The 15 Best Destination Spas Around the World

If you’re looking for serenity in 2024, check out these top destination spas.

Exterior of a villa at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, with private pool

A two-bedroom Villa at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

Courtesy of Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

The hustle of everyday life can be overwhelming. The solution? A visit to a destination spa. Unlike typical hotel spas where you toggle between the real world and fleeting moments of tranquility, destination spas immerse you in an environment of complete rejuvenation. And while some offer the occasional indulgence (glass of wine, anyone?), most focus on promoting clean, healthy living with holistic experiences designed to engage the senses, soothe the mind, and revitalize the spirit.

In the latest installment of AFAR’s Hotels We Love series, we’ve scoured the globe to find the 15 best destination spas. From secluded retreats in quiet pockets of the USA to a drop-out wellness island (yes, a whole island) in the Maldives, these sanctuaries offer more than relaxation—they’re a gateway to a world of serenity that rejuvenates both body and soul.

1. Canyon Ranch Tucson

Person in yoga pose outdoors at Canyon Ranch at sunrise

Yoga at Canyon Ranch in Tucson

Courtesy of Canyon Ranch Tucson

  • Location: Tucson, Arizona
  • Why we love it: A pioneering haven for transformation
  • Book now

Canyon Ranch Tucson helped popularize the idea of the luxury health spa when it launched in 1979 in Tucson, Arizona. After embarking on a personal transformation after the death of his father, founder Mel Zuckerman bought and renovated an old ranch in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains to share his newfound insights with others.

At Canyon Ranch, you can tailor your experience to your own wellness goals, or choose from various camps and retreats. The all-inclusive experience encompasses nutritious meals and a wide array of classes, workshops, and therapies designed to push your physical and mental boundaries. You can also book first-rate treatments (Himalayan salt stone massage, Reiki, age-defying facial) and get a health evaluation from an integrative physician. Guests stay in the 165 guest rooms and suites, which have serene desert hues. Canyon Ranch’s footprint continues to grow: There’s a second location in Lenox, Massachusetts, a Canyon Ranch Day Spa in Las Vegas, a retreat in Woodside, California, and another location opening soon in Texas Hill Country. From $1,150 a night, including all meals and daily activities (lectures, workout classes, and more)

2. Miraval Arizona

Miraval Arizona in Sonoran Desert, with white adobe building and large purple flowering bush

Miraval Arizona is an hour outside of Tucson in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

Courtesy of Miraval Arizona

  • Location: Tucson, Arizona
  • Why we love it: A commitment to life in balance
  • Loyalty program: World of Hyatt
    Book now

Located in Tucson’s Sonoran Desert, Miraval Arizona opened in 1995 and joined the Hyatt portfolio in 2017. The 146 casita-style rooms, suites, and villas are housed in adobe buildings and feature a modern, desert-style aesthetic with wood furnishings and private patios—some with tiled fireplaces.

Wellness here is holistic and immersive: The Miraval Equine Experience involves working with horses in a way that allows guests to notice their own personal patterns and inhibitions, while Discover Your Dosha teaches guests about their Ayurvedic constitutional type (dosha) and how it can be optimized for health and well-being. The resort also offers workshops on nutrition and sleep, both nourished during a stay. Miraval’s mantra of mindful living is apparent in its programming and its commitment to sustainability, including 100 percent renewable electricity and food waste composted to support the on-site garden. The formula has been successful: Miraval has outposts in the Berkshires and Austin. From $859 per person per night, including meals, activities, a $175 nightly credit to use toward experiences and spa treatments

3. The Ranch Malibu

 Courtyard at the Ranch Malibu shaded by trees; white one-story building with wall of windows

A courtyard at the Ranch Malibu

Courtesy of the Ranch Malibu

  • Location: Malibu, California
  • Why we love it: A luxe boot camp for holistic transformation
  • Loyalty program: none
  • Book now

Set on 200 sprawling acres in California’s Santa Monica Mountains, the Ranch Malibu is a structured program focusing on fitness and weight loss that some people jokingly call “a high-end boot camp.” Catering to a maximum of 25 guests per week, the Ranch offers a very private environment that’s perfect for celebrities and wellness enthusiasts seeking discretion.

