Some people will pick a vacation destination and coincidentally find themselves indulging in a facial or massage during downtime. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ll plan your entire trip with the sole purpose of paying a visit to one of the best spas around the world. Some five-star wellness destinations are nestled inside luxury hotels, like The Dior Spa in The Plaza Athenee in Paris, France, which re-opened earlier this year with new treatment protocols, marble decor finishings, and a room specifically dedicated to reversing jet lag. Others, like Sisley-Paris’ New York City Maison, stand alone with brand-dedicated skin, hair, and makeup offerings throughout.
There are must-see destination spas around the globe—from Switzerland to Europe to The Maldives. Each employs unique therapies, many of which take inspiration from the surrounding culture. Tactile techniques are complimented by technologies, immunotherapies, and cutting-edge science. Whether you’re looking for a tropical oasis where massages are given ocean-side or a quiet retreat nestled in a bustling city, read ahead to discover the best spas around the world that are worthy of being on your bucket list.
The Dior Spa at the Hotel Plaza Athénée
Just a few months back, Dior opened up its new global flagship—right in the heart of Paris. While the Plaza and the fashion house have a relationship dating back to 1947, the spa first opened its doors in 2008. As of this year however, it’s undergone a face lift of sorts, transitioning from a clear cut spa to a holistic wellness destination. Wood, stone, and a warm neutral color palette envelop the space, which is complete with a sauna, a steam room, and six distinct treatment rooms. You’ll find exclusive multi-modality technology in the suites, including microdermabrasion, cryotherapy, and electrostimulation.
Perhaps the room de resistánce however, is the Dior Light Suite. Developed in partnership with a sleep therapy doctor, the LED innovative technology provides three therapies: Sleep, recover, and recharge. Each is artfully designed to reset your sleep schedule, boost energy, and essentially, cure jet lag so you can make the most of your trip.
The Dolder Grand Spa
If you happen to find yourself in Switzerland, maximize your aprés ski situation by paying a visit to The Dolder Grand in Zurich to experience the best La Prairie has to offer. The vast 4,000 square meter property is a true oasis, equipped with saunas, steam rooms, pools, steam pots, and solariums. There’s even a meditation room lined by stunning mosaics. The outpost is famous for its Art of Beauty treatments, which comprises a range of La Prairie facials catered to your specific skin concerns. The tailored treatments infuse the brand’s hallmark caviar with lifting and firming techniques designed to improve skin elasticity and firmness. The biggest allure however comes by way of the private spa suites. For a price, you can have access to a completely isolated, restorative enclave. Each suit comes with two treatment couches and a steam bath, whirlpool, snail shower, reclining area, balcony, fireplace and TV.
The property’s amenities venture into medical territory, too, which makes it particularly unique. A separate wing is equipped with regenerative medicine doctors spanning dermatology, plastic surgery, internal medicine, psychology, and reconstructive surgery. Visitors have access to thread lifts and radiofrequency treatments to body contouring devices and immunity infusions during extended stays.
Augustinus Bader The Skin Lab
With outposts in New York’s The Webster Hotel and London’s Lanserhof Mayfair, Augustinus Bader’s The Skin Lab marks the brand’s first standalone treatment outpost. The brand’s products speak for themselves, with a celebrity cult following including the likes of Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, Sharon Stone, and Meghan Fahy. The signature treatment, across both locations, is dubbed The Method and was created in collaboration with Lord Gavin McLeod, the brand’s celebrity facialist and ambassador. It focuses on deep facial massage and sculpting.
In addition to the world-renowned signature facial, The Skin Lab also offers a range of aesthetic devices, most notably radiofrequency microneedling, as well as a number of body massages and contouring treatments that feature Bader’s cleansers, lotions, and oils.
Sisley Paris NYC Maison
One of the most comprehensive beauty outposts globally, Sisley-Paris’ New York City Maison, offers skin treatments, body services, hair styling, and makeup application under one roof. It gives guests the opportunity to pop in for an express makeup application ($75) or camp out for a day and experience true pampering at the hands of expertly trained pros. Facials are available at a range of price points and for a variety of skin concerns, most emphasizing massage therapy, and a few adding in a bonus LED light therapy treatment. Regardless, you can expect to experience a luxury experience in line with the brand’s rich formulations.
While the space is large—it includes four treatment rooms, makeup stations, a lounge, and a hair boutique, it also lends itself to private events. Be it a birthday, corporate event, or celebration of sorts, you can reserve the Maison for private, personalized get togethers.
Biologique Recherche Ambassade on Melrose Place
You can book a Biologique Recherche treatment at hundreds of hotels and day spas around the globe, but you can only experience a standalone experience at two locations: The historic Biologique Recherche Ambassade on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and, the newly opened Los Angeles Ambassade on Melrose Place, which serves as the first-ever US Ambassade for the brand. With a grand opening just last year, the two-story outpost has already established itself as a five-star spa.
The Ambassade prides itself on skin diagnostics and individualized treatments, which span face, body, and scalp. Six treatment rooms and a VIP suit are complemented by a hair salon and retail space, so customers can prolong their results at home.
The Jumby Bay Island Spa
Situated on a private island in Antigua, The Jumby Bay resort is the epitome of private luxury. And you can expect the same five star experience at the property’s spa as you can at the rest of the property. This past summer, the tropical destination partnered with Tata Harper, effectively introducing a new treatment menu featuring the brand’s plant-based product line. With spa rooms facing the ocean (or a spa table directly on the beach), visitors can choose from a range of facials and massages designed to calm and soothe, detox, or reinvigorate the skin.
The most luxurious booking the spa offers includes an even more remote escape to Maiden Island (you’ll travel there by yacht). It includes a white sand beach, picnic lunch, and couples massages by the ocean.
Joali Being Spa
Travel to the Maldives and you’ll find a private island dedicated exclusively to wellbeing. The Joali Being property was quite literally built and designed to evoke a feeling of harmony, balance, and peace. The thoughtful design spans food options, living villas, and of course, the property’s spa. With pillars including mind, microbiome, skin, and energy, it was only natural for the property to partner with Dr. Barbara Sturm earlier this year. The line, which prioritizes non-invasive therapies focused on anti-inflammation, was a natural fit for the wellness property.
Now, guests can choose from six different facials: The signature STURMGLOW™️ Facial, Super Anti-Aging Facial, Darker Skin Tones Facial, Brightening Facial, Men's Facial, and Adult Acne/Teen Acne Facial. The property also offers detoxing body wraps, cryotherapy, body massages, restorative scalp treatments, and more to suit your individual wellness journey.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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