The luxury spa has worked its way into our vacation itineraries. Formerly the haunt of tourists seeking wellness, luxury spas are now on everybody’s must-do list. Conde Nast Traveler magazine recently released its list of the best luxury spas in the world. Here is the list at a glance:
The United States leads with seven luxury spas. This includes The Ritz-Carlton Spa at Los Angeles’ LA Live, which has captured the fancy of Hollywood personalities, musicians and athletes. The spa’s proximity to the Staples Centre and Nokia Theatre draws many clients. Joining the Ritz-Carlton is the cozy Cowshed Miami Beach at Florida’s Soho Beach House. If visiting, try their Cowshed Wrap treatment. In Las Vegas, there is the two-level Mojave Desert-inspired Sahra Spa & Hammam. The star attraction here is the 1,100-square-foot hammam, which is heated to 105 degrees. Meanwhile, the Big Apple is home to The Spa at Trump Soho New York. This property houses two private hammams. Plus, you can try the luxurious Kate Somerville skin care program.
If big cities are not your scene and you love the hills, head for the Spa Montage Deer Valley at the Montage Deer Valley Utah, a property that famously indulges movie stars prior to Sundance. Their Apres Ease treatment is magical. You could also try the Spa at Four Seasons Resort Vail in Colorado where the Mountain Man treatment is ideal for sunburned skin. The treatments here cost between $135 and $215.
Ocean lovers and surfer dudes would love Honolulu’s The Spa at the Waikiki Edition. Conde Nast Traveler is calling it the “best new day spa” in the city. It is not terribly spacious, but the white walls and sheer curtains add a serene touch.
Canada and Mexico manage single entries on this luxury spa hotlist. Canada’s Bota Bota is a former pleasure boat anchored in Montreal’s Old Port. The maritime ambience is a favorite among European tourists and French-Canadian wedding groups. In Mexico, you have the Spa Matilda. As soon as you enter this property, the aromas of vanilla, rosemary and lavender waft past. It offers treatments for as little as $50.
Latin America and the Caribbean
The island of Anguilla makes the luxury spa hotlist with The Spa at Viceroy Anguilla in Meads Bay, a favorite of Manhattan financiers and Victoria’s Secret models. The 90-minute Raindrop Harmony is one of the star massages at this two-storey villa. Meanwhile, the luxury spa Atabei in the Hyatt Regency Curacao Golf Resort, Spa and Marina has a Zen-like ambience, with high ceilings, wooden floors and a muted palette. Their 60- or 90-minute traditional Stemps massage is right on the money.
Also making the list is Puerto Rico’s Remede Spa in Rio Grande. This plush spa at the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort has a whirlpool and cold plunge pools, a steam room, a sauna and full salon services. The Spa Fasano by Brazilian therapist Renata de Abreu at Rogério Fasano’s countryside resort overlooks craggy grasslands and is popular among Brazilian honeymooners. Their 150-minute Olive Therapy treatment is sure to leave you feeling like a new person.
Europe houses some wonderful luxury spa hotels. In the English countryside stands The Spa at Coworth Park in Surrey. The eco-spa is known for its English Rose Wrap. Guests here can make use of the Spatiserie, the steam room and the experience shower. Meanwhile, Hampshire is home to a three-storey Herb House Spa located within the David Collins-designed Lime Wood hotel. Once here, don’t leave without trying the unique Seaweed Leaf Wrap.
While touring Italy, pause at Tuscany’s Spa at Val di Luce Spa Resort. You need not even invest in a treatment. For a $28 spa entry fee, you can access the gym and the hammam. For a more surreal experience, head to the subterranean CastaDiva Resort Spa in an eighteenth-century villa at Lake Como for your luxury spa packages. Carved partly from a lakeside rock, the luxury spa stands beneath the villa.
If France is on your travel list, visit Nuxe’s Spa at the Hôtel Le Strato Courchevel 1850 in Courchevel and order their post-ski massage done with warm wooden spheres, the Sportif Le Strato. When in Berlin, head to the Cowshed at Soho House Berlin. Even Madonna has tried their luxury spa packages. If solitary spa treatments are not for you, this Berlin spa allows you to get a manicure while drinking wine over conversation with friends.
The Anazoe Spa at Navarino Dunes in Messinia, Greece is a favorite of Footballers’ WAGs. With treatments ranging from $75 to $197 and ice-grotto rooms, mist showers and herbal saunas, this Greek spa is a super Peloponnesian resort. And don’t miss out on the sensual Vidago Palace Spa in Portugal. They have a fabulous spa menu and 20 treatment rooms. Their 160-minute Ultimate Vidago Experience is a fantastic stress-buster.