The 21 cottages are stripped down and designed for unplugging—think a neutral color palette and no TVs. Days begin with an early wake-up call for a two- or four-hour morning hike, followed by yoga, workout classes, meditation, massages, and more. When it comes to food, less is more, with vegan meals created for detoxing. It’s all part of a deliberate approach to nutrition, reinforced by weekly cooking classes where guests can learn the secrets of the property’s plant-based cuisine (all sourced from the on-site regenerative organic garden and local farms).

Coffee used to be a no-no here, but the Ranch is now serving an in-house roast with antioxidant-rich benefits. Another new elective offering: colon hydrotherapy. All in all, it’s a structured program that encourages guests to disconnect from their busy lives and reconnect with their health and well-being in a luxurious setting. From $7,600 per person (based on double occupancy) for a six-night stay, including food and activities

4. Golden Door

The spa at the Golden Door, with wood accents on ceilings and walls

The spa at the Golden Door

Courtesy of Tanveer Badal

  • Location: San Marcos, California
  • Why we love it: An iconic Japanese-inspired retreat
  • Loyalty program: none
  • Book now

Golden Door, affectionately known as “the Door,” is more than a spa; it’s a sanctuary of tranquility and transformation set on 600 acres of hills and Japanese gardens north of San Diego. This exclusive retreat has been a wellness haven since the 1950s when it attracted icons like Elizabeth Taylor. Experiences are centered around seven-day retreats (a time deemed essential for a complete reset), though guests can book shorter three-to-five-night stays if the property isn’t full. It’s aimed at women, but there are special men’s and coed weeks throughout the year.

Here, the balance between physical activity and pampering is artfully maintained. The retreat offers innovative culinary experiences, including a new series featuring renowned women guest chefs and cookbook authors, who collaborate with executive chef Greg Frey Jr. to create nourishing, locally sourced meals.

Recently, Golden Door underwent a multimillion dollar renovation, overhauling its bathhouse and pools and updating its 38 rooms, two villas, and gym—all while preserving its Japanese ryokan aesthetic. Committed to sustainability and social causes, Golden Door actively protects the surrounding lands and donates 100 percent of net proceeds to charities aiding abused children. From $7,200 per person (single occupancy) for a three-night stay, including meals, some treatments and activities

5. Mii Amo

The common area at Mii Amo, with high ceiling, fireplace and curved white chairs and ottomans

A common area at Mii Amo in Sedona, Arizona

Photo by Douglas Friedman

  • Location: Sedona, Arizona
  • Why we love it: A spiritually enriching retreat infused with Sedona’s natural magic
  • Book now

When it opened in 2001 as a 16-room sanctuary attached to Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona, Mii Amo was an instant hit. After a two-year $40 million overhaul, the destination spa—set in the mystical Boynton Canyon vortex—reopened in 2023. The redesigned property now has 23 casitas, a two-story movement and fitness studio, and a new signature restaurant, Hummingbird at Mii Amo.

Each guest’s experience is crafted by a “Journey Guide,” who curates a custom itinerary filled with workshops, therapeutic sessions, and spa treatments. The resort has expanded to include exclusive spaces for Journey guests, such as a relaxation lounge and a plunge pool. Mii Amo’s approach to wellness encompasses its culinary experiences, led by executive chef Beau Widener, highlighting sustainable, garden-to-table dining, reducing food miles, and prioritizing relationships with local farmers and purveyors. The retreat’s holistic approach extends to its offerings, including traditional massages, astrology readings, canyon meditation, vortex lectures, and other soul-nurturing activities. From $1,400 per person per night for three nights, which includes meals, classes, and a daily spa credit

6. Lake Austin Spa Resort

The Blue Room at Lake Austin Spa resort, with blue couches, chairs, and tables, plus curtained windows

The Blue Room at Lake Austin Spa Resort

Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort

  • Location: Austin, Texas
  • Why we love it: A serene lakeside sanctuary with a commitment to sustainability
  • Book now

Lake Austin Spa Resort feels like a secluded oasis surrounded by the rugged Texas Hill Country, yet it’s only 30 minutes from Austin’s city center. The resort focuses on wellness and relaxation. Take advantage of the full list of activities (water sports, cooking classes, stargazing, a cardio drumming jam session, a wind-down wine cruise, and more). Or just go for a stroll around Lake Austin or swim in one of the three pools (one is in a rustic-chic barn).

