You can book a garden-variety massage or facial in your hometown any day of the week. But when you travel—for work or for pleasure—well, that’s all the excuse you need to luxuriate. Find the best spa in whichever city you visit, and spoil yourself with local remedies and world-renowned skincare products. Or better yet, plan an entire vacation around any of these seven spas, which offer everything from Hammam-style pampering to ancient Mayan healings.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik, Iceland
While the famous Blue Lagoon is a must on your first pass through Iceland, it still feels a little touristy—especially once you realize there’s a beer garden in the lagoon itself. If you want a more isolated, relaxing, and even a romantic alternative to that experience, then book a four-hour pass to the lagoon’s private spa retreat—or stay overnight at the adjacent hotel if you want to be the last person in the lagoon at midnight. The Retreat at Blue Lagoon gives you unlimited access to the brand’s top-shelf masks, scrubs, and creams, all of which have been meticulously formulated by the scientists who engineered the lagoon’s own healing, therapeutic powers. After your full-body rejuvenation, you can book a massage or beauty treatment in a private corner of the lagoon, rest around the various fire-lit and cozy nooks inside the retreat, or enjoy private access to the lagoon all day long—just you and the couple dozen other retreat guests, sharing the same amount of space as the public half of the property, which itself is shared by hundreds and hundreds. You can still access that half of the lagoon, too, but you’ll quickly retreat to the spa, no doubt.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, Japan
The views from the Mandarin Oriental are Tokyo’s best, and are just one of the perks of a visit to the hotel’s spa. They call it their “haven in the sky,” wherein each treatment begins with a foot ritual to wash away the grime of the outside world (it reflects the Japanese custom of removing your shoes before entering any home, or even a hotel room). Treatments combine Eastern and Western rituals, and the spa’s two male-focused treatments, Mandarin Man and Executive Man, provide guys with revitalizing full-body skincare and massage treatments, 37 stories above the colorful chaos of Tokyo.
Talise Spa at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai, UAE
No roundup of the world’s most luxurious anything would be complete without something in Dubai. And the luxury capital’s best spa belongs hands-down to Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The Talise Spa sends its male and female clients separate ways, where both enjoy infinity pool access, private treatment rooms, plunge pools and saunas. The men’s side even includes a fog-proof view of World Islands and downtown Dubai, from 150 meters in the air. Products used are world-class, but of course (think La Prairie, Aromatherapy Associates, and QMS).
An Lâm Retreats, Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
At Vietnam’s singular adults-only retreat, the jungle backdrop helps isolate both body and mind from the outside world. A spring-water bathing pond is one highlight, while the nearball waterfall stream gives a steady, soothing pulse to your stay. Pair that with a massage or treatment, before or after your visit to the spa’s yoga meditation sanctuary. You’ll round out your visit with a sauna soak, before retiring to your secluded timber villa (complete with a private plunge pool just for you), or before a candlelit dinner on the secluded bay docks.
The Peninsula Spa at The Peninsula Hotel, New York City
Even harried, can’t-be-bothered New Yorkers would revel in a visit to the Peninsula Spa, providing a much-needed escape from the bustle of the Big Apple. With aromatherapy-infused treatments, an ice fountain, sauna and steam rooms, you’ll get a full-circle rejuvenation, rounded out by the spa’s use of luxurious Biologique Recherche skincare products. Book a private massage or treatment in one of the spa’s 10 private rooms, or just bask in the wraparound sun terrace or glass-walled pool.
Yäan Wellness Spa at Be Tulum Hotel, Tulum, Mexico
If you haven’t experienced the soul-cleansing Mayan ritual that is Temazcal, then book a visit to Yäan Wellness Spa, where they’ll heat you up in a sweat lodge and turn you into a spilt-out mojito in no time flat. This includes smacking you with herbs and dousing you with citrus and mescal. (Really.) Other onsite treatments are derived from regional tradition, incorporating medicinal herbs and energy clearings, and you’ve still got access to the necessary pools, saunas and steam baths, plus onsite yoga and meditation classes.
Royal Mansour Marrakech Spa, Marrakech, Morocco
The Royal Mansour is right off of Marrakech’s bustling Jemaa El Fna square, but it is contained by the Imperial City walls, and feels every bit as palatial as the grounds suggest. The onsite spa, with its separate citrus-garden entry, provides 2,500 sq. meters of oasis spread over three stories. Order a hammam treatment, such as a ceremonial massage, ghassoul wrap or floral water spray, as well as private spa treatments using top-tier brands like Leonor Greyl, Sisley and Dr Hauschka. Best of all is the setting, a Moorish and starkly white enclave, with marble, tiles and iron walls that reflect the taste of the city’s most revered luxury hotel.