Stephanies Spa Retreat, Brisbane

by Glenn Reynolds

Day Spa Review

Chic, smart, sassy and almost French. What more could a day spa lover want?

With a unique appreciation of fine sensual experience, whether it be wine, cuisine, chocolate, lingerie, fragrance or hotels, the French seem to have captured the imagination of a lot of Australia lately. I love their sense of delicious, sumptuous sensory experience. I was greeted with a warm ‘Bonjour’ by Victoria, who received me with professional aplomb, providing a quick tour of the premises, before leaving me to change and head for the relaxation lounge, a ‘zen chair’ awaiting. As a francophile myself, I loved being able to flip through Le Monde, the Parisian newspaper, in the sunny relaxation area of the spa while awaiting my treatment. I was taking note that Stephanies looked after all the little details, too, including heated leather recliners for getting a great pedicure or hot stone foot massage, energy efficient lighting, multichannel music, welcoming herbal tea, and a refreshing sorbet to finish the day. Definitely one for both men and women, the decor and furnishings of Stephanies is chic, with warm brown leather chairs, bronze wall accents and soft ambient lighting.

Quality of Spa Experience

I love the layout of Stephanies, with natural light streaming into the foyer and relaxation lounge, before moving into the quieter dark interior for the treatment rooms. Entering the centre of the spa facility, I was enclosed in a circular cave-like structure, the Opal Rasul Temple. With a domed roof covered in slightly cheesy painted stars and pulsing white, green and blue pin lights, surrounded by a hard mosaic lounge that snaked its way around the wall, this area had a distinctly faux mediterranean feel, maybe from North Africa. Plated on the centre table were 3 coloured muds, used on the body before a steam burst into the room. This ‘temple’ experience is designed to be self-administered, and would work well for 2 or 3 people to share the experience. For the solos, like myself, a therapist can apply the mud on your back for you before leaving.

For the next 35 minutes or so, the temperature soared with the humidity, and I found myself swirling with the clouds and the lights were transformed into star constellations coming in and out of focus. The experience is truly multi-sensory, with swirling misty lights casting a slightly mesmerising dance, plumes of steam and heat waves alighting on your skin, with moisture accumulating and running down your body crevices, the aromatic oils wafting and the taste of the succulent heat on your tongue. Lying down on the bench was a little uncomfortable due to the curve in the walls, but it offered a slight respite from the heat. Water was on tap, and you could always leave through a door into the shower area if a breather was required. It was quite a mesmerising experience. Each time I returned from getting a drink, I squelched on sitting down, as the mud slowly slid off me in a lather of sweat. Piped music in the steam ‘temple’ was pretty average, nothing too edgy, but not offensively boring either. My time in the steam ended with a fine mist spray of water from the ceiling, signalling that it was time to enter the shower room and clean off the residue. I was still pretty hot and sweaty when I returned to the relaxation room for a quiet break before my massage treatment.

Retiring to another treatment room, my massage began with a foot bath and then the whole body massage was expertly performed by Katherine. It was a great finish to the Rasul Temple experience, a thoroughly relaxing session. Once again, all of the minor details were accommodated, with advanced articulated massage tables, sensationally comfortable robes and towels, tea and finally a refreshing sorbet to cleanse the palate. Spacious and comfortable changing rooms with showers are provided with plenty of funky lockers to accommodate all guests.

Stephanies is a great place to go with someone special, or a group of friends, too, as they have a couples room, as well as a large treatment room to have a fun spa party with champagne and food delivered from the Sofitel’s restaurants below. Parking is complimentary for all guests of Stephanie’s and nothing is too difficult for the staff. It was a seamless, integrated and thoroughly relaxing experience. The Opal Rasul Temple combined with an Essential Massage is a great combination of experiences, and highly recommended.


Opal Rasul Temple with Essential Massage
(2hrs $294 for one person)

Pros: French accent to the spa decor, zen lounge chairs, unique Razul Temple steam room, attention to detail and thoroughly professional staff. Great spaces to accommodate small groups of friends for spa parties.


Facilities: 5/5
Product: 4/5
Therapy: 5/5
Proficiency: 4/5

18/20 “A very polished experience. A good benchmark on how urban hotel spas should be.”

Have you been to Stephanies Spa Retreat? What did you think?

Address: Level 3, Sofitel Brisbane, 249 Turbot Street, Brisbane
Tel: 07 3221 8800
Web: Stephanies Spa Retreat

Wallet Rating: $$$$

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday 9am – 9pm
Saturday 9am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 5pm

Skincare brands available:
Payot, Thalgo

Other recent reviews:

Endota Fortitude Valley, Brisbane
East Day Spa, Melbourne
Getting Men into the Day Spa

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