The luxury spa experience is developing rapidly. In many hotels, what used to be a quiet space to find a mud bath and a massage has grown into an entire world of its own. For a start, the best hotels are viewing their spa as not just as space, but an experienced programme where guests are provided with a complete itinerary – not just a menu – including a tailored culinary programme (food as medicine), meditation and mindfulness, and specialised fitness training. Virtuoso travel expert, Yuriy Horovyy of Almont Travel, London, gives some exceptional insight into what’s trending at the moment…
THE BEST SPAS AREN’T JUST DELIVERING TREATMENTS, THEY ARE IMMERSING YOU IN ANOTHER WORLD
Today, it is no longer just about “booking the spa”, it’s about immersing oneself in a wellness escape.
A key trend is for spas to source treatments that depart from the tried and tired. These might include new traditional methods farmed from the hotel’s local culture, or treatments harnessing cutting-edge technology.
Another trend is to design an immersive environment where the details of the experience have been carefully crafted for the guest’s comfort, rather than just for the Instagram shares. A place that exemplifles this, in my mind, is Velaa Private Island in the Maldives. Housed in a round of bungalows perched serenely above the waters, the spa places you in a world far away from even the most obstinate of distractions.
Entering a private treatment bungalow the staff invites to prostrate yourself on to a massage table. Immediately your eyes begin to focus on the gentle waters playing beneath a glass floor where sh meander past, ignorant of the world beyond. Meanwhile, the masseuse forcefully works away the knots of stress buried in the depths of your back (and mind).
Life restored, you transition into a recovery area, lounge on a daybed, facing a turquoise ocean and azure horizon. Later, you are directed to a darkened sanctuary, housing a luminous, egg-shaped cocoon, courtesy of the future. Over the next half an hour your body is bathed in waves of sound and light designed to awaken subconscious memories of womb-like serenity.
Retiring again to the recovery area, you begin to take advantage of the ocean- viewed Saunas and Steam rooms before discovering the Maldives’ most novel treat, a genuine snow sauna—which feels both daring and soothing against the persistently warm air outside.
Another spa experience that has wedged itself permanently into my soul is the Terme di Saturna in the heart of Tuscany. It boasts a mesmerising array of treatments combining both well-being and, aesthetic—rare for a hotel. Their Rebalance programme offers a five-day excursion into culinary and pampering delight, an alternating stream of heavenly bliss and healthy indulgence. The spa bene ts from its advantageous placement next to a thermal spring and the opportunity is not wasted in their treatment programme. This is, after all, nature’s own spa and an experience humans have prized since before history.
Whether for the long excursion or the brief refresh respite, the best spas aren’t just delivering treatments, they are immersing you in another world.