Given the ubiquity of air travel, we're all expected to take jet lag in our stride these days, and be able to head straight from the red-eye to the morning's first appointment with barely a pause. In an age of deep-vein thrombosis and security scares, to be worried about mere jet lag even seems a little frivolous. But this isn't being fair on our systems: your mind may be jumping from the third coffee you've gulped since landing, but fatigue, dehydration and insomnia are the body's reminders of how testing being strapped into a metal tube, and hurled across the other side of planet at hundreds of kilometers an hour, can often be. So while it's wise to do those in-flight stretches and stay hydrated during your journey, it's even better to arrange an hour or so of postflight pampering at your hotel spa. You'll unknot those muscles, brighten that smile and, with luck, avoid ending up face first in the notepad during the client meeting. Here are some of our favorite treatments for busting jet lag:
PARIS: Conducted amid the Louis XVI–style splendor of the Four Seasons Hotel George V, tel: (33-1) 49 52 70 00, the Forget Jet Lag treatment ($400) is a soothing trifecta of therapies: an intensive rehydration of the sensitive under-eye area, an energetic fresh-mint-and-salt scrub of the legs to jump-start your sluggish circulation, and your choice of an aromatherapy or Shiatsu massage for a rejuvenating finish. Afterward, you can further reinvigorate yourself with a glass of fresh Alpine water.
BANGKOK: The spa menu of the COMO Shambhala Urban Escape at the Metropolitan Bangkok, tel: (66-2) 625 3333, offers Jet Lag Therapy ($120), with a strong emphasis on normalizing your circulation in order to alleviate the effects of being cooped up in an aircraft cabin. A combination of penetrating reflexology and a stimulating head, shoulder and back massage gives you a top-to-toe boost and assists the body's natural recovery process.
SEYCHELLES: If your schedule runs on very high octane, you may need more help than merely occasional travelers do. The Revival Treatment ($155) at the Banyan Tree Seychelles, tel: (248) 383 500, doubles the medicine, with two therapists simultaneously kneading your face, hands and feet. The final ahh is a synchronized back-and-foot massage. You can opt to have the treatment in your sumptuous villa or in one of the spa's hillside pavilions all are ensconced amid lush vegetation.
HONG KONG: Just one glimpse of the sweeping harbor view from the InterContinental Hotel, tel: (852) 2721 1211, may be rejuvenation enough for some visitors. For others, the hotel's serene spa offers a Jet Lag Recovery Massage with essential oils ($100 for an hour), or a Jet Lag Body Boost ($115), comprising a stimulating body brush-down and moisturizing mask. Finish with a hot soak or a cold plunge in the InterContinental's famous infinity pools.
MADEIRA: Reid's Palace, tel: (351-291) 71 71 71, opened its doors in 1891 to accommodate passengers of the great ocean liners, but its Layers of Luxury ($155) spa treatment is for jet-age guests. Your body is polished with a green olive stone and "sea silk" scrub, and then lathered with luxurious lashings of hydrating gel, nourishing oil and moisturizing cream. Book the double suite and you and your partner will also enjoy a terrace and private plunge pool.
LONDON: Located in a 127-year-old building overlooking verdant Hyde Park, the Mandarin Oriental London is a welcome sight for weary souls climbing out of the cab or limo from Heathrow. Its one-hour-and-50-minute Ginger Ritual ($495) is billed as the perfect jet-lag cure, and comprises deep Shiatsu massage for the kidneys, feet, hips, shoulders, neck and back, as well as aromatherapy featuring an oil that's custom-blended to a guest's needs.