Review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte (and what to expect when you visit)

Hi, friend! Today, I’m going to share my review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte, as well as what you can expect when you visit the Ritz spa. There’s a lot to know ahead of time, and a friend of mine filled me in before I went, so I figured it would be helpful to write it all out for you.

Review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte (and what to expect when you visit)

If you’d like to check out a video of my experience at The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte, head here.

Review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte (and what to expect when you visit)

My experience at and review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte

This was such a treat! For my birthday back in December, my neighborhood girlfriends pulled together a very generous gift card so I could visit The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte. I had never been to the hotel or the spa before, and I was very excited about this opportunity to get some pampering in such a luxurious setting. This is not something I’d do for myself, so I was extra appreciative.

The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte is located in Uptown (which is Charlotte’s downtown) on Trade Street. And on a weekend, it took me no time at all to get there — just about 20 minutes from where I live in South Charlotte (in Ballantyne). On a weekday, it may have been a bit longer of a trip due to traffic. As a spa guest, I was able to get free valet parking at the hotel, so I didn’t even have to find street parking, which was super nice. It was a stress-free situation, from beginning to end.

I booked myself a 60-minute stress-relieving massage a few weeks in advance. And boy, did I need a massage. I hadn’t had one in about a year, which is far too long for a group fitness instructor with overworked muscles, you know? And I knew my gift card would cover it.

Ritz gift card near pool by A Lady Goes West

By the way, when I went on the Ritz website to book my massage, the Saturdays were totally full for a few weeks out. I was able to find a decent time on a Sunday and there were plenty of weekdays open. If you’d like a Saturday, you’ll need to book several weeks in advance.

On the day of my appointment, I went to the Ritz in the morning and was ready to spend a good portion of the day there. I knew ahead of time that with my spa service I’d also have access to a ton of Ritz amenities (like the relaxation room, indoor pool and fitness center), and I did nearly all of them during my visit.

Fun fact: If you go on a weekend, you need to spend $100+ at the spa to access all the amenities with a special pass. And if you go on a weekday, you have to spend a little less than that for access to all the amenities. And the amenities are where it’s at — so plan to allot plenty of time for your spa visit, both before and after your service for chilling and using all the things. 

The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte

Now a little bit about the hotel …

The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte is in an urban setting, and the exterior is nothing exciting. But once you enter, the hotel lobby is dark and fancy on the inside with plenty of seating and a cool vibe. In order to get to the spa, you have to take the elevator up to the 17th floor. The spa takes up the top two penthouse floors of the hotel.

Once I arrived at the spa, I got a tour of the facilities by the friendliest and most helpful locker room host, then I changed into my robe and went straight to the amenities.

Review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte (and what to expect when you visit)

I found that the set-up of all the spa stuff was actually a little confusing at first, because everything was in a different room — even though it had been explained to me. There was a locker room. A room with bathrooms. A room with showers. And a bunch of separate sitting rooms too. It’s easy to wind up in the wrong room when you first arrive, but of course — after spending several hours there, I found my way around perfectly.

The locker room and sitting rooms were well appointed, but they did seem a little bit brown and outdated — just saying. I was told that they’re planning a renovation soon, and that would make sense, because it does seem like they need some updating of the aesthetic.

Special touches at The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte

As a spa guest, you get a nice robe and slippers to wear around. The spa also provides towels, disposable hair brushes, razors, lotions, shampoo/conditioner, hairspray, hair-styling tools (good ones), cotton swabs, feminine hygiene supplies and even disposable shower caps — so pretty much everything you need to get ready outside of your clothes and makeup.

And there’s a nice refreshment stand with water, fruit-infused water, hot tea and trail mix. I visited the refreshment stand many times during my visit, and I loved this special touch. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy spa water? (And I brought my mom back a Ritz bottled water, and she was thrilled.)

Trying the Himalayan salt room

My first stop during my Ritz spa visit was the salt room. This was my first time in a salt room, and it’s just what it sounds like — a room with blocks of pink Himalayan sea salt for walls and a warm pink hue.

Salt rooms are great for improving your breathing and enhancing your mood (although there’s not a ton of hard research on this particular type of room, but I do think they are becoming more popular). I found the quiet salt room very relaxing, and I chilled in there (alone) for 15 minutes.

Ritz Spa salt room by A Lady Goes West

Apparently there are two types of salt rooms — and one type is where actual salt flakes are blown out into the air. I didn’t experience that at the Ritz. I’m not sure if I was supposed to or not, but I did get the passive salt benefits from the walls alone, and I loved it. But it would have been nice if there were instructions on the room, in case I did miss something.

The salt room is included for free for all spa guests and doesn’t require an access pass.

Spending time in the dry/hot sauna

Even though I was at the Ritz spa on the weekend, and I did pass other spa guests in the hallways, I got both the salt room and the sauna to myself, as well as the relaxation room I visited later. Loved that! I do think the spa is busiest on Saturdays though, so I just got lucky I was there on a Sunday.

After my time in the salt room, I went to the hot sauna, where I also spent 15 minutes. I go in the sauna at Life Time Charlotte (where I work) regularly, so I’m used to it. And dry saunas (which can be anywhere from 150 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit) are great for promoting recovery and improving circulation — and I love that post-sauna feeling so much. I also love sitting there feeling the beads of sweat forming on the skin. You know what I mean?

Once those two amenities were enjoyed, I took a quick shower and sipped on some orange-infused water while I waited to be called back for my massage. That orange-infused water was a hit, and I went back and refilled many times from the sweet little refreshment stand. 

Ritz Spa refreshments by A Lady Goes West

By the way, the sauna is also included for free for all spa guests and doesn’t require an access pass.

