Organic spas around the world are embracing a standard of wellness and wellbeing that is becoming more integrative and holistic, with great attention focused even on the smallest details. The top spas we have chosen for this year's spa awards are honored for their sustainability initiatives, passion for organic and local ingredients in therapeutic spa treatments and cuisine, and commitment to immersive organic spa and wellness programs that lead the industry.
The Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah
Located in the middle of lush rice paddies just outside of Ubud (Bali’s arts, culture and wellness hub), this former private residence-turned-intimate resort treats guests to lots of perks, from complimentary mini-bars and rides to/from town to—for those staying in one of the three Spa Pool Villas—two 90-minute massages per day included in your rate. (These can be performed in the Spa Pool Villas’ private treatment room or in the main spa, which overlooks the palm-ringed rice fields.) The main spa menu of a la carte services and longer rituals draws from Balinese, Tibetan, Ayurvedic and pan-Asian influences and techniques, and harnesses the power of ingredients like wild-grown essential oils, Himalayan pink salt, wild poppy essence and seaweed. Yoga and meditation sessions are also available. ghmhotels.com
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains near Knoxville, TN, the 4,000+-acre Blackberry Farm offers a perfectly calibrated balance of rustic and refined. The spa and wellness menu at Wellhouse Spa—with reclaimed wood, soothing decor and killer views—has been redesigned with new treatments inspired by the surrounding region, and offers an outdoor program that includes aerobic guided hikes, deep woods meditation, yoga and guided trail runs. Superb spa experiences, with botanical Naturopathica and Tata Harper brands, will help you unwind and get your glow on before you hit the juice bar.
Blackberry is a working farm that grows organic ingredients featured in its celebrated seasonal culinary menus—the result of a flawless choreography between the chef, baker, cheesemaker, chocolatier, sommelier and brewer (overseeing home-brewed small-batch beers), all served up with a heaping dollop of Southern hospitality. blackberryfarm.com
You’ll quickly forget that you are just 45 minutes from the center of bustling Kuala Lumpur at this organic spa and wellness retreat, set in the stunning Berjaya Hills area (3,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by 150-million-year-old tropical rainforests). The unique architecture of The Chateau was inspired by a 12th-century castle in Alsace, France.
Proving that eco-conscious doesn’t have to mean “crunchy,” The Chateau is five-star all the way, with international fine-dining restaurants and bars that serve organic food and wine, and rooms that are outfitted with organic bedding and VOYA amenities. The European-style spa offers an extensive list of wellness and beauty treatments, detox and weight loss regimes, and fitness and yoga activities. thechateau.com.my
Tucked near the coastal village of Playa Xcalacoco, away from the larger resorts of the Riviera Maya, this 41-bungalow beachside property offers a hideaway atmosphere and an eco-conscious spirit. Stroll through the lush jungle foliage to reach the waterside spa, which takes inspiration from both the sea—a symbol of balance and regeneration—and the surrounding tropical forest, home to a diverse selection of curative native herbs and plants. Along with traditional services, there’s a Mayan-influenced menu featuring therapies like herbal baths and honey massages, and techniques like sobada (a fast-but-gentle stress relieving massage) and manteada (posture-realigning stretching). The intense, 90-minute Temazcal ritual, performed in a traditional mortar and stone hut, uses steam, heated stones and healing herbs to balance the body and spirit. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
Nita Lake Lodge
Whistler, B.C., Canada
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy this boutique lodge on the shores of a glacier-fed lake near the base of Whistler Mountain. Come instead for the holistic wellness and relaxation offerings, which range from cuisine made with products from local farmers and the hotel’s rooftop garden (with gluten-free and vegan options available at all restaurants) and fresh-pressed juices and smoothies, to a recently refreshed spa with rooftop hot tubs and mountain view relaxation lounge.
