12+ Luxury Wellness Retreats | Spa Tourism Destination Ideas

12+ Luxury Wellness Retreats | Spa Tourism Destination Ideas


Where are the Best Spas in the World?

The benefits of spas have been known for centuries. Since ancient Romans went to the baths to relax, spas have been a way to unwind. Beyond relaxation, luxury wellness retreats and spas are a great place to work on your cardiovascular and mental health as well as detox. They’re perfect for girlfriends adventure getaways, couples retreats, and for a solo luxury travel experiences.

There are definitely spas in your hometown, but for this travel guide I want to talk about a few that are truly FOMO inducing. Spa Tourism is a thing, and it’s not going anywhere. Pack your passport for the ultimate global spa getaways.

luxury wellness retreat


Luxury Wellness Retreats around the World



Known for its Onsen hot springs , Japan has an incredible tradition of spa culture. A Japanese legend tells how Izanagi, the god who created the world with his wife, Izanami, bathed to cleanse himself after traveling to the underworld. Public baths are an everyday part of Japanese life where people from all walks of life find tranquility. For travelers, there are both ancient and modern ways to explore this culture.


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AO Spa & Club and the Andaz Tokyo

Look no further than the AO Spa and Club at the Andaz Tokyo for a modern take on traditional Japanese Spa culture. An urban retreat the heart of Tokyo, AO Spa & Club combines the purest ingredients of Japan with the latest in high-performance techniques for unique wellness spa services. Situated on the 37th floor, it’s worth visiting just for the view.



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Shibu Onsen

Located in Nagano Prefecture in the Honshu mainland of Japan, the Shibu Onsen is a hot spring resort that has 1,300 years of history. Cobblestone lanes are surrounded by traditional wooden ryokan (Japanese inns), making this quaint old town particularly charming. You will get a sense of a Japanese onsen village while strolling on these streets in your yukata (light cotton kimono). For a bonus visit Jigokudani Yaen-koen (Monkey Park) where you can see wild monkeys bathing in hot springs. This is the best proof I’ve ever seen that spas are natural and primeval.





finland ice hotel




Over the centuries, many nations have practiced sweat bathing, but no one does it quite like the Finns. The Finnish sauna is a unique kind of sweat bath. Influenced by both the Eastern and Western bath cultures the tradition of the sauna, carried on unbroken for about two thousand years, is deeply rooted in the nation’s way of life. Just make sure you’re ready to roll in the snow or dip in the lake between sessions.

Arctic Snow Hotel

Each year this Lapland hotel is carved out of snow with a different look. The walls and furniture surfaces of the rooms are decorated with ice art. The room temperature is 0-5C°, but using sleeping bags intended for extreme conditions combined with reindeer furs, you can be sure your stay will be warm and cozy. Experience their unique spa with outdoor hot tubs and a Sauna made from snow. In the winter this is the perfect place to gaze at the northern lights.



luxury wellness retreat

Burger King Helsinki’s Sauna

In the capitol of Helsinki, you can visit the Burger King sauna!

You read that right, a Sauna in a Burger King and, yes, whoppers are served while you steam in the only Burger King in the world with a fully equipped sauna. As quirky as it sounds, this BK does attract a lot of attention.

Guests at the 15 person Sauna can lounge on blue and red benches with a Burger King towel or robe, and watch TV or play video games while getting a schvitz in. Great for groups.

luxury wellness retreat



European royals, rock stars, and everyday folk looking to indulge head to Switzerland for some of the best medical spa destinations in Europe. In Victorian times, aristocrats came here to take the “air” and the “waters” to recuperate from a broad range of illnesses. With them came a tradition of luxury and pampering. Many Swiss clinics go beyond traditional wellness offering with state of the art solutions to aging, weight loss, and stress. Modern Luxury Wellness retreats take note.


The Clinique La Prairie

A few hundred yards from Lake Geneva is one of the world’s legendary spas. Clinique La Prairie is known for its groundbreaking research into rejuvenation. CLP’s founder, Dr Paul Niehans, in the 1920s created a famous serum that is both coveted and secretive. Travellers from Winston Churchill to Mic Jagger has journeyed to CLP for its fabled fountain of youth. Besides a secret formula, this spa has some of the most luxurious facilities and amenities on the planet. If you can’t make it to the Swiss alps, they have branches around the world including in NYC and the Caribbean.


Bogn Engiadina

Since 1369 relaxation seekers have flocked to this rejuvenation resort. One of Europe’s premier spas, this tranquil mountain paradise has six pools (both indoor and out) that range in temperature from warm to cool. The Roman inspired baths here switch between dry and humid heat. saunas, solariums, steam rooms, and a massage center round out the wellness services in this spectacular alpine setting.



retreats spas luxury wellness

Switzerland spa



The Turkish Hammam is about as close as you can come to a real Roman bath. The ancient descendents of the Ottoman empire know how it’s done. Think of this as a curated luxury experience to maximize cleanliness and wellness. Your guide for the the hammam is your tellak or natir, who leads patrons through increasingly warmer sections of the bath. A traditional Turkish hammam includes body scrubbing with handwoven wash cloth known as a kese, a foam wash, and a massage. It all ends with a hot shower. This Spa treatment is great for circulation and well being.

Ciragan Palace Kempinski – Istanbul


For a traditional Hammam experience in a modern luxury setting, look no further than the Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul. The hotel itself is located on the European shores of the Bosphorus in an ottoman palace. Lined in ancient marble, the ambiance is truly unique. I recommended the 40 minute Pasha treatment because who doesn’t want to feel like a royal!

Cağaloğlu Hamam

For a piece of history visit the Cağaloğlu Hamam, it is the last major hamam constructed in the Ottoman period. They have been in operation since 1741. Unlike other historic hamams, it has never been modernized. They offer ancient treatments; the most extravagant, the Sultan Mahmut I package, includes a massage by two attendants. This spa is strategically located to visit some of the other wonders of ancient Istanbul.




If you want to stay closer to home, travel to California for a holistic approach to wellness. As the center of the modern wellness movement you can find everything from balinese mindfulness training to state of the art exercise classes as well as ayurveda in California. You will come for the spa but stay for the luxurious accommodation.


Carmel Valley Ranch

This luxury spa resort is located in the ocean view town of Carmel by the sea. An active traveler can enjoy horseback riding and hiking. The fitness center is top notch and meals are healthy. Yoga sessions are available in this ultimate luxury location. Not even ranch Malibu has more wellness experiences to offer and better fitness activities.


Luxury Beach House : Coastal Vacation Destination

One my favorite ways to travel is to book a house for a luxury costal vacation. California is a great place to start but I can go as far afield as Costa Rica for the perfect spot. Click here for my article on planning  coastal wellness travel or a private luxury wellness retreat.



Luxury Wellness Retreats : A New Kind of Trip

Spa culture is a truly global phenomenon and can be a great piece of any trip. I have visited spas to reconnect with my partner, have a girls weekend, and for solo self care. For me it’s especially fun to think about all the people in history and around the world who have taken a break in the same way. On my travels, across multiple continents, I can connect with new people comparing notes on spas. This is a really good way to experience a new culture while improving your overall wellness. Head to any of these luxury wellness retreats for an epic experience.


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