Each year, we look for extraordinary spas that elevate wellness, environmental stewardship and sustainable practices, while maintaining a high standard of luxury, design and hospitality.
It is our great pleasure to celebrate these spas for their efforts on behalf of energy efficiency; nature conservation; use of local, natural and organic ingredients on their spa and culinary menus; along with integrative health and wellness programs that lead the way for the industry, and raise the bar to new and higher standards.
This year, in addition to our Top 10, we recognizeAward Winners for their passionate commitment to wellness in each of these top categories: Most Unique,Best Girlfriend Getaway, Best Going Solo, Best CouplesGetaway, Most Transformative, Best Detox, Best MineralBathing/Hot Springs, Most Family Friendly.
Celebrating wellness is more important now than ever, and we are proud to lead the way!
— The Editors
Trisara Phuket is set on a protected nature preserve, with pristine beaches, lush gardens and a tropical forest, all looped around the glistening Andaman Sea.
The commitment to sustainability here is strong: When the Thai-owned Trisara was built 15 years ago, no trees were cutdown. Instead, they were moved, and then moved back when construction was done.There is no single-use plastic. There is employee education, a program for kids on ocean plastic pollution and coral bleaching, and Trisara is building a recycling and education center for local kids in town.
The JARA Spa features treatments that rely on Thai herbal medicine and Thai herbs—lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and prai (Thai ginger)—from Trisara’s magnificent organic farm, where much of the food for the three restaurants (one is the only Michelin-starred restaurant inSouthern Thailand) is sourced. Guests can tour the huge organic farm, and bike around seven lakes in the area. Wellness and well-being are incorporated into nutrition, fitness, mind-body balance, sleep enhancement, pain release, stillness and happiness programs that will send you back home with peace of mind, a relaxed body and a joyful spirit.
A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Chablé Yucatán is a secluded750-acre property in the jungle near Chocholá, Mexico, on the YucatánPeninsula, not far from the historicMayan city of Mérida. Chablé’s award winning design evokes a sense of privacy so complete and all-encompassing that social distancing is easy, even at full occupancy.The 36 spacious casitas and four family villas each feature a private pool, hammock, outdoor settee and ample space for breakfast al fresco. All are enveloped by lush foliage and a blanket of silence, except for the song of birds and sounds of the jungle. The magnificent Chablé Spa was built around a sacred cenote, considered a power source by the Maya. Signature spa journeys, some based on Mayan cosmology, are laser-focused on wellness and healing, as is Grandmother Ak’bal, a local medicine woman with along lineage of ancestral healing—as authentic as it gets.
The Greeks set the groundwork for wellness and well-being as we know it, initiating a philosophy that embraced nature to achieve the harmonic healing of mind, body and spirit. Fusing this Hellenic tradition with Chinese medicine’s focus on the five elements (water, wood, fire, earth, metal), this hideaway in enchanting Mystras, on the Peloponnese peninsula, specializes in bespoke programs geared at transformation on all levels.
Its four-story spa holds an abundance of offerings, including a Kneipp pool. Built into the mountains, Euphoria is literally at one with nature, and the wellness programs function at the highest levels, whatever your goals are, whether you are looking for an Immunity Reset, Balance, WellBeing Detox, Weight Loss, Nutrigenomics, Relaxation and Destressing or more.
From the serene boat ride that brings you to your accommodation, to the miles of pristine beachfront and lush lagoons that form its borders, everything at Rosewood Mayakoba encourages relaxation—and that’s even before you get to the spa.
Set on its own islet, Sense Spa features fitness facilities, pools, treatment villas, a garden of traditional healing herbs (which are incorporated into services) and outdoor platforms for meditation, yoga and sessions with the in-house shaman—who will help design your own customized wellness program. As part of a recent $20 million renovation, the resort this year launched eight bi-level Wellness Suites, a new accommodation choice located near the spa and outfitted with features like circadian lamps, essential oil-infused showers, reflexology pathways and healthy mini-bars. Whether you check into one of these suites for a few days of a la carte services or opt to do a personal program or dedicated retreat, there’s no doubt you’ll leave Rosewood Mayakoba recharged, refocused and thoroughly relaxed.
