16 best trips for spa vacations
Fancy a bit of relaxation? (Come on, you deserve it!) These destinations stand on their own as fabulous vacation spots. The kicker? They also make for downright heavenly spa vacations. If you have an ideal spa destination of your own, just submit a trip request and Insight Guides will do the rest.
Now, let's talk luxury spas...
Nepal is the gold standard in Himalayan wellness. An eclectic mix of Buddhist and Vedic health philosophies burst to life at the Dwarika's Luxury Hotel, a lavish destination that brings relaxation to new heights. Explore the outdoor meditation maze just after sunrise for an unforgettable inward journey fueled by the natural beauty all around. Or step into the Chakra Sound Therapy Chamber to reset and balance your energy. The hotel is also home to the Pancha Kosha Himalayan Spa, situated amidst verdant greenery; the perfect setting for a holistic body treatment. Pencil yourself in on Insight Guides' Exclusive Everest adventure.
Thailand has long been the go-to Southeast Asian destination for massages. Sprinkled throughout the country are multiple Oasis Day Spas, which epitomize luxury wellness. On Insight Guides' Phuket Surprise holiday you can indulge in a traditional Thai massage coupled with a Thai herbal hot compress. From there, feel your stress melt away with an aromatic full-body oil treatment. For a similar effect with a natural backdrop, consider Waree Raksa hot spring in Krabi, included on Insight Guides' Krabi Discover holiday. Enjoy a warm soak while surrounded by regal mountains and surreal tranquility.
3. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is perhaps best known for its paradise beaches, traditional tea plantations, and historical colonial charms. But its spa scene also holds its own, making it an ideal location to unwind and pamper yourself. You'd be hard-pressed to find a hotel that doesn't include a spa extension. Traditional Ayurvedic treatments and holistic approaches are the norm in Sri Lanka. They work in tandem to promote harmony, well-being, and natural wellness. Spa Ceylon in Colombo is one of our personal favourites. The best part? They sell a variety of home products to convert your private residence into your own spa oasis. Give it a whirl on our Insight Guides' Sri Lanka Deluxe holiday.
When it comes to dialing up the relaxation, Singapore reigns supreme. According to our travel experts, dreamy Sentosa Island should be on your spa bucket list. Here, the Capella award-winning Auriga Spa pampers visitors with rejuvenating treatments that are centered on the moon cycle. Drawing inspiration from home-grown herbs and local customs, Auriga taps into the lunar cycle to aid in healing and promote well-being on both a physical and mental level (think new moon massages that include meditations on new goals). Enjoy a day here on Insight Guides' Indulgent Singapore vacation.
5. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is famous for eco-adventures, continually attracting a mix of naturalists and travellers who simply have a passion for the tropical great outdoors. It should come as little surprise that this Central American jewel does natural spas like nowhere else. Ride on horseback through the wild jungle and arrive at the foot of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Your journey will likely be punctuated by sightings of monkeys, exotic butterflies, and rare birds. When you arrive at the base, volcanic mud and revitalizing mineral water await amidst the rainforest. Explore the other natural gems that Tamarindo has to offer on a spectacular Insight Guides excursion.
Where natural spa treatments are concerned, even the world's best spa would have a tough time competing with the Dead Sea. This international landmark, which is also the lowest point on earth, is celebrated for its unique wellness qualities. The sea's mineral-rich water, for instance, makes it ideal for full-body exfoliation. Similarly, the area's natural mud (thick and dark) is also loaded with purifying and restorative properties. A Dead Sea mud wrap is said to soothe tense muscles, optimize circulation, and promote relaxation. Travel on Insight Guides' Treasures of Jordan tour and you'll have time to check out Zara Spa. They actually have Dead Sea water-filled pools.
Natural Dead Sea facial mask. Photo: Shutterstock
Vietnam is brimming with upscale spas designed for travellers looking to unwind while on vacation. In Hanoi, the ultra-serene Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake hotel (which is positioned next to an 800-year-old ancient pagoda) is home to an excellent spa facility. In the Mekong Delta, the luxurious Victoria Can Tho Resort serves up unique reflexology treatments, body wraps, scrubs, massages and more. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City plays host to the Le Grand Spa at the Grand Hotel. When it's time to recharge your batteries after a day exploring Ho Chi Minh City on a trip with Insight Guides opt for a deep tissue massage or a spot of hot stone therapy: the perfect way to unwind before your next excursion.
Madagascar has a wonderfully otherworldly vibe going on. The exotic wildlife, the unmatched national parks, the lush rainforest; it's an enchanting place indeed. It's also one of the globe's top destinations for spa vacations. Capital Antananarivo is where you'll find the Hotel and Spa Palissandre, where both incredible vistas and legendary spa treatments await. Everything from whole-body seaweed wraps to shiatsu to four-handed massages are on the menu.
To take your Madagascar spa experience to the next level, pay a visit to the Jungle Spa at the Princesse Bora Lodge & Spa on the heavenly island of Ile Sainte Marie. Treatments are performed with home-made natural skin products. What's more, the circular roof actually collects fresh rainwater that's used in some treatments. Ready to soak it all in? Insight Guides' Dreaming of Madagascar holiday is a great place to start.
