South Beach’s Ocean Drive is perhaps not the first place you would think of if you are looking for a serene respite from the workweek—or the weekend, for that matter. But that’s just what you’ll unexpectedly find within the neon-lined walls of the Hotel Victor, an art deco landmark that’s in the middle of the action, to put it mildly. Unless you were staying at the hotel, you’d never know that K’Alma Spa, with its South American organic aesthetic, is tucked inside.
K’Alma Spa Concepts and Management is a collaboration between power couple Marizza Contreras and Craig Carter, who have both had distinguished careers in spas and wellness for more than two decades. The brand is growing rapidly across Miami—and the country. K’Alma launched its flagship location at Hotel Victor in 2019, and has expanded its brand to the Ritz-Carlton Chicago with the addition of its sister brand—Leaf Spa, which just launched at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park and Hotel AKA in Brickell. By now, the full portfolio of spas includes additional locations at the Hotel Betsy, the Gates Hotel, the Kimpton Surfcomber (all in South Beach) and the SLS Miami—a dozen spas in all. The company has plans for continued expansion in 2023.
Contreras draws from her Peruvian roots to bring holistic and natural healing practices still honored today by Q’ero (Inca) spiritual healers. The spa’s philosophy is based on color therapy, and its dedication to the healing power of brilliantly hued crystals is immediately evident to guests, who are invited to explore a pathway lined with seven crystal sculptures representing each of the seven chakras. When the guest feels a strong connection to one of the crystals—alabaster, amethyst, chrysocolla, clear quartz, labradorite, tektite or opal—they are welcomed to sit on the bench beneath it. Each crystal is associated with particular qualities (for example, alabaster represents clarity, calmness and forgiveness), but the nature of the exercise encourages them to keep an mind open and select the crystal based in instinct, on intuition.
At the flagship K’Alma location at the Hotel Victor, the facilities may feel boutique-style, but the range of treatments is ample—from massages and facials (the 24k gold collagen mask facial is among the most exotic) to hydrotherapy and body treatments. A first-time visitor might want to sample the signature K’Alma Journey, which immediately engages the scenes with aromatherapy and the gentle sounds of the Incan rain stick, and continues with a customized massage of deep tissue, stretching, reflexology and pressure point work. It’s a 90-minute treatment, but feel free to linger in the spa’s hammam, sauna, meditation room and relaxation room before hitting the streets again.