you can rest easy while getting a rubdown — no meter maid will mess with your post-spa bliss.

The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 East Pearson Street (at Michigan Avenue); 312-573-4922.

Photo: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
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ZaZaZoo Nail Salon

ZaZaZoo Nail Salon is our favorite alternative to a pricey night out with the girls. The cute, pink-and-white spot in Bucktown offers beyond reasonable $15 manicures; a pedicure is only $30; and a mani-pedi combo will run you $40. There are also quick, girl’s-gotta-do-it add-ons, like a $10 lip wax and a $12 eyebrow wax.

ZaZaZoo Nail Salon, 1842 North Damen Avenue (between Muffat & Churchill streets); 773-687-9717.

Photo: Courtesy of ZaZaZoo
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Mojo Spa

Packed with bright colors and sweet smells (those would be coming from the cupcake-shaped soaps), Mojo Spa is the perfect antidote to the winter blues. The Wicker Park spot has some equally sweet deals, including a hand massage for $10 and a foot massage for $15.

If you have a little more cash to burn, brunch from Bongo Room is free with any $60-or-above service on Sundays. And “brunch” doesn’t mean stale pastries and O.J. This weekend, you could be getting a mani-pedi combo and snacking on French toast with berry-tea-poached apples or gingerbread pancakes with molasses syrup.

Mojo Spa, 1468 North Milwaukee Avenue (at Honore Street); 773-235-6656.

Photo: Courtesy of Mojo Spa
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