Our sisters of yesteryear understood the health and beauty benefits of indulging in relaxation and rejuvenation (Cleopatra, we are looking at you!). And now, with ancient rituals and holistic well-being becoming firmly embedded into modern life, spas are more popular than ever. Impeccably designed, inspired by their natural surroundings, and boasting world-class treatments and service, here is marie claire's pick of the world's most beautiful spas
Set high on a hilltop, surrounded by lush jungle overlooking the Ayung River, The Sacred River Spa is a sanctuary of true serenity. Calling on the philosophies of Balinese culture – the intertwining of Sekala (the physical world) and Niskala (the metaphysical world), the treatments on offer go well beyond relaxing massage and skin therapy bliss. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in local, spiritual practices by visiting Balinese healers and high priestesses who perform cleansing rituals and chakra ceremonies, evoking a deep sense of calmness, clarity, and balance. The spa also offers anti-gravity yoga and meditation, daily wellness classes, and guided walking tours through the impossibly beautiful rice paddy field terrain. All of this combined with the renowned Four Seasons’ standards of excellence promises a luxurious and nurturing experience for the body that will no doubt also touch the soul.
Switzerland is renowned for its beautiful spas and Gstaad Palace is without a doubt the country's Grande Dame. A favourite travel destination with A-Listers, The Palace has perfectly merged old-school charm and decadence, the comfort and warmth of a chalet, and ultramodern luxe. The spa features eight beautifully appointed treatment rooms, an exquisite private suite, saunas, steam rooms, and pools, however the star may well be the incredible hammam, in which guests are pampered through a sequence of treatments during a two-hour ritual. The luxuriously cozy lounge is equipped with a fire place and spectacular views of the mountains and is the perfect place to savor a day of indulgence.
Nestled amongst the luminous canyons of the Utah desert, Amangiri's spa has been designed to reflect the healing traditions of the Navajo people through nature's four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. With deep relaxation being a focal point, the Water Pavilion offers guests floatation and other hydrotherapy treatments in its stunning stone-lined step pool. Every effort has been made to mirror the eminent surroundings within the spa, with spacious rooms, clean lines, natural materials and beautiful treatments. The desert and its vastness offers a special sense of peace and freedom and at Amangiri's oasis, true relaxation is guaranteed.
Stepping into the Royal Mansour's spa is like stepping into an enchanted fairy tale. Created in the image of an intricate aviary and flooded in natural light, this white paradise is majestic, exotic, soothing and pure. Spanning three floors, the spa features a watsu bathing area, 13 treatment rooms, three private spa suites, a stunning indoor swimming pool pavilion, and private manicure and pedicure suites. And at the heart of this peaceful oasis lies an authentic hammam where guests are treated to a signature bathing ritual, in perfect keeping with the region's culture and heritage.
Just a couple of hours out of Sydney at the border of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage region, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley has brought absolute luxury to the Australian wilderness. The spa, a tranquil haven amongst the bushland, worked closely with Sodashi to create a menu of spa therapies that highlight the indigenous ingredients found growing on the property. Healing practices from around the world have been drawn from to create a unique spa experience that is sure to impress even the most discerning guests. The six beautiful treatment rooms each feature their own shower, change room, and Japanese-style soaking tub, with floor to ceiling windows showcasing our beautiful landscape in all her glory.
The mere thought of a tropical island with white powdery sand and crystal clear turquoise water is often enough to calm the mind and send us off into a dream state. At Velaa Private Island, the beauty of the surroundings may set this dreamy scene, however the real relaxation begins at the island's 'My Blend by Clarins' spa. Perched above the water, the treatment rooms are standalone cabins and clients are pampered with tailored treatments blended by therapists to address individual needs. Fitted out with a sauna, steam room, and outdoor jacuzzi the spa even boasts a snow room for a Scandi style after-sauna cool down, as well as a gently swinging cloud-shaped pod for holistic relaxation. The whole experience at Velaa is truly a dream manifested.