The World’s Most Unique Spas
From Miami to Tibet and a Few Places In-Between
by Lee Cobaj
Carillon Beach, Miami
Why: The Carillon Beach Hotel had big boots to fill when its predecessor, spa expert Canyon Ranch, left this iconic beachfront, but it has done so with style. Its 70,000-square foot indoor-outdoor space is the largest luxury spa on Miami Beach. There are 54 treatment rooms to cater to your every whim. Wellness concierges even get in touch before you arrive to tailor spa, fitness and wellness programs to you. There are holistic health options in the medical wellness program and a European-inspired thermal experience with nine distinct therapeutic stops to propel you to hydrated health. It’s not like Miami residences to be understated and the Carillon makes sure to impress during every part of your vacation from the longest stretch of private beachfront in Miami to the 150 all-suite residences in the classic Miami modern décor.
Don’t Miss: When you’ve had enough of swapping between the spa and the beach, get your adrenaline going on the two-story indoor rock-climbing wall.
Mezzatore Spa, Italy
Why: There’s something enduringly glamorous about the Italian island in the Bay of Naples. While Capri has long drawn the A-list crowds, neighbouring Ischia – with its 70 hot springs and thermal pools – has attracted spa goers since Roman times. Mezzatore Resort & Spa, perched on a rocky headland amid 17 acres of pinewood forest, is a private retreat for the modern-day R&R seeker. The spa and wellness center, set in a 16th-century watchtower, makes use of the thermal hot springs it sits atop, which flow into the three water therapy pools. The island’s volcanic mud is used in an array of spa treatments boasting detoxifying and weight-loss properties. Afterwards, guests can indulge in the refined Neopolitan cuisine at the Chandelier restaurant or dip into the pool nestled in the private cove and soak up the blue-sea-and-bougainvillea-speckled views.
Don’t Miss: The trails leading up and away from the hotel’s rocky headland join up with the many hiking paths that snake around the Tyrrhenian coastline.
Iridium Spa, Tibet
Why: At 12,000-feet above sea level, surrounded by the majestic snow-topped peaks of the Himalayas and rich in Tibetan culture, this holistic hideaway serves up both a physical and spiritual high. Awake each morning to the sound of monks chanting at the nearby Sera monastery; meditate in serene gardens with birdsong; stare in awe at the mountaintop Polata Palace and then make for the gilded 10,000-square foot spa. Its serene, somewhat mystical atmosphere is instantly relaxing. What’s more, each guest receives a consultation to create a bespoke treatment that is customized with herbs, lotions and potions to create an experience that will be most beneficial to them. There are countless mind and body-soothing options on offer – Himalayan Rose facials, nutmeg butter massages, and perfumed pedicures – but it’s the two- and three-hour sessions that will have you reaching nirvana. Try the Alchemy of Light ritual, which begins with a guided meditation, followed by a relaxing massage, a floral facial and a plunge in a gem and glacial water mineral bath. Afterwards sip on sweet and salty Tibetan tea as you admire the epic mountain scenery.
Don’t Miss: A dip in the gold energy pool. This bejewelled pool – lined with crystals and 24-karat gold leaf – is heated to a constant temperature of between 82 to 89 degrees and has ravishing views of the resort’s lake and the Himalaya Palace.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Why: This otherworldly geothermal spa – a turquoise blue oasis locked in a swirling black lava field in Grindavik on the Rekyanes Peninsula near Reykjavik– is one for the bucket list. Powered by the earth, seawater rises from 6,500 feet below the surface, soaking up silica, salts and other minerals along the way before being heated by natural steam vents to a balmy 100 degrees – perfect for pampering. Elsewhere, there are pine-scented saunas, steaming caves and pummelling hot waterfalls, while a selection of indoor and outdoor treatments includes water massages, salty scrubs and cleansing facials using volcanic ash. Visit this bathing beauty around the summer solstice in June for a better chance of blue skies or slip into its waters in winter, when the skin-tingling sensations are even more extreme, the crowds fewer and you have the chance – fingers crossed – to spot the green, pink and blue hues of the Northern Lights dancing across the sky as you float on your back in the mineral-rich waters.
Don’t Miss: Icelanders have used the mineral rich silica silt from the Blue Lagoon for centuries as a skin softener. Visit the gift shop before you leave to stock up on brightening masks, algae exfoliators and moisturizing hair treatments.
Six Senses, Oman
Why: Cradled between the aquamarine Gulf of Oman and tawny Hajar mountains, Six Senses Zingy Bay has everything you could want from a Middle Eastern spa break; yoga sessions on white sand beaches, treatment rooms with palm-shaded private pools and rose and eucalyptus scented stone hammams. Taking a holistic approach to health and wellness, the hotel offers guests everything from high-octane mountain biking to snorkelling amongst rainbow-bright fish to dhow cruises, while more adventurous types can climb up and paraglide from nearby cliffs. Also on hand is a rotation of visiting wellness practitioners; some holding sleep retreats, some leading philosophical discussions, and others bringing alternative treatments such as chakra cleansing and spiritual healing to the table. Fill your downtime with intensely relaxing scalp massages, deep tissue rubs and turn-back-time facials by Margy’s of Monte Carlo. And don’t miss the Royal Moroccan Hammam, a signature treatment in which therapists slather, scrub, rub and buff your skin to a newfound level of softness.
Don’t Miss: Earn your relaxation time with a hike to the hotel’s secret destination spa. A hike along the dramatic coast takes you to your own private cliff-hugging sanctuary, where a personalized full-body massage is performed in the open-air.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil
Why: Set amid thick green jungle and manicured gardens on the fringes of the mighty Iguazu Falls (the hotel has special access to the national park when it’s closed to other visitors) this is a spa that you’ll find difficult to leave. Start your day with an early morning trek through lush tropical forest – looking out for rare giant anteaters, broad-snouted caiman and jaguars along the way – before taking to the water to sail within 16 feet of the eye-popping, ear-splitting waterfalls. It’s a thrilling experience that will leave you wanting for the calm pace of the spa. Total relaxation and all-natural treatments rule here. Expect to find a calming decor with rich glossy woods, hand-painted tiles and light-filled rooms, as well as jojoba beads, fresh aloe and red mangrove roots making an appearance on the menu, all of which have been responsibly harvested from the lush rainforests of Brazil. The most popular treatment is the 90-minute Rainforest Scrub and Massage, which combines tropical essential oils with steaming hot compresses and languorous strokes.
Don’t Miss: For a truly unforgettable experience, splash out on a ride in the hotel’s helicopter, which swoops and dives over some 350 waterfalls and the surrounding wilderness.