Top 10 Romantic Spas
Most spas tout the "three R's:" relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal. But we've rounded up a global list that embraces a fourth R: romance. Aromatic mineral pools and private, candlelit, seaside massage terraces are just a few of the perks in our list of favorites. But with spas springing up everywhere, you want to be sure you don't end up wasting money at an overpriced (or over-hyped) facial factory. We sent spa expert (and former editor-in-chief of Spa Magazine) Maryann Hammers to seek out the most alluring, luxe spas across the planet. Start your pampering plans here with these 10 seductive retreats that all promise to help you love your body.
- Idaho: Coeur d'Alene Resort
- Tucson: Starr Pass
- Prague: Mandarin Oriental
- Los Angeles: Sofitel
- Arán Valley: La Pleta
- Los Cabos: Las Ventanas al Paraiso
- Ojai, California: Ojai Valley Inn and Spa
- Atlanta: Inter-Continental Buckhead
- Vail: Vail Valley Beaver Creek
- Turks and Caicos: The Palms
The Spa: Relax surrounded by waterfalls, fountains, and lake views from every window. The spa suite features side-by-side waterbeds, which double as massage tables, while a crackling fireplace keeps things cozy.
Setting: Northwest Idaho's sweet and scenic town of Coeur d'Alene sits on the shores of one of the world's most beautiful alpine lakes, just a 40-minute drive from Spokane, Washington.
Signature Treatment: Experience the healing powers of water with the Pure Essence Shower ($25). An overhanging rain-shower head drenches you while another jet massages your shoulders and neck, and 16 sprays target other parts of your body.
More Than Massage: Ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile at nearby Silver Mountain.
Cuisine: Start the meal with caramel-braised muscovy duck and finish with a hot huckleberry soufflé at a lake-view table for two at Beverly's, the resort's hallmark eatery.
Details: Treatments from $25–$185. Five-hour rejuvenation package starts at $420.
The Spa: The bright and airy Hashani Spa at Tucson's newest resort highlights its southwestern theme with saguaro sculptures and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Tucson Mountain Park.
Setting: The secluded sand-colored resort in the Sonoran Desert borders Saguaro National Park and opens out to a cactus forest.
Signature Treatment: Cupping Therapy ($125), an ancient Chinese purification technique, uses glass suction cups to eliminate toxins, improve circulation, and relieve pain for full relaxation and de-stressing.
More than Massage: Hike, mountain bike, or stroll on rocky trails through the magnificent Sonoran Desert.
Cuisine: Blackened sea bass with cactus pairs well with homemade black pepper–infused tequila, perfect for sipping.
Details: Treatments from $30–$220. Rooms from $149/night.
The Spa: Built in the 14th century, this former Dominican monastery emanates mood, atmosphere, and beauty. The couples suite is made up of two underground rooms connected by a gothic corridor with a private relaxation area.
Setting: This newly opened luxury hotel is set in Prague's fairy-tale-like Mala Strana neighborhood, an ideal base for romantic city walks.
Signature Treatment: Linden trees – the Czech Republic's national emblem – are loved for their honey-scented blossoms and heart-shaped leafs. Indulge in the tree's romance and history with the Linden Blossom Scrub ($45) followed by a steaming pot of Linden blossom tea.
More than Massage: Wander the cobbled streets of Old Town; shop for crystal; explore the unique Bauhaus-meets-Medieval modernity that is Prague.
Cuisine: Take afternoon tea in the airy Monastery Lounge and nibble on finger sandwiches and warm scones with Devonshire cream.
Details: Treatments from $45–$175. Six-hour ritual starts at $750. Rooms from $259/night.
The Spa: Le Spa features individual tea service, products from Paris Decleor and Carita, heated-rock foot soaks, and foot massages before every treatment.
Setting: Between Hollywood and Beverly Hills, this spot is ideal for shopping and nightlife.
Signature Treatment: Winter's decadent Treatment of the Season is a dark chocolate and champagne mask, with a peppermint milk bath (150 minutes/$295). You also get bonus use of the VIP Couple's Suite with personal changing area, steam shower, and chromotherapy tubs.
More than Massage: Shop with the stars in the designer boutiques on Rodeo Drive or explore walkable L.A. neighborhoods like Santa Monica and Silverlake.
Cuisine: The hotel's restaurant, Simon L.A., ladles up a healthy market minestrone and tosses a mean filet-mignon Cobb salad. Follow it with a sticky warm molten banana-caramel pudding cake.
Details: Treatments from $40–$295. Rooms from $235/night.
The Spa: The alluring Occitania Spa in this tranquil mountain lodge feels like a calming, aromatic cavern, with flickering candles and a mysterious atmosphere.
Setting: With 72 trails, an average annual snowfall of 32 feet, and a top elevation of 8,234 feet, Spain's quaint Pyrenees resort of Baqueira, which lies 220 miles north of Barcelona, is a winter-sport-lover's haven.
Signature Treatment: The Essence of Cassis Massage ($127) uses oil from local mountain-grown berries. After luxuriating in a hot soak, walk on the pebbled "reflexology pathway," and let the smooth stones underfoot massage your soles while streams of water run over your calves and ankles.
More Than Massage: Alpine skiing, mushing, mountaineering, and everything snow.
