Sp-ahhhhs! Those heavenly havens inside a hotel or resort are virtual sanctuaries within sanctuaries, where bodily bliss awaits and your cosseting is assured. We’ve identified ten such asylums whose ethos, elegance and regimens offer escape from the demands of task and time. Each enjoys a unique setting and inspired surroundings that reflect the inner calm, healing and revivifying they promise. At any of these exceptional listees, from Africa to Uruguay, you’ll be transformed by the power of touch, moments of meditation and a sense of sheer indulgence.
ESPA: Acqualina, A Rosewood Resort
Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the Miami Beach skyline, ESPA at Acqualina is a calm, Zen-like space whose treatments are inspired by ancient traditions. Two of the spa’s signature offerings are described as holistic journeys: The Ocean Journey balances with a whole body application of fresh algae or mud, while the Earth Journey stimulates with a hot stone massage followed by a linen wrap. And for those just want to escape the humidity, there are ice fountains and an “experience” shower with cooling arctic mists.
MALLIOUHANA SPA: Malliouhana Resort & Spa
Restoration at this “destication” spa (half destination, half vacation) is all about balance. The light-filled contemporary building that houses the 15,000-square-foot facilities lies right at the ocean’s edge. Reserve one of the three special Spa Suites—Serenity, Vitality or Tranquility—and enjoy ultimate privacy for your group of guys ‘n gals that includes gorgeous views of Meads Bay, a balcony and a separate seating area, air-jet hydrotherapy bath, wet and dry treatment tables and a unique multi-jet shower. Talk about wet ‘n wild!
SALUS PER AQUUM SPA: Palazzo Versace
Donatella Versace has extended her fashion label to include the first Versace hotel—and therein a classically elegant spa whose name is taken from a Latin phrase meaning “health through water.” Renewal starts with a full body exfoliation using aromatic sea salts and organic oils, followed by a mask selected for your skin type, a warm Vichy rain shower and two therapists gently kneading you all over. Follow that up with a caviar radiance facial and hand treatment, and you’re good to go.
FUNCHUN SPA: Fuchun Resort
Gain insight and wisdom while enjoying Asian-inspired treatments at this designer hot spot favored by wealthy Shanghaiese families and business executives. Located in Hangzhou, along the banks of the Fuchun River, the Funchun Resort is surrounded by tea groves, and many of the treatments performed in its glamorous spa pavilion use fresh plucked tea leaves. Signature treatments, aimed at achieving balance, harmony and prosperity, include the longevity and healing boost, a Hangzhou’s silk cocoon, and a dragon well foot treatment.
C-SIDE: Cowley Manor
At this sophisticated boutique hideaway an hour and a half outside London, the modernist spa is housed in a building sunk into the estate grounds. Treatments designed by holistic bodywork therapist Michelle Roques-O'Neill are intended to keep guests humming with pleasure. Crew members stand at the ready to perform Cloud 9, the spa’s signature deep tissue massage treatment; Coming Soon, for the mother-to-be; Charge, an anti-stress, chill-out massage; Creak, an invigorating sports massage; and Crunch, a deep remedial hot stone treatment.
SERENO SPA: Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa
Set within the Park Hyatt Goa beachfront resort hotel, this wellness destination spa draws on Ayurvedic and Yogic traditions for its menu of holistic treatments and therapies. At this serene sanctuary occupying over 28,000 square feet, it’s all about RR&R—renewal, restoration and revitalization. Indulge in an ultimate body treatment with the Synchronised Abhyanga, also known as the famed four hands massage. This traditional form of massage, in which two therapists perform synchronized, rhythmic movements using rapid strokes, invigorates both body and mind.
CAPRI BEAUTY FARM: Capri Palace Hotel & Spa
We love the idea of homegrown health and beauty treatments, which the word “farm” naturally seems to conjure. Here, as you overlook the Bay of Naples and the island of Ischia, you can indulge with a specialty coffee peel that combats cellulite. After your therapist slathers on the mix of roasted coffee grains combined with vaso-protective phyto essences, your skin will be exfoliated and drained of excess fluids. Follow that with a therapeutic and balsamic steam bath and you’ll feel like a wet strand of linguine—in a good way.
ELAN VITÁL CLARINS SPA: Tintswalo Safari Lodge
In the native Shangaan language, Tintswalo means "the intangible feeling of love, gratitude and peace bestowed upon someone offering you a meaningful and worthy gift." And what could be more generous than a stay at this exclusive safari lodge set within the Kruger National Park. After a day of game viewing in a Land Rover, further renew your spirit at the lodge's Elan Vitál Clarins Spa. Here, internationally trained therapists use natural products to remove the last traces of the city from guests’ body and psyche.
ST. MORITZ SPA: Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains
Whether you’re a winter skiing enthusiast or a summer mountain climber, your sporting inclinations will be beautifully tempered by the treatments offered at the St. Moritz SPA at the Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains in St. Moritz. You’ll cultivate a sense of renewed time and space in this alpine habitat shaped by native timbers and stone. Following your choice of relaxation, sporting or medicinal massage, enjoy a stint in the Aroma Grotto or the Biosauna—a perfect cross between the dry Finnish sauna and the hot, humid steam bath.
Punta del Este
THE BALANCE SPA: Mantra Resort
A stylish refuge designed to enhance guests’ well being, The Balance Spa promises ultimate de-stressing with the latest treatments and services. In addition to the usual massage, body treatments, skin care and beauty regimens, select from three comprehensive spa rituals that improve overall equilibrium. Of special note is the Watsu treatment, in which you can literally reconnect with yourself. As you lie in the arms of an aquatic therapist and are stretched and manipulated while floating in warm water, you’ll enjoy an increased sense of bodily unity.