8 of the most holistic spa resorts in the world
An oasis flowing with soothing aromas of essential oils, slow rhythmic harmonies and gentle hands softening your fatigued muscles – all with no connection to the worries of the outside world – is for many a blissful dream. But why not turn it into a heavenly reality? Forget your daily struggles and melt into a serene world of luxurious spa resorts.
After more than 18 months of snap lockdowns, challenging homeschooling lessons, inconsistent business closures and alarming health struggles, the global community is truly in need of relaxation, rejuvenation and an abundance of pampering.
The US recorded the highest number of adults struggling with sadness, stress and anxiety in the world, according to research from 2020. Some 33 per cent of the nation experienced poor mental health, followed by 26 per cent in the UK and Canada, 24 per cent in France and 23 per cent in Australia.
Four in 10 adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety during the pandemic – a figure up from one in 10 in 2019.
And it’s not just the pandemic fatigued who are in need of stress relief. Much of the global spa industry – which is set to soar to more than US$133 billion by 2027 – took a hit after international travel was restricted, leading to a decline in guests.
In the US alone, the International Spa Association found revenue and visits to spa resorts plummeted by more than 35 per cent, resulting in a US$7 billion drop in total revenue.
Whether you’re after a therapeutic escape to one of the finest world-class spa resorts, or you simply want to play your part in stimulating the industry once again, there really are no losers when it comes to the indulgent industry.
From papaya body wraps and blood injections to potato skin treatments and crystal massages, the first step of your holistic journey begins now.
Best spa resorts in the world
Clinique La Prairie
Highlight: using science for age-defying treatments
On a mission to suspend time through its potent elixirs and pioneering therapies, Clinique La Prairie is one of the few with a highly sought-after ticket to slowing down ageing.
An exclusive oasis of purity, one of the finest Swiss spa resorts looks over the picturesque Lake Geneva, illustrating a dreamy destination boasting holistic therapies, cutting-edge science and ancient healing practices.
Developed by Professor Paul Niehans 90 years ago, Clinique La Prairie has created a truly age-defying transformative experience that takes science and medicine to exceptional heights.
Powerful injectable treatments elevate the brand’s vision for eternal youth, where those feeling adventurous can opt for a number of revitalising cocktails including the Platelet-Rich Plasma natural treatment. Promising to regenerate and tone, the therapy uses your own blood, which once taken is put in a centrifuge that isolates and harvests platelet-rich plasma. This gets reinjected into the dermis to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, visibly reducing wrinkles, scars and dark circles.
The clinic is also renowned for its Cell Boost technique – described as being medicine for the face, it preserves youthfulness using your very own cells. The two-day therapy creates natural self-regeneration, rejuvenates skin and stimulates collagen. Starting with blood tests, the expert medical team establishes a profile of your cell tissue to develop an entirely personalised treatment. From there, the in-house plastic surgeon removes a number of fat cells before reinjecting them into your face after filtrating the cells, giving you a fresh glow.
Attracting a discreet following of the world’s most elite, Clinique La Prairie is lauded for its groundbreaking blend of science and beauty to preserve youth simply through the power of natural elements.
Highlight: platinum and caviar facials
Connected to Clinique La Prairie only through a shared heritage, luxury skincare La Prairie became a standalone brand in 1978 offering luxury cosmetic treatments without the use of medical procedures.
Crafting a new era of decadence, Crown Spa Sydney showcases La Prairie’s renowned skincare at one of the newest holistic sanctuaries to open in Australia complete with relaxation rooms, vitality pools, yoga and meditation spaces and infrared saunas.
Lauded as the ultimate in luxury skincare, the spa showers you with innovative anti-aging concepts, expert massages and aqua rejuvenation for a unifying wellness experience.
Decadent options include the coveted 90-minute Platinum Rare Facial, which uses potent Platinum-infused Haute-Rejuvenation skincare to completely transform the skin, and the Skin Caviar Essential Facial, where the finest caviar from Swiss sturgeon is used to leave skin feeling deeply hydrated, nourished and glowing.
