|Courtesy Mandarin Oriental|
Candles in squat glass containers line the corridors, the walls are bare bone-gray, and the ceilings are laced with groin vaulting. It all makes the spa here feel like a chapel in a cathedral. It's not a stage set: The building was erected in the 1300s for a now obscure order of nuns and in the 1600s was absorbed by the Dominican monastery that went up on this site — and that forms the shell of the hotel, easily the best in town. The religious past is literally underfoot here: The reception-area floor is made of glass to showcase the foundations of a 13th-century Gothic church uncovered during the renovation. The seven treatment rooms have thick walls, tiny windows, and vaulting, which adds to the feeling of sanctuary. But they've been handsomely outfitted. Two have steam showers, one has an enormous tiled tub curved to fit the body, and the couple's room has its own hammam. This really is a temple of well-being. — G.W.