Cuisine: Sink your teeth into foie-gras tacos at one of the four resort eateries, and follow it with a glass of mulled wine or a shot of cassis, the locally made, sweet purple liqueur.
Details: Treatments from $32–$177. Rooms from $212/night.
The Spa: In this ultra-exclusive retreat, take treatments in your suite, private terrace, beach cabana, or the spa's outdoor desert garden.
Setting: The resort embraces a stretch of beach between the colonial town of San Jose del Cabo and the festive Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.
Signature Treatment: The Sea and Stars Night Massage turns your terrace into a personal paradise, as two massage therapists come to your villa for an 80-minute couple's massage ($360). Keep the good vibes humming after they leave by lighting the wood-burning adobe fireplace, and retiring to the Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean.
More than Massage: Cruise around Baja in a convertible Mini Cooper, available on site ($200/day). Stargaze by night and check out movie stars by day at the hotel's illustrious pool. Or ask Maria Elena Soto, the resort's "Director of Romance" to cook up a sexy picnic or moonlit carriage ride on the beach.
Cuisine: Chef Pablo Loza's seven-course chocolate menu includes savory mole shrimp enchiladas and Mexican chocolate cappuccino paired with Roquefort.
Details: Treatments from $22–$360. Half-day spa retreat, $325. Rooms from $450/night, Spa Suites are $850/night, but come with a $400 spa credit.
The Spa: In a whitewashed adobe with heirloom herb gardens, fountain courtyards, and working fireplaces, this historic Spanish-style spa-resort is a cozy, romantic hideaway.
Setting: Nestled against the Topa Topa Mountains, southern California's Ojai is dotted by ancient oaks, scented by lavender fields and orange groves, and crisscrossed by horse trails, creeks, and bike paths.
Signature Treatment: The Kuyam ("coming together") experience includes cleansing mud, dry heat, inhalation therapy, and guided meditation ($40). Follow with a Massage Duet ($230 per couple).
More Than Massage: Golf on the 18-hole championship course, or wander over to the Artists' Cottage for classes including painting, horseback riding, or wine tasting ($50/class). Take advantage of free mind/body activities like yoga, pilates, dance, spinning, and hiking.
Cuisine: Sit outside under the oaks with a frisky Hot Ojai Cowboy made with Jack Daniel's, hot lemonade, and ginger syrup. Or try a Central California coast local vintage, like the full-bodied Ojai Vineyard Syrah.
Details: Treatments from $15–$260. Full-day package, $435. Special winter rates with breakfast from $260/night.
The Spa: Soothe yourself at this urban sanctuary, run by Jurlique, the Australian-based skin-care company renowned for pure, organic, herbal products.
Setting: Atlanta's distinguished Buckhead area, long known for its upscale shopping and dining scene.
Signature Treatment: The indulgent 3-hour Ultimate Fitness and Wellness Experience ($330) includes a 30-minute facial, an hour massage, a 30-minute body polish, and an hour-long personal training session.
More Than Massage: Gallery hop in trendy South Buckhead, shop the area's boutiques, then dance all night at nearby clubs.
Cuisine: Take a seat at the raw bar at the lobby-level Au Pied de Cochon, a rococo-style French brasserie, and feast on aprhodisiac oysters.
Details: Treatments from $60–$205. Rooms from $219/night.
The Spa: Enjoy slopeside views from your massage table and soak in the aromatic Water Temple mineral pool. Choose among four spa suites, some with fireplaces and balconies, others with oversize granite tubs and private side-by-side steamshowers.
Setting: Beaver Creek has 1,625 acres of skiable terrain, a yearly average of 330 inches of snowfall, and 300 days of sunshine.
Signature Treatment: The Ginger Peach Deluxe Massage ($215) incorporates freshly ground ginger, orange peel, raw sugar, honey, and essential nut oils into a sumptuous scrub.
More Than Massage: Ski, snowboard, ice skate, or shop for designer clothing in nearby Vail, a bustling and world-renowned aprés-ski spot.
Cuisine: Settle down by the firepit with a S'mores Kit and a Hot English Toffee – a body-warming concoction made from Burnett's Coconut vodka, butterscotch schnapps, Kahlua, and hot cocoa.
Details: Treatments from $120–$215. Rooms from $495/night; 970/949-1234; www.hyatt.com. Note: Low rates at this Hyatt are very hard to come by. We recommend using its spa services but staying elsewhere. The charming three-star Inn at Beaver Creek has winter value rates from $229/night.
The Spa: Surrounded by peaceful, torchlit pools, this boutique resort and spain Providenciales spreads across more than an acre's worth of meditation areas and tented cabanas.
Setting: Grace Bay Beach, where pink flamingos glide overhead and perfectly formed conch shells are scattered about the powdery white sand, is a mere 75–minute flight from Miami.
Signature Treatment: The 30-minute Mother-of-Pearl Full-Body Exfoliation ($85) contains pulverized conch shells and your choice of aromatherapy oils.
More than Massage: Hobie Cats, snorkel gear, and kayaks are free. But you may not want to leave the $1.8 million Infinity pool, with rotating sun pods and a hot tub "island." Sunbathers enjoy sorbet, aromatherapy mists, and iPods.
Cuisine: Munch on fresh ceviche with plantains on a pool banquette in the water.
Details: Treatments from $80–$215. Full-day spa packages, $490; couples full-day packages, $760. Rooms from $300/night.