A new partnership with Italy’s ComfortZone is introducing a first-of-its-kind skincare concept: an in-room Wellness Bar stocked with products rotating based on the season. The 40 guest rooms offer luxury with a local touch, designed to blend into the lakeside setting. Guests enjoy all-inclusive meals highlighting ingredients from the on-site organic gardens, including edible flowers. Lake Austin Spa Resort also prioritizes environmental stewardship with its wildlife habitats (fun fact—this is a certified monarch butterfly habitat), use of local building materials, and sustainable practices in gardening. From $775 per person per night, including meals, classes, and activities

7. Rancho La Puerta

Bedrooms at Rancho La Puerta feature an overall white aesthetic with color accents on pillows and throws.

A bedroom at Rancho La Puerta

Courtesy of Rancho La Puerta

  • Location: Tecate, Mexico
  • Why we love it: A time-honored wellness sanctuary
  • Book now

Founded by Deborah and Edmond Szekely in 1940 in Tecate, Mexico, as a summer health camp, Rancho La Puerta has grown into an acclaimed wellness destination. As a guest, you’re not just visiting a spa; you’re immersing yourself in a legacy that’s been nurtured by the Szekely family for generations. The motto is “siempre mejor” or “always better,” and the property is committed to helping people live healthier and happier lives.

Guests stay in one of the 86 casitas adorned with vibrant Mexican textiles and terra-cotta tile floors. Physical activity is a key component of the experience, with a daily roster of optional activities like hiking, qi gong, kickboxing, and cycling, all surrounded by 4,000 acres of natural beauty. Rancho La Puerta’s commitment to the environment shows in its sustainable practices, including water conservation and green construction. And Rancho La Puerta keeps evolving—look for Mayan-style Cacao Ceremonies during full moons, new women’s retreats focused on menopause, and residences for sale in a new private village if you don’t ever want to leave. From $4,900 per person for a weeklong stay (based on double occupancy), including meals, daily fitness, and activities

8. BodyHoliday

A Grand Luxury Oceanfront Suite at BodyHoliday on St. Lucia, with four-poster bed, wood floors, ceiling fan, and white walls

A Grand Luxury Oceanfront Suite at BodyHoliday on St. Lucia

Courtesy of BodyHoliday

  • Location: St. Lucia
  • Why we love it: A laid-back approach to wellness, Caribbean-style
  • Book now

Flexibility is the key word at BodyHoliday, a center for health and well-being on a hill along St. Lucia’s northern coast. The resort’s extensive wellness programming has created a loyal following: Each year, as many as 50 percent of guests are repeat visitors, according to the hotel. They stay in the 155 French Caribbean–style rooms and 4 stand-alone villas. Here, traditional vacation options, such as snorkeling, sailing lessons, and cocktails on the beach, are on offer alongside serious wellness endeavors at the Moorish-inspired Wellness Center, from Ayurveda and acupuncture to weight loss.

The all-inclusive pricing model, which includes a spa treatment each day, makes the experience especially palatable to a newbie looking to try a variety of experiences; the friendly staff make planning a breeze. At the resort’s new farm-to-table dining experience, Rastafarian hosts walk diners through traditional medicinal and harvesting practices in an on-site garden before enjoying a vegan meal. From $532 per night per person, including one 50-minute spa treatment per day, all food and beverage (including alcohol), and all activities

9. Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

Shaded outdoor deck at Kallos Spa at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, with distant views of Greek islands

The Kallos Spa at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

Courtesy of Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

  • Location: Santorini, Greece
  • Why we love it: A retreat where ancient Greek wisdom meets the beauty of Santorini
  • Loyalty program: Andronis Loyalty Club
  • Book now

The ancient Greeks understood the vital connection among mind, body, and spirit. Fittingly, Andronis Concept Wellness Resort—atop a slope on the island of Santorini—provides a modern-day setting for achieving that timeless balance. Each of the 28 spacious suites has a private heated plunge pool and a minimalist design that complements Santorini’s natural beauty.

