Rest Assured

Nine spas around the globe offer truly unique versions of pampering and relaxation.


Destination Spas

The Alvear Palace Spa & Fitness Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina One big downside to being a landmark building is abiding by renovation restrictions, so the Alvear, Buenos Aires’s most venerable hotel, simply purchased the building next door to house its new 8,000-square-foot spa. While maintaining the same luxe standards as the ornate hotel, the spa offers a soothing, more modern atmosphere, done up in dark and light Argentine Caob and Lapacho woods and structural columns embellished with glass Bisazza mosaic tiles. Water is the theme here, with a hydromassaging Ludic pool tiled in the mosaic glass, and a Water Sensations Path—guests who walk it will experience a range of water temperatures on the skin and a massaging, pebbly terrain underfoot. Those who prefer to stay dry might try the Exclusive Radiant Treatment, a firming and lightening facial designed specifically for the spa by top-notch skincare line La Prairie.

The Spa at the Carneros Inn, Napa, California The owners of this famed inn gave visitors the perfect finish to a day of winery touring when they installed outdoor Huichica baths on their property. The custom-designed, stone-decorated hydrotherapy tubs are inspired by the nearby Huichica Creek, believed to possess supernatural powers by the Native Americans who once inhabited the area. Carneros, long a favorite retreat for wine aficionados, has recently completed a major update, adding an indoor-outdoor pool, a motion studio and outdoor treatment rooms. And, befitting a spa set in a top foodie destination, even the treatments here sound delectable—wraps, facials and massages are based on wine traditions and incorporate local ingredients like Chardonnay oil, hand-pressed olive oil, goat milk and goat butter, which is used in the decadent (if slightly odd-sounding) Warm Goat Butter Massage.

Six Senses Erawan, Naka Yai, Thailand Not only does it inhabit its own private island off Phuket, but this 33,000-square-foot spa, which is scheduled to open in December, has an indoor-outdoor layout that renders those ocean-wave noise machines super­fluous. Guests stay in private villas where personal butlers take care of everything—from checking in and unpacking to running a bath. In keeping with Erawan’s dietary focus, all food is locally produced and organic (nearly everything on the island but the trees is edible), one of its two restaurants serves raw food only, and guests can go foraging in the on-site “mushroom hut” and hand over their finds to the chef for their next meal. The spa is divided into four areas devoted to regional healing and stress-relieving techniques—Ayurvedic, Jamu-Jamu (Indonesian), Thai and Traditional Chinese Medicine—so a visit can be health-focused or just sublimely sybaritic.

Aquapura Spa, Douro Valley, Portugal Nestled along the banks of the Douro River, this 41-room inn has opened a 22,000-square-foot spa with panoramic sauna and steam rooms, an indoor pool and 10 naturally lit treatment rooms. Those who prize privacy can opt to stay in one of the 16 spa guest rooms, each with its own hot tub as well as extra space for in-room massages or facials. Complexion issues are addressed in a no-nonsense manner with the Switzerland-based Karin Herzog skincare line, but guests can also try more colorful fare. Options range from pepper and cinnamon aromatherapy to the four-handed Hawaiian lomi lomi rubdown and the Aquapura poultice treatment, which uses medicinal plants to ease tensions while heat from herb-infused poultices that are placed on the skin burns away bad spirits within the body.

Aquapura Spa

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, St. Thomas Prada, which is the exclusive product line for several Ritz-Carlton spas around the world, has hit the Caribbean. The renovated Ritz on St. Thomas has a new 13,000-square-foot facility with 11 treatment rooms, a seaside massage cabana and a relaxation conservatory decorated West Indies–style with spice-infused scents. Featured, of course, is Prada’s signature facial, which is based on rhythmic hand movements and incorporates its high-tech skincare line. But there are also treatments for those less label-conscious, such as a gemstone Reiki treatment that can be conducted in the moonlight, a facial using the organic Eminence line, and something called the Boldijarre Signature Hungarian Facial, which boasts formulas chock-full of organically grown fruits and herbs—like apricot, stonecrop, naseberry and rose hip—to hydrate and invigorate complexions. 340.775.3333

Mountain Lodges of Peru, Cuzco, Peru Despite the arguable sacrilege of fusing a Machu Picchu trek with a spa getaway, Pachamama (Inca-speak for Mother Earth) will forgive you. She’s the one, after all, who helped craft the Salkantay trail, along which the outfitter Mountain Lodges of Peru has just opened four posh outposts boasting hot tubs, down bedding and Peruvian wines. Higher and longer than the standard Inca Trail, this ruta less traveled starts with the dazzling Salkantay peak. Book the spa package, a six-day, quad- and lung-challenging trek with stops at each lodge and a schedule that includes massages, aromatherapy and nutritional counseling. Guests are picked up in Cuzco (where they are encouraged to spend two days acclimating; the pampering Hotel Monasterio is popular) and dropped at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel on the last night (for easy access to ruins—and the local Unu spa) before being shuttled back to Cuzco.

Day Spas

Tribeca Spa of Tranquility, New York While just about every day spa in Manhattan offers different types of massages, from hot stone to shiatsu, Thai massage—which requires therapists with acrobatic balancing skills and ancient knowledge—is still a novelty in this city. But at this secret gem, situated on one of TriBeCa’s quieter streets, owner Jeanie Chu performs this too-rare art to perfection. Her take on shiatsu massage is also pure heaven for stiff spines—her therapists walk on clients’ backs, steadying themselves with a bar suspended from the ceiling. Chu and her staff also do body scrubs, facials, reflexology and Ionithermie, a detox and cellulite-reduction treatment.

Holts Salon & Spa at Holt Renfrew, Vancouver, Canada Hollywood budget-friendly filming prices have made this snowcapped northwest city a cool destination, and the “in” place to beautify while in town is the new 6,000-square-foot space within Vancouver’s chicest department store. Guests can select from 11 different facials (including the Paraffin Facial and the Men’s Facial) that use product lines like Sisley Paris, SkinCeuticals, B. Kamins Chemist and Kérastase; six massages; and a slew of salt glows and seaweed wraps. If maintenance trumps relaxation, the 16-chair hair salon offers cuts and color, manicures and pedicures. And if retail therapy trumps both, shoppers can sit back in the lounge, sampling products.

Anne Fontaine Le Spa, Paris Fontaine, queen of the pristine white shirt, will now perfect your pores too. In July the designer opened a 5,920-square-foot spa on Paris’s tony rue Saint-Honoré, mere stiletto steps from Hermès and Chloé. An eclectic service menu includes the Voodoo Treatment, inspired by Brazilian tribal dances and done to Brazilian music, in which a therapist first uses quick hand movements to tone a client’s muscles and then switches to slow ones to promote relaxation; and Silk Dream, which involves swathing clients in the fabric while a wooden embroidery spindle is worked over feet for reflexology. Fontaine also sells skincare products, including Naturel de Lin, an all-natural treatment line, and Performance de la Soie, which uses silk protein to help regenerate cells as well as moisturize and protect the skin. Design doyenne Andrée Putman helped Fontaine create the space, which features a Turkish bath and a Jacuzzi.

Courtesy of the spas