And where on earth to find them
It feels like wellness resorts are ten a penny nowadays. So how do you sort the so so from the truly sublime? And what if you demand more from your spa hotel than an infinity pool, scented steam room and menu of massage treatments? On mountain tops and in caves, overlooking rainforests and urban jungles - and always in luxury spa hotels – these small luxury retreats could fit the bill.
Best for: takeaway expertise
Soothing spa breaks are all well and good, but how can you make sure that relaxation lasts beyond the mini-break? Thankfully, 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai, Thailand offers massage lessons for guests. You can also keep up with your yoga while here with a private or group class.
Best for: rainforest relaxation
Getting closer to nature while enjoying some serious spa time was the thinking behind The Lodge & Spa at Pico Bonito, an eco-lodge in the Honduran rainforest. Opened in early 2016, it features treehouse therapy ‘pods’ right in the heart of the rainforest. The sound of flowing water and resident wildlife accompany treatments, which range from ancient Mayan temazcal steam baths to organic fruit facials.
Best for: all-out spoiling
You know what they say; diamonds are the skin’s best friend. In the Temple Spa at divine Dormy House Hotel in the Cotswolds, therapists pay homage to the finer things in life with deliciously decadent treatments using champagne, gold, black truffles and diamonds. And if that doesn’t leave you glowing, there’s plenty more bubbly on offer in the Greenhouse restaurant.
Best for: après-ski spa time
El Lodge Ski and Spa in the dizzying mountains of the Sierra Nevada, Spain, is a serious ski resort. But after days on the slopes, aching muscles can put a bit of a dampener on a getaway. Cue the indoor/outdoor spa. You just have to brave the chilly temperature to dash to the barrel-like Finnish hot tub and steaming outside pool. With snow-crowned mountains as a backdrop, it’s completely worth it.
Best for: feeling as right as rain
There’s rain and there’s rain. At the Mvua African Rain SPA within Diamonds Mequfi Beach Resort in Pemba, Mozambique, it’s less annoying drizzle and more refreshing warmth with therapies inspired by the natural world. The only difficulty is in deciding where to have your African rain foot massage or wild honey facial – spa, pool or bedroom.
Best for: urban indulgence
COMO Shambhala at COMO The Treasury in Perth might be an all-out contemporary space, but the treatments have ancient roots. Designed for anyone jaded by the rat race or city slickers pounding too many pavements, it promises to get you back in touch with yourself – whether that’s through wellness therapies, one-on-one yoga or pilates.
Best for: rooftop restfulness
When the ocean is on the doorstep, it’s silly to hide a spa indoors. Xanadu Spa at Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California, elevates its mix of massages, facials and body treatments to breathtaking new heights. Located up on the hotel’s rooftop, it’s the perfect spot to get a fresh perspective on life – if only for an hour or two.