SPA-TASTIC IN EUROPE
From mountain retreats to beachside beauties, here are Europe’s 20 best spa hotels.
From mountain retreats to beachside beauties, here are Europe’s 20 best spa hotels.
AMAN VENICE, ITALY
When George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin in Venice, Italy, there was simply no expense spared. Where did the bride spend her last single night in one of the world’s most romantic cities? The answer is Aman Venice. Located right on the Grand Canal, just a few gondola poles away from the Rialto Bridge, this former palace dates back to the 16th century. There are just 24 rooms, decorated with original frescoes, stunning chandeliers and enormous gilded mirrors. The spa’s three treatment suites are the best spots to let the worries of the world ease away, with treatments based on Aman Spa’s traditional Asian therapies and plant-based products. The fitness room’s views out over Venice make a trip to the gym much more appealing.
THE LANESBOROUGH, LONDON, ENGLAND
Gone are the days when London’s most exclusive Members Clubs were off limits to everyone except an elite few. These days, a hotel like The Lanesborough offers a rare chance for guests to get an inside look at a Members Club and experience the top-notch facilities on offer. The Lanesborough, located right at the historic Hyde Park Gate, underwent an £80 million renovation in 2015, bringing the stunning Greek Regency building back up to scratch. The renovation included an overhaul of the spa and fitness club, which is now a sprawling series of chic thermal suites, treatment rooms, hydro-therapy pool, Pilates studio and fitness area. The Painting Room’s giant lounge chairs are for manicures and pedicures, while the spa changing rooms have individual dressing stations. The hydro-therapy pool is designed for pre-treatment relaxation, but there’s also another relaxation lounge well stocked with teas, nuts and fruit. Treatments feature international brands like La Prairie and Ila, for everything from traditional facials and massages to Rasul mud bathing. Post-treatment, the spa’s restaurant offers a nutritionally balanced menu designed by Michelin-star chefs. Smoothies, fresh juices and protein snacks are just the beginning, with dishes like salt-baked squash, Scottish salmon ceviche and organic omelettes matched to your treatments.
LUX BODRUM RESORT & RESIDENCES, TURKEY
Considered the French Riviera of Eastern Europe, Bodrum has long been home to beautiful resorts overlooking the Aegean Sea. Lux Bodrum Resorts and Residences only just opened to the public and is tucked into a private cove on the Bodrum peninsula. The resort’s Lux Me wellness centre includes a 527-square-metre spa, six treatment rooms, outdoor yoga and Pilates areas, fitness centre and a pool. The resort is already winning awards for its sleek design and is a piece of paradise away from Europe’s more well-known beach destinations.
ION ADVENTURE HOTEL, ICELAND
Located in one of the best spots to view the beauty of the Northern Lights, this ultra-modern hotel is designed to make the most of its surroundings, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls looking straight out at the dazzling sky. And that extends to the spa, which has glass-walled saunas and a dramatic 10-metre outdoor pool perched over the lava rocks underneath the resort. Treatments inspired by Icelandic nature include hot masks, volcanic ash scrubs and mud baths.
CORINTHIA HOTEL BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
In a city where the top tourist attractions are its baths, the Corinthia Hotel doesn’t disappoint. Housed in a beautiful Art Deco Building, the hotel’s Royal Spa has its very own indoor pool, surrounded by stunning Corinthian columns, and dating back to 1886. The ESPA treatments, steam rooms and Jacuzzis are an added bonus.
W ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Russians have never been known to hold back, and while the W St. Petersburg is a more modern take on opulence than some of the city’s other, more traditional hotels, it still has plenty of sparkle. Designed to reflect a modern interpretation of the Faberge Egg, the hotel is dotted with bits of bling and sparkle. The same goes for the Bliss Spa, home to six treatment rooms, saunas, nail lounge and pool.
RAFFLES ISTANBUL, TURKEY
A traditional Turkish hammam experience is a must-do for any traveller to the capital city and these days you don’t even need to leave your hotel. The Raffles Istanbul’s spa sprawls over more than 3,000-square-metres, and includes an impressive three hammams, treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, Jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms and private yoga and Pilates studios. Guests can book in for treatments like the Rose, Sugar and Honey Hammam treatment that incorporate the hammam experience and showcase local ingredients.
GRAND HOTEL TREMEZZO, LAKE COMO, ITALY
One of the world’s most recognisable hotels has to be the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Its pontoon pool floats out over Lake Como and puts your average hotel pool to shame. As does the spa. The T Spa sits on more than 1,000-square-metres inside the hotel’s Villa Emilia. The spa has its own hammam, nail bar, relaxation rooms, Mediterranean baths, infinity pool and gym, all outfitted in fabulous Italian materials – fresco ceilings, Lasa marble, even Venetian mosaic floors.
THE SCARLET HOTEL, CORNWALL, ENGLAND
England is not often associated with seaside bliss, but that’s what awaits all the way down in Cornwall. This boutique hotel is a hidden gem with a focus on eco-friendly experiences. The Scarlet Spa focuses on holistic experiences, offering traditional treatments but also branching out to mud bathing, star gazing and suspended relaxing. Guests can soak in open-air cliff-top hot tubs, hang from a cocoon pod in a relaxation room or swim surrounded by nature in a stunning indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at the ocean.
HOTEL ADLER DOLOMITI SPA & SPORT RESORT HOTEL, DOLOMITES, ITALY
There are plenty of Alpine Spa resorts scattered through the mountains, but Adler stands out for its year-round spa experiences. Spend your summer days hiking and biking before easing aches with a remedial massage or, in winter, soak those tired post-ski or snowboard legs in the 35° celsius outdoor pool, salt grottos and saunas.
