The World's Best Hotels for Spa Breaks

by Telegraph Travel experts, The Telegraph, February 14, 2019

So many elements of travel are in the lap of the gods; sun and snow in the right place at the right time; smooth connections from A to B. But there’s one trip you can guarantee: the January guilt trip, accompanied with the post-Christmas sale that cashes in on a detox, diet and booze-free bazaar. This year I’m expecting we’ll see a particularly monumental month (or three) of punishing purity as the nation goes cold turkey, turning bingeing to deprivation overnight. Our being 'well' has never been an easier sell and we are buying it like hot cakes (gluten-free, naturally).

Like anything in fashion, the trick is finding the right fit for you. None more so than a new health regime. Which is the beauty of the spa hotel – bolt-holes that offer life-enhancing treatments staffed by experts. Some are even hospital hybrids, five-star hotels with resident doctors and nurses that can turn test results around in a matter of hours.

Whether a cracking medical outfit, holistic haven or luxury hotel with great facilities and specialist therapists, a great spa has specialists ranging from doctors to gurus, yogis to nutritionists, who will nurture body and mind, all under one roof. It should offer proper counsel and advice before you arrive and support after departure. All this with a welcoming bedside manner – it is, after all, the ultimate feel-good holiday.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

9Telegraph expert rating

This slick, contemporary hotel is made for holistic holidaymakers who are unwilling to forgo five-star comforts while soul searching. Go with the flow (you’re helped by the Ayung river running through the manicured gardens). Hang upside down doing antigravity yoga in a stunning bale made from sustainable Balinese bamboo in the middle of a paddy field. Have philosophical debates on the meaning of life with smiley Ibu Fera, former Buddhist monk and resident wellness mentor. But whatever you do, experience a traditional healing session by a “Balian” in their home. They play an important role in Bali’s culture by treating various ailments. And the piece-de-resistance? An encounter with a Balinese high priestess as part of a water purification ceremony. Read expert review. From £446per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best places and cities to visit in England

Lanserhof Tegernsee Marienstein, Bavaria, Germany

7Telegraph expert rating

Mealtimes are muted at Lanserhof Tegernsee: guests must chew each mouthful of their meagre meals 30 to 40 times. A core tenet of the late Dr FX Mayr, intestines expert, the practice claims to regenerate overburdened digestive systems; supplementary medical exams, massages and tailored tests and treatments tackle individual health concerns and needs. An accumulative benefit is that (for most) the weight drops off. It’s hard going at times, but compensation comes through the setting – the Bavarian Alps retreat is encircled by woodland and chocolate-box villages – and the property itself is a surprisingly chic sanctuary, tastefully and soothingly finished in pale woods and calming white. Read expert review. From £476per night.

• The best European city breaks

Aman Tokyo Tokyo, Japan

9Telegraph expert rating

Perched on the 33rd floor of a glass tower is one of Tokyo’s more extraordinary hotels, which marries the time-honoured Japanese aesthetic with contemporary Aman design. Tradition, modernity and nature are in everything from the inventive cuisine, to the spacious spa, with 30m black granite pool that creates the illusion of floating among the clouds, and treatments based on seasonal ingredients. The divine 150-minute Signature Treatment is inspired by the 16th-century tea ceremony, to soothe with fragrant kuromoji wood and medicinal herbs. Read expert review. From £865per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

• The world's most expensive hotel rooms

Lefay Resort & Spa Lake Garda, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

Situated on Lake Garda, Lefay combines Chinese medicine with modern Western therapies to reactivate our internal energy system while saving the environment. Their approach to dieting is to make changes to eating habits that are psychologically as well as nutritionally sustainable. The “light menu” is tasty low-cal Mediterranean fare that takes the strain off the digestive system. Fill your time having anti-cellulite massages, body wraps, doing tai chi and cycling round the lake. Read expert review. From £197per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The greatest hotels in the world

