Best Spas Around the World
Collected by Kirsten Alana , AFAR Local Expert
Being pampered isn't always foremost on my travel list, and certainly not foremost when I'm at home in New York City. Yet if I am going to splurge for anything, it's a little "me time" at a spa or salon. Here are my favorites around the world!
2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Built in 1901, the legendary "First Lady of Waikiki" blends Victorian architecture with a golden beach and turquoise seas. Putting a luxury hotel in a deserted backwater was a bold move—but one that paid off. Tourism took off here and the...
Noreste de Centro de la Fortuna de San Carlos 13 Km, Provincia de Alajuela, Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
On the west side of Arenal Volcano, this 900-acre tropical reserve was a labor of love for owner and architect Jaime Mikowski, who spent years planting acres of native plants and coaxing the land’s natural mineral springs into a river that...
88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013, USA
Part Roman bath, part Turkish hammam, part massage parlor—it all adds up to a restorative haven in the concrete jungle that is Manhattan. Aire is part of a chain that started in Seville, Spain, and every location is specially chosen to...
México 307, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Secluded and service-oriented are the adjectives that best describe Rosewood Mayakoba, a resort in Playa del Carmen that opened in 2008. At 1,600 acres, the resort is expansive, offering plenty of room for guests to feel that they have their own...
Mambal, Abiansemal, Badung Regency, Bali 80352, Indonesia
It took three years to realize this passion project: a spa retreat built mainly of bamboo. Book a riverfront suite, or the hotel can arrange a stay in a rural family’s home. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
27 S Sathon Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
The Metropolitan by Como is a luxury hotel with 171 large rooms and an impressive spa that includes yoga studios and an outdoor lap pool. At my restaurant, Nahm, I put subtle twists on authentic Thai dishes. You’ll find a whole page of curries. —...
1 Kayenta Rd, Canyon Point, UT 84741, USA
Set within a postcard-perfect corner of southern Utah and surrounded by national parks, the 600-acre Amangiri is tucked away in a protected valley among the canyons, flat-topped mesas, and desert landscapes of the Grand Circle. The resort’s...
Budapest, Tabán, Hungary
The Rácz Hotel and Thermal Spa has its own hot spring, which supplies the extensive spa. The complex includes a 16th-century Turkish bath with a domed roof, saunas, steam rooms, and five pools. The oldest parts of the spa have no...
7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA
Opened in 1987, the relatively youthful Fairmont Scottsdale Princess may not have the history of some of its neighboring resorts, but the North Scottsdale spot—with its fountained plazas, Mexican colonial–style architecture, and 65 scenic acres—...
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve - Dubai - Al Ain Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
An hour's drive from the densely packed skyscrapers and shopping malls of Dubai, Al Maha, which opened in 1999 as the United Arab Emirates' first luxury desert resort, lies within a 55,600-acre nature reserve. Al Maha operates on the African...
Campos do Jordão - State of São Paulo, 12460-000, Brazil
A country retreat two hours north of São Paulo, Botanique is surrounded by 700 acres of forest and gardens. The 10,000-square-foot spa tucked into the hillside specializes in remedies inspired by local healing rituals. Try a mud therapy; the area’...
5200 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
The 90-year-old orange tree grove at Royal Palms Resort and Spa predates the property. Now, the hotel’s Alvadora Spa pays homage to the fruit with citrus facials, exfoliations, and massages. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.
72-100 Ka'upulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Before their scrub, wrap, or massage, spa guests visit the Apothecary, where they choose from a list of ingredients that includes black lava salt, hibiscus, honey, and macadamia nuts. From $795. (808) 325-8000. This appeared in the...
2525 Allison Ln, Newberg, OR 97132, USA
With its indoor pool and lavish spa, the Allison Inn & Spa is the most comfortable place to recharge between Willamette Valley wine tastings. At the restaurant Jory (named for a local soil that’s ideal for growing pinot noir), chef...
Bad Blumau 100, 8283 Bad Blumau, Austria
Ecologically minded architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed this compound’s central spa, living roofs, and buildings topped by onion domes. A portion of your bill goes to the World Wildlife Fund. Rogner Bad Blumau, 43/(0) 33-835-1000, from...
60 Jangchungdan-ro, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Treatments at the Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul draw on regional therapies and ingredients. Banyan Tree’s green tea bath treatment was inspired by the bathing rituals of jjimjilbangs—Korean public bathhouses. Korean green tea is rich in...
222 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA
I stumbled into Sweet Lily's in TriBeCa with a friend on the kind of day that a good pampering session is really needed. It's not often I treat myself to a pedicure but I couldn't have been more happy that I did that day. (So happy in fact, I've...
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