Each one delivers the ultimate in pampering and was recognised at this week’s World Spa Awards in Da Nang, Vietnam, where Thailand was named the best spa destination on the planet.
Spas in the Middle East, Asia and Europe dominated the list, as Dubai-based Talise by Jumeirah walked away with the award for best hotel spa brand, and Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace won for best hotel spa and best spa signature treatment for its 24-carat gold radiance facial.
These were some of the big world and regional winners at the inaugural event, based on votes cast by the public and people who work in the industry.
Best Hotel Spa and Best Spa Signature Treatment: Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace Spa, in Abu Dhabi, won the award for best signature spa treatment for its 24-carat gold radiance facial
Emirates Palace Spa boasts a traditional Moroccan hammam with two Jacuzzis, two steam rooms, heated marble and an ice cave
Micronized 24-carat gold sheets are massaged into the skin under an ultra-sonic nano mist during the 24-carat gold radiance facial
This five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi picked up two top awards in the world category.
Emirates Palace Spa boasts a traditional Moroccan hammam with two Jacuzzis, two steam rooms, heated marble and an ice cave.
Each of the seven treatment rooms has its own theme, with the award-winning 24-carat gold radiance facial serving as the spa’s marquee treatment, at a cost of AED1,890 (approximately £330 or $515).
According to the spa’s website, micronized 24-carat gold sheets are massaged into the skin under an ultra-sonic nano mist during the 90-minute treatment, which includes a food ritual, skin cleansing and a relaxing scalp and hand massage.
Best Day Spa: Gaia Retreat and Spa (Brooklet, Australia)
Nestled on 25 acres in the hinterland of Byron Bay, Gaia Retreat and Spa is co-owned by Grease actress and singer Olivia Newton-John
Gaia’s day spa offers dozens of relaxing treatments, including hot stone massages, French clay wraps and reiki healings
A number of treatments are offered in Gaia’s signature steam room, including a bay sea salt and mineral polish
Nestled on 25 acres in the hinterland of Byron Bay, Gaia Retreat and Spa is renowned for its relaxing treatments, but has also gained attention thanks to its famous co-owner, Grease actress and singer Olivia Newton-John.
Founded in 2005, Gaia (the name for Mother Earth in Greek mythology) has an extensive day spa menu, offering everything from lymphatic drainage and hot basalt stone massages to French clay wraps and reiki healings.
It also offers one-on-one sessions for fitness training, yoga, meditation and tennis.
Best Wellness Spa: Forte Village Resort (Sardinia, Italy)
The stunning Acquaforte Thalasso Spa specialises in thalassotherapy, which uses sea water, salt, mud and sand in its treatments
Surrounded by tropical gardens, the spa on the island of Sardinia boasts several pools, a sauna and Turkish bath
Instead of receiving a massage in a quiet room, guests can be pampered outdoors in a treatment area in the middle of a pool (right)
Set on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, the stunning Acquaforte Thalasso Spa specialises in thalassotherapy, which uses sea water, salt, mud and sand in its treatments.
According to the spa, those substances offer the softest and most effective cure against muscular, osteo and articular ailments, skin problems, water retention, stress and tensions.
One of the signature treatments is the Thalasso massage, with specialists rubbing high-salinity sea water into the skin.
Best Hotel Brand: Talise by Jumeirah
Talise by Jumeirah was named the world’s best hotel brand (pictured: Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Majorca)
Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Majorca was built on a cliff overlooking the Spanish fishing village of Port Soller
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, on the west crescent of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah island, has a spectacular Turkish hammam at the heart of its spa
Jumeirah Dhevanafushi Maldives, which is set over the water, is surrounded by the exotic beauty of the Indian Ocean
Talise is the flagship spa brand for high-end Jumeirah, which has about 20 properties scattered across the globe, including Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, billed as the world’s only seven-star hotel.
That hotel offers an AED7,000 (approximately £1,230 or $1,900) moonlight swim, which caters to couples who are celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary or birthday.
A couples massage is followed by a swim in a private infinity pool, with guests receiving Champagne, roses and monogrammed bath robes as a keepsake.
At Jumeirah Frankfurt, the company’s only property in Germany, the signature Skyline Honey Treatment is a scrub using honey collected from beehives on top of the hotel’s roof.
Best Casino Hotel Spa: Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, in Monaco, has a cryotherapy room with two cold chambers set at -60C and -110C, respectively
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo overlooks historic Port Hercule and its luxurious superyachts in glamorous Monaco
Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is set in one of the most glamorous locations in the world – Monaco’s historic Port Hercule, where the rich and famous moor their superyachts.
The swanky spa has a cryotherapy room with two cold chambers set at -60C and -110C, respectively. Cryotherapy is said to help with relaxation, regaining energy, recovery from injury, reducing stress, improving sleep disorders and easing the symptoms of jet lag.
One three-minute session inside a cold chamber costs €55 (approximately £40 or $60).