Set in a fairytale forest in the Bavarian Alps, Schloss Elmau is a secluded luxury retreat that is so firmly under the radar that it was the perfect spot to host the 2015 G7 Summit, with a roster of world leaders that included Barack Obama. Schloss is also home to a world-class 70,000-square-foot spa, featuring two fitness centers, five heated swimming pools, a vast Turkish-style hammam and Jivamukti yoga.
Because owner Dietmar Mueller-Elmau believes, “there is no wellness without music and literature,” the hotel houses a concert hall in an intimate setting that attracts world-class talent. There are lectures and concerts featured daily, and an independent bookstore and library on premises, with an impressive range of books on offer in many languages, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Aside from exercising the brain, guests can hike—or cross-country ski—to Elmauer Alm, a Bavarian mountain hut nearby that features casual dining. There are easier hikes to lovely lakes nearby and a challenging—but worth it—day hike to the quirky and historic Mountain House of King Ludwig II.
Ananda, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, is a Maharaja’s Palace Estate surrounded by a 100-acre forest overlooking the ancient Ganges river valley. It is a breathtaking world-class Ayurvedic spa and leader in Ayurvedic wellness, yoga and Vedanta.
With a team of 60-plus Ayurvedic physicians, yoga instructors, therapists and top chefs offering personalized programs and cuisine, guests are not only extremely well-cared-for, they will come away with a profound sense of relaxation and transformation, a feeling of overall well-being—mind, body and spirit. There are also invigorating treks and walks in the Himalayas, secluded private gardens, an expansive 24,000-square-foot spa with 24 treatment rooms, temperature-controlled swimming pool, hydrotherapy, fitness center and more.
Guests may also visit ancient temples and monasteries nearby, surrounding Rishikesh, which is regarded as the birthplace of yoga, and attend a spiritual ceremony on the banks of the Ganges.
Ananda has recently announced the launch of a new virtual wellness program that draws on the team of experts.
A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Savoy Palace, on the island of Madeira, is a luxurious new 352-room hotel featuring four restaurants and four bars, including the stunning rooftop Galaxia Skyfood, with expansive views of the Atlantic in all directions.
The stunning 33,000-square-foot Laurea Spa at the Savoy Palace is inspired by the Laurisilva, a local primeval forest—and UNESCO World Heritage site—on the other side of the island. It is an enchanting place for walking, hiking, picnicking and exploring miles of waterfalls.
The forest motif runs throughout every aspect of the spa design. And the gorgeous spa swimming pool—part of a huge and varied therme course with sauna, steam, color-therapy shower, ice grotto—is designed to conjure a still pool in the forest. Subtly iridescent mosaics, circular rooms and low lighting, all contribute to the sublimely relaxing, nature-immersive experience. Eleven treatment rooms are havens for transportive treatments, inspired by the natural beauty of Madeira.
In Asian cultures, a sensei is a wise teacher, often responsible for leading students to a specific goal. Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort, launched this year on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, as the flagship property for Larry Ellison’s new wellness brand. It offers customized programs and one-on-one guidance with highly trained health experts (sensei), amid an Eden-like setting.
With onsen pools, opulent individual spa hales, cuisine by Nobu, and activities from yoga to meditation, including hikes and fitness classes, the uber luxe retreat combines state-of-the-art everything with Hawaiian soul.
Overseen by the theatrical visionary designer Bill Bensley (in collaboration with TLee Spas), the five-acre Spa Botánico re-emerged from hurricane damage in 2018 as an enigmatic sanctum, rich with local lore. Part of Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, a beachside haven known for incomparable accommodations, the spa draws from island heritage, honoring Puerto Rico’s original herbalists and healers, the Manos Santos. Guests immerse in a lush fantasia with an apothecary, house-made products and two treehouse treatment rooms.
Tucked in the heart of Portugal’s lush wine country, this resort honors the Six Senses tenets of sustainability and well-being, while also celebrating the local culture and cuisine. The extensive spa facility features 10 treatment rooms (supplemented by a new woodland cabana for the ultimate in social distancing), as well as indoor and outdoor pools and fitness areas.
Book one of the doctor-designed programs targeting issues like sleep, integrative wellness and stress relief (each uses a mix of technology, expert analysis and customized services), or enjoy a la carte treatments (some using the grape-based Vinoble line) or sessions with visiting practitioners from around the world. Fun experiences like making bespoke natural perfumes with a master also draw in the local community.
