Restorative retreats and spas in exotic locations around the world
Time Out staff
Ritz Carlton Istanbul, Turkey: Among the oldest water therapies is the Turkish hammam or steam bath. Experience it in luxury, at a spa overlooking the azure waters of the Bosphorus strait. For pure indulgence, try a chocolate body treatment before heading to the rooftop terrace for a refreshing cocktail. +90 212 334 44 44/www.ritzcarlton.com.
Hotel Kalevala, Kuhmo, Finland: With its traditional remedies that range from ‘bone-setting’ to jumping into ice-holes, Finland may not seem an obvious choice for those whose idea of wellness involves oil and maybe a candle or two. On Lake Lammasjärvi, near the Russian border, you can stick to peat body wraps, saunas and jacuzzis while wolves howl in the snowy forest outside. +58 086 554 100/www.hotellikalevala.fi.
Terme Di Saturnia, Italy: These hot bubbling springs in Tuscany were created by a lightning bolt hurled from the heavens by Roman god Saturn, who was fed up with fighting on the Maremma, according to local folklore. Overlooking Etruscan ruins, water from ancient springs and state-of-the-art remedies mesh centuries of tradition with modern techniques. +39 0564 600111/www.termedisaturnia.it.
Daintree Ecolodge, Queensland, Australia: Take your body and soul on a sensory journey in the place the Aborigines named ‘Wawukarrba’, meaning healing of the spirit. Rainforest retreat Daintree offers a range of natural therapies, and many treatments draw on Aboriginal rituals. Try Kambarr rain therapy or a Walu BalBal facial, and detox your innards with local rainforest snacks. +61 07 4098 6100/www.daintree-ecolodge.com.au.
Hotel U Sládka, Chodová Planá, Czech Republic: This unconventional wellness holiday should appeal to the less hardcore detoxers out there. The ‘hops wellness land’ of Chodová Planá is the first hops spa (apparently, the brew can have remedial effects), where you spend all day bathing in beer as part of the treatment. Lava stone massages and tours of the region are also available. +420 374 617 100/www.chodovar.cz.
Spa Cavas Wine Lodge, Mendoza, Argentina: Beverage-lovers looking for a hands-on experience in Argentina should consider the Wine Body Glow, a beauty and cleansing treatment based on the region’s produce. Take refuge in an expanse of vineyards at the Cavas Wine Lodge. +54 261 410 6927/www.cavaswinelodge.com.
Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, UK: Fine dining and long walks in the secluded gardens of the Royal Crescent Hotel will take you back to the times of Jane Austen. From full body algae wraps to a special space for men, the hotel’s spa – converted from the property’s stables – has all the amenities you’d expect. 01225 823333/www.royalcrescent.co.uk.
Gleneagles, Scotland: Known for its world-class golf courses and posh country pursuits, Gleneagles is one of Scotland’s grandest properties. While you unwind at the spa, your children can occupy themselves learning the forgotten art of falconry. From heated limestone floors to Arctic mist showers, the range of treatments should suit all tastes. 01764 662231/www.gleneagles.com.
Two Bunch Palms, Palm Springs, California: The place to spot celebrities, although be warned they might be lurking under several feet of mud in the healing baths of the Two Bunch Palms resort. The grotto and steaming waters were a sanctuary for Native Americans and, later, for Al Capone; his cottage, which still bears a bullet hole and his initials on a desktop, is now Suite 14. +1 760 329 8791/www.twobunchpalms.com.
Middle East spa tour: Travel within the Middle East is often listed as one of the most enjoyable diversions for expats. So, whichever Arab country you currently call home should just be a base for your spa trek. Hop on a plane and visit your neighbours for a weekend of pampering. Time Out guides cover the major relaxation hotspots in the region and you should check out Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha while in the region.