Chiva-Som Hua Hin
Highlight: six holistic journeys to choose from
Why opt for a 60-minute massage when you can spend 14 long nights enjoying endless indulgence?
Described as being the "haven of life where healing begins", you can treat yourself to holistic self-discovery incorporating the mind, body and spirit for ultimate balance.
Perched on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin was once home to a quiet fishing village before the Thai royal family built their summer palaces in the 1920s, harnessing the tranquillity of the region only a 2.5-hour drive south of Bangkok.
Building on the inherent beauty of the fashionable seaside district, Chiva-Som allows guests to temporarily swap the reality of everyday life.
The array of treatments includes Five Elements massage, spa facial therapy, South Indian pampering, Oriental foot ritual, intensive hair ritual, bioplasma, soothing eye treatment and Chiva-Som Spa Haven Body Cocoon. Not to mention, you have unlimited use of the water therapy suites, plus nutritious meals and a personalised health and wellness consultation.
Every guest can hand-pick their spa resort journey, where each program has been developed based on the six dimensions of wellness: spa, physiotherapy, holistic health, nutrition, fitness and aesthetic beauty.
From improving circulation and relieving pain to expert energy therapies and overall healing, Chiva-Som will help you hit the refresh button on life.
Essque Zalu Zanzibar Spa
Highlight: ancient African rituals
There’s nothing better than discovering a hidden gem – and one of East Africa’s most luxurious spa resorts, Essque Zalu Zanzibar, is exactly that.
From the moment you take your first breath of the fresh Indian Ocean air, you’ll instantly start to unwind and free your mind from everyday stressors.
A melting pot of traditional African pamper rituals and memorable sensory experiences, the Healing Earth Spa is a blissful haven for exhausted bodies.
If you’re experiencing tired skin, the Miracle Repair Ritual will elicit a youthful glow using African potatoes – world renowned for its healing properties – by cocooning your skin to deeply nourish and heal.
But if you’re after something unique, the Intonga Amasatchi could be for you. Using wooden massage sticks, which represent the wisdom of the Earth in ancient traditions, any tension of stiff or stressed muscles is released. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a facial massage, which stimulates circulation.
However, it’s the Maasai Ritual that really sets one of the richest spa resorts apart. Reclining within a traditional Tanzanian teepee, you will be deeply immersed in Maasai culture, sending you on a two-hour renewal journey. The treatment features a foot ritual using moringa leaves, a sugar scrub and an African potato balm; a singo scrub and aromatherapy, which is traditionally given to young women before their wedding day; followed by an African facial using natural botanicals and gentle sugar scrubs.
This rich African treasure will have you swapping the reality of the 21st century for a simpler, holistic view of life from the spellbinding ancient rituals.
Highlight: a distinct philosophy blending ancient and modern techniques
Creating a sanctuary for busy minds, Euphoria is lauded as its own universe that leads guests on an insightful journey of self-discovery.
And it’s truly a unique philosophy. Euphoria blends the East with the West, ancient Hellenic medicine with Traditional Chinese medicine and science with naturalism, creating an approach that reportedly can’t be found anywhere else on Earth.
Energy healing, cosmetic facials, slimming treatments, acupuncture, lymphatic draining, pine-scented Euphoria Relaxing Aroma Massages and Reiki are among the diverse offerings at one of Europe’s dreamiest spa resorts.
Doubling as an architectural wonder and wellness oasis, the spa boasts an ice fountain (where you scoop fresh handfuls of ice to rub over your body), a sphere pool, a Finnish sauna, a tepidarium (a warm room of fine marble benches that emit warmth between 37–39°C to re-energise immunity), Waterwell Kneipp therapy (four floors connected by a stunning spiral staircase provides hot and cold footbaths to promote circulation) and a Byzantine Hammam experience (a sought-after ancient Eastern ritual combining cleansing techniques and massage).
One of the wonders of the architecturally enchanting spa resort is the Speleotherapy salt room – a Greek respiratory therapy. The special room features a wall of partially translucent blocks of salt, which emit hues of amber and act as a natural disinfectant. The practice helps to alleviate asthma and allergies while providing a calm, detoxifying experience.
