The smell of lemongrass, the sound of cascading water and the feel of a fluffy bathrobe evoke instant warm fuzzies. For travelers stepping off a long-haul flight or just craving some rest and relaxation, a spa session is the antidote to whatever ails you.
With health and well-being at the forefront of everyone’s mind for the past few years, wellness travel has seen a massive uptick. This year, experts expect the industry to rake in $817 billion — which is projected to grow to an eye-watering $2.3 trillion by 2025, according to a report from the Global Wellness Institute.
Fancy a hangover-curing IV drip or a massage from an intuitive blind healer? With a spike in demand, hotel spas around the world are stepping up their treatment options, vying to give guests wholly and holistically unique experiences. Whether you’re headed 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 reprieve for those seeking a dose of spirituality or looking to perfect their downward dog (thanks, Julia Roberts). In the heart of the island, beside Ubud’s cascading rice terraces and the gentle flow of the Ayung River, is the Mandapa Spa. Fringed by palm trees, jungle ferns and sounds of the rainforest, this spa is a place where a Balinese healer can tend to your every ache and pain. 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 when viewed from a seaplane, the St. Regis Maldives’ Iridium Spa has stand-alone treatment rooms suspended above the turquoise water. Imagine a rainbow-hued parrot fish swimming into view as a pair of hands works out that kink in your left shoulder. Aside from a menu of massages, facials, wraps and acupuncture, the spa’s dedicated Ayurvedic specialist will keep your chakras aligned and you completely blissed out. 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 around $1,372 per night or 96,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Best desert spa: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa
There’s a strong emphasis on the spa moniker of this Hyatt desert wellness retreat. Surrounded by arid mountainscapes and leafy palms, Miraval appears like a mirage in the Arizona desert. Located just outside Tucson, this is where tech-obsessed professionals come for a digital detox designed to reprogram and recharge, so it’s no surprise its spa facilities and services are extensive. From a Deep Desert Massage to a Desert Sage Body Polish renewal treatment, you’ll leave the desert feeling anything but dusty.
How to book: Rates start at $629, including full board, some onsite activities, a $175 nightly resort credit per person and shared airport shuttle. World of Hyatt members can book award nights from between 40,000 to 50,000 points a night for single occupancy and 57,000 to 72,000 points per night for double occupancy.
Best city spa: Aman Venice
Venice’s iconic Grand Canal is one of Europe’s most spectacular sights — and home to some incredible hotels. One of them, Aman Venice, is a romantic Rococo work of art that’s as bewilderingly beautiful as it is over the top. There, a relaxed and 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-plus step day spent exploring the world’s most famous sinking city.
How to book: Cash rates can be found starting at $950 a night, but easily reach over $1,100 and beyond during peak seasons.
Best mountain spa: Six Senses Paro
The Himalayan mountain peaks are not far from this Six Senses Paro, where harmony and balance are key to life. At the resort’s spa, singing bowls and crystals are incorporated into the start of each session. A few standout treatments include the Bhutanese Herbal Body Scrub and the Memories of Bhutan ritual, starting at the spa’s private meditation room and ending on a plush massage table.
How to book: Cash rates at the 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 its first-ever hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards, you can combine a world-class workout and spa session. Cool down in the cryotherapy chamber or sculpt your body even more with a silhouette shaper by Biologique Recherche. These high-tech treatment options include wellness IV drips concocted to reduce inflammation and maximize hydration. This fitness-forward 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 remote Four Seasons property in Tanzania, giraffes and elephants have been known to wander past mid-treatment. The open-air Kani Spa incorporates ancient rituals and ingredients like baobab seeds and a heated Rungu, a wooden baton used by Masaai warriors, into its sessions. Each treatment is tied to the savannah, like the Ubuntu, meaning “I am, because you are” in Zulu. This four-handed massage includes oils from indigenous plants harvested from nearby rural communities.
How to book: Rates start around $1,800, including full board and a daily game drive.
Best for families: Grand Wailea Maui
Hawaii isn’t just for honeymooners — it’s a family vacation haven. At this Waldorf Astoria property, Mōhalu by Spa Grande welcomes couples and families. The Malama Family Duo massage allows a parent and teen to choose a 50-minute massage, including a Hawaiian Lomilomi or a Swedish. For kids ages 6 to 17, there’s a Chocolate Coconut Massage, a facial made to fight acne and the Chocola Tsunami, a chocolate massage followed by a mani-pedi to get you into the “Aloha Spirit.”
How to book: Cash rates start around $1,000 a night but are often more expensive. Hilton Honors members can trade in 110,000 points a night for a stay.
FEATURE PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. REGIS RESORT/FACEBOOK