The Ultimate Guide to Relaxation: 37 International Spas!

by Our Editors
37 International Spas

The astounding array of international spas covered here are sure to provide you with just what you need to relax and revitalize.

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 (60 min/$141) 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 nutrientrich meals. So whether you want to be healthy or hedonistic, the Metropolitan delivers the goods.
Stuart Haggas

As Louisville’s newest luxury hotel (opened in March 2018), the Omni Louisville is the go-to place for a variety of upscale experiences, from dining and shopping to accommodations. The Mokara Spa is yet another reason to visit, with its 5,000 square feet and seven treatment rooms providing a myriad of ways to refresh, just minutes from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Whiskey Row, and other Louisville attractions. Time-pressed business travelers can save time with focused massages and mini-facials that last less than 30 minutes. But for those with more time, the facility offers uniquely local treatments like the Kentucky Kombucha Facial (50 min/$135), which makes use of Kombucha (a fermented, sweetened black or green tea) to renew the skin with probiotics and enzymes, and you can also sip some of the freshly brewed beverage during the treatment. Fans of the Kentucky Derby might want to consider the Superfecta Package, which is named after the type of wager that challenges racing fans to pick the first four finishers of a race in correct order. The indulgent, four-hour treatment, priced at $396, includes a winning combination of treatments: the Kentucky Kombucha Facial, a stone massage with warm, polished basalt stones and lavender and blue chamomile oil, and a manicure and pedicure.
Mark Chesnut

37 International Spas

Photo: Serega K

One may not ordinarily consider a World Heritage Site a wondrous place for spa treatments, but within Sumaq Machu Picchu, the area’s sole luxury hotel, Aqlla Spa offers a serene underground enclave away from tourists and steep hiking trails. In the indigenous Quechua language, “aqlla” means “chosen one,” which defines the spa’s indulgent, locally inspired atmosphere. Ancient Incan sensory experiences abound, from hydrotherapy and fragrance, to soothing sounds and colors. The steam-sauna hut within the spa feels especially detoxifying, helping to boost circulation and purify skin. New to the treatment menu is the Andean Facial Treatment (50 min/$55). It makes use of the “super grain” native to the Andes Mountains that’s found on most restaurant menus, but here is used as a facial ingredient for soft exfoliation to nourish, hydrate, and seal in nutrients. Peruvians exalt the earth’s natural wonders, so the Andean Hot Stone Massage (60 mins/ $110) uses stones from the surrounding mountains, “filled with the energy of the Andes,” to help realign your body and energy on a cellular level for a deeper sense of calm and well-being. Aqlla’s staff expertly target the tender legs and backs of travelers weary from the long trek to Machu Picchu. So consider the favorite El Aqlla Massage (85 min/$110) to indulge in three of the spa’s top treatments (including reflexology) in a single session. Then ease into the Jacuzzi for a relaxing, aromatic experience reflecting back on this magical corner of the world.
Kelsy Chauvin

The fact that the word “spa” is in the hotel’s name says a lot about how important the wellness component is at the Marquis Reforma. Another clue: not only is the overall property a member of Leading Hotels of the World, the giant spa itself is billed as the only certified “Leading Spa” in Mexico City. In other words, this is one of the best places to stay in North America’s largest city if you’re truly serious about relaxing and restoring your energy. Its prized location on the grand Paseo de la Reforma boulevard, just a few blocks from the LGBTQ-popular neighborhood called the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) also helps to make it a standout. Measuring more than 16,000 square feet, the Spa Marquis has 10 private treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy tub, sauna, and steam room, as well as a sizeable, adults-only indoor relaxation pool with giant windows that let in lots of natural light. The extensive spa menu includes an ayurvedic massage and foot cleanse (90min/$143) that uses a series of rhythmic massages to replenish and reinvigorate the mind, body, and soul. The treatment also begins with a foot purification to cleanse the body of toxins. Another popular treatment is the Mediterranean Rhythmic Massage (50min/$143), which uses the lomijuma technique to help relieve joint and muscle tension, allowing for a better energy flow throughout the body. Afterwards, you’re guaranteed to feel stronger, more balanced, and refreshed.
Mark Chesnut

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