Getting a 60-minute stress-relieving massage

For my service this day, I selected a 60-minute relaxing massage, and it was totally excellent. My massage therapist had the magic touch. I asked for firm pressure on my back to relieve some muscle tightness, and he also stretched my arms and legs, massaged my head and did an amazing job.

While the facilities were certainly nice, the massage itself reminded me that I was in an extra fancy spa. I felt like there were a few special things (like a warm neck pillow, a warm eye mask and more) that made it seem very upgraded. It was so good and felt like it lasted a full hour for sure.

By the way, the massage took place on the floor above the women’s lounge, and this is where the other special-access amenities were located. I felt a little strange going from floor to floor in my robe, but it seemed like it was all part of the experience, so I went with it.

My massage therapist picked me up right outside the women’s lounge and dropped me back off there after my service. And just to reiterate — the massage was totally top notch.

Ordering lunch by the pool from the Aqua Lounge

After my massage, I took another shower, changed into my comfortables (I brought my trusty red sweatsuit to lounge in), then I ordered some lunch and sat on a chaise by the indoor pool (called the Aqua Lounge). I had my lunch by the pool, and then I learned some new barbell choreography to teach the next day from that same position — so yes, I had a little bit of work, but the setting was lovely.

As far as lunch, here’s a little con: You can order from the Aqua Lounge menu, which was fairly limited, and it was quite pricey (I’m pretty sure a mimosa was like $16 or something outrageous — but — it’s the Ritz). I ordered my lunch at the spa front desk and was told it was a minimum of 45 minutes until it was ready — but they didn’t give me an exact estimate. So that’s why I went back to shower and change and take my time getting to the pool. However, my lunch was prepared quickly, because when I was heading up to the pool, there was already someone there setting up for me and they were looking for me. 

Ritz Spa lunch by A Lady Goes West

When my salad arrived, it looked totally unimpressive, but it was actually quite delicious and light. It was expensive though, with the included tip, tax and the service fee for delivering the lunch to the pool, it was a $40 salad, and that’s a bit steep. But I guess I paid for the experience, and I did get that.

More about the pool area though. It’s indoor, and it features windows on three sides, so you can see out to Charlotte’s Uptown (not a scenic view, but mostly rooftops of other downtown buildings).

And when I was there, the pool was basically empty (other than one other couple and a mom/daughter). I hadn’t brought my bathing suit, but if I did, I may have taken a dip. It was a relaxing setting, not a party setting, and that’s just what I needed. I liked my time at the pool, eating, sitting and even working.

Chilling out in the Relaxation Lounge

From there, I went up to the dark and totally relaxing relaxation room (called the Relaxation Lounge), where I hung out, chilled and played on my phone for another hour. (Technically, you aren’t supposed to have phones throughout the spa, but it looked like pretty much everyone did, including me.)

Ritz Spa relaxation room by A Lady Goes West

This was my last big stop, and once again, I was alone for most of the time. The Relaxation Lounge looks like a room you’d see on a tour of a celebrity’s lavish home. It was full of big cozy couches, chunky rugs, small tables, thick throw blankets, soothing hums, dark lighting and even a small salt lamp. I loved sitting in there, and had I been more tired, I may have attempted a nap.

What’s super nice about the Relaxation Lounge is that there were no windows, and it felt very secluded and private. It may have been my favorite room, outside of the salt room. And it was there that I decided I would write a review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte. Good thing I had my phone with me to take some photos.

Overall review of my experience at The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte

All in total, I spent five hours at the Ritz that day, and I felt like I did everything I could, except for visiting the fitness center. I loved having this solo day to myself, and I would absolutely be down to do another one again one day. I’d also be open to going back with friends, because I saw a group of ladies arriving together, and that looked fun.

I was so happy to find out upon check-out that after paying for my expensive lunch and my 60-minute massage, plus gratuity, I still had $25 left on my $300 gift card. That means I definitely have another visit in the future, and next time I want to try a facial.

The Ritz-Carlton is known for exceptional service, and I felt that — there was always someone asking me how I was and helping me. And I had everything I needed and more. Plus, it was cool to look out on Uptown Charlotte from the spa windows.

Ritz Carlton gift card by A Lady Goes West

If you’re in the Charlotte area and want to buy a gift for someone, may I suggest a gift card to The Ritz-Carlton Spa? It was totally what I had hoped and for more. I walked out of there relaxed, zen and fully pampered. Yes, it’s totally a luxury, but that’s why something like this would make a perfect gift.

Tips for your visit to The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte

  • If you want a Saturday service, plan to book weeks in advance
  • Consider going on a weekday or a Sunday so you have more of the amenities to yourself
  • Use the free valet parking for spa guests rather than looking for street parking
  • Arrive a couple hours early and stay a couple hours late to enjoy all the Ritz amenities, like the dry/hot sauna, salt room, relaxation room, pool, fitness center and more (you need to spend a certain amount to access the relaxation room, pool and fitness center, but the sauna and salt room are included with any service)
  • Bring a book, headphones, workout clothes, a bathing suit and some cozy clothes to change into after your services so you don’t have to hurry off and can try everything
  • If you plan to have lunch, order early, because the kitchen could take a while
  • Bring cash for extra tips for the spa attendants and valet attendants too
  • Plan to pay a premium for your services and food, remembering that The Ritz-Carlton is not cheap, but you’ll hopefully be happy with your return on investment

Thanks for reading my review of The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Charlotte. While I normally write about healthy lifestyle and wellness, I’m enjoying covering some local spots, so please let me know your thoughts! Have an amazing day!

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Questions of the day for you

When was the last time you had a massage?

What’s your favorite thing about a spa experience?

How was your weekend?

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