Katie McGonagle rounds up some of the spas with the most impressive views in the world.
You study the spa menu, reserve your treatment time and toddle over to the health club in a dressing gown and slippers. But just as the tension begins to lift, a therapist leads you down a dim corridor towards a tiny treatment room cut off from the peace and quiet of the natural world outside.
Sure, some guests might treasure the calm of a secluded spa, cocooned from any interruption of noise or light. But for others, there’s more relief to be found in hearing the waves crashing against a sandy shore or birds rustling in the branches as their masseuse gets to work. For those in the latter camp, here are a handful of spas where the view does as much to relax you as the treatment itself.
1. Hostellerie La Cheneaudière & Spa in Alsace, France
Check in to the ‘Nature Spa’ at the five-star Hostellerie La Cheneaudière & Spa, set in the Alsace region on the border between France and Germany, and you can be guaranteed to feel at one with its surroundings. Treatment rooms look out across a blanket of deep‑green fir trees high in the hills, plus the owners have worked with local artisans to create products using herbs and honey from the nearby village.
“You can be guaranteed to feel at one with its surroundings”
The spa is huge, with four pools, five saunas, a honey-infused steam room, a wood bath and sensory shower walk offering plenty of variety. There are plans to open a sister property in nearby Colmar in 2024, offering a spa and outdoor pool in the city centre.
Book it: Rates from £198 per room.
2. The Six Senses Zil Pasyon spa in the Seychelles
With a seawater infinity pool flanked by huge granite boulders, the spa at the Six Senses Zil Pasyon brings the best of its Seychellois surroundings inside the resort, carrying that theme of embodying the natural environment throughout. Its five double treatment rooms feature elements of the islands, with villas suspended over the edge of granite rocks, inside caves, on a bay with 180-degree sea views or surrounded by lush greenery.
“The spa at the Six Senses Zil Pasyon brings the best of its Seychellois surroundings inside the resort.”
The resort, set on the 264-hectare Félicité Island, also offers personalised fitness and wellness programmes, with morning yoga and meditation among the activities.
Book it: Rates start at €1,625 per night for a one‑bedroom Hideaway Pool Villa on a B&B basis, including taxes and services.
3. The Talise Spa in the Burj Al Arab in Dubai
Watching the world scurry around below while you sit back on a sunlounger – it doesn’t get more chilled out than that, and it’s exactly what guests at the Talise Spa in Dubai’s Burj Al Arab can enjoy. Set on the 18th floor of the sailshaped resort, 150 metres above the Arabian Gulf, the spa is set over two floors awash with natural light.
Expect the very best products along with indoor infinity pools, a Jacuzzi, plunge pool and steam rooms, plus a top-notch gym for those who want to work off some of the emirate’s famous Friday brunches.
“The spa is set over two floors awash with natural light”
Book it: Pure Luxury offers three nights at the Burj Al Arab in a Deluxe One Bedroom Suite, with half-board accommodation and unlimited use of the spa, from £2,369 for travel between September 9-23, including private transfers and Emirates flights from Heathrow.
4. The Hard Rock Hotel spa in the Maldives
Hard Rock hotels are known for putting music at the heart of everything they do, but the brand’s new Maldivian outpost is putting it to good work in the spa as well, with a ‘rhythm and motion’ treatment that uses bass vibrations to ripple through the massage table while treble beats are played from above to make for a more relaxing experience.
“A ‘rhythm and motion’ treatment uses bass vibrations to ripple through the massage table while treble beats are played from above.”
There are also Maldivian-inspired therapies including a heated sand compress known as ‘veli modun’, used to relieve muscle pain.
Book it: Travelpack offers seven nights at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, staying in a Silver Sky Studio on an all-inclusive basis, with Qatar Airways flights, speedboat transfers and PCR testing, from £2,325 for travel between September 1-23.
5. The KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort in British Columbia, Canada
It would be hard to think of a more relaxing location than the beautiful British Columbia countryside, and Sparkling Hill Resort, set atop a bluff overlooking the glassy waters of Okanagan Lake, makes the most of its tranquil spot by putting wellness front and centre.
Along with farm-to-table dining using produce from the Okanagan Valley, the enormous KurSpa has an infinity pool with panoramic lake views, steam rooms and saunas – some infused with salt, rose or herbs – and a spa menu featuring more than 100 treatments.
“The enormous KurSpa has an infinity pool with panoramic lake views”
Book it: Canadian Affair includes two nights at Sparkling Hill on its BC Spa & Winelands Circle Holiday, a 13-night self-drive that includes Vancouver, a Best of Victoria day tour on Vancouver Island, a winery tour in the Okanagan Valley, plus ferry trips, Westjet flights from Gatwick and car hire, from £2,528 per person departing in May 2022.
6. The Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland
Sitting in a sauna generally means sweating it out while staring intently at the bland, blond wood panelling for fear of catching a glimpse of one of your fellow spa-goers without their towel – but not at Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland. Set on the beautiful beachfront in Newcastle, County Down, with views over the Irish Sea, the Mourne Mountains and as far as St John’s lighthouse on the Ardglass peninsula, this sauna is one where you won’t want to close your eyes.
“The spa is set on the beautiful beachfront in Newcastle, County Down, with views over the Irish Sea, the Mourne Mountains and as far as St John’s lighthouse.”
It was upgraded last year as part of a £550,000 spa renovation, which also added a couple’s treatment room and private relaxation room for groups, and refurbished the pool, steam room and changing areas.
Book it: Rooms start at £180 on a B&B basis.
Best of the rest
Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia: This resort’s open‑air guest rooms, with their uninterrupted views of the Pitons, can double as the setting for an in-villa spa treatment, with a host of body, beauty, Ayurvedic and holistic therapies on offer. Rates from £812 per room.
Dharana at Shillim, India: Embracing India’s Ayurvedic traditions, this wellness retreat is set amid 1,400 hectares of forest replanted following years of deforestation. Along with yoga and meditation, there are new socially-distanced wellness programmes with seven, 14 and 21-day options. Nightly rates from £350.
Little Kulala, Namibia: Enjoy sweeping views of the Namib Desert while indulging in the signature Sossusvlei treatment at this Wilderness Safaris lodge, which reopened in November following a refurbishment and addition of a new spa. Rates from £486 per person.
Deplar Farm, Iceland: This remote lodge in northern Iceland mixes outdoor activities such as wilderness walks, sea kayaking and cross-country skiing with yoga and swimming in a geothermically heated outdoor pool. Rates from £1,737 per room including wellness programme, meals, drinks and transfers to Akureyri airport.
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