The resort also has three swimming pools, including a cave pool with an artificial waterfall, and the longest infinity pool on Santorini. The treatments give another nod to ancient Greece, from hydrotherapy to light therapy. Embracing the principles of the Mediterranean diet (with the stamp of approval from a dietitian), the resort offers a food program crafted from locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a holistic journey that nourishes body and soul, all against the backdrop of the Aegean Sea. From $520 per night for two guests, including daily breakfast

10. Palazzo Fiuggi

  • Location: Fiuggi, Italy
  • Why we love it: A historic wellness sanctuary harnessing the healing power of mineral-rich waters
  • Book now

An hour outside Rome in the medieval town of Fiuggi, mineral-rich waters have drawn travelers for centuries. Built in 1910, Palazzo Fiuggi was established to accommodate those flocking to the town in search of healing and rejuvenation. More recently, it was transformed into a modern wellness retreat, blending its storied past with contemporary luxury.

The 102 neutral-hued guest rooms have views of the surrounding Apennine Mountains. The resort’s expansive marble-clad spa, renowned for its thalassotherapy pools filled with Fiuggi’s healing thermal water, offers treatments ranging from Dead Sea mud rituals to innovative sound healing. The resort has recently developed new programs, including the High Performance Method workout and immuno-boost, alongside corporate retreats and a Get Fit four-night option for shorter stays. The resort’s dedication to sustainability is evident in its recycling system, eco-friendly products, and locally sourced meals by three Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck. From $995 per night in double room; wellness programming is additional

11. Sha Wellness Clinic

Infinity pool, with empty white lounge chairs; mountains in distance at Sha Wellness Clinic

Sha Wellness Clinic is in Altea, on Spain’s southeastern coast.

Courtesy of Sha Wellness Clinic

  • Location: Altea, Spain
  • Why we love it: A blend of medical and holistic wellness
  • Book now

Located near the city of Alicante on Spain’s southeastern coast, Sha Wellness Clinic has become a well-regarded destination spa known for blending medical and holistic approaches to wellness. Founded in 2008 by real estate mogul Alfredo Bataller Parietti, who recovered from colon cancer thanks in part to natural remedies including a better diet, the retreat aims to treat major illnesses while also offering preventative programs.

Guests can choose among five themed paths, including Detox, Optimal Weight, and Healthy Aging; plans are all tailored to individual needs, and include seasonal plant- and seafood-forward menus. Sha also recently launched a new Sexual Health Unit as part of its commitment to optimizing every aspect of health. Visitors stay in the 93 minimalist suites or 11 residences, some with views of the Mediterranean, and can explore the area by sailing, diving, and hiking along the sun-soaked coast. Sha is also bringing its clinical wellness-meets-luxury ethos to the Americas with ShaMexico, which opened in January 2024 in Costa Mujeres along the Riviera Maya. From $7,796 per person for a four-day program, which includes food and a number of treatments

12. Six Senses Vana

Interior courtyard at Ayurveda Center at Six Senses Vana, with shallow pool, small plants, and statue

The Ayurveda Center at Six Senses Vana

Courtesy of Six Senses Vana

  • Location: Dehradun, India
  • Why we love it: A fusion of ancient practices and sustainable luxury in the Himalayan foothills
  • Loyalty program: IHG One Rewards
  • Book now

Originally opened in 2014, Six Senses Vana—located in the foothills of the Himalayas—used to be a privately owned wellness retreat known to a discerning few. In January 2023, Six Senses took over the management, putting Vana on the global stage. Ayurvedic doctors consult with each guest to tailor treatments and meals to their personal objectives. The team practices Ayurveda, Tibetan, and traditional Chinese medicine and has a wide array of treatments and activities, including sound therapy led by skilled musicians, cooking classes, craft making, and a day trip to nearby Rishikesh for spiritual enrichment.

From the light-filled main lobby to the 66 rooms, 16 suites, and 4 casas to the infinity pool, Vana’s modern, eco-conscious design seamlessly integrates with the surrounding forest. Sustainability is central, underscored by its LEED Platinum certification and environmentally responsible practices—energy-efficient lighting, water-saving technologies—aiming to preserve the natural environment. In 2024, Six Senses Vana will launch women’s wellness retreats focusing on areas like menopause and Ayurvedic postnatal care—further signs that this is not just a destination for physical rejuvenation but also a holistic journey toward spiritual and sustainable well-being. From $980 per night for two (based on double occupancy), including food, wellness screenings and consultations, activities, and one private treatment/session per night per guest

13. Joali Being

L-shaped outdoor pool with open-air pavilion in background at Joali Being Maldives

Joali Being Maldives has a biophilic design that reflects the natural colors of the surrounding landscape.

