10 of the World’s Best Spas to Visit in 2020

Feeling the need to practice some much-needed self care or take a mental health break? Finding time for rest and relaxation is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. According to Mental Health America, “Deep relaxation, like meditation, when practiced regularly not only relieves stress and anxiety, but also is shown to improve mood… it can decrease blood pressure, relieve pain, and improve your immune and cardiovascular systems.” Start 2020 off on the right foot with rest, relaxation — and glowing skin — at some of the world’s best spas.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives

Best Spas: Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
Landaa Giraavaru Ayurvedic treatment (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons.)

Four Seasons operates two resorts in the Maldives — Kuda Huraa and Lanaa Giraavaru — and both have extraordinary spas. Kuda Huraa’s island spa just reopened after a massive renovation, using OSEA Malibu products in facials and body treatments, harnessing the natural prowess of seaweed and other marine botanicals to purify and hydrate. At Landaa Giraavaru, spa treatments are rooted in Ayurvedic philosophies, including yoga therapy, chakra blessings, and tantric traditions. All guests receive a complimentary consultation with the Ayurvedic physician for dietary, lifestyle, and treatment recommendations dependent on your dosha. For my light and airy vata dosha, I had a grounding Muladhara blessing to balance my root chakra at the base of the spine. A slow deep massage with Ila Spa vetiver and ginger oils, combined with Tibetan singing bowls and frankincense smoke, left me feeling calm, centered, and strong. There are even weeklong Ayurvedic cleanses to relieve deep-seated stress, and menus at all restaurants are labeled with dish recommendations for the three different doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha.

Guerlain Spa at Hotel X Toronto

Best Spas: Hotel X Toronto
Photo courtesy of Hotel X Toronto.

Canada’s first Guerlain Spa at Hotel X is the newest and nicest spa in Toronto, a glamorous addition to a truly international city. Guerlain may be best know for its perfume and makeup, but their skincare collection is stellar too. Choose from Super Aqua for hydration; Orchidée Impériale for anti-aging; or Abeille Royal, a healing line made from rare honeys and royal jelly made by endangered black bees off the coast of Brittany. The honey repair facial is gentle but effective, including a honey cataplasm mask that is available for retail purchase and hands-down one of the best sheet masks I’ve ever tried. Your therapist will offer a complimentary makeup application to conclude, but your skin will look so good you won’t even need it.

Rosewood Mayakoba

Best Spas: Rosewood Mayakoba
Photo courtesy of Rosewood Mayakoba.

Mayan Pre-Hispanic traditions meet Ayurvedic philosophy at Sense Spa Rosewood Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Elect to try the Itzam herbal cure, where Rosewood’s resident shaman cleanses your spirit with copal incense before cocooning you in an ancient herbal clay recipe with plants harvested from the spa’s sensory garden. Or perhaps try one of the new Ayurvedic treatments, like the conscious body ritual, which incorporates 11 different essential oils while working through various acupressure points and meridian massage. Service here is impossibly attentive. A spa attendant comes to spritz your face and cover your eyes with cucumbers in the sauna and magically appears with a chilled glass of aloe vera juice when you exit. Enjoy fresh cold-pressed juices while relaxing in the recently renovated relaxation area before following your therapist along the boardwalk through a veritable jungle maze to your treatment cabana.

Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum

Best Spas: Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum
Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum’s luxury spa pavilion (Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.)

The Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum is the most luxurious summer getaway in Turkey, open late April through October. Villas are terraced gently down to the azure blue waters of Paradise Bay, and at the spa you can enjoy Aegean Sea views from the outdoor cabanas while waiting for your therapist. Lavender, sage, and olive oil from the resort’s garden are incorporated into various treatments, but the private Turkish hammam rituals are the most unique signature treatments to try. Since the days of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish baths have been a place to relax and detoxify body and mind. Melt into a warm marble table for a thorough full body scrub and cleansing, followed by a soothing body mask and scalp massage. 

G2O Spa + Salon, Boston

Best Spas: G2O Spa + Salon
Photo by Febian Shah Photography.

