Ritz_Denver_00053_920x518The holidays are over, and somehow we survived. But after racing through the busy months of November and December, I feel like my calendar finally caught up with me — and put me in a headlock.

I’m so exhausted, I can barely get out of bed. The other day, my husband and I both fell asleep watching a movie. Around dinner time. Before our 3-year-old daughter.

Clearly, we needed a reset. A way to kick of 2014 on a positive and re-energized note.

The perfect fix: a mini couple’s retreat in downtown Denver spa, centered around a couple’s massage at the Ritz-Carlton, Denver.

We secured a babysitter, I bought a new dress (of course) and we booked a night at the Magnolia Hotel, a short walking distance from the Ritz.

We picked this quirky, historical boutique hotel because of its remarkably great price for a suite, plus its fun, in-hotel martini bar, Harry’s Bar and Grill. (You must try the cucumber martini. Hint: You’ll only need one.) OK, and because the hotel serves milk and cookies at bedtime.

Our colorful suite at the Magnolia featured oversized windows looking out over the busy streets of downtown. Inside, we had our our dining room, living room, flatscreen, kitchen and soaking tub — although, in truth, we spent most of our date night walking around downtown. Even in winter, downtown Denver was crisp but not cold, and the nearby 16th Street Mall, with its long stretch of restaurants, bars and shops, was hopping.

We indulged in a free glass of wine at the Magnolia Hotel’s happy hour in the lobby, before we walked over to the towering, stunning Ritz building.

As soon as we walked through the doors, I felt transported to a dreamland. Everything about the Ritz feels elegant, clean and relaxing. A quick elevator ride brought us to the spa level, and the doors opened to welcome us to my new favorite place to unwind in Colorado. The spa level is truly an escape within an escape, as communications manager Allyson Fredeen put it.

A personal touch

When you book a treatment at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, you are treated like royalty. Instead of a receptionist, the smiling face at the front desk feels more like a spa concierge. Our appointment was confirmed via a personalized email, where couples can enter specific details about their special occasion or needs.

Celebrating an anniversary? While you’re getting your massage, the Ritz staff can scatter rose petals or set up champagne and strawberries in your suite. Or you can order a special meal prepared by the Ritz chef, to be served upon completion of your treatment.

The Ritz Spa offers a full menu of healthy spa cuisine, so you can spend the entire day relaxing in this spa oasis. No need to leave the peaceful environment to go to a restaurant.

“That’s what sets us apart: a personalized concierge,” Fredeen says. “Being able to communicate with the concierge to really personalize and tailor the experience for exactly what you’re looking for.”

It’s no wonder the Ritz spa has received a Forbes Four-Star rating every year since it opened in 2008.

Beyond luxury

My husband and I have received plenty of massages, but never a couple’s massage — and never a treatment at the Ritz. We were in for a pleasant surprise.

The locker rooms exceeded my expectations, with a locker offering a fluffy robe and individual jewelry box. The locker room itself set it tone, with Colorado-influenced colors incorporated into the decor and plenty of earthy inspirations, such as a hallway made out of rock with a crackling fireplace.

In fact, many of the Ritz Spa treatments are inspired by the Colorado outdoors. Experience a waterfall treatment in the vichy shower room. Select a river stone massage or oxygenating treatments for the skin — something every body in Colorado will appreciate.

The locker room if fully equipped with a whirlpool, steam room, showers and a luxurious SpaFresh Ritz-specific product line.

I settled into the comfortable chair in the waiting room with a cup of hot tea, and snacked on the tray of seasonal treats. I found out later the “gentlemen’s lounge” has a flatscreen TV. The lounges feature seasonal snacks, such as fresh fruit and trail mix during the summer, gingerbread cake and cookies in the winter, plus hot tea and cider and cold jug of cucumber-infused water.

I popped a few indulgent cranberries and chocolate chips and didn’t even have time to snuggle up with the fluffy blanket and a magazine, before my therapist quickly greeted me and escorted me to the couple’s room, with two side-by-side massage tables.

Our therapists, Noemy and Megan, were hand’s down the best massage therapists we’d ever experienced.

I never understood the appeal for a couple’s massage — until I lie next to the love of my life, simultaneously sharing complete bliss. I was able to let go more than usual, because a part of me knew that he was also relaxing; that guilty mom part of my brain didn’t feel so guilty, knowing he was happy, too. Our massage became a shared experience, a memory together, and that social component made it even more meaningful. It took the physical pleasure and extended it to my emotions, too.

Very profound. Very wonderful.

The room was wonderfully dim. But best of all were the tables, featuring warm, adjustable TempurPedic mattresses that our therapists could adjust to cradle our bodies in the most comfortable positions possible.

I don’t know how I can ever experience another massage again without a TempurPedic bed.

We also got to choose our own customized Eminescence organic aromatherapy scent. My hubby and I both opted for our favorite: lavender.

“We left feeling connected, dazed and in love.”

Mile High specials

20111010_spa-beer_004v21Beyond the couple’s massage, the Ritz Spa in Denver offers a long list of amazing treatments. Try the High Altitude Oxygen Facial, which is very moisturizing and will combat Colorado’s dry winter weather.

If you’re looking for a fun couple’s experience, I highly recommend signing up for one of the two beer treatments.

“Denver is the Napa Valley of beer, with more craft beer than any other city and the Great American Beer Festival,” Fredeen says. In fact, a popular craft brewery is located just two blocks away.

That’s why the Ritz has incorporated local brew into its spa — with beer as part of the treatment. Sip beer during your massage or during your facial. Therapists can use beer in the actual treatments, too. Beer has plenty of health benefits, from moisturizing the skin to infusing vitamins and softening your skin.

A great couple’s treatment is the Hops and Honey Pedicure, with two private pedicure stations side-by-side. The deliciously scented Me! brand hops and honey bath ball was specifically created for the Denver Ritz spa. The ball is infused with real hops, which is moisturizing and softening. And if you’re having trouble getting your man to sign up for a pedi, let him know that you get to sip three different brews during this 75-minute treatment. Of course, you can swap it out for herbal tea, if you’re not a beer drinker.

After your treatment, walk to the taproom and get a tour and beer tasting, before exploring what else the city has to offer.

Post-massage bliss

After our massage, my husband and I were ravished. In the chilly night air, we wanted something hot, but not too heavy.

Just a few block away, we found a hidden gem, the Pho 79 Vietnamese Grill off the 16th Street Mall. I ordered a chicken pho and my husband a flank steak. We both left with happy bellies and a bill for less than $20.

We were delighted with the quick service because we had to get back to the Magnolia Hotel — milk and cookies time! And anyway, after our massage, our muscles were complete pudding and our brains were soup.

“We slept like rocks and awoke ready to take on the new year.”

Big thanks to my Editorial Assistant Aimee Heckel for sharing with us her insights of a couple’s massage!

684670cad2fcf9109d938c2d3e3f5101Guest Contributor Aimee Heckel: Digital First Media’s Modern Lois Lane. Fashion and fitness columnist for the Boulder Daily Camera. Travel and family writer for ShopAtHome. Book editor. Freak. Boulder, CO · aimeeheckel.com