2020 Special Awards
Best Girlfriend Getaway
Sea Island Resort, United States
With its wide array of accommodation options (from hotel rooms and cottages to rental homes), activities (from the beach and golf course to environmental-focused fun) and dining choices (think fine dining to ice cream shops), it’s easy to see why Georgia’s Sea Island Resort has long been a favorite with families and groups. Add to that the extensive spa and fitness offerings, and it’s also a perfect pick for a girlfriend’s retreat—one that can be as healthy or indulgent as each guest wants. The vast wellness complex features lots of open areas—often stocked with homemade treats—while healthy cooking and cocktail sessions, a packed calendar of fitness classes, Naturopathica treatments and more encourage bonding.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico
At all-inclusive Grand Velas, a chic beachside resort near Cancun, female friends have plenty of options for BFF reunions. Bustling, with abundant intimate crannies for secret chats, the resort has spacious suites, 24/7 room service (for that midnight guac craving), eight restaurants, three swimming pools and a karaoke bar. The highlight, SE Spa, encompassing 90,000 square feet, offers an eight-step, signature water journey to experience with friends, plus a variety of authentic Mexican spa treatments.
Emerson Resort & Spa, United States
In a country setting in the Catskill Mountains, the Emerson offers one-stop wellness, with a range of yoga (including restorative), Barre, Pilates and aqua fitness, as well as a spa menu inspired by the earth’s elements and the balance of nature.
This serene and beautiful spot, just two hours north of New York City, is a perfect place to enjoy a great girlfriend getaway. Work out in the fitness center or take it outside, with hikes, biking, bird-watching, guided nature walks, and fun activities like volleyball, horseshoes, frisbee, as well as a glimpse through The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope! Or, spend your time at the spa, enjoying the steam and sauna, or a Tarot Card Reading and Chakra Balancing. emersonresort.com
Solage, United States
Complimentary cruiser bikes, free yoga and fitness classes, a 130-foot pool and a “Sip and Dip” experience where the gang can take over a private pool cabana for a private, swimsuit-clad, wine tasting, all combine at Solage to portend a perfect gal fete. But, Spa Solage takes Napa jamming with chums to new heights. Honoring the wine town’s mud bath history, the Mudslide treatment, a messy three-part, detox adventure, promises to bond the crew. Don’t miss the Solage Bathhouse, which holds five geothermal pools.
The Lodge at Woodloch, United States
Mountain biking and farm hikes, Barre classes and sunrise photo walks, hatchet throwing and handmade paper-making—the list of activities at The Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania is long and diverse, ensuring there’s plenty of fun (and fitness) to be had by all (and that’s not even getting into the relaxing treatments). Along with its wealth of offerings, the woodland destination spa is also known for its flexible setup that allows each guest to follow her own path, then meet up for walks to the lake, relaxing on the grounds, and meals that are healthy but not boring—so save room for dessert and wine.
Castello del Sole, Switzerland
Part of an upscale farm awash with gardens, orchards and vineyards, this exquisite wellness hotel occupies a verdant swathe of land, lakeside, in Ascona, a gem-like village in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region. With a farm-to-fork Michelin-starred restaurant, plush suites, stellar yoga and a Kneipp water course, the cosseting destination feels private and secure. It honors personal exploration and repose in Castello SPA, which utilizes estate-grown grapes and plants to make curative creams, scrubs and elixirs for vinotherapy rituals.
Solo travelers won’t be bored at Las Ventanas, an elegant hotel in Los Cabos devoted to the Mexican artisanal spirit. Endlessly pampering, known for its butlers, the hotel deeply immerses guests into local culture with VIP experiences, from sea safaris to tequila tastings to meetings with artists. Equally steeped in sense of place, The Spa at Las Ventanas rises to local mood with its Four Elements menu, a nod to the ancient healers of Baja. Expect treatments based on the elements and tinctures made with indigenous products.
La Cantera, United States
Snazzy solo self-care at La Cantera in San Antonio, Texas begins at Seven, the resort’s adults-only floor (complete with its own bar). Well-being happens instantly within the resort’s enormous Loma de Vida Spa, where myriad fitness classes, a juice bar, a Himalayan salt sauna, a water circuit section and Texas-inspired treatments reign. The coup de gras, two al fresco Sky Lofts, hover atop a hill, featuring massage tables and cowboy soaking tubs.
