The Best Destination Spas in the World to Visit This Year
Emerge revitalised, re-energised, and renewed at these dreamy destination spas
The Romans certainly knew what they were doing when they set up spa resorts around thermal springs. For centuries, people have been enjoying the physical and mental benefits of a spa retreat, recognising the need to slow down and take a minute to indulge in ourselves. Here at Plum Guide, we know how important it is to hit reset from time to time - we're not only experts in travel, but winding down too. Whether you want to jump-start major weight loss, clear the mind, or indulge in daily massages, these are the best spas in the world to reboot.
The Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania, USA
Tall buildings and a bridge over a river in Pennsylvania, USA in Fall
Just two hours away from NYC, The Lodge at Woodloch is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Set within 150 wooded acres, with a private 15 acre lake, the peaceful surroundings are bound to have you feeling zen as soon as you step foot in the spa - the only decision you’ll have to make is choosing from the wide range of luxurious treatments. Get pampered with massages and facials, focus on wellness with a dip in the hydromassage pools, or work up a sweat with a spin class. For a breath of fresh air, immerse yourself in the Healing Garden and Pollinator Garden, or kick back with a book in the Hammock Grove. There’s even a power napping class, should you need to grab some shuteye.
Aro Ha, New Zealand
A blue stream at the foot of mount Cook, New Zealand
What could be more inspiring than New Zealand’s breathtaking Southern Alps? Built into the snow-capped mountains, Aro Ha boasts panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu - perfect for meditation and contemplation. Despite its serene surroundings, Aro Ha doesn’t mess around when it comes to its programme of activities. Fitness practitioners have a tough-love approach, enforcing challenging hikes, cardio classes, and a restricted diet the whole time you’re here. However, those moments in between when you’re soaking in the plunge pool, getting a deep tissue massage, or joining a restorative yoga class (not to mention departing four kilos lighter), make the experience completely worth it.
Ilapothecary, London, England
Small boats on the Richmond Thames riverfront at sunset in London, England, UK
You may not consider London a spa destination, but you’d be surprised at just how many top-notch spas there are. One of the finest is Ilapothecary - a pocket of calm tucked between the antique shops and art galleries of Kensington Church Street. Step into an old-world apothecary, with tall wooden cabinets and drawers filled with all kinds of herbs and potions. This is where you can find a truly tailored spa experience, with therapists trained to deliver bespoke treatments. After answering an in-depth questionnaire on your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, a diagnosis is drawn up based on things like hormone levels, energy blockages, and any other imbalances. Whether you choose a reflexology session, a hydrating facial, or a warm castor oil compress and an abdominal massage, Ilapothecary offers an individual approach to long-term health.
Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
An aerial view of a sandy beach and blue sea, Koh Samui, Thailand
While Kamalaya has all the offerings of a good spa (saunas, steam rooms, gym, pilates studio, and yoga pavilions), it’s actually the range of programmes which make it worth travelling for. Combining Ayurvedic, Chinese, Indian, and Thai therapies, as well as the more prosaic Western styles, just one day at Kamalaya will have you feeling revived. If you’ve come in hopes of resolving inner conflict, the personal mentoring sessions, led by therapists trained in both clinical psychology and a more spiritual-based Indian tradition, are designed to get to the core of behavioural patterns. With a roster of visiting specialists, yoga and mindfulness sessions, and nature walks with herbalists, this is a place where the journey of self-improvement never ends.
T Spa, Lake Como, Italy
A view of Lake Como from a nearby balcony with stone walls, Lombardy, Italy
Its lakeside location and range of treatments make T Spa one of the best spas in the world - without any doubt. Set over three floors, the spa has a dedicated wellness focus, featuring five treatment rooms, a hammam, a Finnish sauna, a Mediterranean bath, relaxation rooms, finishing touches studio, an infinity pool with water jets, and a state-of-the-art gym. Everywhere you turn, the decor is Italian elegance at its finest - think Venetian mosaic floors, chandeliers, and white marble. Whether you want to freshen up in the cold mist shower (around 10°C with scents of mint and tea tree), get a personalised ESPA treatment, or unwind in the outdoor hot tub with spectacular views over Lake Como, T Spa is a truly special spa experience.
Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
Canoes on a lake in front of a traditional temple at sunset, Bali, Indonesia
Como Shambhala has to be one of the most beautiful destination spas in the world. Just a few minutes drive from the centre of Ubud and yet seemingly worlds away, the spa is set above a verdant valley of lush jungle and rice terraces in the distance. Amongst this jungle is a sacred pool blessed daily by priests - it’s the perfect spot for a swim, especially first thing in the morning before you’re fully awake. Consciousness regained, come back for a day of treatments and activities such as yogic stretching, traditional Indonesian massages, meditation, and one on one sessions with the in-house Ayurvedic practitioner. It’s true what they say about true healing being found in nature.
SHA Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain
Playa de Fossa beach in Calpe, Alicante, Spain
If it’s good enough for Kylie Minogue, then it’s good enough for the rest of us. Set over 65,000 square feet, SHA Wellness Clinic is a spa like no other. Using a blend of Eastern and Western philosophies, the spa offers a range of programmes including weight loss, sleep recovery, anti-tobacco, and stress management. But despite the rather clinical sounding procedures, SHA is a joyous place which could easily be mistaken for a flashy beach club - where guests float around in robes between trips to the sauna and jet pools. As well as the medical side of things, there’s also a dedicated aesthetic department, where you can get facial and body therapies like Sakura facial regeneration and VelaShape. Designed for guests to take charge of their own health, you can’t help but feel you’re doing something productive here.
Vana, Uttarakhand, India
A view of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance, Uttarakhand, India
Surrounded by peaceful forests in the north of India, Vana is the place to go for deep relaxation. With its ritualistic therapies rooted in ancient holistic cultures, this may be the best spa in the world for those seeking absolute healing. The team of doctors will prescribe the best treatment for you with a 360 degree approach, taking into consideration your physical, emotional, and mental health. Find what works best for you, whether that’s in the Ayurvedic wing, the Tibetan medicine centre, or the natural therapy centre - which offers acupuncture, shiatsu, and reflexology. Steal a moment for yourself in one of the various meditation nooks, or take a morning trek into the mountains. A stay at Vana is all about letting go and slowing down.
Vila Vita Spa, Algarve, Portugal
Brown rocks on a pristine sandy beach by calm blue water on a sunny day, Algarve, Portugal
In collaboration with the iconic French skincare brand Sisley-Paris, the Vila Vita Spa offers a wide range of premium health and beauty treatments, which combine a thorough scientific approach with natural ingredients like plant extracts and essential oils. Inspired by the Algarve’s enchanting sea caves, step foot into a tranquil space fitted with natural stone, lighting that evokes the natural openings in the caves, and calming tones of blue and green. When you’re not getting your skin purified or enjoying a healing quartz crystal treatment, book yourself in for a nutrition consultation, boost your wellness in the ice grotto, or try out aerial yoga in the yoga pavilion. Whichever treatment you choose, just know you’re in the good hands of some of the world’s finest therapists.
BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia
A boardwalk on the sand in front of a small mountain on a beach in Saint Lucia
While the white sands and blue waters may be difficult to pull yourself away from, a trip to BodyHoliday is definitely worth it if your goal is to kickstart a new health and wellness regime. Located in a remote bay in the north of Saint Lucia, BodyHoliday offers an incredibly packed menu of activities - take your pick from around 40 daily endeavours, from relaxed yoga and meditation to more high-adrenaline choices like Hobie Cat sailing, waterfall abseiling, and night dives. Those who want to really get into the specifics will benefit from the BodyScience programme - a comprehensive medical analysis from head to toe. Additionally, an in-house Ayurvedic expert prescribes daily treatments including infrared detox sessions, shirodhara, and four-handed massages. You’ll leave feeling like you finally have your lifestyle in shape.