Melbourne may be renowned for its cool alleyways packed with quirky cafes, boutiques and tucked-away bars but it's not all about shopping, eating and enjoying a drink or two. The city is the ideal destination for a relaxing, and regenerative, break. Don't believe us?
Health & Wellbeing went on the search for the most decadent, pampering and downright heavenly havens ... and we weren't disappointed. Check out our top five for you to try for yourself.
Best for luxury
If style, comfort and easy-access to the shops are prerequisites for any holiday destination, you can't do better than The Lyall Hotel. A short stroll from the world-class shopping of Chapel Street, the boutique establishment manages to find the perfect balance between being cosy (there's an open fire in the lounge) and fashionably chic think soothing wood panelling, soft lighting and plenty of carefully chosen art work adorning the walls.
The jewel in this hotel's crown however is the Lyall Spa. A soothing city haven, its surroundings are clean, crisp and modern without verging on medicinal. The scent of aromatherapy oils lingering in the air and soothing music put you at ease at once.
There are a variety of luscious spa ranges including organic favourites Sodashi, Vichy and Payot that make up a bumper spa menu. But for a treat guaranteed to eke out every last knot in your muscles however, we highly recommend the Sodashi Prescriptive Massage ($140). Is the most blissful hour you'll spend in the city. Before you begin, the therapist offers you a choice of oils that aim to enhance an aspect of your wellbeing depending on your needs you can opt for balancing, energising, serenity or sensuality. Trust us, you'll feel like a new being when you emerge.
Our rating: *****
For more information on weekend packages or day spa treatments, visit www.thelyall.com.
Best for body overhaul
Aurora in St Kilda is a very chilled-out retreat. These guys specialise in two- to five- day programs (prices start from $995) that offer an impressive range of treatments that are intended to kick-start a healthier lifestyle one you are encouraged to continue when the stay is over. Your time at the spa is tailored to suit your specific needs be they stress relief, muscle pain or simply indulgence using a balance of therapies that relaxing, invigorating and mediative treats. There are 22 treatment areas so there's no shortage.
Our top tip? Book in for the Kitya Karu extravaganza. It includes a soothing stone massage plus facial and hair silkening treatment. In short, it transforms you from frazzled to fabulous. What more could you ask for?
PS. This one's a celeb fave too. Preening princesses Paris and Nicky Hilton popped in for a visit on their trip to Australia.
Our rating: ****
For more information, visit www.aurorasparetreat.com.
Best for budget
Take time out from the fast pace of the city just a stone's throw from the water's edge at St Kilda Sea Baths. This is without doubt one of the city's most unique places to unwind.
This water's-edge oasis may be on the cusp of the concrete jungle but with panoramic views of Port Philip Bay you feel like you're on an idyllic isle. The menu has plenty to choose from but with Australia's only natural thalassotherapy spa (from $48), which is renowned for its rejuvenating properties, it's a must-do experience. As the heated water bubbles around you, tension quickly melts away as steam softens the skin. The tub is big enough for two so it's ideal if you want to relax with a friend.
Our rating: ****
For more information, visit www.stikildaseabaths.com.au.
Best for hi-tech treats
Kiora is what's dubbed in the beauty world as a "medical spa". It basically fuses relaxing beauty treatments with cutting-edge techniques from the medical world. Microdermabrasion, teeth whitening and laser treatments are a few of the menu offerings.
Unsurprisingly the surrounds are super-sleek, like a smooth cocktail of space-age clean edges and soothing Japanese décor. The sizeable spa has nine treatment rooms and three huge bathing huts. The space was custom-built to make the most of the natural light so if it's a sunny day, you'll enjoy the flood of light.
This is a one-stop beauty shop that merges traditional treatment with sci-fi.
Our rating: ***
For more information, visit www.kiora.com.au.
Best for body and soul
Walking into Chuan is like stepping out of Melbourne and into a tranquil Chinese haven. Traditional music reverberates softly and the scent of traditional Chinese medicine cocktails pervades the air. The spa's aim is to balance your energy, finding a harmony between the Yin and Yang. Treatments range from massage, hydrotherapies, wraps, scrubs and facials.
For a body overhaul try the Tao of Detox ($385) that lasts two hours and 30 minutes and carefully works the body into a regenerative state. Expect a full body buffing that is gentle enough not to break your snooze, followed up with a marine algae wrap that leaves you snuggly in a warm cocoon as your shoulders, neck and head are treated to a massage. The treatment is topped off with an oxygen boosting facial that will leave dry winter skin feeling plumped.
Our rating: ***
For more information, visit www.chuanspa.com.au.