Boston’s premier day spa has a discreet entrance in posh Back Bay that belies the multi-story spa mecca within. G2O Spa + Salon is the rare spa that offers a plethora of treatments and has excellent standards across the board, from hair and nail services to massages, advanced facials, and body treatments. Begin your spa day with a salt cave session to reduce stress and relieve respiratory ailments before a body contour wrap, HydraFacial, or CBD massage. When it’s time to get coiffed for a night out, a custom-blended Kerastase FusioDose conditioning treatment is always a good idea to seal in shine and vibrancy after a cut, color, or blowout.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best Spas: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Regent Seven Seas Splendor and Explorer cruise ships have the most luxurious spas at sea and they just launched a new globally-inspired Serene Spa & Wellness, featuring restorative treatments integrating techniques and ingredients from the 450 destinations they sail to around the world. There’s no better way to relax during a day at sea — so book your spa days sooner than later. For example, the Around The World massage includes Caribbean-inspired coconut poultices, Chinese bamboo, and Swedish massage techniques. A deep sea heat mask uses Baltic bladderwrack seaweed to detoxify and ease tension, while Regent’s signature manicure and pedicure use South Pacific frangipani.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai

Best Spas: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai
Talise Ottoman Spa thalassotherapy pool (Photo courtesy of Jumeirah.)

The 86,000-square-foot Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is one of the grandest in all of the Middle East. Between the saunas, snow rooms, thalassotherapy pools, Jacuzzi, outdoor cabanas, and traditional Turkish hammam, it’s easy to get lost here and you’ll never want to leave. There’s a separate floor dedicated to couples with opulent private suites complete with private hammams, saunas, whirlpools, and relaxation areas. On weekends (Thursday and Friday nights in Dubai), hotel guests can book treatments 24 hours a day. So if you’re jet-lagged and can’t sleep or partying until the wee hours, maybe the sultan’s signature rose oil massage will lull you back to sleep.

Strata Integrated Wellness Spa, Colorado Springs

Best Spas: Strata Integrated Wellness Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
Pink Himalayan Salt Room (Photo courtesy of Strata Integrated Wellness Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club.)

If you’re serious about skincare, you’ll fall in love with Strata Integrated Wellness Spa at Garden of the Gods Resort & Club in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Biologique Recherche facials are a highlight — the cult-favorite French brand is only in a few select spas in the United States and executive director of spa services Rebecca Johnston is one of just six Biologique Recherche ambassadors in the country. Johnston is 70 years old, but looks 20 years younger. Instead of steam and extractions, the Biologique Recherche protocol eschews heat or anything that might inflame the skin, relying instead on potent ingredients to extract, exfoliate, and purify. Manual lymphatic drainage plus electric current stimulation with BR’s patented Remodeling Face Machine is even better than a face lift.

Carillon Miami

Best Spas: Carillon Miami Wellness Resort
Photo courtesy of Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.

This Art Deco landmark on Miami’s North Beach was a glamorous party scene in the 1960s and more recently operated as Canyon Ranch before the current hotel owner reclaimed the Carillon brand. Today, the resort boasts the largest spa and wellness facility on the Eastern Seaboard and has a residential tower in addition to the hotel. Spa facilities are lavish, including uncommon amenities like an herbal laconium, Miami’s only igloo, and a special foot spa. The vast array of treatments can be overwhelming, but a simple rejuvenating massage is a sure bet and safe place to start. Don’t rinse off the nourishing coconut and argan oil, but let it soak in for best results. Plus, there are 160 group fitness classes offered each week on a complimentary basis for hotel guests, from belly dance to sound bowl meditation to rock wall bootcamp. 

Kohler Waters Spa at Lincoln Park

Best Spas: Kohler Waters Spa at Lincoln Park
Kohler Waters Spa Thermal Suite (Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.)

Kohler’s first Chicago location in Lincoln Park brings the hydrotherapy resort experience to the city with a 20,000-square-foot urban spa and 21 treatment rooms. Along with a sauna, steam room, and plunge pool, the hydrotherapy circuit at Kohler Waters Spa at Lincoln Park includes a large-scale hydromassage experience whirlpool with blue mosaic tiles and a gooseneck waterfall. Hydrating body wraps, cupping, and CBD massages are just a few of the specialty treatments to choose from. Exclusive to Chicago are new treatments like the detoxifying city life facial and the digital detox wrap, using dry brush exfoliation and a mineralized seaweed body mask to restore balance and reverse the stresses of too much technology. There’s even a Kevin Murphy hair salon so you can end your spa day with a perfect blowout.

Amber Gibson spends 340 nights a year in hotels searching for the latest and greatest in the travel industry. Her writing and photographs have appeared in print, online, and on the radio for outlets including Four Seasons Magazine, NPR, Saveur, Departures, Rhapsody, Hemispheres, American Way, Private Air, Wine Folly, Plate, Chicago Magazine, Tasting Table, and Serious Eats. She graduated as valedictorian from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a fellowship to attend the 2017 Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Champagne, dark chocolate, and gelato are her biggest weaknesses. She also admires and supports CAASE in Chicago. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

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