A VIEW TO CHILL FOR
pearlyn tham rounds up spectacular spas that offer out-of-this-world experiences — think massages in jungles, amid a volcanic landscape, and even on a game reserve
THERMAL BATHS IN THE MOUNTAINS
Forget the usual limo airport transfers. The 7132 Hotel in the municipality of Vals in Switzerland offers helicopter transfers. In fact, it’s the only hotel there with its own helicopter. Once you arrive, a visit to the beautifully constructed thermal baths is a must. They are an architectural feat, having been built with 60,000 quartzite slabs and housing mineralised spring water kept at a comforting temperature of 30 degrees C. The bonus: A view of the surrounding mountains. For a facial or body treatment, there’s the in-house ESPA spa.
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE CITYSCAPE
Imagine having your achy shoulders kneaded 116 storeys above ground. This is the experience to expect at The RitzCarlton Spa in Hong Kong. The Ritz-carlton hotel has 118 levels in all; its spa comes with relaxation lounges that offer views of Hong Kong and, in particular, Victoria Harbour, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Six of the nine deluxe treatment rooms also come with floor-to-ceiling harbour views.
RUB-DOWNS IN A GAME RESERVE
Supposedly Africa’s largest spa, Karkloof Safari Villas and Spa is housed on a 2,000-hectare game reserve in Kwazulu Natal and has a breeding programme for the white rhino and buffalo. You can find many birds and small animals roaming the spa grounds and, if you are lucky, may even spot a giraffe grazing in the distance on the reserve grounds. The Safari and Spa Package includes a 3-hour game drive, a walk to the Karkloof waterfall, and of course, a 60-min massage.
DEEP SEA MASSAGE
If you are holidaying in the Maldives, you must really love the sea. So, why not have your spa treatment right in it? The Huvafen Fushi Maldives spa is the first underwater one in the world. It has two couple’s treatment rooms built underwater for a rare view of coral reefs and marine life without leaving you wet. Make the most of this experience with an Underwater Spa Embrace session. It includes a 15-min underwater viewing session, a 15-min back, neck and shoulder massage, and half a bottle of champagne.
BLISS OUT TO A FLOATING MASSAGE
There’s a mesmerising story behind The Blue Lagoon, which is situated 45mins from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik. In the early 1980s, local residents discovered the relaxing and even healing properties of the blue reservoir that had formed in the lava field beside the Svartsengi Resource Park. Today, the same rejuvenating waters — rich in silica, minerals and algae — flow throughout The Blue Lagoon spa which sits within a lava flow that erupted 800 years ago and is surrounded by a stunning volcanic rock landscape. There are two lagoons where in-water massages can be done: The wide-open Blue Lagoon and the more sheltered, hence private, Retreat Lagoon. We can’t imagine anything more divine than this — your massage is done while you are floating in warm geothermal waters.
POSTCARD-PERFECT VIEWS FROM
A CITY SPA
Tokyo may be densely populated. But you’ll forget all that when you step into the light-filled Aman Spa at Aman Tokyo. Why? It takes up almost 2,500sqm and spans two levels on the 33rd and 34th storeys. There are eight spacious treatment rooms, each with its dressing room, treatment area, steam shower and bathroom. Look forward to views of famous landmarks including the Imperial Gardens, Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji. Set aside time for a dip in the 30-m-long pool, which runs across the entire skyscape. Too lazy or tired? Head for the daybeds and enjoy the stunning scenery beneath your feet — literally.
RELAX IN THE JUNGLE
At most spas, you may doze off to piped-in music that incorporates the trickling sounds of flowing rivers, the chirping of jungle birds — you get the memo. But at the Hanging Gardens of Bali, Mother Nature will provide the soundtrack. After all, this award-winning resort is surrounded by rainforests and rice terraces. At 380m above sea level, its Royal Spa Suite, which sits by the Ayung river, offers a view of the lush Ubud jungle.
BATHE IN THE MOONLIGHT
At the Aqua Dome in Austria, you can enjoy Instagram-worthy views of the surrounding Ötztal Alps. This sprawling mountain spa resort has indoor pools, a mineral bath, saunas, private spa rooms, underwater lounges and even a moss rock pool. On days when the special Moonlight Bathing event takes place, its thermal baths and saunas are open until midnight, so you can chill under the starry skies.