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Celebrate star-spangled Baltimore

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Festivities July 4th at Baltimore's Inner Harbor will launch a summer of celebration for the 200th anniversary of the war that brought destruction to the White House and the signature event that inspired our national anthem.

While historians re-enact the British invasion, you can relax at Baltimore's best spa on the pool terrace of the Four Seasons Hotel. Overlooking the spectacular maritime events and harbor-side attractions, the hotel is a happening place at all times.

Located just past Harbor Place and the Baltimore National Aquarium, the glass-sheathed 18-story towers reflect the blue water and harbor traffic as you arrive at the Four Seasons Hotel. Elegantly minimal, the lobby looks like a hotel on the French Riviera rather than historic Baltimore harbor. Artwork from the Washington color stripe school adorns marble walls softly lit to enhance flower arrangements that fill the central rotunda.

The scene encompasses harbor-view dining, terrace, marina with sailing school and water taxi dock. Soaring windows add airy spaciousness to the the coffee shop and bar, reminiscent of the Eastern Shore. The open kitchen with wood-burning oven for creations of celebrity chef Michael Mina from San Francisco and Las Vegas offers crabcakes as well as new American cuisine,

The Spa at the Four Seasons features facials with Zents skincare, bodywork with EmerginC. Their signature thermal suite sets the mood for deep relaxation: sauna, steam room, soaking pool with underwater lounger, ice fountain, and multi-effect shower.

Arrive early to enjoy the bath ritual. Quiet lounges offer tea and nibbles on dried fruit.

The facilities are separate but the men’s relaxation lounge has the best harbor view; women have more space for makeup. Two suites add privacy, have terrace overlooking the harbor, bathtubs for mineral-enriched soaks, and changing space. Couples can reserve the suite or invite friends for treatments and refreshments.

Treatment rooms (there are 11 including suites) have a seating alcove where your therapist explains the oils and skincare products to be used. My choice was the Harbor Salt Scrub and Massage, a combination of body scrub with sea salt, and massage with warm herbal oil. Cleansing, restorative, the experience costs $275, plus gratuity for 110 minutes of bliss.

The treatment menu focuses on stress-reduction and an anti-aging facial. Men are offered a hot-rock massage that penetrates muscular sore spots.

Coming to Baltimore in September: an international flotilla of Tall Ships, and The Navy Blue Angels jet acrobatics team.

Buzzing with urban professionals, doctors from Johns Hopkins, and visitors from around the world, The Four Seasons Baltimore is a place to to be seen and spa.

Location: Harbor East, 200 International Drive.

Phone: 410-576-5800

Spa reservations: 410-223-1444

www.fourseasons.com/baltimore

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