Best Private Island Spa: Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara (Doha, Qatar)
Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara offers soothing steam and bathing experiences inside a traditional Turkish hammam
One of the signature treatments, the Oriental Turkish Bath Ceremony, involves a massage in an overwater spa suite
Banana Island, a 32-acre outcrop six miles east of Qatar’s capital of Doha, is home to a luxurious hideaway with overwater spa suites and treatments inspired by the region’s ancient tribal roots.
Signature treatments include the two-hour Oriental Turkish Bath Ceremony, which begins on a heated marble slab in a Turkish hammam. After a deep cleansing, polishing and foam massage, the guest is taken to an overwater treatment room for a signature Charme d’Orient Massage.
The In-Villa Slumber Guru Experience takes place in the guest’s room, starting with a soak in a candlelit bathroom, and a back, neck and shoulder massage. Guests are given homemade cookies and herbal teas before they are put to bed in a bed dressed in 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton and a pillow of choice.
Best Cruise Spa: Norwegian Cruise Line
Mandara Spa, on Norwegian’s Escape cruise ship, allows passengers to chill out in the Snow Room, which stimulates blood circulation
The full-service spa offers everything from massages to teeth whitening, with spectacular views of the sea from a relaxation room
Before or after treatments, guests can relax in a pool or whirlpool at Mandara Spas on board Norwegian cruise ships
Some of the world’s best spas aren’t just found on land.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet of ships is home to Mandara Spa, one of the largest spas at sea.
On Norwegian Epic, the full-service spa offers the 1,081ft ship’s 4,100 passengers everything from massages and acupuncture to BOTOX injections and teeth whitening.
Passengers can relax in a sauna while admiring spectacular views of the sea, or chill out in the Snow Room, which is ice cold and stimulates blood circulation throughout the body, on Norwegian’s Escape cruise ship.
Best Eco Spa: Six Senses Con Dao (Con Dao, Vietnam)
Six Senses Con Dao is set on an archipelago in southeastern Vietnam, with the Lo Voi Mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop
The hotel has a bay protection programme and feeding grounds for dugongs, a marine mammal that is endangered
The spa offers ayurvedic, yogic and wellness programmes, including a body scrub using Vietnamese coffee and sea salt
Six Senses Con Dao is set on an archipelago in southeastern Vietnam, with the Lo Voi Mountains serving as a dramatic backdrop.
Surrounded by tropical gardens, the spa offers ayurvedic, yogic and wellness programmes, while the hotel has a bay protection programme and feeding grounds for dugongs, a manatee-like marine mammal that is endangered.
For beginners, the yogic sleep programme is intended to relax and improve sleeping habits. The practice is taught lying down, with the goal of inducing full body relaxation and a deep meditative state of consciousness.
Best Male Spa: Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, in Saudi Arabia’s capital, is an all-men’s spa offering massages, wraps and scrubs
While some may think a day at the spa is a treat reserved for women, spas are increasingly catering to men.
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, in Saudi Arabia’s capital, is an all-men’s spa offering massages, wraps and scrubs.
One of its signature treatments is a 90-minute, USD$295 (approximately £190) facial using protein-rich caviar, antioxidants, a multi-acid peed and an alginate peel-off masque to improve skin moisture.
Four Seasons says the all-men’s spa is a first for Riyadh, but it wasn’t the city’s only winner. Al Faisaliah Spa by ESPA at the Al Faisaliah Hotel was named best female spa.
Best Airline Lounge Spa: Six Senses Spa at Etihad Airways Premium Lounges
At London’s Heathrow Airport, Etihad’s first and business class passengers can ease their pre-flight nerves at the Terminal 4 lounge
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is well-known for its luxury in the air, including a three-room private apartment on some of its Airbus A380 aircraft, but it also extends to lounges at airports around the world.
At London’s Heathrow Airport, for example, Etihad’s first and business class passengers can ease their pre-flight nerves at the lounge inside Terminal 4.
Treatments include a deep pressure massage using bamboo, and an ‘eye retreat’ that combines acupressure with lymphatic movements to revitalise the area under a person’s eyes.
Best Medical Spa: Lanserhof Tegernsee
With its Lans med concept, holistic treatments are delivered through a mixture of state-of-the-art medicine and traditional healing methods
Each guest is assigned a consulting physician to create an individual health plan with treatments such as yoga, massages or enemas
Lanserhof Tegernsee is a modern medical spa resort that was built near Lake Tegern in the Bavarian Alps
Lanserhof Tegernsee is a modern medical spa resort that was built near Lake Tegern in the Bavarian Alps at a reported cost of £55million ($85million).
With its Lans med concept, holistic treatments are delivered through a mixture of state-of-the-art medicine and traditional healing methods.
Diagnostics are based on Mayr medicine, with each guest being assigned a consulting physician to create an individual health plan with personalised detoxifying treatments, which can range from deep tissue massages and seaweed body wraps to tea fasts and enemas.
Guests can spend a week in a double room with an exceptional view for €550 (£400 or $620) a night based on double occupancy, or they can splash €2,150 (£1,600 or $2,400) on a second-floor Elysium loft suite.