10 Over-the-Top Spas You Must Visit
From snow rooms to wine pools, indulge your inner spa junkie by visiting one of these memory-creating retreats.
Photo By: Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi
Photo By: Ken Seet
Photo By: Junko Kimura
Photo By: Jade Mountain
Photo By: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
Photo By: Ryan Forbes
Photo By: Blue Lagoon
Photo By: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel
Photo By: YTL Hotels
Photo By: Fontainebleau
LIME Spa at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
While there are quite a few underwater restaurants and hotels around the world, at the moment LIME Spa is the only underwater spa, found at the five-star Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives. In fact, two of the treatment rooms are completely underwater, and feature panoramic views at every turn. Opt for the LIME Light signature treatment, a 150-minute journey that starts with a massage using coconut oil and lime and concludes with an ice cube facial. Afterward, relax for 15 minutes with tea and fruit while gazing at reef sharks, clown fish and stingrays in what feels like your own private aquarium.
Ocean of Consciousness Spa at Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah
The Maldives boast a high percentage of overwater bungalow hotels with spas, so it takes some effort to qualify as special. The newly opened Voavah property accomplishes this since the spa — indeed the entire resort — is situated on its own private island, a first for the Four Seasons chain. What can top that? The island is also part of Baa Atoll, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While much space could be devoted to describing the private island’s amazingness, the focus here is on the conceptual Ocean of Consciousness Spa, whose treatments are tailored around one of the five pathways to consciousness: truth, wisdom, love, peace and compassion. Because it’s a private spa, it can arrange a host of services to suit your needs, from an on-call Ayurvedic doctor to an acupuncturist. The only catch is you (and up to 21 others) have to scrounge up $46,000 a night to experience this level of pampering.
Hakone Kowakien Yunessun at Yunessun Inn, Japan
Japan is renowned for its hot springs (or onsen), so it stands to reason that if you have the burning desire to immerse yourself in, say, red wine, you can find that here. Actually, Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, an hour and a half from Tokyo, is one of the only spots in the world where you can do just that. Considered a hot spring amusement park — which should be a spa goal for everyone — Hakone offers different pools filled with actual red wine, green tea, sake and coffee. It may seem like a gimmick, but there are purported health benefits behind each one; for example, sake is believed to lighten sunspots, and coffee might reduce the appearance of cellulite. And while red wine likely delivers more benefits by imbibing it, who doesn’t want the chance to splash around in it?
Kai en Ciel Spa at Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
There’s no shortage of spas that offer chocolate-infused spa treatments. There are also plenty of spas that offer the ancient Ayurvedic treatment of shirodhara, which involves pouring oil on your forehead’s third eye. However, Kai en Ciel Spa might be one of the only spas in the world to combine the two to create — wait for it — the chocodhara. The hour-long treatment starts with a head massage before warm chocolate-infused oil is poured on the third eye in order to produce a relaxed state worthy of a cat. Unlike some shirodhara treatments that simply pour oil on the third eye for the entire session, this one moves on to a chocolate-infused massage that focuses on marma points, an Ayurvedic technique that releases tension by massaging blocked energy in specific areas.
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand
The Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle isn’t just an upscale resort, but a sanctuary for abused and rescued elephants. Guests can interact with the gentle giants in a number of ways, from feeding to bathing them. (As part of ethical animal tourism, the elephants’ well-being is of the utmost importance.) After taking care of your elephant, take care of yourself at the spa with the Mahout Recovery Treatment. The 90-minute massage incorporates camphor, lime and lemongrass poultices to relieve sore muscles. As if the elephant component isn’t wonderful enough, the spa treatments are delivered in an open-air treehouse environment surrounded by bamboo trees and lush jungle.
Spa Mukul at Mukul Resort, Golf & Spa, Nicaragua
Spa Mukul takes the theme approach a step further by devoting a separate focus to each of its six sanctuaries. The options include curiosity-inducing names such as Ancient Sanctuary, Crystal Temple, Hammam, Healing Hut, Rainforest and the Secret Garden. Instead of choosing a single treatment, you choose which sanctuary sounds ideal, and then embark on a private, preset 3.5-hour spa journey. For example, Ancient Sanctuary entails a body scrub, citrus bath, facial and massage while incorporating local herbs and plants that have been used since pre-Colonial times. Since each section provides a one-of-a-kind experience, sample all six for the ultimate spa getaway.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
While many simply regard the Blue Lagoon as a place to soak in geothermal springs, it also offers spa treatments. In fact, as part of an ongoing renovation, 2016 brought the addition of a relaxation area and updated facilities. Belly up to the recently added silica mud bar, where you can slather your face and body in the softening properties of the white silica. Or book an in-water massage in a new designated zone, which involves lying on a floating mat in the water while being massaged with Blue Lagoon mineral oil. Combine the two by opting for the two-hour signature treatment, a true indulgence that involves an exfoliating salt scrub followed by a silica or algae wrap. While the wrap does its job, all you have to do is float on the steamy water while receiving a relaxing scalp and face massage. If you’re not asleep by this point, the 50-minute massage that follows just might do the trick. Since the Blue Lagoon is only 20 minutes from the airport, this might become your new favorite jet lag cure. As a heads up, the Blue Lagoon will be closed from April 23-27, 2017 for final renovations, which will add another lagoon for massages, expand the existing lagoon and update the piping system.
Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, Dubai
Arguably everything about the Talise Ottoman Spa at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel is over the top: the 42 treatment rooms, two saltwater pools, and an ambience that evokes an Arabian Nights set. Although what really sets this spa apart is the fact that it contains two spare-no-expense hammams and two snow rooms (separate men’s and women’s facilities). The hammams, or Turkish baths, do justice to Turkey’s glorious marble structures, with treatments to match: the Gold Mask experience makes you feel like royalty as you're slathered in a gold body mask. As for the snow room, yes, it is actually filled with snow, and conveniently located near the sauna.
The Spa Village at Pangkor Laut Resort, Malaysia
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the full buffet of authentic Asian spa treatments but don’t have the time to travel all over Asia, beeline to The Spa Village. And yes, with 22 villas devoted to all things spa, it really is a small village. Each treatment kicks off with an elaborate Bath House Ritual, involving a foot soak, cleansing bath and tea. Since the veritable smorgasbord of spa options can be overwhelming — from Hawaiian lomi lomi massage to ancient Chinese body smoking — allow The Spa Village to make the choice for you by opting for three-hour packages that are region- or modality-specific. Go all out with the Royal Secrets of Puteri Lindungan Bulan for women and Bukit Gantang Warrior Treatment for men. These pampering journeys include a shampoo, milk bath and body steaming for women, and a scalp treatment, warrior massage and herbal scrub for men.
Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau, Miami
The 40,000-square-foot Lapis Spa at the iconic Fontainebleau is a must for water babies. Following a 2008 renovation, the spa’s pièce de résistance is an entire water therapy circuit consisting of six elements. While away the hours circulating between the eucalyptus steam room, the 75-foot heated mineral pool and cascading shower. But the main events are the rain tunnel and rain room (pictured), both of which are as amazing as they sound. The former contains warm and cool massaging jets, while the latter provides a warm, endlessly flowing rain from the ceiling. Lie on one of the marble tables and allow the rainfall to wash away your cares.