Wellness in travel was already a popular topic pre-COVID. But the pandemic turned it into a more vital experience, from those looking for a literal breath of fresh air and nature after months in quarantine to those seeking relief from the stress of the moment in a spa.
To help you find your wellness escape, we rounded up some of the newest double Five-Star winners, the properties that earned top marks for both their hotel and spa during the sneak peek of Forbes Travel Guide’s 2021 Star Awards. Whether you want a Swedish massage or something more ground-breaking, these luxurious wellness getaways deliver. (Check with the properties to ensure they are open and that the services you want are available.)
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center
If you’re drawn to crystals, this is your spa. The 57th-floor space embedded its walls with 700 pounds of therapeutic crystals, and it provides services like the Crystal & Sounds Energy Healing — which includes balancing stones as souvenirs — and a crystal oil massage.
Relaxation remedy: Philadelphia’s only infinity-edge pool sits on the same floor as the spa and affords breathtaking panoramas from the walls of windows.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
To get to Bangkok’s only Five-Star spa, you have to float across the river aboard the complimentary shuttle boat. There, housed a century-old teak structure, the calm refuge doles out Thai treatments and also has a muy Thai boxing studio.
Relaxation remedy: There’s no better place to experience Thai massage. Dressed in loose clothing, you will be gently swayed, stretched and massaged into bliss by expert therapists.
Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection
At this verdant Los Cabos haven, each treatment room comes with a shaded garden patio so you can linger with a fruity agua fresca. But save time for the rejuvenating pasaje de agua, a water therapy circuit that includes a warm pool, steam caves and a cool rinse.
Relaxation remedy: The popular Auberge Head to Toe delivers full-body pampering: a hair and scalp treatment, massage and reflexology.
The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston
Houston’s only Five-Star spa differentiates itself with cutting-edge services, like the In-Skin facial machine that uses air massage, microdermabrasion, oxygen, LED therapy, radio frequency (to minimize wrinkles) and electroporation (non-invasive micro-needling) to leave you radiant.
Relaxation remedy: The Immune Recovery Massage boosts your natural immunity with eucalyptus, tea tree, pine and lavender scents, which have anti-viral properties.
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
To cure post-lockdown ailments, the London spa recently launched a special menu, including the Four Seasons Signature Deep Sleep Massage, a full-body rubdown and foot acupressure to combat restless nights, and the Black Pearl 24K Golden Suspendisse, which employs anti-inflammatory 24-karat gold oil to increase circulation and unlock tension.
Relaxation remedy: Have a complimentary virtual consultation with spa director Taffryn Ellis, who can help select the proper treatment or provide at-home solutions.
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing
Slip into a soothing spa suite for treatments like the Emperor’s Longevity, where you’ll lie in a bed of warm quartz sand while a therapist uses Xiuyan jade to perform gua sha, which involves gently scraping the skin to release tension and toxins.
Relaxation remedy: If you prefer diamonds over jade, opt for the Diamond Experience. The two-hour ritual applies nutrient-rich Natura Bissé products to reverse aging and firm up skin.
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
This beachfront Palm Beach retreat injects fun into the spa experience with champagne and cupcakes; bright, sunny hues; and a delightful Self-Centered Garden with dipping pools, hanging chairs and cabanas for post-treatment lounging.
Relaxation remedy: Visit the DIY scrub and polish bar to bring some wellness home. Customize your own blend using ingredients like vanilla, citrus, ginger and eucalyptus.
Montage Kapalua Bay
This tropical Maui sanctuary encompasses 30,000 square feet of space both indoors (like the eucalyptus steam room and treatment bungalows) and out (waterfall hot tubs and an infinity pool). Expect warm, friendly service with an “aloha.”
Relaxation remedy: Surrender to the rhythmic strokes of the lomi lomi massage. The Hawaiian treatment takes place in an outdoor hale so you can feel the fresh air caress your skin.
Sitting on its own island and filled with tropical plants and palms, this stunning spa in Mexico’s Riviera Maya is a jungle fantasy. Stroll the grounds and you’ll find a lounging area or small waterfall hiding behind thick foliage, along with a cenote.
Relaxation remedy: Drawing on Mayan medicine, the Itzam Herbal Cure starts with an energy cleanse using copal incense. Then a healing clay incorporating plants from the onsite garden is slathered on and you’re wrapped in a local plant-based fabric.
Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, London
One peek at the floral walls reveals that traditional Chinese fashion and symbolism inspired Adam D. Tihany on his recent redesign of this contemporary spa. The excellent facilities include an amethyst crystal steam room, a sanarium, a vitality pool and a Zen color therapy area.
Relaxation remedy: Get feet in tip-top shape at pedicurist-to-the-stars Bastien Gonzalez’s studio, ward off aging with Nescens treatments or tune up with traditional Chinese medicine.
Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley
For an alpine getaway, head for this Park City hotel. Stein’s elegant spa caters to its outdoorsy clientele with services like Mountain Heeling (to revitalize sore legs and feet) and an anti-inflammatory massage (to alleviate aches and pains).
Relaxation remedy: Aside from leaving your skin soft and supple, the Himalayan Salt Stone Massage helps to improve circulation, relieve anxiety and battle insomnia.
