Five Sensational Spa Vacations

June 5, 2019

A true spa vacation offers much more than a quiet retreat. It’s an ethereal escape and an opportunity to reinvigorate your very spirit. Some travelers bring home local artwork or indigenous crafts from their far-flung vacations. Others like an irreverent T-shirt, colorful cookbook or sparkly bauble to remind them of a favorite trip. Me? I prefer to commemorate my vacation with something I can’t put in my suitcase and bring home: a massage.

When I travel, I carve out plenty of time to indulge in a pampering spa treatment—preferably at the beginning of a trip to set the tone for rest and relaxation. After all, what better way to truly let go of the “daily grind” back home than with a stint at the spa? I suggest combining a massage, facial, body scrub or wrap with a steam and sauna to feel fully renewed, refreshed and get into vacation mode … for mind, body and soul.

The most luxurious resort spas offer so much more than simple body treatments. It’s easy to spend several hours enjoying spa amenities, such as private outdoor pools, soaking tubs, relaxation lounges and spa-menu meals. On-site fitness centers allow me to exercise before a treatment, so I feel I’ve “earned” my hour to zone out and lie limp on the massage table. Actually, I’m more motivated to work out on vacation since resorts typically offer state-of-the-art cardio equipment, innovative yoga classes, nature walks, water aerobics or other fitness offerings that I simply don’t have easy access to at home.

On my vacations, I’ve had my chakras balanced, tried meditation sessions and gone on a blindfolded sensory journey, courtesy of scheduled spa services. I like to sample different experiences that enhance my well-being, even if they are a little out of my comfort zone. Travel is all about expanding horizons and you certainly can do that at the spa.

I appreciate, too, that resort spas often use native botanicals in their treatments. “Local” and “organic” are common buzzwords at spas worldwide, so no matter where you travel, you’ll likely find indigenous ingredients in body products as well as techniques that reflect the area culture. That means in Hawaii, consider booking a lomi lomi massage and in the Caribbean, a seaweed wrap. You know what they say … when in Rome!

Whether you can only “get away” for a couple of hours on a family vacation or you’re planning an entire trip that focuses on your well-being and fitness, the resort spa is a sanctuary where you can renew your spirit and feel good—really good—at the same time. Sure, that souvenir sculpture might look lovely on your mantel, but a therapeutic massage in a thatched beach palapa with waves crashing in the distance and a cool ocean breeze tickling exposed skin … well, that soothing experience can evoke happy memories for years. Here are five fabulous spas at luxurious destinations that cater to discerning clients with a variety of outstanding services and amenities.

Le Sereno Spa on St. Barts Enjoy a moisturizing massage in Le Sereno Spa’s intimate waterfront pavilion or in the comfort and privacy of your villa at this intimate property on the east end of St. Barts in the French West Indies. Choose from exotic services, such as the St. Barth Sun Downer, a body mask with clay, melon mousse, aloe vera gel and mint that is ideal for soothing sun-kissed skin. Or perhaps the St. Barth Chill Out, a full-body massage that incorporates the use of warm clamshells and avocado oil. Skin-care products used in all treatments are by Ligne St. Barth, manufactured on St. Barts and featuring extracts from plants, fruits and flowers that are grown on the island.

The Spa at Pelican Hill Gorgeous Italian-inspired architecture sets the tone for pure luxury at this spa on the coast of Newport Beach, California. The Spa at Pelican Hill’s Acqua Colonnade features warm Roman soaking pools beneath a barrelvaulted ceiling, plus an herbal steam room and sauna, all to enjoy before or after your relaxing, invigorating, or replenishing treatment. Consider a soothing Amber Gold Signature Massage to relieve stress, a detoxifying Coastal Renewal scrub-wrapmassage combination that incorporates ocean algae and Mediterranean herbs, or a rejuvenating PH Sports Scrub for stimulating circulation and revitalizing tired skin.

Spa & Salon at Aria If you’ve partied too hard in Las Vegas, the spa at the ARIA Resort & Casino is the ideal place to soothe puffy eyes and nourish dehydrated skin. Unique amenities include the Shio Salt Room, where walls lined with salt bricks encourage the healing of skin irritations and a healthy upper respiratory system. Heated Japanese stone beds soothe sore muscles, an outdoor infinity pool invites relaxation, and plush seating in the cozy fireside lounge just might put you to sleep after a night on the town.

Hualalai Spa at Four Seasons Hualalai Say aloha to relaxation at this Big Island spa that honors the Hawaiian environment and culture with treatments featuring local ingredients, such as black lava salt, hibiscus flowers and macadamia nuts. Sample a Ti Leaf Wrap, Coconut Scrub or Lomi Lomi Massage in your own private hale (“house”) in the open-air Waiea Garden. With a focus on well-being, this forward-thinking spa also offers acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, in addition to a full menu of nail and salon services.