You know the saying: You can learn a lot about a culture by experiencing its food. Well, the same goes for spas. You can understand a destination better by slowing down, taking time out of your busy travel schedule and witnessing firsthand how people around the world like to relax, rejuvenate and tend to their health of body, mind and spirit. A spa vacation can be entertaining, fun, glamorous and, no doubt, educational. I have traveled the world, stopping at spas everywhere I go along the way. I almost always leave feeling better than when I walked through the door. Occasionally, I leave completely blown away. Those are the spas that raise the bar — the game-changers. Here are my top luxury spas around the world, from Paris to Vegas and over the ocean to London and Germany, where the “bathhouse” originated.
By: Ava Roxanne Stritt
Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
This is one of the world’s best destination spas, and the offerings are comprehensive. Here, you can find a large assortment of health experts, from nutritionists to holistic doctors to physiotherapists — even dentists. It’s all set in a private park-like setting. The heart of the spa is an entire separate villa, designed for people seeking an extended spa vacation. At Villa Stephanie, one of the world’s most advanced spa facilities, find 15 private rooms and suites spread across five floors of spa offerings. Look for a sauna, hammam (Turkish bath), gymnasium, fitness classes, a full-service spa and even a personalized physio spa.
The Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa is located in the German spa town of Baden-Baden, and it’s part of the Oetker Collection. Pro tip: It is the perfect spa destination for extended stays.
St. Pancras Renaissance, London
There’s no better place to go after a day of sightseeing in London than to the otherworldly subterranean sanctuary that is the St. Pancras Renaissance spa. This lower-level, below-ground spa, located inside the five-star St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, is immediately calming and blissful. Even the simple action of walking down the stairs, below and far away from the busy London streets, begins the unraveling of your stress. Fun fact: The spa is located in what used to be the hotel’s steam kitchens. Every detail is accounted for here, from a glass of green tea during check-in, to luxe robes, to a Victorian-tiled relaxation pool with hydro loungers. (The spa itself is Victorian-influenced.)
Weary travelers will enjoy the Arrive and Revive treatment, which aims to relieve sore muscles, improve circulation and soften your skin. Pick your own style, from a spicy to black soap scrub. It’s the perfect way to undo the trials of traveling.
Le Bristol, Paris
Leave it to Paris to have one of the top spas in the world. The Le Bristol Hotel in Paris is internationally known for its food, such as the Michelin-starred 114 Faubourg restaurant, and it applies the same care and quality to its spa. At the Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie, you can unwind in the spa lounge or refresh in the eucalyptus steam room. Pro tip: After a busy day seeing Paris’s sites (or biking through the city, as was my case), you will also welcome a retreat to the terrace adjacent to the rooftop pool, which is scented with fresh rosemary from the rooftop garden. Facials are a highlight here, as Le Bristol Paris is the only hotel in Paris to offer facials by La Prairie, which is one of the world’s top skincare lines. For something totally unique, try a Russian Baniya ritual on a heated marble table. The Baniya-style massage is just part of the 2 ½-hour treatment — the ultimate spa experience.
At Le Bristol Hotel, every detail of your stay will be pristine. Beds and towels are warmed. Parents can check their children into the on-site childcare at the spa entrance. Top off your treatment by visiting the salon, so you’ll hit Paris’s streets not only feeling tres chic, but looking it, too.
Aria, Las Vegas
Vegas is known for the late nights, parties, extravagant shopping experiences at The Shops at Crystals, but there’s a luxurious slower side of Vegas that’s worth getting to know. In fact, Vegas is home to some of the most incredible spas, including the Aria, one of the best spas in the United States. The Aria, located within the MGM Resorts, features an amazing spa suite that makes you feel like a real VIP; it’s even roped off with red velvet rope. Beyond the highly recommended spa suite, the Zen zones provide a great escape to find quiet and solitude in an otherwise bustling city. Relax on on a Ganbanyoku heated stone bed, and detox and refresh your body in the Shio Salt Room,
Don’t limit your experience to a single day. Make sure you check out each different spa at MGM Resorts. While the Aria is top-of-the-line, the other spas on site are not to be overlooked. Pro tip: Afterwards head next door to Sisley Paris in The Shops of Crystals for a professional makeup application worthy of a Vegas night on the town!
For more information about top spas in the world, visit www.SpaTravelGal.com