It’s unanimous! Three out of 3 Lost Girls agree that whether you’ve been hiking, horseback riding, surfing or even just shopping your way through town, there’s no better way to cap off a morning of active exploration than with an afternoon of pampering. Whatever your spa style, we recommend choosing a destination that merges pampering with health and wellness. That way, your post-vacation glow won't be only skin deep.
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Treatments don’t come standard with a week’s stay at this all-inclusive resort, but it’s well worth adding 1 or 2 pampering services to your total package. The therapists are extraordinarily well trained and so skilled that I was having trouble not nodding off during my massage. Therapies incorporate elements from across the Caribbean. I’d recommend the treatment I received, the signature West Indian massage. It utilizes warm river stones and tropical rain forest-scented mist and wraps up with a white-sand exfoliation for your feet. Non-spa guests can use the outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna at the spa, even if they don’t get a treatment. Make time to stop by just before dusk: That’s when it’s least crowded and you and your traveling companion might just get the place to yourselves.
Few spas I’ve visited have had the jaw-dropping visual impact of this one: It’s ultra-modern and semi-futuristic with lighted floors, walls and columns. Every textured surface is awash in cool shades of aquamarine, pearl, silver and white. This 20,000-square-foot luxury sanctuary -- a true respite from the scorching Caymanian sun -- specializes in head-to-toe skincare. Products from the namesake La Prairie line are used in all treatments, from the Advanced Marine Biology Facial to the Soothing Sole Therapy mask and foot soak. I was delighted to receive small samples of the products used during my facial upon checking out; a prompt to purchase, perhaps, but considering the cost of the full-sized line, well appreciated!
After sleeping for weeks in a camper van during a road trip in Australia, Amanda, Holly and I were eagerly anticipating a 2-night reprieve at The Golden Door Health Retreat and Spa in Hunter Valley, a renowned wine region and tourist hotspot. But after ramming the van into an awning a few inches too low (the only injury was to my pride), I needed more than a little R&R to de-stress. Luckily, The Golden Door contains an award-winning spa offering a full menu of holistically-inspired treatments, from the Lymphatic Body Massage and Cleopatra Milk Bath to the Algae Body Wrap and Oxygen Therapy Facial. I suggest the Chakra Awakening and Rebalancing massage, which combines Australian wild flower essences and pure aromatherapy oils. Follow that with a full day of indulgence with such onsite amenities as steam rooms, spa baths, indoor/outdoor pools, plush relaxation lounges and private sun gardens. Guests can also enjoy healthy gourmet meals, wellness seminars and exercise classes.
There are numerous countries I’d love to revisit, and Costa Rica is one of them, in big part because of the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. Nestled among tropical gardens, with the iconic Arenal Volcano and misty rainforest serving as a backdrop, this unique property boasts dozens of thermal pools, cascading waterfalls and a world-class eco-spa. After partaking in one of the area’s ubiquitous adventure expeditions like whitewater rafting, ziplining and trekking, ease sore muscles with a relaxing soak in the Tabacon hot springs followed by one of the Grand Spa’s signature treatments. My favorite is the volcanic mud wrap, which includes a head-to-toe slathering of mineral-rich, detoxifying mud that’s baked on by an osmotic plastic body cover, followed by a luxurious dip in a private thermal pool and a deep moisturizing. All spa services are performed in open-air bungalows so you won’t need piped-in music to hear the tranquil sounds of nature. Other unique spa features include a temazcal, a traditional native steam bath ritual performed by a Mexican shaman-trained expert.
Wild herbs, leaves and flowers have long been used in Oneida Native American culture to heal and rejuvenate the body and spirit. Such Skana Spa treatments as the Juniper and Cypress Detox Massage utilize the ancient tradition of herbal healing. Skana periodically offers a special body treatment called the Tekutiye:nas (which means “they work together” in the Oneida language) Healing Remedy Massage. It combines wild herbs such as lemongrass in a steamed muslin ball (aka poultice) with herbal oils such as juniper lavender, rosemary and fennel, all known for their calming scent. The herbs and oils work together to nourish skin, soothe muscles and help clarify your mind. The detoxifying effects of this 80-minute treatment stayed with me for hours afterward.
Sol Spa offers traditional Mayan treatments that hold both relaxation and health benefits. It’s run by Utah-born sisters Carrie and Charlene Tengler, who both traveled to the mountains of western Belize to get trained in Mayan Abdominal Massage (MAM) from the technique’s founder, Dr. Rosita Arvigo. When done regularly, MAM is said to help with irregular menstruation, infertility and digestive problems, such as acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, by increasing blood flow and the circulation of lymphatic fluids, as well as boosting hormone secretion. The restorative massage definitely helped me feel more balanced. Another treatment to try is the organic cocoa and masa (or cornmeal) glo. It smells delicious, and both ingredients are staples in the traditional Mayan diet. The therapist adds salt and then applies the mixture with expert strokes to buff your skin. So you’re guaranteed to return from vacation looking and feeling rejuvenated.