Courtesy of Joali Being

  • Location: Bodufushi Island, Maldives
  • Why we love it: An entire island devoted to wellness
  • Book now

Joali Being isn’t a wellness retreat that deprives partakers of pleasure. This is a whole well-being island—the first of its kind in the Maldives—that sets you on a transformative path of personal renewal, but ensures that you have a lovely time while doing it. The resort’s philosophy is based on four pillars—mind, skin, microbiome, and energy—and everything is connected to one of them, including the delicious food created by chefs who understand nutrition. Days are filled with sound therapy, herbology tailored to guests’ needs, and a range of treatments, from energy to bodywork and Watsu to elemental therapies.

The 68 sprawling villas hew to biophilic design principles that blend into the surroundings. But it’s also the simple things here that bring a calming sense of joy, whether you’re in the sound garden with instruments that vibrate at a cellular level, on the cycling route that winds beneath palm trees, or floating in the warm, clear waters. From $2,675 per night, including breakfast, based on two people sharing a villa. Well-being programs start at an additional $1,693 per person based on a five-night stay

14. Como Shambhala Estate

Exterior of a villa at Como Shambhala Estate, with private infinity pool and view of surrounding jungle

A villa at Como Shambhala Estate in Bali

Courtesy of Como Shambhala Estate

  • Location: Bali
  • Why we love it: A blend of nature and nurture in Bali’s spiritual heartland
  • Book now

With Indonesian names that translate to earthy concepts like “wind song” or “forest in the mist,” the 30 terra-cotta and thatched-roof rooms, suites, and villas at the 22-acre Como Shambhala Estate encourage quiet reflection. They jut from the hillsides and line the Ayung River’s banks, offering refuge from the frenetic scene nearby in Ubud.

Most people come here as part of a yoga or health retreat, and everything—from farm-to-table dining to custom health programs—aims to guide guests toward reaching their wellness goals with help from a cadre of resident experts, including a dietician, an Ayurvedic doctor, and a reflexologist, plus fitness, yoga, Pilates, and qigong instructors. But it’s not all work. After a day of outdoor adventure (the resort can arrange for hiking, biking, and paddleboarding down the Ayung), retire to your private spring-water infinity pool and meditate on events yet to come. From $532 per night, including breakfast

15. Chiva-Som

Large pool at Chiva Som in Thailand, with a few palm trees and ocean in distance

The pool at Chiva Som in Thailand

Courtesy of Chiva Som

  • Location: Hua Hin, Thailand
  • Why we love it: A beachfront wellness sanctuary
  • Book now

Chiva-Som, a beachfront wellness sanctuary in Hua Hin, Thailand, has been at the forefront of health and well-being since it opened in 1995. Set on seven acres of tropical gardens with the Gulf of Thailand as a backdrop, this retreat combines the healing traditions of the region with contemporary practices. Chiva-Som offers more than 200 tailored treatments, including spa therapies, medi-spa services, physiotherapy, and a comprehensive fitness program. It continues to evolve, with recent expansions including genomic testing and personalized supplement services.

The 54 minimalist rooms and suites feature light wood, white interiors, and expansive views (complete with butler service). Chiva-Som’s concern for sustainable practices is evident in its eco-friendly initiatives (recycling food waste into compost for the gardens, plastic-free products), plus community outreach with environmental conservation, health education, and more. From $900 per person per night, based on single occupancy (minimum three-night stay required), including food, wellness consultation, and a daily treatment

Additional reporting by Nicola Chilton, Jennifer Flowers, and Devorah Lev-Tov.

Laura Begley Bloom is a travel expert and content strategist who contributes to a wide range of magazines and websites and appears regularly on television outlets ranging from the Weather Channel to CNN. Journalism is part of Laura’s heritage: Her great great grandfather was a Civil War correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.
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