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Travel Inspiration
9 Hotel Spa & Wellness Programs You Need to Experience

IMPROVE YOUR SELF-CARE AND HOLISTIC HEALTH AT THE BLUE LAGOON, AGUA CALIENTE CASINO, RITZ CARLTON TORONTO, AND MORE

Busy Americans have developed the notoriously bad habit of dismissing acts of self-care. And while vacations to exotic locales are certainly a good start, relaxation on any trip can and should be enhanced with appointments at the spa.

Luckily, there is a rise in properties that have seamlessly integrated wellness programs into the overall guest stay, offering innovative and sometimes hours-long treatments that aim to calm the mind and body.

couple in sauna

Perhaps one of the most progressive spa-minded hotels in the world is SB Winemaker's House & Spa Suites in Mendoza Argentina. Most of its villas are fitted with personal dry saunas, showers with steam options, as well as concrete egg tubs made from upcycled tanks used during wine fermentation.

“Spas and wellness trips are developing to provide deeper and significant encounters,” says co-founder and owner Ana Lovaglio Balbo. “There is no shortage of possibilities for travelers to look after their physical and mental well-being, thanks to the trends toward authenticity, sustainability, customization, and holistic health.”

“SB Winemaker’s House was conceptualized during the pandemic, so we integrated the spa into the room to give the guest more privacy,” she adds. “Guided by the in-house Wellness Butler, treatments range from relaxing geothermal therapy massages to a body exfoliation with grape seeds.”

But SB Winemaker’s House isn’t the only property to put peace and tranquility at the forefront. Here’s how a handful of other resorts, both mainstream and boutique, have incorporated these restful and reinvigorating wellness programs into their hospitality ethos.

Winter room at ExhaleSnow room at Exhale Spa; Photo by Cesar Soto

REINVENTING R&R
Some of the world’s most recognized hotel chains have pivoted their spa programs, renovation plans, and overall design aesthetics to accommodate more wellness-minded travelers.

Spa myBlend at the Ritz Carlton Toronto has introduced indulgent three-hour health journeys that begin with water therapies and a sound bath ceremony, followed by two personalized body treatments and a curated bento box meal. Hotel X Toronto, just down the street, has revamped its spa operations to only include skincare products from ultra-luxe brand Guerlain, which they also sell in their boutique.

The W South Beach, known for the chain’s AWAY spas, has upped the ante in a nearly 10,000 square-foot beauty sanctuary—with customizable features like in-room Bluetooth connections to curate your own massage or facial playlist, as well as a lounge with trendy food and drink items such as chlorophyll water and botanical seltzers.

But it’s New York’s Virgin Hotel in Times Square that has challenged the perception of what mainstream spas can look like in the Big Apple. Its Exhale Spa features a year-round Snow Room where guests can literally build a snowman while reducing muscle soreness and decreasing inflammation in lower temperatures.

Blue Lagoon, IcelandBlue Lagoon, Iceland; Photo by Anna Om/stock.adobe.com

A NOD TO NATURAL SURROUNDINGS
There are also moments when the healing properties of a hotel’s natural surroundings can influence its spa and wellness programs.

Palm Springs’ Agua Caliente Casino sits adjacent to a hot mineral spring where they just reopened The Spa at Séc-he. In addition to a 15-minute “taking of the waters” ritual to soak in one of 22 private baths, the renovated building boasts cutting-edge gemstone-layered treatment beds with negative ion-emitting grounding pads and gel-based face cradles to prevent pesky forehead creases.

Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon may be bustling with tourists from all over the world, but its eponymous Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel is a respite from the hustle and bustle of a public pool environment—with floating therapies and in-water massages that take place in a private lagoon.

Windjammer Landing in St. Lucia relies on the naturally derived mud from its Soufriere Volcano (which you can also visit in person) for skin-softening body wraps, while the aforementioned SB Winemaker’s House incorporates local herbs and ingredients from surrounding vineyards into its menu of holistic health offerings.

In a departure from the norm, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa goes off-property to blend Mexican culture with wellness by visiting a nearby cenote. These sinkholes were historically recognized by Mayans as “sacred spiritual sites” with therapeutic and detoxifying effects on the body as you wade through its mineral-rich water.

No matter the intention, there is no shortage of hotels that strive to offer the best in wellness programs, both manmade and natural, on small and large scales. These treatments ensure that your visit is not only more memorable, but also more relaxing. That’s a feeling many of us can’t put a price on.