World's Best Spas
Best International Spa
Deep within the lush rain forest of Costa Rica, Tabacón Grand Spa & Thermal Resort is the Winner of the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Award for Best International Spa.
Tabacón Resort is an oasis embedded in a primary rain forest, featuring twelve natural thermal spring pools and lagoons, waterfalls, exotic gardens and trails. Geologically, Tabacón Resort's hot springs are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based. The resort is a three hour drive (150 km) north of the San José International Airport. The resort sits near the base of Arenal Volcano, and is surrounded by the wildly diverse flora and fauna of the tropical rain forest. Tabacón Grand Spa & Thermal Resort is committed to sustainable tourism with a core mission that includes the protection and improvement of the environment.
The 114-room hotel offers a thermal mineral spring pool and Jacuzzi filled with thermal mineral water, the perfect place to enjoy the natural surrounding s of the rain forest and volcano. There is also a formal restaurant, guest rooms and a meeting room for groups.
The Grand Spa takes advantage of its prime location in the rain forest, the thermal mineral waters and the active volcano to offer therapies and treatments that are highly energetic and holistic. The main feature of the Spa is 11 open-air bungalows, where every treatment is carried out by professionally trained therapists. The Spa specializes in invigorating hydrotherapy therapies and volcanic mud therapies, special massages and skin-care treatments. Its certified therapists specialize in massage, traditional healing techniques, with the natural resources provided by Tabacon's extraordinary surroundings, leaving you refreshed and with the feeling of natural beauty. Tabacon also offers group and private yoga sessions as well as the ancient contemplative therapy of Temazcal.
Best Extended Stay Spa
Miraval is a one-of-a-kind Tucson, Arizona resort and spa, is the winner of the Readers' Choice Award for Best Extended Day Spa.
Miraval offers all-inclusive stays which cover airport transportation, welcome gifts, accommodations, all meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, "growth activities," fitness and yoga classes, full resort amenity access and a daily $130 resort credit to be used for spa services, private consultations, Dinner with the Chef, or a round of golf. For anyone who's concerned about how much money they'll spend on their retreat, this is an ideal situation.
The desert resort was built in 1995 in the shade of the Santa Catalina Mountains and offers everything from spa and beauty experiences to nutritional counseling and horseback riding. Miraval is the kind of resort you don't leave at all while you're there. You can attend the luxurious lunches in your robe and choose your daily experiences as you go, according to how you're feeling -- no need to plan it all in advance. You can view sample weeks, called Experience Guides, which are updated monthly, here.
Gallery: More from Miraval
Many of the spa treatments can be enjoyed in the harmoniously designed Clodagh Outdoor Treatment Rooms, such as Outdoor Nuture, a "six part ritual" which involves brushing the skin with warm loofah mitts and a full-body massage with Arctic berry milk cream. Divine. Outdoor Ginger Healer consists of a deep tissue massage with healing ginger and rosemary, a wrap, a facial marma point massage while wrapped, and then a ginger salt scrub. Most magnificent of all is the Outdoor Miraval Journey. Your body is scrubbed with volcanic pumicen then massaged with Edelweiss-infused lotion. Then, you are wrapped, and given a scalp and face massage, followed by a foot massage.
Miraval also hosts special events such as seminars on esoteric and metaphysical topics, usually centered around well-being and happiness.
Best Men's Spa
Should you find yourself in Buenos Aires looking for a spa that caters to gentlemen, look no farther than Markus Day Spa For Men. There, you can chose from an array of treatments for face, body, hair, hands and feet – all of which have earned Markus the title of "El Primer Spa Masculino." Markus Day Spa For Men is also the winner of the Luxist Award Readers' Choice Award for Best Men's Spa.
Founded in 2005, Markus was designed to create an atmosphere of harmony and tranquility. Water fountains and fish tanks abound; dim lighting and wood accents pervade the establishment. Check into the Aqua Room and relax with up to eight friends or business partners in a large marble Jacuzzi. Sip tea or champagne while receiving reflexology treatment on your feet. Enjoy the "Adore Me" treatment – three hours of bliss including a face and body scrub, tantric massage, and even a tea serving.
Gallery: Markus for Men
Markus offers more than just relaxation. With a trained medical staff on call, the spa doubles as a tranquil place to receive aesthetic medicine. Botox injections and refill are available on demand, as are peelings, hair implants and plastic surgery. Best of all, the prices are much cheaper than similar procedures stateside.
Outings to Markus can be purchased individually or in bulk. A range of corporate packages are available at discounted rates and include a combination of hair cut, shave, facial and deep tissue massage. Sorry, ladies, Markus is only for caballeros.
Best Green Spa
Many establishments tout their low impact on the environment, but Calistoga Ranch in California takes green to a new level. Its harmony with the Upper Napa Valley's pristine wilderness makes it an obvious choice for a nomination for a Readers' Choice Award in Luxist's best green spa category.
Founded in 2004, Calistoga is nestled in a secluded canyon a mere 90-minute from San Francisco by car. Set on 157 acres, the resort boasts 47 guest lodges and 27 owner lodges, all of which are designed to share the feel of a vintner's estate. The lodges were all built to ensure that the area's streams, lakes and ancient oak trees wouldn't be disturbed; each lodge features floor-to-ceiling glass doors that create a seamless flow into the resort's copious outdoor deck space.
Gallery: More from the Calistoga Ranch
Calistoga's spa is adorned with warm wood and encircled by trellised walkways. Relax in soaking pools shaded by mossy oaks above and graced by a babbling brook below or head inside to receive organic treatments in a private room. Afterward, recline on deck chairs and gaze out into the expansive forest before you.Try the spa's "Calistoga Cure" treatment, an exfoliating salt body scrub followed by a mineral bath in your own private outdoor tub, a polarity session, and a massage. Or check out the "Soul Soother," which begins with a yoga session in your own lodge and continues with an aromatherapy massage at the spa and ends with a lunch at the onsite Lake House restaurant – all without ever leaving your personal Napa paradise.
Best Day Spa
Take a walk around the grounds of The Grand Del Mar and you might think you've stepped through a wormhole to a 16th Century Mediterranean villa. Fortunately for modern spa-goers, the resort is a reality – and the Luxist Awards Readers' Choice award winner in the best day spa category.
Fortunately, Founded in 2007, The Grand Del Mar and its 249 guestrooms are tucked between the rolling fairways of a Tom Fazio-designed golf course near San Diego, Calif. The resort's 21,000-square-foot spa was created with Renaissance sensibilities in mind, from its earthy colors to is crystal glass tiles and imported white Carrera marble. Framed Hermés scarves and vintage photos of Venice adorn the walls; sauna rooms, an indoor Jacuzzi and a stone fireplace beckon.
Inside the spa's 11 treatment rooms – including a couples' suite – guests receive a host of natural therapies, including facials, hydrotherapy and body treatments. For the body, treatments include "Renaissance," a bath of mineral mud and warm oil proceeded by a warm body wrap and rosemary-infused Swiss shower, topped off with a stretching massage (90 minutes: $310). All treatments at the Spa utilize The Grand Del Mar Skin and Body Care Collection, a private label of botanical and aroma therapy-based facial and body wellness products. The entire product line is handmade and organic (products are for sale exclusively at the Spa Boutique).For the face, options include "Luminous," a combination of a pressure-point massage and a nutrient-rich facial (90 minutes: $270), as well as "Art for Art's Sake," an exfoliating facial followed by a neck, shoulders, face and scalp massage done with warm oils (90 minutes: $270). Not a bad way to end the day after 18 holes.