Mii Amo, United States
Backed by the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, the legendary Mii Amo destination spa remains a top spot to recharge your soul, spirit and senses. Here, your path to health and wellness is your own: Choose from all-inclusive three-, four- or seven-night journeys that can be tailored to your goals, be they related to health, fitness, spirituality or more. Many of the services—particularly those based on Native American, Eastern or alternative traditions—encourage you to look inward, set intentions and reconnect with yourself, making this an ideal setting for a solo retreat.
Body Holiday, St. Lucia
As its name reflects, this legendary St. Lucian destination spa both addresses your physical well-being and ensures you have a memorable vacation—in whatever ratio you would like. Thanks to customized itineraries, a wide array of fitness activities (both group and private), shared fun (like wine tastings and cruises), spa therapies influenced by both East and West, and the chance to learn everything from sailing to scuba, solo guests will never feel like third wheels—though you could also check in during dedicated times like September Solo, which is specially geared to the individual traveler.
Nayara Gardens, Costa Rica
Set on 12 hilltop acres about 30 minutes from Arenal Volcano National Park, this lush, 44-casita resort is a great place to disconnect from the world. The property’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility is evident in everything from the culinary program and the design to the available activities (which include things like rainforest hikes, cultural experiences, birdwatching and rappelling down the side of a waterfall). Surrounded by the sounds of the jungle, the spa’s open-air treatment rooms are idyllic spots to enjoy yoga, mineral soaks and services that incorporate things like organic coffee and chocolate and volcanic mud and clay.
Amangiri, United States
Just the terrain, an otherworldly collage of pumpkin-colored hoodoos, lacy slot canyons and ancient boulders in Canyon Point, Utah, awakens that call for the quest. Embodying hózhó, the Navajo ethos of being in tune with one’s self and in harmony with the world, ethereal Amangiri itself melds architecturally into the landscape, its doors like thresholds for the metaphorical journey. Yoga atop boulders and heart-pumping via ferrata climbs earn quiet time at the spa’s treatment terraces and flotation pavilion. Mood-invoking, Aman-made products seal the deal.
This legendary holistic spa and wellness resort on the Thai island of Koh Samui is perfect for those looking for a transformation—or a jump-start in the right direction. Surrounded by views of the Gulf of Thailand, the resort’s renowned, innovative wellness programs combine Eastern and Western modalities and philosophies to target everything from sleep issues, detoxing and weight control to stress, fitness and emotional balance. A wide range of a la carte services are also available, as is Kamalaya’s award-winning healthy (and flavorful) cuisine. Rooms and suites either perched on a hillside or set on the beach.
The Art of Living Retreat Center, United States
A newly renovated and expanded center for spiritual discovery and renewal nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, The Art of Living offers an authentic Ayurvedic detox (panchakarma) and its signature world-renowned Happiness Program, which features breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and life-changing wisdom. Shankara Ayurveda Wellness (formerly Shankara Ayurveda Spa) offers immersive wellness experiences inspired by authentic traditions of yoga and Ayurveda, including traditional Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhara, abhyanga and karma therapy, along with consultations with an Ayurvedic doctor, in a serene and beautiful mountain setting.
From signature workshops on the life-transforming power of breath and meditation to Ayurvedic cleanses that have been practiced for thousands of years, guests can access timeless tools to enhance their health and happiness.
Regina Isabella, Italy
The glamorous Hotel Regina Isabella with its renowned Terme della Regina Isabella Spa offers wellness, Italian-style, with mineral-rich mud baths and thermal waters in Ischia, on the Bay of Naples. The Spa offers an extensive range of treatments based on the mineral-rich mud and thermal waters native to the geothermal region, not far from Mount Vesuvius. Therapeutic mud treatments are taken very seriously at the 128-room, five-star hotel, where a team of doctors supervises each comprehensive wellness program. The warm, therapeutic muds and clays found in this coastal and volcanic region are rich in nourishing minerals that can help remineralize the skin with sodium, magnesium and potassium, soothe aching muscles and joints and more.