Along with treatment rooms inspired by the four elements and a eucalyptus-infused steam, the spa offers a wide range of services. Also on site is a Loka Yoga center (with classes in several yoga styles, meditation, Sanskrit chanting and Yogic philosophy), and a boutique fitness studio specializing in one-on-one training and customized programs. Enjoy all the facilities separately, or put them together for a targeted wellness getaway. nitalakelodge.com
For an extended virtual tour of Nita Lake Lodge, click here.
The Ranch Malibu
The surroundings, high up in the Malibu hills, are spectacular, and the week-long program at The Ranch Malibu is intense, rigorous and not for the fitness-challenged. Yoga, swimming in a pretty outdoor pool, spa treatments (lots of massage!) and four-hour hikes through the Santa Monica Mountains will jump-start your fitness journey, fueled with delicious organic vegetarian cuisine—no alcohol, caffeine or processed sugar—that keeps you satisfied but on track to meet your weight loss or detox goals. (The Ranch offers an abbreviated sister program, R4.0, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village.) theranchmalibu.com
Rancho La Puerta
The Ranch, founded 75 years ago by spa and wellness icon Deborah Szekely and her husband in Tecate, Mexico, has one of the highest guest return rates in the industry, and it’s easy to see why. The spa treatments, lectures and wellness workshops are top-notch and will help you wrap your arms around a healthy lifestyle. Fitness classes—led by expert instructors—are a mix of classic and cutting-edge modalities, with so many to choose from! Morning hikes are not-to-be missed, especially the breakfast hike to the beautiful organic farm, which has been supplying delicious produce to Ranch-goers—and herbal ingredients for spa treatments-—for over 27 years. The vibe is laid-back, and you will meet people who will become friends for life. rancholapuerta.com
For an extended virtual tour of Rancho La Puerta, click here.
This idyllic private-island sanctuary in Cambodia’s Koh Rong archipelago is state-of-the-art-sustainable—the owners even created a local NGO to conserve the natural environment and partner with local villages. It is also as gorgeously organic as it gets.
One-of-a-kind furniture in the breathtaking villas (each with a private pool) and the roof for the outdoor bar (no plastic bottles or straws, bamboo is used instead) are made from driftwood collected after storms. The outdoor spa cabana features expert spa treatments, created for Song Saa by the Ila brand. Guests can enjoy outdoor yoga, kayak in a nearby mangrove forest with the marine biologist on staff, loll on white-sugar-sand beaches, watch fish jump and swim in crystal-clear waters while enjoying a Khmer-style picnic. At night, the moon and stars are so bright, it’s perfect for an underwater scuba meditation where you can kick up the water and see sparkly bioluminescence. songsaa.com
Vana Malsi Estate
Though just over a year old, this state-of-the-art wellness retreat in the Himalayan foothills of northern India isn’t coasting on its rave reviews: In addition to the recent earning of LEED Platinum certification, 2015 developments include the opening of a Tibetan Healing Center (which joins separate centers for Ayurveda, Yoga, Wellness, Spa, and Aqua & Fitness), the expansion of the weekly wellbeing activities schedules, and the launch of elegant eco-conscious clothing and product lines. It’s this constant dedication to excellence—Ayurvedic and Tibetan spa treatments are superb—that earns Vana raves from its guests and a spot on our Top 10 list for the second year in a row. vanaretreats.com
Vivanta by Taj Bekal
Tucked into a quiet northwest corner of Kerala (India’s southernmost state), this 26-acre resort features lush gardens, direct beach access, low-slung structures inspired by local curved-roof houses, and even its own backwater river running through the grounds.
There are just over 70 guests rooms here, though judging by the excellent Jiva Grande Spa’s staggering 165,000 square feet, you’d think there were three times as many. All that space gives spa guests plenty of privacy and places to relax before and after their Ayurvedic and Indian herbal scrubs, wraps, massages and skin care services, all of which use natural ingredients. Whether you have tight muscles or a sinus problem, there’s a treatment here for you—plus multi-week yoga, detox, Ayurvedic wellness and spiritual retreat programs for more holistic experiences. vivantabytaj.com