Wherever you find yourself in the world, there’s a spa treat waiting in the wings to soothe you. So add a little me time into your plans for the ultimate indulgence - you are on holiday after all.
Relaxation usually ranks pretty high on the list of things to do on holiday. And let’s face it, there’s something rather inviting about whiling away a day enveloped in a fluffy white robe, luxuriating within the cosy confines of a spa.
With the majority of treatment menus overflowing with plenty of options to preen or polish, to transform or treat ailments, therapies today offer many more experiences beyond the steam room.
Throw in some modern medicines and specialist therapies, and your spa options just got a whole lot more interesting. Here are four sensational spa destinations that will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated with that healthy holiday glow.
For healing... Choose Hungary
Hungary is a spa and wellness mecca with a multitude of spas and hot springs to delight. Make your first stop the natural thermal lake of Héviz - the world’s largest of its kind, resting on the picturesque shores of the freshwater Lake Balaton.
Take a dip in the healing waters, which are believed to cure rheumatic conditions, and enjoy the tingling sensations as the tension in your muscles simply melts away.
As you paddle amid the water lillies floating atop the dazzling turquoise lake, the temperate waters and hypnotic blue skies are enough to ease both body and soul.
To really let the medicinal powers work their magic, a Hungarian mud wrap treatment at one of the area's spas is essential.
It’s a case of out with the old with a sea salt exfoliation, enriched with mud while a capsicum peptide rejuvenates your skin. The deep cleansing mud and wrap is then applied, followed up with a soothing scalp and body massage to pamper you.
Open year round, temperatures never drop below 22 degrees celsius in winter, so whether you’re inspired for a summer of serenity or want to kickstart your wellness in winter, hot foot it to Héviz to languish in its warming waters.
If your intention is to jet off for a week of pure rejuvenation, add a few days onto your trip to spend some time exploring and restoring in Budapest - Hungary’s spa capital.
The region lays claim to more than 2,000 years of bathing rituals. Doctors even prescribe spa visits for medicinal purposes, so you know that this is a destination that takes health and wellness very seriously.
Time to follow doctor’s orders then, and there’s a plethora of options to choose from in the city, including Turkish and Roman baths, and even 'sparties'. If you tend to get restless with resting, a ‘sparty' comes complete with DJs, acrobats and ballet performances to keep you entertained while you chill out in the open-air pools. Now that sounds like our kind of chill out session.
For hydration... Choose Arizona, USA
So Arizona may not be the first place you would consider for a me-time break.
It may surprise you to learn that pampering is big business in Arizona. So make the most of it, and like Goldilocks with her three chairs, try out a few different spas for size.
Tucson is home to the legendary brand spas, while the cities of Scottsdale and Phoenix are sprawling with options catering to every taste, from traditional and historic to sleek and glamorous. Then there are the boutique and speciality options, so needless to say, it’s wise to do a little research before you travel.
As the proverb goes, it’s all in the name. Carefree, in Arizona is only a 30-minute drive north from Scottsdale and its popular RCI Gold Crown resorts.
It is a small town that urges you to slow down the pace and soak up its quaint and tranquil vibes. After a little wander around the town, book a treat at one of the area's spas, which all offer their own range of signature experiences.
The Spa at Carefree makes a nice alternative to some of the big hitters in Scottsdale, helping you to heighten your senses and restore a little balance in your life.
Following prolonged periods out in the heat of Arizona’s desert climate, a little hydration for the skin won’t go amiss. The Carefree massage and facial make a nourishing choice, but the creamy body butter scrub gets our vote. The vitamin-enriched shea butter scrub will help to banish any dull or dry skin, detoxify and reveal a new you, with silky soft and hydrated skin.
However and wherever you decide to spend your time here, the burning orange and ochre ombres of the surrounding Sonoran Desert are made for mindfulness, transporting you far away from the stresses of everyday life.
For inside cleansing... Choose India
India is home to one of the world’s most sophisticated health systems, Ayurveda, which has been expertly blended with modern-day treatments to curate a programme which cleanses the body from the inside out.
So if you feel that you are in need of a serious health kick, India is the place to start your journey on the road to good living.
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is meditation which is a powerful tool that helps to balance the mind and body.
There are a whole host of Ayurveda centres in India, from the meditative retreats of the Himalayas to New Delhi’s city spa havens for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle. No matter where you decide, you’ll find yourself being gently lured into the soothing surroundings like a comforting hug.
Following an assessment to determine your health imbalances, your course of treatment will be centred on massage, diet and herbal remedies.
Diet and nutrition are key to treatment and recovery, and these are individually tailored according to your needs. Six primary ‘tastes’ are typically used, from ‘sweet’, which promotes strength and tissue nourishment to ‘sour’ designed to stimulate digestive powers.
Ayurvedic massage is also used to focus on specific problem areas and relieve any aches or pains. Shirodhara is another special technique which uses oils, such as herbalist sesame seed oil. The oil is slowly dripped onto the forehead, targeting the nervous system to restore calm of the mind.
While Ayurvedic health is all about balance, so too is your holiday. Wherever you choose to explore for a week, mix it up with some time unleashing all your senses. Discover exotic and vibrant India, before allowing yourself some time out to develop the new, improved and healthier you.
For coastal relaxation... Choose Albufeira, Portugal
Sun, check. Sea, check. Sand, check. Spas - wait a minute.
Spas? Unless you’re a seasoned visitor, this wouldn’t really factor into your itinerary as a must-do in Portugal - but it should.
Portugal is enduringly popular for a sunshine beach break. Millions of tourists flock here every year to lounge on the never-ending stretches of coast, explore a healthy helping of historic towns and villages, and dine on the delicious catch of the day, fresh from the Atlantic’s ‘fridge’.
Albufeira, on the southern swathes of Portugal is a former fishing village with a spa scene waiting to tempt and satisfy your every whim.
From sea to spa, thalassotherapy is hugely popular, owing to its main ingredient - sea water. It features intense firming and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as minerals which help to detoxify and reduce fatigue - bring on the drenching!
Ingredients from different Portuguese regions are also used in treatments with benefits that aim to tone, firm, relax, revitalise, hydrate and detox.
Searching for a golden glow? Look out for therapies which include blue algae of the sea which will release your skin’s youthful proteins.
For a more svelte and toned appearance, sea rush is great for firming up problem areas, while sea pepper oil will help to address any cellulite issues.
If you’re a little indecisive, opt for an all-rounder treatment, especially anything which features verbena. It is a herb frequently used in homeopathy, and historically believed to have sacred powers which protect against evil.
Nowadays, the everyday evils it protects against include anxiety, stress, insomnia and nervousness, which are combatted through its powerful, calming properties.
Approach your spa experiences here just like when you dine in one of the glorious harbour-side restaurants. Choose your dish of indulgence by ingredient, rather than method, for the perfect slice of serenity.
Savour some spa time
While spa destinations present so much variety, they are also universal in their ability to please even the most discerning of spa goers. So build a little treat time in to ease yourself into the laid-back holiday mode we so often crave on our breaks.
Have a late or long flight to endure? Book a treatment before you check-out of your resort to boost the wellness factor. A last-minute massage or facial is the perfect remedy to help banish the boredom of the airport wait, bring on a blissful slumber for the flight home and ward off those dreaded post-holiday blues - for just a little longer at least.
And wherever your next adventure takes you, maybe it’s time for a new holiday mantra: rest, relax, rejuvenate, repeat.
You can search especially for resorts that have spas and wellness centres on RCI.com, so to book your next relaxing holiday and get pampered, check out our Resort Directory below...
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