The Regina Isabella has a stylish sophistication and retro Italian charm that makes you half-expect to see a young Marcello Mastroianni or Gina Lollobrigida sunning themselves by the pool or dining al fresco at Indaco, the hotel’s exquisite Michelin-starred restaurant.
Dunton Hot Springs, United States
Comprising a splendiferously preserved 1880s miner’s town, this unusual resort lies amid pine-filled mountains near Telluride, Colorado. Composed of original log cabins (redone with lavishly luxurious and whimsical interiors), the compound has a dance hall, saloon, various hot springs, a bath house—and a story that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid passed through and carved their names on the bar. It offers a long list of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking to rock climbing, balance-renewing dips in healing waters and holistic treatments in the cabin-ensconced spa.
The Wickaninnish Inn, Canada
Visit this iconic Relais & Chateaux hotel on the western shores of Vancouver Island just once and you’ll be hooked. It’s a bit of a journey to get to the hidden-away spot, but once here—surrounded by old-growth forests, Chesterman Beach and the Pacific Ocean—it’s easy to get swept away by both the beauty of the surroundings (both natural and artist-made) and the impeccable hospitality. Gourmet food and wine and access to a wealth of activities (think beach bike rides, helicopter trips, indigenous culture tours and—in season—storm watching parties) can fill your days, while treatments, yoga and steam sessions at the Ancient Cedars Spa will keep you grounded.
Chitwa Chitwa, South Africa
Located in the north of the Sabi Sand region of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, this former family retreat has been thoughtfully—and sustainably—connecting guests to the wonders of the wild since 1991. After a day of safari game drives and bush walks (on which you might spot the Big 5) and engaging cultural experiences and village tours, you’ll enjoy fresh, gourmet meals, cushy accommodations and nourishing treatments like massages, wraps and exfoliations in the boutique spa.
Huvafen Fushi, Maldives
Recent studies indicate that watching swimming fish can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, as well as improve mood and attention span. Add in other research that posits being in water (or near it) makes you happier, and Huvafen Spa, an underwater wellness facility at Huvafen Fushi resort in the dreamy Maldives, can guarantee tranquility even before you’ve had a massage. With two submerged treatment rooms, replete with water viewing windows (and four overwater spaces), the spa celebrates the sea’s largesse.
Four Seasons Sayan, Bali
The Four Seasons Sayan in Bali is an architectural wonder. Set on 20 acres, it is tucked between two rivers, with on-site herb and vegetable gardens that supplement the resort’s locally sourced produce. The stunning Sacred River Spa is designed in native Balinese style, featuring pavilions with local stone facings, teak cabinets and flooring. Wellness treatments—incorporating authentic spiritual traditions, such as chakra balancing, Balinese Ayurvedic practices, yoga and meditation—will leave you feeling grounded, refreshed and renewed. The wellness coach is a former Buddhist nun, who has created a sleep therapy treatment called the Sacred Nap, cocooned in silk hammocks at the edge of a forest, and even recorded a soundtrack to help guests continue the deeply restful treatment at home. Healing the body, and the heart and soul, is paramount at this spectacular resort.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, United States
Down a dusty road in New Mexico’s high desert, the Zen oasis of Ojo Caliente draws humans thirsting for rejuvenation. Stylish, unpretentious, with roots reflecting its 1968 beginnings as a spa, the retreat offers something no other hot springs in the world does: four unique sources of healing water, each suffused with curative amounts of minerals—such as lithium and iron. Cottages, a historic hotel, vintage trailers, among other room types, fringe the fenced spa area, where 12 ponds, varying in temperature and composition await. Saunas, a mud station and a gourmet restaurant ensure salubrious results.
Deer Lake Lodge, United States
Tucked into 50 woodland acres just outside of Houston, in the shadow of 40-foot-tall pine trees, this haven is equipped to handle all of your wellness needs—whether you just want to relax with spa treatments or are looking for a more intensive experience. Many of the services aim to cleanse, detox and rebalance the body, from colon hydrotherapy and ionic foot baths (which pull out impurities) to Conscious Cleansing sessions aimed at “detoxing the mind.” The multiday detox programs, which incorporate things like supplements, detox drinks, nutritional counseling and intermittent fasting, have a devoted fan base.