Asia and Australia
China manages four entries on the luxury spa hotels list. CHI, The Spa at China World Summit Wing is known for its acupressure and bone-cracking massages. This six-suite spa in Beijing is located atop the lavish China World Tower and uses only Futuresse products from Baden-Baden in Germany. You could also stop by at the emperor’s bathhouse-inspired Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake. You will have to cross an indoor brook to get to the treatment areas. There are private dressing rooms and enormous bathtubs. There is also the lavish Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Macau. Silk and marble build the imperial ambience of this spa that includes an amethyst-crystal steam room, a sauna and a vitality pool. The fourth Chinese entrant is The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA in Shanghai. When here, head to the ice fountain and the rock sauna and try the full-body Yin and Yang Rebalancer treatment.
Other Asian luxury spa hotels making the list include Cambodia’s Bodia Spa in Phnom Penh, India’s Jiva Spa in Hyderabad’s Taj Falaknuma Palace, the Green Leaf Spa at The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Japan, and Laos’ secluded Spa Alila in Luang Prabang. The Bodia Spa is among the cheapest on the list with massage prices ranging from $20 to $55. The nine-room spa is the ideal escape from the Phnom Penh heat. The Jiva Spa in India is popular with wealthy Indians and Europeans. What sets it apart is the Nawab-e-Khaas treatment, which takes place in a rose-petal-strewn room in a manner suited to the Hyderabad nobility. Designed by Alexandra Champalimaud, Japan’s Green Leaf Spa blends frosted glass with Emi Shiratori murals. Their heavy-duty Off Piste treatment is perfect after a long day skiing. Laos’ Spa Alila is located near a cooking school and restaurant, so avoid mealtime visits. But the prices here are reasonable (between $46 and $65) and once there, make sure to order the Spa Escape, a two-hour Bali-style massage.
If you find yourself scuba diving in the Maldives, don’t miss the Enchanting Wave Massage at Le Spa de Constance in South Ari Atoll. It is a beautiful space too. With one side of the over-the-water wooden pavilions open to the sea, there are glass panels fitted on to the floor allowing you to watch angelfish in their natural environment. For a more sci-fi experience, head to the AWAY Spa in Koh Samui, Thailand, where white pods stand atop stilts. Choose from Dermalogica facials, the Thaimazcal treatment and their coconut-butter massage. Those going to Vietnam can get pampered at the Six Senses Spa at Con Dao. Choose from massages and herbal baths or kick-start your fitness regime with yoga and tai chi sessions.
Australia manages two luxury spa entries on this luxury spa hotels hotlist. Sydney’s CHI, The Spa welcomes tourists from Asia and Europe to its six-treatment property at the Shangri-La Hotel. Their luxury spa packages use only Ila and Botanical Extracts products. Try their hour-long Lemon Myrtle & Eucalyptus Polish body scrub, then head for the Blu Bar on the hotel’s 36th floor to watch the Sydney Harbor in all its splendor. Striking a different note is the Spa Saffire in the luxurious Saffire Freycinet Lodge in Tasmania. All treatments here cost $3 to $4 per minute. Per suite stay, guests get a complimentary treatment. The “star” attraction is the menu by facial expert Marionne de Candia who has Elle Macpherson among her clients.
Africa and the Middle East
South Africa’s top two luxury spa hotels are The Delaire Graff Spa, located in a Stellenbosch hotel on a working wine estate and The Spa at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Spa Retreat in the scenic Cederberg Mountains. The Stellenbosch property houses an outdoor 72-foot heated pool and spa bath, and a Pilates and a yoga studio. For a luxurious treatment, try their vanilla-enriched body exfoliation and wrap. Meanwhile, the spa at the Cederberg Mountains is popular among honeymooners and the 50-plus crowd. Definitely try their full-body Celebration of Life treatment.
UAE’s stars are both in Dubai: the Armani Spa located in the world’s tallest building, the Armani Hotel and the One&Only Spa at the One&Only Palm. The former is a favorite of stressed businessmen and local socialites. Their facial treatments use Giorgio Armani’s Crema Nera and Skin Minerals products. The latter is built like a Roman emperor’s villa. It even has mother-of-pearl showers.
We also have the Kaya Spa in Nairobi, Kenya with its Philippe Starck-ish ambience and full-body coffee scrub. Finally, there is the immense birdcage-like Le Spa Royal Mansour in Marrakesh, Morocco. Head here for the My Time Hammam deal that uses MarocMaroc’s products, and top it off by lounging around with a glass of mint tea.