Oman is an Arabian paradise that brilliantly blends desert themes with luxury accommodations. The Six Senses Spa at the Al Bustan Palace redefines what it means to take a relaxing vacation. For starters, the setting is divine. Nestled into the Haijar Mountains' rocky cliff faces, the building itself is a decadent reflection of the local culture; complete with shimmering reflecting pools and magnificent arched ceilings and stone walkways. The spa treatments are just as exceptional. Improve circulation and keep puffiness at bay with a green coffee body sculpting session, or melt into a Cleopatra-style milk and honey bath. Each treatment is more lavish than the next. Dreaming of Oman? An Insight Guides travel expert can plan your luxury getaway from start to finish: submit a trip request now.
The City of Light is arguably one of Europe's premier destinations for a spa vacation. For something charmingly un-modern, step back in time at the Relais Christine. This old-school St-Germain mansion features a spa that's building dates back to the thirteenth century. Old stone vaults create a subterranean oasis with an almost aristocratic feel. Treatments run the gamut from aroma-massage to hydrating facials to deep-tissue rubdowns.
For one of Paris's most upscale spa experiences, you can also add the Dior Institut to your list. The facility was inspired by Christian Dior himself and uses Dior products to revitalize guests from head to toe. Treat yourself to a radiant smile treatment (a.k.a. lip massage). The treatment aims to smooth muscles, plump lips, and stimulate skin tone.
Experience both on Insight Guides' Luxury Paris holiday: simply amend the itinerary to suit your interests.
Couple spa treatment. Photo: Shutterstock
11. Mexico City
Mexico City is a hotbed of top-tier spas. The Hotel Habita has stellar facilities that have plenty of treatments on the menu: perfect for unwinding after taking in the art, culture, and culinary delights of Mexico's colourful capital. Restore balance and energy flow with a diamond crystal massage, or settle in for a silk massage, which uses wine or chocolate gel to hydrate the skin.
Venture to Spa Marquis at the Marquis Reforma and you'll be in for a treat. Its bubbly hydrotherapy tub sets the stage for some serious pampering. The spa's diamond magnetic ritual is another unique treatment that balances the chakras using gems. Afterward, guests are slathered in clay mixed with diamond dust. Hello, luxury! Treat yourself to some Mexican spa goodness on Insight Guides' Mexico: Highlands and Coast holiday.
12. South Africa
Cape Town is often revered as the jewel of South Africa. But this spectacular destination offers more than just fabulous restaurants, outstanding nightlife, lovely scenic drives, and mountain scenery you have to see to believe: the Mother City is also home to some spectacular spas. The facility at the One&Only Hotel has go-to treatments like ultra-luxe massages and facials, along with nurturing prenatal massages and soothing vitality treatments.
Meanwhile, the award-winning spa at The Twelve Apostles Hotel is altogether heavenly. This beachy oasis is surrounded by Atlantic shores and majestic mountain terrain, making for a tranquil oasis indeed. Kick stress to the curb with an aromatherapy massage in their outdoor spa gazebo, which includes decadent treats like oysters and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
Get lost in magical South Africa on trip with Insight Guides: explore suggested itineraries online now.
Oh, Madrid... between the cultural attractions, old-world charms, and can't-miss tapas treats, it's little wonder this Spanish gem attracts so many curious tourists. It also makes for an absolutely divine spa vacation. The offerings at the AC Palacio del Retiro Hotel are a mix of holistic Ayurvedic approaches and traditional massages, facials, and body wraps, with some plunge pools, beauty treatments, and massage lessons thrown in for good measure. After exploring the city on foot, enjoy this relaxation haven for a rejuvenating pedicure before primping for dinner. Give it a whirl on Insight Guides' Made for Madrid trip; an exercise in luxury.
14. Buenos Aires
Travelling through Buenos Aires? Put the Floralis Spa at the Recoleta Grand hotel on your list for a bit of downtime. Hiding on the tenth floor, this spa escape features an adjustable steam bath, Scottish shower, an outdoor counter-current swimming pool, and more. In other words, it's a slice of peace and tranquility for busy jet-setters. You can check it out at your leisure on Insight Guides' Argentina: Northern Tour holiday.
For something a touch more exotic, the Verde Manzana spa has gourmet spa treatments on the menu. With names like Chocoterapia, Fangoterapia, and Vinoterapia, we're betting they're anything but ordinary.
15. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a glamorous, pulsating cityscape that packs a big punch for culture-hungry travellers. It's also one of Asia's premier locales for spa vacations. The Peninsula Hotel leads the pack here with a massive luxury spa that ticks all the boxes. Sprawling more than 12,000 square feet, the facility provides knockout views of Victoria Harbour—and even more impressive wellness treatments. In addition to revitalizing facials and massages, the spa also touts a variety of "signature journeys," like half-day de-stress packages and an array of detoxifying experiences. The Detox and Renew treatment, for example, is centered on a deep tissue and lymphatic drainage massage. Book one for yourself on Insight Guides' Hong Kong Deluxe trip, which features accommodation at The Peninsula.
The Mizuki Spa at the Conrad Tokyo is an experience in itself. Resting on the 29th floor, sprawling, panoramic city views are part of the ride. On top of amenities like a dry steam sauna, guests are also treated to a Hinoki bathtub made out of Japanese cypress. A soak utilizes bamboo sticks to "bring the body into balance." Among the other top offerings are anti-cellulite sessions. Lucky for you, the Conrad is the hotel of choice for Insight Guides' Completely Japan trip.
For an outdoor, nature-drenched experience, consider a jaunt to Oedo Onsen Monogatari. Here, you'll be delighted with a number of natural thermal baths that Time Out Tokyo reports is especially good for relieving muscle, nerve and joint pain.
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