As your feet freeze to blocks of ice and you scrape the frost from your windshield, it’s hard not to dream of escaping to someplace with hot pools, relaxing spaces, and delicious food and drinks. That’s what spas were built to be: places of respite where we can escape the hardships of the world and focus on the pleasures of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
Surprisingly, some of the best spas for escaping winter drudgery are located in snowy locales, proving that it’s possible to find a cozy haven no matter where you live. Whether you’re planning a trip or just looking to live vicariously, this list of spas will help transport you to someplace warmer.
Willow Stream Spa in Banff, Alberta
The Willow Stream is the spa at Banff’s famous Fairmont hotel. The Fairmont is known for offering great luxuries in a beautiful natural setting, and the Willow Stream is a great place to warm up after a weekend of skiing or snowshoeing. This spa has multiple lounges, a nail spa, a Japanese zen tub, and a spa terrace, and it offers a variety of facials and massages, including a seaweed and thermal salt scrub.
The Chedi Andermatt Spa in Andermatt, Switzerland
Nobody ever went to the Swiss Alps to have a stressful time. The ultimate destination for rest, relaxation, and recreation, the Swiss mountains are also home to some of the most relaxing spas in the world, including the glorious Chedi Andermatt. This huge spa has a temperature-controlled outdoor pool, a huge indoor pool, and many personal treatments and classes. And naturally, the view is fantastic.
Millcroft Inn & Spa in Caledon, Ontario
If you want the full getaway experience, the Millcroft Inn & Spa is a beautiful sanctuary from the bustle of the city. The inn has outdoor hot springs, as well as a polar plunge pool if you want to loosen up with some hot/cold treatments. The spa is focused on restoring harmony and balance, and evenings at the inn are spent sipping hot tea by the roaring fire. It’s a great way to get warm right in the middle of the snowy countryside.
Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico
Most spas aim to embody an ultra-modern aesthetic, but Rancho La Puerta has a refreshingly down-home atmosphere. The ranch itself is 3,000 acres and includes an organic farm and several hiking trails. The spa embraces practices of natural healing, and its treatments and classes follow a four-step healing process: cleansing, relaxing, restoring, and energizing. This means everything from facials and manicures to yoga and reflexology. Rancho La Puerta was Travel + Leisure’s #1 spa for two years in a row, and this despite the fact that there are no TVs!
Miraj Hammam Spa in Toronto, Ontario
One way to warm up in the Canadian winter is to simply pretend that you’re not in Canada. The Miraj Hammam Spa will help you out, with its middle eastern–inspired ambiance and treatments. A hammam is a steam chamber similar to a Turkish bath, and this treatment is the pillar of the Miraj Hammam experience. You can follow up your hammam with a gommage, which is a full-body exfoliation withblack Moroccan soap. You’re sure to leave this spa with a warm inner (and outer) glow.
Eau Spa in Manalapan, Florida
The spa at the Palm Beach Ritz-Carlton, Eau intends to get you relaxed in whatever way works. It’s all about being carefree and having fun at this spa with playful décor and cleverly named treatments (“Garden of Eden Couple’s Treatment,” “3001: A Face Odyssey”). They have a “self-centred garden” for hanging out between treatments, and a wishing well (as if you’d be lacking for anything while there). Whether it’s a glass of champagne and a cupcake or a body treatment and fitness class, Eau Spa has what you want.
Sha Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain
Sha Wellness Clinic is serious not just about helping its clients relax, but about getting on a healthy track. A perfect winter escape, Sha is located in Alicante, which boasts some of the world’s best weather, according to the World Health Organization. Sha offers personalized diets (and cooking classes), and access to experts in everything from psychiatry to bioenergy. They also have programmes to help you detox, get in shape, quit smoking, or just generally rejuvenate. And while this may sound like work, the perfectly relaxing setting and personal care you receive make it the gentlest possible way to get on the path to wellness.
Four Seasons Resort in Whistler, BC
You might associate Whistler with the hardcore world of Olympic-level snowboarding and skiing, but where there are mountains, there are also spas. In this case, the spa at the Four Seasons Resort, a relaxing alternative to a day on the slopes. This luxurious spa has plenty of signature treatments, including seaweed wraps using hand-harvested Pacific seaweed and skin treatments using B.C. glacial clays. There’s also a complimentary wine reception daily, because what is relaxation without wine?
Villa Stéphanie in Baden-Baden, Germany
Not all spas involve lying around all day getting massages. The Villa Stéphanie is basically a custom fitness palace, designed to give its clients the most cutting-edge exercise and wellness amenities. Suites in this property incorporate their own spas, and there are private gyms where visitors can go to focus on workouts. Nutritionists and trainers are on hand, ready to analyse your health and offer guidance. Custom three-course meals are tailored to your needs, but fear not: they are still incredibly satisfying and luxurious. Visitors leave Villa Stéphanie not just with a few days’ exercise under their belts, but with long-term plans for a better, healthier life.
Velassaru in the Maldives
Just looking at clear, blue water can be a healing and relaxing experience, and Velassaru spa on the Maldives Island of Velassaru knows it all too well. Its treatments take place on pavilions set on stilts above the water. This isolated island makes for a perfect getaway, and there are plenty of places to eat and drink (expect lots of fresh fruits). Treatments include massages, body scrubs, facials, and just about anything else you could want after a day on the beach.
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