Spa Eastman, Canada
Set on 326 acres in Canada’s beautiful Eastern Townships, this health and wellness retreat has been transforming lives for over 40 years with its all-inclusive programs and targeted retreats. Activities like hiking, wellness workshops, fitness classes and soaks in Nordic baths are available to all guests, while additional components—like spa treatments, high-tech NeuroSpa power nap sessions, and consults with naturopaths, life coaches and other experts—can be arranged depending on your goals. Through it all, you’ll be fueled by the signature Tonique Cuisine, which has been scientifically designed to be both healthy and delicious.
Shou Sugi Ban House, United States
At Shou Sugi Ban House, in Water Mill, New York, in the Hamptons, guests are welcomed into a bright space with a giant glittering quartz crystal. The organic, well-ordered design—influenced heavily by a traditional Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic—pervades indoors and out, down to the minimalist landscaping.
Sustainability is woven into the DNA of Shou Sugi Ban, which features solar panels and geothermal wells for energy efficiency, as well as extensive repurposing, recycling and upcycling on the property. It is a great spot to relax and get down to the inner work that needs to be done.
Afternoons are filled with movement and fitness classes, nutrition workshops, a dip in the hydrotherapy pools or a stint in the dry or infrared sauna. The spa offers an extensive range of treatments from Shamanic Healing, Quantum Biofeedback, Crystal Healing and Forest Bathing to Aromatherapy Massage and Craniosacral Therapy.
The biodynamic garden on-site is the source of seasonal herbs and greens incorporated into the culinary menu, overseen by the cofounder of two Michelin-starred restaurant Noma in Copenhagen and the coauthor of Turning Wasted Food into Plenty. The culinary team follows a low-waste protocol, incorporating brining, pickling and fermenting, as well as composting, into the program.
Indian Springs, United States
Sludge-loving spa aficionados gather at Indian Springs in Calistoga, California’s oldest spa facility, to wallow in the refurbished, circa 1861, sanctum’s signature detoxifying volcanic ash, mud baths and mineral pools. Stretching 17 acres of gently rolling hills and ponds in the heart of this quirky wine-land town, Indian Springs presents bohemian undertones, coupled with Napa’s understated sophistication in spades. Offering bungalows, cottages and Mission Revival structures, along with olive trees and gardens, it wows with four thermal geysers, which produce volumes of mineral-rich water, enough to feed its Olympic-sized natural pool.
Best Family Friendly
Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, United States
A Chocolate Tsunami? It sounds like dessert. But, at the famous Grand Wailea in Maui, at the 50,000-square-foot Spa Grande, a haven of hydrotherapy, children can break into wellness sweetly with this chocolate massage and manicure treatment, among others, designed for ages six and up. Meanwhile, parents and older teens can dip into the array of Therme pools and speciality baths, enjoying a blend of Hawaiian meets Ancient Eastern influences. When not spa-ing, enjoy the hotel’s pièce de résistance, a nine-pool whopper of a water playground, edging Wailea Beach, or a luau on the beach. And the property is committed to sustainability, with 72 percent of its produce sourced from local Hawaiian farms; all scraps and leftover food are recycled and provided to local Maui farmers for animal feed; indigenous drought-resistant plants planted throughout the resort, resulting in low-water landscaping watered through drip-sprinkler system, and more.
The Lodge at Blue Sky, United States
Families find the meaning of life at The Lodge at Blue Sky, a ranch in the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, where nature itself becomes the spa. Children can participate in mindful farm days, forage for products to make their own meals, enjoy intimate animal encounters at the Saving Grace Horse Rescue Sanctuary and practice kid yoga and meditation. A 3,500-acre ode to wilderness, the Lodge keeps families active with pursuits from heli-skiing to fly fishing. The five-suite spa straddles a cliff above a creek with limitless views.
The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, United States
Wyoming’s Sierra Madre mountain range, Medicine Bow National Forest and Platte River Valley form the breathtaking backdrop for this resort, which is also a working ranch that (in season) is home to thousands of cattle. Among the three accommodation options is The Lodge & Spa, a western-chic base for enjoying adventures like ATV rides, rock climbing, horseback riding, fly fishing, plus an array of games for all ages. Just opened this fall, The Farm will both provide ingredients for meals and host interactive experiences in farming, butchery, cheesemaking and wine and spirit blending. The Trailhead Spa celebrates organic ingredients in treatments like the Wyoming River Stone Massage and Spirit of Brush Creek Wrap.
