As if you need any more reasons to plan travel, let’s add some R&R at a spa to that list. And we’re not talking a medical spa (though those are great too). We mean a lay-around-and-get-massaged-and-scrubbed-and-lulled-into-ultimate-bliss spa. Spending major quality time in the relaxation room, then starting it all over again the next day. These spas are so special, they make their locations destination-worthy. It was a competitive list, but these are hands down the top spas in the world.
For those of us who watched Nine Perfect Strangers, a luxury wellness retreat might be on the brain. Luckily, we have five of the best spas you can find around the world. Some of these might challenge what you think of as restoration, but don’t worry, none of these will have quite the effect that Tranquillum does on the show. No drugs here — just simple relaxation.
Six Senses Kaplankaya, Turkey
Usually your facial won’t be designed by a TEDx-speaking molecular neuroscientist, but when it is, it’s incredible. This Six Senses spa is first on our list not by accident, as it is one of the top spas in the world. It’s known for treatments that heal the brain, skin and gut, and you won’t find anywhere else that so completely transforms your whole being. Though you’re not going to find energy healing or soul cleansing, you will find a team of precision-focused scientists who can diagnose and address your every skincare and age-related issue. And when you aren’t being rubbed down on a table, there’s a 100,000-square-foot gym that is so beautifully decorated it could be an art gallery. There’s also an NBA-sized basketball court and a cycling studio that we wouldn’t want to miss.
The Chedi Muscat, Oman
In the Middle East, you go big or you go home. And you can’t go bigger than The Chedi Muscat in Oman. At least, you can’t get a bigger pool. The longest pool in the Middle East — a 338-foot long, temperature-controlled oasis — is one of the biggest attractions. But it just isn’t the pool that makes this one of the top relaxation destinations in the world. The spa itself is almost equally as expansive and isn’t to skimp on, and we haven’t even mentioned the nicer-than-your-living-room gym.
Ayurveda and indigenous rituals meet Balinese therapies in an intense and deeply transcendental experience.
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan
The Dead Sea is a natural healer on its own, but the hotel’s Antara Spa harnesses the sea’s incredible salty power to create one of the most life-changing experiences you can have. If you’ve never been covered head to toe in mud, you have to try it. Forget the stinky, silty stuff that clogs the drain when it rains. The mud from the Dead Sea is comprised of minerals that cleanse and soothe the skin, leaving you clean, refreshed and supple. For just the mud alone, this is one of the top spas in the world.
The Antara Spa, which alone is bigger than most hotels, has over 20 rooms and outdoor treatment spaces. Also, the hotel was designed to resemble the hanging gardens of Babylon, and around every turn there are spectacular pools and waterfalls.
Bulgari Resort Dubai
You know in a place where going to the spa is considered a cultural activity, the spas are going to be special. Such is the case in Dubai. At the Bulgari Resort, which is the most luxurious hotel of the moment, all that glitters really is gold. Literally gold. The spa is the epitome of tranquility, with its own private pool that overlooks the Arabian Sea. The views here are tough to beat across the board — the relaxation room has views of the Burj Khalifa and the impressive Dubai skyline. The standout treatment, which is a tough competition as it’s all luxurious, is the hammam. There’s one room that is a luxury enclave of marble that can be transformed into a couple’s treatment spot. Either way, with the exfoliation, mud masks and body wraps, you will never be cleaner in your whole life.
Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, Kuwait
Stick with us here. We know this is going to sound weird, but we truly saved the best for last. At Jumeirah, there is no champagne, no butler service, and no 30,000-square-foot gym. You may even elect to forgo services. But we promise, you will leave feeling the best you ever have. The natural deposits of salt in Kuwait have incredible healing properties, so merely sitting in the salt rooms has the power to change you. We can’t explain it. You just lie there and you feel yourself relax. When you leave, all your inflammation is gone. Though others on this list are more lavish, Jumeirah is definitely a must-visit if you’re a true spa aficionado.