GLOBAL SPA EXPERIENCES
Stellar spa experiences across the globe cater to personal tastes with niche treatments in awe- inspiring locations.
The wellness and beauty industries have exploded in the past few years – undeniably a reaction to the fast pace of life and high stress levels we’re continually subjected to. Designated spaces that offer escape, sanctuary and restoration have become a way to recharge and regroup, but in an industry that risks saturation due to myriads of options, these businesses have to increasingly stay relevant to remain appealing to an ever-savvier consumer.
The rise of the niche spa (venues that specialise in certain types of therapies, or answer specific consumer needs) is one way they are setting themselves apart. From no-nonsense medical spas to holistic wellness retreats offering yoga and a vegan menu to those specialising in straight-up luxury, everybody’s needs are catered for.
The RAAS Devigarh Hotel in the magical location of Udaipur is a former Rajasthani palace. | Ila Spa offers a yoga and meditation menu. | The spa at Villa Stéphanie is a comprehensive health retreat.
THE PICTURE OF HEALTH
A global movement that has had considerable impact on the spa industry is the quest for real wellness rather than just cosmetic perfection – inner health, physical fitness and spiritual wellbeing.
At Ila Spa at the RAAS Devigarh Hotel in Udaipur, India, a holistic philosophy goes hand in hand with a jaw-dropping location. Run by British skin-care brand Ila, the spa serves up a chakra-targeting series of treatments where wild-harvested ingredients and ancient healing techniques come together in the Devi Blessings – treatments designed by Ila founder Denise Leicester. Combined with yoga and meditation, a few days in the 18th-century palace will have you floating out on a cloud of serenity.
At Villa Stéphanie at Brenners Park Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, the focus is less ethereal and more efficient – and efficient it is. The five-star stay comes with a 360-degree medical assessment, complemented by alternative therapies to address stress, bespoke spa treatments and a personalised exercise regime.
The original spa at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is located in a 100-year-old teak mansion.
The revamped Hôtel de Crillon in Paris has a new aquatic area that features a gold-tiled pool and a mural by noted ceramic artist Peter Lane.
With every element curated by Giorgio Armani himself, the Armani/SPA in Milan reflects his minimalist, sophisticated style.
For bragging rights alone, a jaunt to Paris or Milan would not be complete without a visit to the Chanel au Ritz Paris Spa at the Hôtel Ritz Paris, or the Armani/SPA at the Armani Hotel Milano, where haute couture meets European flair.
The Ritz reopened recently after a major overhaul, which included the creation of the Chanel Spa – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel lived for a time at this iconic address. Her timeless elegance inspired the spa’s opulent yet sophisticated interior, which reflects her love of gilt surfaces and black accents.
At the Armani Hotel Milano, each element was chosen or designed by Giorgio Armani himself to create a home away from home, but better. The 1 000 m2 glass-roofed spa is the epitome of sensual and sculptural Italian style.
In South Africa, the new Silo Hotel and neighbouring Zeitz MOCAA are must-visit landmarks for visitors to Cape Town. The Silo Spa’s compact proportions are counterbalanced by plush textures: mirrored lockers, velvet sofas and gauzy curtains, all in white for a cosy and indulgent experience.
For the ultimate in urban pampering, book a rooftop treatment and enjoy a 360-degree view.
Slotting in a trip to a local spa while exploring a hot tourist destination rounds out the experience, especially when the spa in question shows off the unique beauty and attributes of that particular place.
Le Spa at Royal Mansour Marrakech is an oasis of intricate Moorish motifs with an ethereal white interior. The wrought-iron atrium, orangery-style pavilion and spa “cabins” are punctuated by bubbling fountains and bouquets of roses – magic manifest. Guests can opt for a traditional treatment in a hammam or relax in the tea lounge to properly soak up the Moroccan atmosphere.
To a similar extent, Franschhoek’s achingly beautiful mountainous winelands terrain is shown off to excellent advantage from the pool at Leeu Spa at Leeu Estates. Part of the Leeu Collection – a portfolio of hotels, galleries and eateries in Franschhoek that seeks to elevate the hospitality experience – it offers idyllic scenery and treatments inspired by local tradition and ingredients, using organic product ranges.
Tulum in Mexico has experienced a meteoric rise to make it one of the hottest destinations globally. With its boho beach bars, new-age eateries and yogi culture, this is hippie-chic heaven and the location of Yäan Wellness. Expect Bedouin tents steps away from a picture-perfect beach and a holistic approach to treatments.
Credits: TEXT Julia Freemantle PHOTOGRAPHS Supplied