Royal Mansour Marrakech Marrakech, Morocco

9Telegraph expert rating

The spa is set in Moorish gardens heavy with orange trees, bougainvillea and gardenias which frame karp-filled ponds and sunken seating nooks. The lobby is a cavernous glass atrium, within which stands a wrought-iron frame – which references traditional Mashrabiya panelling – reminiscent of a giant bird’s cage. There are 13 treatment rooms (with three private spa suites), two hammams, a watsu pool, sauna, gym and hair salon. The most recent addition is the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio By Bastien Gonzalez, the industry virtuoso of hand and foot treatments. Read expert review. From £948per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The strangest places to stay in the UK and Channel Islands

Nihi Sumba Sumba, Indonesia

9Telegraph expert rating

This humble surf lodge-turned-swish hotel – all four-posters, private pools and day beds that become night beds – offers the most glorious glamping to the sound of the waves. Its star act, though, is the one-of-a-kind spa and Nihi Oka Spa Safari. A hike across the dramatic coast through a primitive local village (spiritual in itself) takes you to your own private clifftop treatment pavilion overlooking the ocean. Here, you spend the day working your way through the spa menu treated by skilled therapists using organic beautifiers. Add to this surfing, galloping on the beach (their horses are top) and heart-thumping hikes – a token spa this is not. Read expert review. From £756per night. Check availability. Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith.

• The best spa hotels in the south of England

Park Igls Innsbruck, Austria

8Telegraph expert rating

Few hotel gyms have sheet-glass windows offering panoramic views of snow-covered mountains to motivate you through your workout. This restful apple-and-white Alpine retreat specialises in detox, medical MOTs and musculoskeletal wellbeing and takes fitness super-seriously. Exercise is gentle but fiendishly effective – classes in balance, stability, co-ordination and core stability are key. Meals are modest (500-800 calories per day for detoxers), but nourishing – porridge with maple syrup, scrambled eggs, tasty veg soups, a simple diet designed to cleanse the palate and stimulate sluggish digestion. Add in daily massage, hydrotherapy, detoxifying mud wraps, Nordic walking and mountain air to embrace a more energetic version of yourself. Read expert review. From £107per night.

• The world's most unusual hotels

Palace Merano Espace Henri Chenot Merano, South Tyrol, Italy

8Telegraph expert rating

Behind this 100-year-old chandeliered Italian splendour, with sumptuous bedrooms and charming multilingual staff is a gleaming white medical wing with cutting-edge health and beauty treatments, including the latest lasers and injectables to less invasive, traceless facelifts and collagen-boosters, while its intense detox programme is superb. A barrage of bioenergetic treatments (measuring and boosting vitality levels), massage, phyto-mud therapy, hydro-aromatherapy sessions and strict dietary retraining that is tough but refreshing if you can go the pace. A daily allowance of 800 calories is turned into four-course, bijou, works of art, that all-in-all is very much a favourite with renowned male and female sport stars to Russian tycoons. Read expert review. From £390per night.

• The best hotels for spa breaks in Britain

Kamalaya Koh Samui Koh Samui, Thailand

9Telegraph expert rating

A lush, holistic healing paradise where palm-fringed paths and crystal streams tumble down natural rocks to a teeny white sand beach. Sleep deeply in an array of hidden Asian rustic chic/luxe suites, cosy cottages and villas kitted out with every comfort (except television). There are countless body- easing, mind-soothing treatments on offer: try Asian hand massage (deceptively therapeutic) and meditations (from authentic Indian yogis). Guests on the Optimal Fitness programme get gently but firmly reshaped by savvy personal trainers. Healthy eating is easy – the pumpkin-seed bread and dairy-free raw choc mousse is positively divine. Read expert review. From £140per night.

