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
These days, any spa worth its sea salt offers Lomi Lomi massage, but knowledge of the technique was once restricted to five Hawaiian lineages. Westin Moana Surfrider therapists train with these families, keeping the tradition strong. 2365 Kalakaua...
Noreste de Centro de la Fortuna de San Carlos 13 Km, Provincia de Alajuela, Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
A luxury hotel in the shadow of Arenal Volcano features a series of pools—one equipped with slides—and waterfalls set amid tropical gardens. Lava streaming from the volcano may provide an after-dark show. Tabacón Thermal Resort...
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
Tucked along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Rosewood Mayakoba features 120 suites as well as an overwater spa, which specializes in Maya health rituals. The spa’s Temazcál Ritual draws on ancient customs while providing mental...
Mambal, Abiansemal, Mambal, Abiansemal, Kabupaten Badung, 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 Sathorn 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. —...
Budapest, Tabán, Hungary
The Rácz Hotel and Thermal Spahas 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 electricity, so...
Just an hour (and a world) away from the skyscrapers of Dubai city is Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, located within a nature preserve founded to protect the Arabian oryx and its habitat. Today, the spear-horned antelope freely roam the...
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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