Wellness can be traced back to Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates is believed to be the first physician to focus on preventing illness rather than treating disease, making it one of the finest spa resorts in Europe.
You’ll no doubt leave feeling refreshed and euphoric – after all, it’s in the name.
Emirates Palace Spa
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Highlight: 24-karat gold facial
An Arabian elixir for wellness, the Emirates Palace Spa is an exotic haven promising a transformative experience laced with regal touches.
A truly decadent escape, the extravagant spa resort allows you to embark on a number of treatments – all which have been carefully created with the utmost attention to detail.
Lauded as an "avant-garde treatment", be treated to a 24-karat gold radiance facial for an eye-catching glow. The 90-minute facial begins with a signature foot ritual followed by a deep-cleansing sequence, which prepares the skin for the golden touch. Then 24-karat gold sheets are micronised into the skin under an ultra-sonic nano mist, with a hydrating serum and relaxing scalp, head and foot massage completing the treatment.
But if that’s simply not enough of the rare sparkly element for you, then step up your rejuvenation with A Day of Gold – there is possibly nothing as purely pampering as this 5.5-hour signature palace escape. Boasting a 24-karat gold radiance facial, a signature palace massage, light lunch, refreshments and a Bastien Pedicure, you are bound to feel as precious as gold itself.
An anti-ageing Oxygen Facial, which is described as an alternative to Botox; an Imperial Hammam ritual, which begins with traditional black olive soap, followed by a ghassoul body mask and cleanse; and a 3-MAX treatment using ultrasonic cavitation to help remove cellulite and burn fat are among some of the unique spa resort services.
For those willing to take their wellness journey to the next level, you can access The Elixir Clinic’s exclusively created VitaDrip infusions, which promise a host of benefits from overall wellbeing to strengthening immunity to further boost your inner vitality and outer radiance.
Vila Vita Spa
Highlight: crystal massage
Transport yourself to a world of relaxation with Vila Vita Spa’s aromatic massage rituals to reunify your body and mind.
Nestled along the Atlantic seaside in Algarve at the southernmost point of Portugal, the state-of-the-art spa resort is heralded for its timeless elegance and exceptional savoir faire.
Embark on a wellbeing body treatment unlike any other with Vila Vita’s collaboration with French skincare brand Sisley Paris.
One of the shining stars of rejuvenation is the Golden Quartz Treatment – 90 minutes of hot sand therapy combined with healing quartz crystals. The gentle hum of singing bowls allows you to drift away on Gharieni’s MLX Quartz bed while expert massage techniques and heated crystal pindas send you into deep relaxation.
For those after a day of pampering, the Ultimate Relaxation Package will have you covered. Promising to leave you feeling refreshed, the therapeutic touch of experts banishes any lingering stress through treatments including craniosacral therapy, Indian Head Massage Ritual, a Phyto-Aromatic Radiance Facial by Sisley and a luxury pedicure.
Don’t be tempted to leave until you’ve reset your mind and sought spiritual clarity with a chakra meditation or even challenged your newly rejuvenated body with aerial yoga.
Eau Palm Beach
Highlight: elevate your self-care
Press pause on life and embrace the simple pleasure of ‘me time’ at the Eau Palm Beach wonderland in Florida.
Float a candle in the wishing well, let your muscles melt away with a signature massage and lose yourself in fluffy cupcakes and free-flowing champagne – the US-based spa resort will have you living the dream.
Embrace the sensorial experience which runs from Pause, to focus on relaxing with aromas of lavender and mint; to Play, focusing on energy with hues of red through the therapy room; to Perfect, focusing on results-driven beauty treatments with delightful scents of ginger and vanilla.
Taking your experience to the next level, be sure to bathe in the grand bathtub or shower beneath the summery skies in the privacy of your own luxury boudoir surrounded by a secret garden.
Among the highlights is the Self-Centered Garden, which boasts cabanas, pristine water gardens, a central dipping pool and swinging chairs.
Promising to begin the indulgent affair with a glass of champagne and end it with a smile, the most majestic of all spa resorts will leave you feeling completely spoiled.
Feature image: Euphoria Retreat website