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.

The flagship property of Australia’s wonderfully quirky and stylish QT Hotel family, the QT Sydney blends Gothic, art deco, and Italianate-influenced architecture, and coats it all in a hip, arty, playful, and attitude-free sensibility that’s unmistakable from the moment you arrive (the hotel’s door girls, for example, don red bobs and black berets). Tucked on the QT’s mezzanine, the spaQ offers an array of treatments geared toward modern world travelers, including quite a few dedicated solely to bringing out your mug’s most selfie-worthy best. The Facial Therapy by Kerstin Florian menu includes the Timeless Prodigy Facial (90 min/$295), which uses a combination of cell-rejuvenating botanical antioxidants and champagne jelly. The gorgeous treatment is completed with a 3D collagen mask and a white truffle re-densifying cream. The Facial Therapy by USPA menu includes two facials formulated just for men: the Fast Eddy Men’s Facial (30 min/$95), which uses products with grapefruit, bamboo, ginseng, aloe vera, and green tea; and the longer Supernatural Men’s Facial (60 min/$160), which makes use of products with birch extract, almond oil, and ginseng. As an extra-special bonus for guys, spaQ features its own classic barber shop with antique leather barber chairs. Opt for a simple haircut (30 min/$55), or treat yourself to a traditional wet shave, featuring steaming scented towel, rich shaving cream, and a straight razor. Two shaves are on the menu: The Don (30 min/$55) to get you cleaned up and in and out quickly and Mr. Bond (45 min/$80), where additional attention is paid to unruly eyebrows and such, and the treatment is capped by a shoulder or hand and arm massage. It’s all deeply relaxing, but just to be sure all barber shop services come with whiskey neat, courtesy of Chivas Regal.
Dan Allen

Rancho La Puerta - International Spas

Rancho La Puerta

Founded in 1940, Rancho La Puerta in Mexico, just a 15-minute drive from the San Diego border, was one of the first wellness resorts in the world, having lured vacationers to the beautiful landscapes of Baja, California for decades. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the resort transformed into a luxurious sanctuary, but one thing remained the same: the leftist, bohemian “hippie” sensibility is clearly evident with the types of visitors, the beatnik-minded staff, and the holistic and spirituality- focused treatments. Here, it’s more about discovering your self-identity in the purest form of the free spirit, with emphasis on well-being, gratitude, and nature, taking mind, body, and spirit to the next level. In fact, visitors may even ponder deep thoughts like “why do we exist,” and “what’s the meaning of the universe,” considering the vibes and tons of “me” time. In fact, with the resort’s sprawling a 3,000 acres, it’s easy to immerse in the beautifully landscaped gardens and connect with nature without seeing another soul (83 rooms allows only 140 guests at a time). Transformative experiences are within the number of activities, from wellness classes and lectures to the spa and several outdoor saltwater pools, hiking through unspoiled landscape, attending workshop or fitness classes, or relishing in the home-cooked, health-minded meals with ingredients plucked straight from their on-site garden. Rancho La Puerta even tailors to men with male-specific spa treatments, classes like circuit training, trail running, and fitness and ropes courses. “The magic of the Ranch is that no matter who you are or why you choose to come, you seem to find what you are looking for,” says openly gay Barry Shingle, director of guest activities and fitness. “There is a sense of acceptance and support no matter what your life circumstances may be. I meet gay and lesbian guests almost weekly at the Ranch. So many gay and lesbian guests have come from places that they don’t feel accepted, so it’s important for them to feel that they are included just as all other guests are…their sexuality is a non-issue.” Rates in a Ranchera (double) from $3,250 for seven-nights program (shorter stays are available). Carretera Tecate-Tijuana, Tecate, BC Mexico. Tel: 800-443-7565.
Jimmy Im


Overlooking palaces where the Japanese prince and Emperor live, the treatments at the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho Spa take you above and beyond royalty. Check in first at the hotel (part of SPG’s Luxury Collection) on the 36th-floor, where the elevator doors open to a DJ spinning tunes in a sky lobby with 360- degree views of Tokyo separated by glass and fire elements. Arrive early for your treatment to take advantage of the spa’s two pools (one hot, one cold) and a dry sauna. As is common in Japanese spas, no swimsuits are allowed, and tattoos must be covered by seals that the spa provides. The cars 140 meters below look so tiny through the wall-to-ceiling windows that the bumper-to-bumper traffic snakes by meditatively. A signature and subtle hinoki scent tingles your senses and relaxes your mind throughout the spa. Hinoki extracts are also used for its antioxidant effects in the Kokutan Detox Treatment (120 min/$329), which adopts traditional Japanese techniques using an ebony cane as a massage tool to relieve muscle tension. The Men’s Skin Cleanse (100 min/$351) uses top-of-the-line products from Swiss Perfection. I recommend adding a couple’s spa suite room ($505 per couple) to any treatment for a post-treatment tea service and for extra moments of privacy. While local ordinances prohibit men and women entering the same bath in the spa suite room, cis gay and lesbian couples may enjoy the entire luxurious spa experience together.
Allister Chang

Unwind’s glittering chandeliers and gold mirrors set a new bar for baroque extravagance in Washington, D.C. Opened in 2017, Unwind stands out for its uncanny capacity to recruit tall, handsome Eastern European men with big hands. Georgi and Sladjan will dominate your muscles into relaxation, molding and melting your body with technical precision. Book a deep-tissue massage, which starts at 30 minutes for $60. However, the spa also allows you to add on treatments to your massage, such as CBD oils or aromatherapy. Or try a couples massage (60 min/$190). Add on a 30-minute hydrating body wrap or sea salt body scrub for $80. Unwind is a locally owned boutique spa certified to perform treatments from Eastern Medicine, including cupping, guasha, acupuncture, and reiki. Their focus on staff training and technical expertise is immediately evident. Every stroke is practiced, and every pressure point is explored. Located along the C&O Canal in D.C.’s oldest neighborhood, Unwind is only a couple blocks from Georgetown’s Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. Nearby, you’ll also find all your essential ampersand menswear: Frank & Oak, Rag & Bone, and Hugh & Crye. The capital of the US hasn’t been known for its luxury spas or hotels. Unwind moves D.C. to a new era by offering bespoke and unique experiences. It’s appropriate that here, nestled between the world’s embassies, you can now be led by a Brazilian management team to Versailles inspired treatment rooms with Bulgarian therapists performing ancient Chinese acupressure techniques.
Allister Chang

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