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26 of the World’s Most Sensational SPAS

by Our Editors

Passport has left no hot stone unturned, or therapy untried, to bring you our favorite spas from around the globe.

We’ve all heard the term “positive thinking,” but when it comes to spas it’s all about blissful thinking, combined, of course, with sensual treatments that are designed to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit. Whether you book a day at the spa or plan to spend your entire holiday being pummeled and pampered, Passport has left no hot stone unturned, or therapy untried, to bring you our favorite spas from around the globe. When planning your next delightfully indulgent getaway, you’re sure to find the treatment of your dreams at one of these exceptional locations. Whether it’s a couple’s massage, mud bath, or seaweed facial, the astounding array of international spas covered here is sure to provide you with just what you need to relax and revitalize.

EUROPE

COMO SHAMBHALA URBAN ESCAPE

METROPOLITAN BY COMO

LONDON, ENGLAND

In ancient Buddhist texts, Shambhala refers to a mythical kingdom. In the newly refurbished Metropolitan by COMO London, the myth becomes reality. This five-star hotel in London’s Mayfair district is already home to acclaimed Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Nobu and sophisticated party hotspot the Met Bar. Now part of the Singapore-based COMO Group, their core belief in wellbeing means that a slew of guestrooms have been sacrificed to make space for COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, a calm sanctuary
where mind, body, and spirit are recuperated with Asian-inspired therapies. What’s special about this spa is that therapists are chosen for their personal expertise. Having previously worked at the original COMO Shambhala Retreat, Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, Therapist Yuki Nishikubo brings to London her years of experience in Japanese acupuncture and shiatsu. Recommended for improving general well-being, the signature COMO Shambhala Massage (75 min/£115) is a nurturing treatment using specially blended massage oils to sooth and rejuvenate. I chose Purify, combining fennel with restorative citrus oils. Other options include Shelter, a blend of camphor, basil, ginger, peppermint, and eucalyptus that I’m told you either love or hate. Although primarily a relaxing treatment, Yuki targeted pressure points and loosened knotty muscles in my neck and shoulders, leaving me feeling soothed and untangled. This signature massage is also part of the Red Eye Package. Upon arrival, guests enjoy a refreshing shower, a 60-minute COMO Shambhala Massage, a breakfast tray, and guaranteed room access from 11 A.M. I also met Therapist Alex Ivanov who hails from Bulgaria, but after spending much time honing his skills in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is an expert in Thai massage. Another therapist, Ilie Neagu specializes in remedial and sports massage. The menu of beauty and grooming treatments include some designed specifically for men, and it’s the only spa in London using products developed by regarded New York dermatologist Dr. Perricone. This commitment to well-being isn’t isolated to the spa. The hotel’s state-ofthe-art gym is open 24-hours, with personal training and private yoga instruction upon request. Guests may also enjoy specially developed Como Shambhala cuisine, including healthy juices and nutrient-rich meals. So whether you want to be healthy or hedonistic, the Metropolitan delivers the goods. www.comohotels.com/metropolitanlondon

                                                                                    — Stuart Haggas

LA PRAIRIE SPA AT LE BRISTOL HOTEL

PARIS, FRANCE

You would expect the legendary Le Bristol Paris Hotel to have an equally legendary spa, and the La Prairie Spa fits the bill. La Prairie from Switzerland is known worldwide as one of the top luxury skincare brands with their breakthrough anti-aging cellular creams, serums, and treatments. Much like the hotel, the décor of the spa is understated elegance, with soft beige tile and neutral tones throughout. I opted for the Beauty Express Le Bristol treatment, (50 min/€160). Florie, my facialist, a lovely young lady with a soft voice, asked questions about my skin type, my skincare rituals, and what products I used so she could prescribe the correct products. The multi-faceted treatment started with a cleansing tonic, followed by a tingly marine peel, a series of treatments labeled with caviar, including an eye contour cream, firming complex cream, and a mask. While I was waiting for the mask to dry, Florie gave me a super-relaxing cranial massage. I felt calm yet invigorated after the treatment and when I looked in the mirror I appeared five years younger. A wonderful touch when I was finished was the opportunity to relax in a private garden terrace for a few moments, which really set the spa apart from the others I experienced in Paris. La Prairie Spa offers an extensive menu of treatments, massages, and scrubs and if you want to go all out and pamper yourself for the day, try the Just for Him program, which includes a VIP Room with a private terrace, Deep Energizer Massage, La Prairie Swiss Cellular Facial for Gentlemen, Express Manicure, and fresh vegetable or fruit juice (3 hrs 10 min/€450). www.lebristolparis.com

                                                                                                — Richard Nahem

THE SPA AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL PARIS

PARIS, FRANCE

The Mandarin Oriental Paris opened to acclaim in 2011, and in 2014 was award- ed the rare and prestigious honor of Palace status, which only a handful of hotels have in Paris. The Spa at the Manadarin Oriental Paris in the lower level of the hotel reflects the Asian sense of calm and serenity usually associated with Mandarin hotels. I was seated in the comfortable reception area and my masseuse Matilde kindly greeted me and offered a calming cup of tea. She also took my shoes and gave me a pair of slippers to change into. I was happy to have a dou- ble-header treatment, the Gentleman Essentials Face & Body Treatment (€250 weekdays, €280 on weekends). The 80-minute treatment promises a heightened state of relaxation and well-being after you are finished. The softly lit treatment room with soothing music playing in the background and an inviting massage table dressed in white terrycloth had a tray of assorted oils to choose from for my massage. I chose a fresh musk scent. The treatment began with a cleanse and exfoliation for my back followed by a strong, but not too intense massage. The next part of the treatment was a deep cleansing facial using essential oil and botanicals, and last but not least was a scalp massage leaving me feeling tingly all over. The spa has four private suites and three special couples suites along with a 45-foot-long pool (one of the largest in Paris). Note: Pool is only available for use for hotel guests. www.mandarinoriental.com/paris/luxury-spa

— Richard Nahem

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