The first is the city's newest and splashiest; the second, its oldest and most experienced.

The circular windows surrounding the whirlpool at The Spa at Charleston Place allow a view of the city's historic skyline.

Charleston has always been a top spot for dining, shopping, and historical attractions along the South Carolina coast. Now there are a couple more irresistible reasons to visit.

The Spa at Charleston Place: Before the spawning of spas, this stylish hotel already did things right. The location can't be beat: It's right in the thick of things on Meeting Street, across from the open-air markets and a short walk to great shops and eateries. It also boasts a top-notch restaurant, the Charleston Grill.

Then they added their spa. You don't have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the spa; day guests are also welcome. The sun-washed reception area makes an inviting entrance, backlit by the glass-enclosed pool. The pool features a retractable roof, which opens to the heavens when skies are sunny.

Treatment rooms flank the front desk, and there's a fully equipped, state-of-the-art exercise room to the right of the pool. A whirlpool beckons from a turret-like room tucked into a corner up from the pool, and yes, that's a tennis court on the outer deck.

205 Meeting Street. Hotel guests have first choice for scheduling; call 1-800-611-5545, or visit . Treatments range from $38 for a manicure to $108-110 for facials and wraps. Call (843) 937-8522 for spa appointments.

Earthling Day Spa: Aby Cass started this spa 10 years ago, long before the trend for indulgence exploded. Her storefront entrance on East Bay Street belies the style and scope inside. While many spas retail a few beauty products, Earthling boasts a large shop of things to make you feel pretty. Of course, lotions and potions await, but you'll love the surprising, abundant display cases of delicate beaded jewelry and hair accessories. There's even a gift section for babies and expectant mothers. Even if you don't have time for a spa session, you can always shop.

A small sitting area in Asian decor transitions you into quiet before your massage, facial, makeup session, or--Aby's pride--Ayurvedic treatment with oils and herbs. The most special feature of Earthling, though, is its Pilates studio. This exercise trend of strengthening and stretching is just starting to spread, but it's old hat for Aby, a certified instructor. If you're curious, this is a great place to experiment. Eager to give people a way to unwind and improve their well-being, Aby happily shares resources of instructional Pilates books, Web sites, and other studios across the country.

254 East Bay Street. Call (843) 722-4737, or visit Pilates classes are $12 each; private sessions are $55 an hour; call (843) 722-2639. Spa services range from $35 for a paraffin hand treatment to $250 for microdermabrasion.

This article is from the March 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.