The Broadmoor, United States
Like an American castle, the regal Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs looms large, competing companionably with the mountains that surround it. A family vacation destination since its opening in 1891, the vast, buzzy retreat keeps all ages occupied, from tots to seniors.
Expect boating, ziplining, swimming, hiking, fishing, bowling—even cattle drives at its affiliated Wilderness Property, The Ranch at Emerald Valley. In the chandelier-adorned Spa, 16-year-olds-plus have classic treatment options, while kiddos can sit for junior haircuts, princess updos and mani-pedis in the salon.
Cliff House, United States
The roaring surf and salty sea air at Cliff House, perched on a high bluff along the coast of southern Maine, has attracted nature-loving guests since it opened in 1872. With most rooms showcasing expansive views of an endless horizon, Cliff House evokes a wild beauty that can’t help but bring guests into bloom, like the lovely sea roses that grow nearby.
The 9,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, a true sanctuary, is inspired by the elements—wind, water, earth, fire, metal—which are all on display, in full force, along the rugged Maine landscape. Each treatment room frames a view of the boulder-strewn coast tumbling into the Atlantic. A cliff walk called the Marginal Way ends in the town of Ogunquit, where guests can take a stroll, then head back to Cliff House and tuck into—what else?—a Maine lobster at the restaurant or lobster shack.
Best Couples Getaways
San Ysidro Ranch, United States
Resting in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, is a true oasis. This peaceful haven features 41 cottages that dot 500 acres of lovely lush rolling hillsides, with bright, colorful gardens. Local herbs like lavender and rosemary fragrance the sun-kissed air, and each spacious cottage is beautifully landscaped.
The Spa at San Ysidro Ranch is a lovely spot where guests are not only well taken care of, they are cosseted in a cocoon of tranquility. Signature treatments nurture mind, body and spirit. The Couple’s Suite is pure enchantment, and the spa decor features flickering fireplaces and walls hand-painted with natural scenes of beautiful birds that bring the outside in. San Ysidro Ranch is a magical, romantic retreat where guests can immerse themselves in a warm glow!
Twin Farms, United States
According to one study, couples coordinate their heartbeats and breathing patterns when falling in love. Recalibrate that state of synchronicity at pastoral Twin Farms, in Vermont, a tony place to return to the land—and reap its rewards. Amongst 300 rolling woodland acres, with idyllic wildflower fields, this adults-only refuge has just 20 cottages, each artfully designed with privacy in mind. After canoeing or picnicking, the elegant Bridge House Spa (and its Japanese ofuro tub) beckons—or enjoy a fireside treatment in the privacy of your room.
Try Love In Bloom, a romantic in-room treatment that includes a couple’s massage with an Intentional Aromatherapy Love blend and an aroma-enhanced warm bath complete with rose petals and champagne. Peruse the extensive private art collection, and enjoy extraordinary dining with a superb wine selection. Enjoy a Bee Tour, with the resident apiarist and learn about the pollen-to-pallet process and just how all of that delicious Twin Farms honey is harvested. Go enjoy biking, canoeing, skiing and trail riding. Or enjoy doing nothing—together!
Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Thailand
An expansive beach and endless views of the Andaman Sea set the scene for romance at this gorgeous island retreat—as do the spacious villas with perks like outdoor showers, plunge pools, private terraces and custom-designed, extra-long beds. Resort activities like complimentary boat rides to Hong Island, cocktail-making classes and Thai cultural workshops can be enjoyed with your partner, as can relaxing rituals at the spa. Book the three-hour Private Spa Suite for Two to enjoy your pick of custom treatments, followed by time in a couple’s room equipped with double steam showers, al fresco massage pavilion and lagoon-view loungers.
Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection, Anguilla
First opened over 30 years ago, this beachside gem underwent a multimillion-dollar refresh in late-2019, ensuring its status as a glamorous—and romance-ready—getaway. Along with new accommodations (some with plunge pools and freestanding tubs) and fun dining options (like a toes-in-the-sand eatery and a legendary sunset-view bar), you’ll find a spa upgraded with six new rooms for enjoying treatments like the two-hour Tropical Euphoria, featuring a foot ritual, custom-blended scrub and coconut milk bath and massage. In between the relaxing, take a ceviche class, explore the island in an eco-friendly Moke vehicle, or book a “beach-fari” to seven of Anguilla’s top beaches.
