Just like how little kids dream they could possibly count every grain of sand on every beach on earth, I like to dream I could visit every single one of the most epic destination spas on earth one day. That’s a reasonable goal, right?
With input from well-traveled friends, I rounded up of some of the world’s greatest destination spas for a recent travel story. Turns out I’ve only personally been to two out of the 11 I ended up including in the piece, so I’ll be adding the rest to my bucket list!
The World’s Most Epic Destination Spas
Island Spat at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Maldives
The Island Spa at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is located on its own tropical island. That means you get there by a quick sail in a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian boat, across Kuda Huraa’s lagoon. Thatched-roof treatment pavilions feature wooden floor decking, louvred side walls and sliding doors opening directly to the ocean. And get this: Below each massage bed, a window in the floor allows guests to gaze at the marine life below. Can you die?!
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has, as you might expect, a flair for the exotic, with a look and feel meant to evoke the luxury of 1930s Shanghai. The spa, spread over two floors high above the Las Vegas Strip, offers treatments that combine modern techniques and Eastern traditional therapies. In addition to 17 treatment rooms including seven private couple’s suites, there’s a Chinese foot spa, relaxation lounges with views of the strip, and a hammam.
St. Regis Punta Mita, Mexico
The 10,000-square-foot Remède Spa—pictured as the top image in this post—at this posh Mexico property offers views of the beach paradise environs, with a totally expansive indoor-outdoor flow. There are cold plunge pools and relaxation gardens as well as outdoor treatment options, including mani-pedis, under shady canopies. There are nine private treatment rooms—plus the Remède Luxury Suite. (Read about my visit to the St. Regis Punta Mita here.)
Villa Padierna, Spain
Hotel Villa Padierna Thermas de Carratraca in Marbella, Spain has spa access from the hotel’s main building through a so-called “cromotherapic” underground passage. The spa takes over three different floors, with a total of 21 treatment rooms. There’s a hammam, Vichy showers, themed steam rooms, and an old fountain where guests can drink the water that comes directly from the spring, purported to have healing properties.
Spa Montage at Montage Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Perhaps the most luxe day spa in the Los Angeles area, Spa Montage Beverly Hills is located smack dab in Beverly Hills’ prime Golden Triangle real estate. The look and feel is inspired by traditional Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, and sprawls over 20,000 square feet. The centerpiece of the whole experience is the large mineral wellness pool located in an airy, decked-out atrium. Bonus: That’s a co-ed space perfect for luxuriating together with a date. (This is my absolute favorite spa in town, and a divine way to spend a birthday!)
The five-acre Spa Botánico is located in a pineapple garden amid lush natural landscaping. The natural environment underscores the holistic approach to wellbeing, and the spa pairs local Puerto Rican ingredients with indigenous soothing traditions. Two treehouse-style rooms rooms allow you to experience treatments amid the branches, and outdoor showers and plunge pools keep the whole experience feeling sublimely organic.
Spa at Four Seasons Chiang Mai, Thailand
There’s an exotic feel to the Spa at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, where the air smells of blended oils, herbs, and spices. Seven treatment suites for individuals and couples each pretty much feel like entire houses: They have indoor outdoor showers, private herbal steam rooms, and outdoor soaking tubs. Two of the suites have tropical rain shower massage tables. Thai rituals inspire the treatments.
Auberge Spa at Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley
The Auberge Spa nods to the tradition of taking in Calistoga’s healing waters, with a heated mineral pool surrounded by woodlands and private Lake Lommel. There’s a soaking pool, a sanctuary with fireplace, and lounge chairs overlooking moss-covered oaks.
Spa at Esperanza Resort, Mexico
The signature experience at the Spa at Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas is the “water passage,” a water therapy experience that includes a warm-spring soaking pool, steam caves, and a cool waterfall rinse. The whole idea is to stimulate the lymphatic system and loosen stiff muscles in preparation for your spa treatment… like desert clay purification, or papaya-mango body polish. (Yes, please.)
Geo Spa at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia
The Geo Spa is set amid forested limestone cliffs and reflecting ponds, with secluded thatched-roof pavilions with floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor rain showers. The whole thing feels a part of its natural surroundings, with walls and furnishings done in sage green and beige. Three relaxation bales perched on reflecting ponds offer space for after-treatment chill time. There’s also a yoga pavilion, steam room for each treatment pavilion, and a spa bar for health elixirs and herbal tisanes.
Located high above the Arabian Gulf, the natural-light-filled Talise Spa covers two levels, with separate men’s and women’s amenities. There are separate indoor infinity pools, jacuzzis, and treatment rooms overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The gentleman’s area includes panoramic sauna and steam lounges looking out to the World Islands and Downtown Dubai, from behind fog-proof glass. For about $2,000 USD, you can blow out your visit with a couples massage followed by a secluded moonlight swim in the private infinity pool, champagne and roses, and monogrammed robes.
What’s the most amazing spa experience you’ve ever had?