Four Seasons Hotel Montreal
Montreal’s sole Five-Star spa is the only place in Canada to offer Kneipp hydrotherapy with a stone path. Walk over the polished stones, which stimulate the foot’s acupressure points, while hot and cold water strengthen the immune system and promote blood flow.
Relaxation remedy: Enjoy something uniquely Canadian and full of antioxidants with the Ancestral Body Scrub with Maple Syrup.
Mandarin Oriental, Boston
The hotel emerged from quarantine with new rooms and a renovated spa, Massachusetts’ only Five-Star facility. The New England Retreat includes a dry-brush exfoliation, a tension-zapping rubdown and revitalizing warm muds and gels.
Relaxation remedy: Counteract issues brought on by the overuse of electronic devices with Millennial Posture Therapy, a massage combining deep-tissue work, trigger-point therapy and stretching.
The Peninsula Tokyo
Each lavish spa treatment room comes with a shower, yukimi shoji screens and adjustable heated beds. Housed in an airy two-story space, the 65-foot-long pool beckons, though the adjacent vitality pool has a balcony that gives a glimpse of the Imperial Palace Gardens.
Relaxation remedy: The secret to the Chi Healing ritual lies in the herbs. Mugwort destresses and restores balance, camellia helps with peace of mind and mulberry leaf stimulates circulation.
Montage Los Cabos
Revive yourself at this temple of tranquility. Although the 40,000-square-foot spa is the largest in the region, it’s quiet and peaceful, from the expansive adults-only pool lined with cabanas to treatment rooms with their own spacious open-air sitting areas.
Relaxation remedy: The Mezcal Renewal Massage is a must. Locally made heated herbal poultices are followed by a Mexican friega rubdown using intoxicating orange blossom oil from Lola’s Apothecary. It ends with a sip of mezcal.
The Peninsula New York
You will want to burrow yourself in this dim, enticing spa on the hotel’s 21st and 22nd floors. The Asian Tea Lounge, glass-enclosed pool, wraparound sun terrace, aromatherapy steam room, sauna, experience shower and ice fountain will make you forget about the bustle below.
Relaxation remedy: Transport yourself with the Escape the City, which includes a detoxifying body exfoliation, a therapeutic massage and a Biologique Recherche Remodeling Facial.
The American Club
Water-based treatments are the specialty at the Wisconsin hotel’s Kohler Waters Spa. Part of the Kohler bath and fixture company, the spa boasts the latest technology, from virtual reality pedicures to VibraAcoustic baths that emit sound waves.
Relaxation remedy: Tranquil Tides cleanses and energizes your skin with espresso body mud. After a Vichy shower rinse, you’ll soak in a magnesium-enriched bath and then get a facial.
Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
Dark woods, gray-and-white marble and mother-of-pearl touches make this intimate Singapore spa a warm, inviting respite. Don’t miss a dip in the 82-foot outdoor pool. Surrounded by gardens, the chic spot has a fantastic view of the futuristic Marina Bay Sands.
Relaxation remedy: The stress-busting Oriental Essence targets the areas that hold the most tension: the neck, back and shoulders.
The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
This sleek, sky-high spa commands mesmerizing vistas of Victoria Harbour and the city skyline from its 116th perch. And you can take then in from the treatment rooms and relaxation lounges, all of which have floor-to-ceiling windows.
Relaxation remedy: Zap tension with Unwind Body and Mind service. You’ll be treated to an antioxidant-rich pearl scrub, deep tissue massage and face and scalp reflexology.
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
You’ll enjoy plenty of privacy in this two-story spa. Every treatment room comes with its own shower, and the top floor holds VIP suites with double-height windows facing Biscayne Bay. The Five-Star spa also offers outdoor yoga, tai chi and qi gong.
Relaxation remedy: Banish insomnia with the Sleep Support Therapy, a tailored program that includes guided yogic pranayama (breathing exercises) and a massage.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
At this desert oasis, the treatment suites surround the gleaming salt-water pool and waterfalls — you can step out directly into the saltwater from your room. Treatments integrate the Mexican folk tradition of curanderismo, or native healers.
Relaxation remedy: Refresh and renew with the Restoring Moon ritual, which includes an exfoliation using silk gloves, a mud wrap, a lymphatic massage and pressure point techniques.
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Stay comfortably socially distant at the brand’s largest urban spa, which spans more than 30,000 square feet. Take a dip in the indoor pool with city vistas, visit the MedSpa for Botox and chemical peels or curl up with a book in the recently renovated Cloud 9 Oasis outdoor lounge.
Relaxation remedy: Try the Elemental Massage, which borrows Balinese, Malaysia and Swedish techniques to alleviate stress.
Mandarin Oriental, New York
Set on the 35th floor, the spa peers out over Central Park and the Hudson River. The top-notch facilities include a steam room that blends heat and water through a lit amethyst, an experience shower with color therapy, a vitality pool with body jets and a 75-foot lap pool.
Relaxation remedy: The Inner Strength is what we all need right now. The aromatherapy massage is designed to ease tension and anxiety resulting from a stressful time.