Ladera, St. Lucia
St. Lucia’s majestic Piton mountains watch over this intimate, eco-friendly resort located on a former cocoa plantation, in what’s now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each of the 37 rooms has an “open wall” to draw in the ocean, while activities like rainforest tours, beachfront horseback riding, sunset cruises and sunrise meditation further connect you to the surroundings. Head to the spa for a couple’s soak in the garden-set hot tubs, followed by nourishing treatments performed on a private deck—surrounded by views of those emerald-hued hills.
Best Mineral Bathing/Hot Springs
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to 67 volcanoes—including six that are still active. Due to all this geothermal activity, the country is known for its natural hot springs areas, most notably around the Arenal Volcano in the northwest. There, at the award-winning Tabacon Resort, guests can soak in over a dozen pools, each composed of a mix of rainwater and magma that has sunk to the earth’s core—where it gets heated—then risen back up to the surface, infused with hydrothermal flora (good for the skin’s defense system) and minerals from the “resting” volcano. Ranging from 77 to 122 degrees, and low in sulphur, the pools are open to resort and spa guests, or through a number of day-spa packages. The resort’s Grand Spa offers a long list of treatments, including body scrubs using local coffee and wraps using volcanic mud.
Villa Stephanie, Germany
Since Roman times, the Black Forest town of Baden-Baden has drawn wellness seekers with its famous mineral-rich hot springs. Building on that healthy tradition, a few years back the 140-year-old Brenners Park Hotel & Spa launched Villa Stephanie, an intimate hotel-within-a-hotel focused on spa, fitness and well-being. Check in to one of the lovely rooms (which—with a flick of a switch—can be disconnected from the internet) to enjoy a la carte services or expert- and doctor-run programs that focus on immune-boosting, skin health, weight loss, detox and more. Swim or take a fitness class in the park-view pool or ask the spa concierge to set up a visit to the historic mineral bath complex in town.
The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Lava fields, waterfalls, rainbows, geysers, volcanoes, legends—maybe even a friendly elf. That’s Iceland. But, after a dip in the healing, milky-turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon, the country’s magic takes on new meaning. At its posh, signature, wellness hotel, The Retreat, guests luxuriate in private soaking areas, some with direct access from their suites. The Spa, a labyrinthine mecca, showcases the lagoon’s trove—silica, algae and minerals—in a do-it-yourself ritual. In-lagoon massage treatments are life changing.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort, United States
Set in southern Pennsylvania’s beautiful Cumberland Valley, the grand Omni Bedford Springs Resort is the site of eight natural mineral springs, which were originally used by Native Americans for their healing qualities. The 30,000-square-foot Springs Eternal Spa features the historic Bedford Baths, indoor and outdoor soaking pools, an extensive treatment menu, meditation and yoga, and a product line inspired by local indigenous herbs and botanicals. The 200-year-old historic destination, with its beautifully restored golf course, five restaurants, cozy firepit and peaceful spa garden, is packed with charm, and the perfect spot to enjoy a getaway with family or friends.
The family-owned and operated Stanglwirt looks like a traditional Alpine lodge, but it is so much more. The Hauser family’s main focus “is to be environmentally friendly and sustainable.” All the wood in the hotel is locally sourced pine. Balthasar Hauser built the beautiful indoor rock pool by lugging stones from the Wilder Kaiser mountains nearby. The hotel’s heating system is powered by bark waste from sawmills nearby. The water pools—grottoes, waterfalls, caves and pools—draw natural mountain spring water from the Wilder Kaiser, and are heated by solar and geothermal power. There are six tennis courts with “green” roofs, where grass and flowers grow, and sheep graze in the summer. The restaurants all source locally and rely on vegetables grown on property. Cows that roam the mountains provide dairy for the hotel. Stanglwirt has its own cheesemaker, who produces organic cheeses by hand.
The new 129,000-square-foot spa (with one of the largest saltwater hotel pools in Europe) offers just the type of divine relaxation we all need, with a water course that is so extensive, there is a full-time “sauna maestro” on staff who runs the “sauna ceremonies.”