• The best family-friendly hotels in England

The Chedi Andermatt Andermatt, Switzerland

Swiss Spa

9Telegraph expert rating

A refreshingly clean-lined exterior set in a traditional, Alpine Bond-style setting. The spa is big and Zen, yet intimate and cosy, a clever, rare balance to strike. The fusion food also works a treat – Bircher for breakfast, dim sum for dinner. Yoga classes precede hot/cold plunge, steam and sauna, while the muscle-weary shouldn’t miss the Alpienne Mountain massage. There are twice-daily, 90-minute mountain walks to feed your soul and visits throughout the year from Loten Dahorstang, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, who teaches divine yoga, chanting mantras and sacred meditations. Read expert review. From £428per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best pet-friendly hotels in Britain

Six Senses Douro Valley Samodaes, Douro, Portugal

8Telegraph expert rating

The Six Senses European debut brims with the wellness and sustainability that this spa hotel group is reputed for, and here adds wine to the mix. With an emphasis on its setting, tastings of Douro Valley wines are just rewards for a day spent meditating among ancient cedars in the surrounding woods. The healthy food from the organic fruit and vegetable garden, the peaceful, muted décor by Clodagh Design, which draws the outside in, the aerobic yoga or yogic sleep all combine to induce a feeling of stillness and contentment. Read expert review. From £228per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The world's best honeymoon hotels

Vana Uttarakhand, India

8Telegraph expert rating

Set amid forests and gardens with moving water, this healing haven cum eco-hotel has the most stunning, calming and blood pressure-lowering architecture and interiors. Minimalist and clean, the palette is clotted cream, honeycomb and fresh light green with blonde hardwood furniture. Alongside Ayurvedic treatments, Vana offers 'Tibetan healing' overseen by therapists trained at the Dalai Lama’s revered institute. The retreat even comes with his holiness’s personal seal of approval (a first). Mantras and home-prepared oils and herbs contribute to the fusing of traditional, modern and natural. The food is seasonal and organic, and as you sit and eat on the restaurant verandas, you’re misted by water from above. Read expert review. From £3,600per night.

• The best New Forest hotels

Auberge du Soleil Napa Valley, California, United States

9Telegraph expert rating

The grounds of this Relais & Chateaux property are a carefully cloistered sculpture garden, and the intimate spa at the base of the garden epitomises Napa luxury. Guests enter via an elegant and understated space that draws you immediately outside into a courtyard and the promise of the water ritual. There are three pools of varying temperatures overlooking vineyards and olive groves. Back inside, the height of luxury is the Melisse Suite, complete with fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows, for treatments à deux using oils infused with herbs and botanicals from the spa’s garden. Afterwards, sip champagne while taking in the views – a truly glorious and healing sojourn and the very best type of couples therapy. Try the new Fleurs of Earth & Vine, a rejuvenating treatment that includes a warm cabernet mud mask for the body and a nourishing oil massage. Read expert reviewCheck availability. Rates provided by

• The world's best palace hotels

Amilla Fushi Baa Atoll, Maldives

9Telegraph expert rating

The Wellness Tree-House Retreat is the new must-book at this Miami-meets-Maldives vibe resort. You’ll be 40ft up, with your own cantilevered pool, sumptuous bedroom and personal spa room (if you want to get out of the shade and catch some rays, head up to the main pool). Bodyism personal trainers set a daily programme of two wellness “movements”, such as lung-cleansing Hatha yoga at dawn or swinging off the TRX (a muscle-strengthening pulley system). In-(tree) house treatments include QMS collagen-boosting facials and muscle-melting massages. Read expert review. From £1,001per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The world's most romantic hotels

Borgo Egnazia Fasano, Puglia, Italy

9Telegraph expert rating

Borgo Egnazia is a Pompeii-style mapping of villas, piazzas and pools on Italy’s Puglian coast. Its Vair Spa, like the hotel, ticks the luxury list of flickering candlelight, trickling water and cocooning silence in a labyrinth of cream and natural textures, beautifully. Guest at Vair (meaning 'true' in Apulian) can, of course, have a body massage or manicure, but they can also explore the sound of their voice with a musician, or have a facial that’s more of a psychological journey than a mere pore-cleansing sensation. Either way, the therapists create real connections with guests. Read expert review. From £207per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• Europe's best hotels for wedding venues