SIX SENSES, DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL
Overlooking the sprawling Douro Valley, this Six Senses property exudes a sense of calm and quiet before you’ve even stepped foot in the spa. Housed in a 19th century Manor House, the hotel’s traditional exterior gives way to a modern marvel. The spa itself is a study in minimalist design, with 10 treatment rooms where the rooms let the view do the talking, looking out over the lush valley below. Workshops in herbal properties take place in the Alchemic Bar, aerial yoga occurs in a private studio, relaxation cocoons are suspended in the garden and the nail bar offers manicures along with a glass of local red wine.
THE GAINSBOROUGH BATH SPA, BATH, ENGLAND
For centuries, Bath has been a centre of health and wellness – the historical Roman Baths highlight the importance even the Romans placed on taking the city’s thermal waters. These days The Gainsborough’s Spa Village is the place to go for a rejuvenating dip in the original thermal springs. The spa’s stunning bathing pools sit underneath a glass atrium, with a series of natural thermal pools, saunas and steam room available for guests to enjoy pre-treatment. The hotel sits just across the road from the Thermae Bath Spa, which also has massages, spas, saunas and a special rooftop pool available for day guests.
CHEVAL BLANC, COURCHEVEL, FRANCE
Cheval Blanc is a brand that’s synonymous with luxury, and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the spa of its French alpine property. Partnering with luxury French brand Guerlain, the spa’s treatments are centered around high-altitude living, with treatments catering to cool-climate health, winter sports and anti-ageing carried out in five lavish treatment rooms.
FOUR SEASONS FLORENCE, ITALY
It’s not surprising that one of the only hotels in busy Florence to have its own pool and garden area has also given over substantial space to its spa. Tucked into the hotel’s gardens, the spa is an Italian oasis. The 10 treatment rooms, many with deep Italian freestanding bathtubs, outdoor pool, relaxation lounge and its own manicured grounds are at guests’ disposal. Treatments range from Chianti wine massages to an extensive teen and kids’ menu.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL BARCELONA, SPAIN
Barcelona is best known as a city bursting with energy. Tucked into the vaults of a historic bank dating back to the 1950s, the Mandarin Oriental’s 1,000-square-metre spa is a world away from the bustle of Las Ramblas and Gaudi’s colourful buildings. Decked out in tones of grey, black and dark green, the spa’s indoor pool, eight treatment rooms, beauty studio, steam room and fitness area offer a space to reset your senses before heading out into the big, bold Barcelona waiting above.
THE PENINSULA PARIS, FRANCE
Pampering is taken very seriously at The Peninsula. More than 1,800 square metres of space is given over to Paris’s largest hotel spa, which combines the classic French approach to beauty with Asian healing therapies. There are six treatment rooms, two private suites, three pools, a hammam, several saunas and a healthy range of juices and dishes for posttreatment sustenance.
VERDURA GOLF RESORT & SPA, RIBERA, SICILY
Rocco Forte hotels and high-end luxury go hand in hand – at the Verdura, guests are pampered to within an inch of their life at the 4,000-square-metre Rocco Forte spa. We’re talking treatment rooms, double-storey steam room, spa bar, four outdoor thalassotherapy salt pools, Finnish saunas, infrared saunas, and personal exercise and nutrition plans.
HOTEL VILLA HONEGG, ENNETBURGEN, SWITZERLAND
Without a doubt, it’s the infinity pool at this Swiss hotel that is its most striking feature. Perched above Lake Lucerne, the property’s spa pool sometimes seems to sit in the clouds and is a warm 34o celsius year round. Hop over to the indoor pool, which plays music underwater, before blissing out with a massage, facial, or beauty treatment in the spa.
AMANZOE RESORT, PORTO HELI, GREECE
Far, far away from the tourist hotspots of Santorini and Mykonos, Amanzoe sits atop the rolling hillsides of the Peloponnese peninsula. The whopping 2,800-square-metre spa looks out across the olive groves to the ocean – the best views are from the open-air treatment rooms or perhaps the glass-walled yoga pavilion. Full moon yoga takes place in the resort’s Amphitheatre, but there’s also hydro-therapy pools, hammam, indoor treatment rooms, pool and studio dedicated to manicures.
HOTEL METROPOLE, MONTE-CARLO, MONACO
The building itself may date back to 1889, but the Spa Metropole by Givenchy is brand new and outfitted with all the latest in spa therapy – including Givenchy’s Le Soin Noir products. Taking notes from its beautiful Belle Epoque building, designer Didier Gomez has created a sophisticated space that exudes luxury. The embossed treatment room walls are designed to evoke the lace of haute couture dresses, and there’s even a digital plant wall to help you reconnect with nature. •
Below: Six Senses, Douro Valley treatment room. Right, clockwise from top: Cheval Blanc, © Fabrizio Nannini; Ladies steam room relaxation area at Hotel Adler Dolomiti; Spa relaxation room at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.
Clockwise from top: Sauna with a view, Grand Hotel Tremezzo, © Tommy Picone; Spa Village Pool at the Gainsborough Bath Spa; Corinthia Hotel Budapest indoor pool, © Sean Scott Foto.
Opening image: Hot tub views at The Scarlet Hotel Cornwall. Left, from top: Aman Venice, © Daniel Herendi; Bliss Spa Treatment Room at W St. Petersburg.