From city sanctuaries to desert retreats, these are the best luxury hotel spas for every type of traveler
The smell of lemongrass, the sound of cascading water and the feel of a fluffy bathrobe evoke instant warm fluff. For travelers stepping off a long-haul flight or simply in the mood for some rest and relaxation, a spa session is the antidote to whatever ails you.
With health and wellness at the forefront of everyone’s mind in recent years, wellness travel has seen a massive increase. This year, experts expect the industry to raise $817 billion, which is expected to reach $2.3 trillion by 2025, according to a report by the Global Wellness Institute.
Fancy an intravenous drip to cure a hangover or a massage from an intuitive blind healer? With demand peaking, hotel spas around the world are stepping up their treatment options, vying to provide guests with unique and holistic experiences. Whether you’re heading to the lush jungles of Bali or the majestic mountains of Bhutan, here are our spa picks for every type of traveler.
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Best Jungle Spa: Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Bali has become a respite for those seeking a dose of spirituality or looking to perfect their down dog (thanks, Julia Roberts). In the heart of the island, next to the cascading rice terraces of Ubud and the gentle flow of the Ayung River, is the Mandapa Spa. Lined with palm trees, jungle ferns and the sounds of the rainforest, this spa is a place where a Balinese healer can take care of all your aches and pains. From a massage by intuitive blind healer Ibu Ketut Murs to a Beras Kencur, a traditional Balinese rice exfoliation, this spa embraces the tranquility and ingredients of its jungle backdrop.
How to book: Cash rates start at $823 per night or 80,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Best Overwater Spa: St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Designed to look like a spiny sea creature seen from a seaplane, the Iridium Spa at the St. Regis Maldives features free-standing treatment rooms suspended above turquoise water. Imagine a rainbow-colored parrotfish swimming into view as a pair of hands work out that bend in your left shoulder. Along with a menu of massages, facials, wraps and acupuncture, the spa’s dedicated Ayurvedic specialist will keep your chakras aligned and provide complete satisfaction. Before or after your session, take a dip in the spa’s Instagram-famous hydrotherapy infinity pool, the largest in the Maldives.
How to book: Cash rates start at around $1,372 per night or 96,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Best Spa in the Desert: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
Emphasis is placed on the spa moniker of this Hyatt desert wellness retreat. Surrounded by arid mountain landscapes and leafy palms, Miraval appears like a mirage in the Arizona desert. Located just outside of Tucson, it’s where tech-obsessed professionals come for a digital detox designed to reprogram and recharge, so it’s no surprise that its spa facilities and services are extensive. From a Deep Desert massage to a rejuvenating desert sage body treatment, you’ll leave the desert feeling anything but dusty.
How to book: Rates start at $629, including full board, select on-site activities, $175 resort credit per night per person, and shared airport shuttle. World of Hyatt members can book reward nights between 40,000 and 50,000 points per night for single occupancy and between 57,000 and 72,000 points per night for double occupancy.
Best spa in town: Aman Venice
Venice’s iconic Grand Canal is one of Europe’s most spectacular sights and home to incredible hotels. One of them, Aman Venice, is a romantic rococo work of art of disconcerting and extraordinary beauty. There, a laid-back, understated spa with Asian inspiration and Italian charm is tucked away on the third floor. Using salt, clay and water from Italy’s famous spa town, Salsomaggiore Terme, therapists perform a variety of treatments like the Tempio della Salute thermal mud wrap and Aman Venice foot treatments. . It’s the perfect way to end a 20,000+ step day spent exploring the world’s most famous sinking city.
How to book: Cash rates can be found from $950 a night, but easily reach over $1,100 and beyond during peak seasons.
Best mountain spa: Six Senses Paro
The peaks of the Himalayan mountains are not far from this Six Senses Paro, where harmony and balance are the key to life. At the resort’s spa, singing bowls and crystals are incorporated at the start of each session. A few standout treatments include the Bhutan Herbal Body Scrub and Memories of Bhutan Ritual, beginning in the spa’s private meditation room and ending on a plush massage table.
How to book: Cash rates at Six Senses Paro start at $1,450 for double occupancy. Unfortunately, IHG One Rewards cannot be used to book here.
Best Spa for Fitness: Equinox Hotel Spa
Since its inception in the 90s, Equinox and fitness have become synonymous. At his first-ever hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards, you can combine a world-class workout with a spa session. Cool off in the cryotherapy chamber or sculpt your body even more with a silhouette shaper from Biologique Recherche. These high-tech treatment options include wellness intravenous drops designed to reduce inflammation and maximize hydration. This fitness spa is designed to make you look as good as you feel.
How to book: Cash rates start at $995.
Best Cultural Body Treatments: Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
At this secluded Four Seasons property in Tanzania, giraffes and elephants are known to roam past the midpoint of treatment. The open-air Kani Spa incorporates ancient rituals and ingredients like baobab seeds and heated Rungu, a wooden stick used by Masaai warriors, into its sessions. Each treatment is linked to the savannah, such as Ubuntu, which means “I am, because you are” in Zulu. This four-handed massage includes native plant oils harvested from nearby rural communities.
How to book: Rates start around $1,800 including full board and a daily game drive.
Best for Families: Greater Wailea Maui
Hawaii isn’t just for honeymooners – it’s a family vacation paradise. At this Waldorf Astoria property, Mōhalu by Spa Grande welcomes couples and families. The Malama Family Duo massage allows a parent and their teen to choose a 50-minute massage, including a Hawaiian Lomilomi or a Swedish one. For children ages 6-17 there is a chocolate coconut massage, a facial designed to fight acne and the Chocola Tsunami, a chocolate massage followed by a manicure for you immerse yourself in the “Aloha spirit”.
How to book: Cash rates start at around $1,000 a night, but are often more expensive. Hilton Honors members can redeem 110,000 points per night for a stay.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. REGIS RESORT/FACEBOOK