Spa treatments are a great way to relax and rejuvenate. But with so many spas to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? And how do you find a good spa in the first place?
I have been lucky enough to travel the world extensively – both before and after starting this website. I have always loved visiting world spas. My first ever spa experience is in this article – Daylesford in Victoria, Australia.
Since then I have visited spas in Asia, Iceland, the United States and all across Europe. I have experienced hammams, natural hot springs, centuries old European spas and modern spas with every possible convenience.
Here are some of my favourite world spas – but before we get into that how do you figure out what is the best spa experience for you?
World Spas – How to Choose the Best Spa Experience For You
Choosing a spa experience can be overwhelming. There are so many options available. Here are some steps to follow to help make sure you have an awesome spa experience.
Step 1: Decide What Type of Treatment You Want
Are you looking for massage? If so would you like something traditional or thai massage or aromatherapy based? How intense an experience are you after?
Or perhaps you’re after a facial. Do you have a preference on product types? Are you after something medicinal or massaging?
Are you after a treatment or do you want a longer spa experience? Some spas will allow you 1-2 hours access to their steam rooms/saunas/relaxing areas with a treatment. Many spas offer a day spa experience which includes access to general facilities as well as deals on treatments and food and beverages.
And importantly, what do you want from the experience? Do you want relaxation? Stress relief? Fitness benefits?
Step 2: Do Your Research
Before you visit any spas, it is important to do some research. This will help you decide which ones are the best for your needs. If you know where you will be having the spa experience google spa and the city/state/country in question. This should provide you with a short list.
Next try googling the type of spa experience you want with the city/state/country eg thermal spas in Paris, hammams in Istanbul, day spas in Los Angeles.
If you’re not sure where you want to go for your spa experience try googling the spa experience you are after eg best hammams or the type of experience and the continent eg best days spas in Canada.
Step 3: Compare Prices and Services
Once you have a short list you can then visit each spa’s website to check their rates and services. Compare what services each spa has available and what types of packages they offer. Do they have signature treatments? This is a good way to get a sense of what a spa is particularly good at offering.
Step 4: Check Reviews
Hopefully by this point you will be down to one spa or a small number of spa options. Check reviews – both positive and negative – for each. Reviews can also be a great way to figure out exactly which treatments and services will be the best fit for you.
Step 5: Choose a Spa
Now that you have researched the best spas for your needs, it is time to choose one. You can either go online and compare prices, or visit a spa in person and see which one is the best fit for you.
I recommend calling the spa and finding out their reservation policies eg can you cancel ahead of time without cost or is their a down payment? You can also find out if they recommend particular therapists for certain treatments. And finally, of course, if they have any special offers.
Now that you know how to choose a spa here are my experiences visiting spas all over the world for your research.
Baden Baden Germany has 12 hot springs and has been welcoming those seeking to relax and reconnect for centuries. Baden Baden’s heydays were in the 19th century when its fantastic location, spa facilities, and fabulous casino attracted the elite of Europe to travel to southwest Germany.
Today Baden Baden has managed to keep all of those wonderful historical elements but added in more modern spa facilities, fantastic food, modern art and much more.
A critical factor of that choice is your level of comfort in getting naked with strangers. But don’t worry, there are Baden Baden spa with clothes options as well.
Africa and Safari mean animals and game drives. Camouflage clothes. Big camera lenses. Sundowners with a gin and tonic…
This is absolutely still the case but safari reserves in africa are now offering so many more services. World-class chefs, walking safaris, chances to spend time with the local community, learning first hand about conservation, luxury in Africa is on the rise – and now you can even combine your African safari holiday with a spa holiday.
The Health & Wellness industry has grown massively in South Africa and there are now several world-class and unique African Spa options available.
There are quite a few options for a Spa during your safari or before or after a safari. Here is my guide to how to have a great African Spa experience.
When you're thinking about a holiday with saunas and massages spa breaks Scotland don't necessarily come first to mind. However, there are a fantastic range of spa hotels Scotland to consider.
Spa breaks Scotland tend to veer towards the indulgent/luxury end of the spas spectrum vs detox/extreme exercise. Most, of course, have gyms and/or a pool but there is no way you would want to miss some of the amazing food on offer at all of these locations.