Villa Stephanie at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

9Telegraph expert rating

This former royal residence’s makeover has tapped into the zeitgeist of the frazzled guest, from rooms decked out in calming tones to de-stressing treatments. Embark on full-body analysis with Hans-Peter Veit, the peppy spa manager, qigong with a former kick-boxing champ, personal training, yoga, first-class physio massages and a hammam with a shipped-in specialist. The 400-calorie menu is not as deprivational as it sounds: beef consommé, Black Forest trout with spinach and potatoes, and apple cake and warm berries. Even the rooms allow you to switch off – literally. One button turns off the electricity; the other blocks out Wi-Fi signal, so you really can get away from it all. Clever. Read expert review. From £259per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best Amalfi Coast hotels

Soukya Bangalore, Karnataka, India

7Telegraph expert rating

This holistic health centre on the outskirts of Bangalore – the first of its kind in the world and the brainchild of guru-to-the stars Dr Issac Mathai – offers oily Ayurvedic massage and more intensive purging treatments, as well as hydrotherapy and naturopathy using herbs from its tropical garden. The Duchess of Cornwall counts it among her favourite spa hotels. Soukya is not remotely luxe, but some of the comfy, shabby-chic rooms do have outdoor showers, and all have a private garden. Read expert review. From £153per night.

• The world's best hotel pools

Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

9Telegraph expert rating

The Swiss have arguably the best health-care system in the world and this acclaimed thermal and medical spa sits alongside a historic hotel. It has more or less every medical expert going – get a new set of teeth, a full-on gynaecological screening complete with mammogram and ultrasound, or MOTs for eyes, heart and lungs, and oodles of dietary advice (or “metabolic optimisation”, as they call it here). Even insomniacs are catered for: to improve your kip, experts will rig you up to sensors and note your every nocturnal nuance. Plus, there is also a relationship-restoring, stop-snoring package. Read expert review. From £309per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• Britain's best seaside hotels

Faena Hotel Miami Beach Miami, Florida, United States

9Telegraph expert rating

Miami gets a shot of South American vibrancy with this 11-room spa. It has a brilliant Mexican shaman, top-notch Colombian therapists and striking artwork from Juan Gatti, though from reception you gaze down to the pool and Damien Hirst’s artwork of a 10,000-year-old gilded mammoth. Downstairs is party central, but holistic purity reigns up here. Book the Tree of Life treatment, which uses sound bowls to recharge even the most debauched of socialites. Rooms have been designed by film director Baz Luhrmann and his Academy-award-winning wife Catherine Martin and channel Great Gatsby glamour beautifully. Read expert review. From £267per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best Northern Lights hotels

The Bulgari Hotel London Knightsbridge, London, England

6Telegraph expert rating

The marble-clad subterranean spa ticks all the luxurious boxes you would expect in Knightsbridge. And now, as well as gold-walled vitality pools, you can enjoy first-class fitness with a Lee Mullins Workshop programme. A framework assessment with merciless fat callipers gives you nowhere to hide: analysing genes, movements, intolerances and metabolic rate to devise a personalised 28-page fitness programme. The ultra-spacious treatment rooms offer phenomenal ESPA, Swiss Perfection and age-defying acupuncture facials, plus an extensive menu of massages, naturopathy, osteopathy and reflexology. The experts here are varied and at the top of their field. Read expert review. From £606per night. Check availability. Rates provided by

• The best restaurants in London hotels

Chiva-Som Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand

8Telegraph expert rating

Perhaps no other spa is as well known. Come here for a total turnaround and expect good, calorie-counted nutrition, proper exercise, the best Thai massages, an almost overwhelming selection of classes, a dedicated medi-spa wing and glistening lily ponds at dawn. Best of all, the atmosphere is totally unintimidating. The Niranlada Medi-Spa is the serious part, doctors include US–trained dermatologists and plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Laser Surgery. The more holistic spa is where to head for Thai massages and an exhaustive list of treatments including everything from salt scrubs to Watsu and lymphatic drainage. Read expert review. From £290per night.


This article was written by Telegraph Travel experts from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Related Articles

Body, Blood and Soul: The Ultimate Hardcore Health Spas for 2019

Miraval Austin, a Wellness Resort, Is Now Open

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives Partners With Adrienne LDN

Four Seasons Resort Sayan Launches "Guided by Gratitude" Retreat