Many Scotland hotels with spa also come with golf courses that can broaden the appeal of a spa break. Personally, I think short spa breaks in Scotland are perfectly suited to a girl's long weekend away – pampering, chatting, indulging and great food and wine – and whiskey – make for a memorable combination.
I am spoilt when it comes to Spas. When I visited Ockenden Manor Spa I had been at Kamalaya in Koh Samui only 3 weeks earlier. They are very different spa experiences – particularly when it comes to service.
But Ockenden Manor Cuckfield was lovely in a uniquely English way – anyway here is my complete review.
Personally, I LOVE solo spa breaks. One week to 10 days is ideal for me. Or even a weekend spa retreat. Or a spa day.
And a spa holiday is such a good thing to do as a solo traveler. You will almost always find other solo travelers when you hit the spa facilities and you will pretty much never feel odd as at a solo on a single spa holidays.
And there is always so much to do - personal training, yoga classes, deep tissue massages, fitness classes and more.
The only issue is that sometimes spas don’t have wine but of course I will be focusing on places that do and will highlight any solo spa breaks options that don’t.
Monart Spa has appeared on a few lists of best spas in the world yet it seems few people I speak with have heard of it – unless they are Irish. Every Irish person I have met since visiting there knows about Monart Spa Ireland.
Apparently, it is quite popular with Irish footballers and their partners and other Irish celebrities. I can certainly see why as I like Monart Spa so much I have been twice and will probably return.
It is fantastic value for money – there are very few luxury spa experiences that are this wonderful at this price.
There are some fantastic Monart Spa Packages and Monart Spa Special offers for both during the week and some including Sunday nights which are well worth exploring.
I had fallen a bit in love with Kamalaya on my first stay three years ago and returned to find I was as much in love with it last year. Kamalaya Koh Samui is a unique place.
The setting of this Koh Samui health retreat is so beautiful and such care has been taken to integrate the resort with its environment. Kamalaya Thailand has a special feel to it – it is such a warm and friendly place.
The Cotswolds England is known for lots of lovely accommodation options. It can often be overwhelming to figure out not just which places to visit in the Cotswolds but also which hotels Cotswolds within those places.
There are many Cotswolds hotels and B&Bs. So I have curated them down to two fantastic places to stay in the Cotswolds.
When it comes to where to stay in the Cotswolds UK for those that love a good boutique hotel and some fantastic food it doesn’t get much better than these two stylish options.
Yorkshire is known for Green Dales, Norman Castles, Puddings and some fantastic luxury hotels. Northern England does an outstanding job providing 5-star hotels that differentiate by having incredibly warm and friendly staff.
There are many luxury hotels Yorkshire so I thought I would do the research for you and reduce this to two fantastic options with spas.
A Daylesford Spa weekend getaway is a favourite for those who live in Melbourne. The region is famous for its hot springs at Hepburn and the beautiful surrounding land.
The town of Daylesford is super cute - filled with antique shops and delicious cafes and restaurants. There are many walks in the region and lots of interesting areas to explore.
Located just over a one hour drive from Melbourne, it is the perfect spot for a Daylesford Spa weekend. The last time I went it was July and it was rather cold. However, most things were still open and there were still loads to do making it a great spot to visit year-round.
Solage Spa & Hotel Calistoga generally receives rave reviews as one of the top spas in Calistoga for good reason – this luxury spa is a stunning place to eat and to stay.
Solage Hotel Calistoga, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, is beautifully designed and laid out. The entire area has the most wonderful relaxed feel and everything seems to glimmer in the Napa sunshine.
Solage Napa is the type of place where you could quite feasibly not leave whilst staying and have a fantastic time! Having said that it would be a shame to miss the lovely bikes that are provided with each of the rooms and don't miss the Solage restaurant and their Calistoga day spa - more to come.
Did you know that there are many natural hot springs in the USA? Bathing in these mineral rich waters can be fantastic for both your physical and mental health.
Indigenous peoples have enjoyed the benefits of hot springs for centuries. There are three types of hot springs: thermal, geothermal and hydrothermal springs. The water in hot springs takes their energy from geothermal processes within the earth.
Today, quite a few hotels and resorts have been built around hot springs, allowing for a more luxurious hot springs experience. However, there are still many hot spring pools that are in national parks and other locations that can be experienced at no charge in their natural state.
The western states of America in particular are known for their hot springs - we've got many of them covered in this article including Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada and more.
Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.