By Fiona Clarke and Darcy Bittner
Start planning a treat-yourself trip right now. If you thought you were spoiling yourself with your monthly massage sessions, think again. Hotels around the world are taking pampering to an extreme new level of luxury with ridiculously indulgent spa treatments so over-the-top, they’re practically, and in some cases literally, gilded. We rounded up ten of the most lavish, luxury-drenched spa treatments from five-star hotels around the globe because it’s never too early to start vacation planning. Some are nearby in California, others in frequently visited spots abroad, while those in exotic locales are best suited for your wish-list.
GO FOR THE GOLD
Gold has been touted for its wrinkle-fighting and radiance-boosting properties for centuries: Cleopatra allegedly worked face masks made from it into her famously lavish beauty routine. That’s just one of the reasons that the queen of the Nile would feel right at home at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai, an opulent resort frequently visited by royalty. In the hotel’s marble- and mosaic-bedecked Talise Ottoman Spa, guests can book a full-day journey fit for a queen, including a milk and rose oil bath, argan-oil massage, the use of an Arabian gold hammam, caviar lunch in the spa suite and a custom-made 24-karat gold facial mask. The World’s Most Luxurious Spa Experience, $6,800 for a full day, Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai.
Size doesn’t matter at the spa at The Peninsula Beverly Hills, science does. This Hollywood hideaway is intimate, giving more attention to treatments that pack a lot of punch—like the Ultimate Indulgence. This six-in-one, two-hour facial features diamond-tip microdermabrasion to resurface skin for that dewy youthful glow, an oxygen blast to firm and tone, radio-frequency therapy which increases the oxygen supply to your skin tissue, LED light and color therapy to rebalance the complexion, air massage to eliminate toxins, and electroporation, a process that exposes skin to a mild electrical field to improve the its ability to absorb active ingredients. The Ultimate Indulgence, $1,500 for 120 minutes, The Peninsula Spa Beverly Hills, California.
Oprah Winfrey and Uma Thurman are among discerning travelers visiting Ananda Spa in the Himalayas, India. The pampering healing treatments at this retreat are the highlight, including the famed Abhyanga. This traditional Ayurvedic therapy utilizes the expert digits of two masseuses for a luxurious four-handed massage, followed by a centuries-old treatment that includes oil gently poured over the forehead to help blood circulation and open the “third eye” for better mental clarity. While one masseuse pours the oil, another massages your feet and balances your chakras. Abhyanga, $70 for 55 minutes, unless included in wellness package, Ananda Spa, Himalayas, India.
There aren’t many couples resorts sensual enough to have inspired The Bachelor to film there twice, but Sugar Beach, St. Lucia brings more than just romance. To truly pamper guests at its spa, the hotel takes their most indulgent treatment off-property to the nearby sulphur springs where a therapist slathers on mineral-rich volcanic mud straight from the source, then loofahs couples under the naturally warm Toraille waterfall. The mud is said to increase circulation, soften tight muscles, helps with skin disorders, and naturally exfoliate. The treatment is capped off by heading back to the resort for a full-body massage. Sulphur Seduction, $200 per person for 3 hours, Sugar Beach: A Viceroy Resort, La Baie de Silence, St. Lucia.
THE ROYAL TREATMENT
The largest spa in Los Angeles, Spa Montage Beverly Hills spans two levels with soaring ceilings, accented by towering columns and mosaics. For facials, the five-star hotel partnered with L. Raphael, a high-end Swiss cosmetic brand known for its state-of-the-art scientifically based treatments. One of their most famous, the L. Raphael Royal C Treatment, uses an advanced, $500,000 oxygen machine (there are only five of them in the world) to blast oxygenated vitamin C and L. Raphael’s LEC-40 Complex into the skin to fight hyper pigmentation, smooth wrinkles and even skin tone. The L. Raphael Royal C Treatment, $1,400 for 90 minutes, Spa Montage Beverly Hills, California.
The spa at One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives spans a lush garden and overwater spa villas, with all-glass steam rooms and Jacuzzi pools. Not luxe enough for you? Did we mention that the spa also touts the most elaborate toxin-purging treatment in Maldives? The Detoxifying Body Cleanse starts with a mustard foot soak to help with body aches, pains, and purportedly even respiratory issues like coughs. The soak is followed by soothing exfoliation, a detoxifying algae wrap, an abdominal massage to help clear air out of the stomach, colon therapy using a G5 machine that’s designed to improve lymphatic drainage, and then finished with a full body lymphatic massage. Detoxifying Body Cleanse, $195 for 2 hours, One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives.
With the 5-to-1 guest to staff ratio at this Mediterranean-inspired, 200-acre wellness resort outside of San Diego, guests get to feel ultra-VIP. At their truly pampering spa, Cal-A-Vie in Vista, California uses freshly made, organic skincare products created from ingredients harvested on its very own on-site vineyard. Grapes are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and compounds like resveratrol that can help reverse the signs of aging and strengthen collagen to improve the firmness of skin. For their signature Vinotherapie Grape Skin Wrap, oceanic clay enriched with Cabernet grape extract is used to coddle the skin, followed by a rub down with grapeseed-infused body lotion on the outdoor deck. Signature Vinotherapie Grape Skin Wrap, $275 for 90 minutes, Cal-A-Vie Health Spa, Vista, California.
Have you ever dreamed of having your own private spa island where you can spend your days luxuriating in coddling beauty treatments? the luxurious spa, Sense at the Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico is the next-best thing. Located on its own island, reachable by footbridge and completely integrated with the tropical setting, Sense houses 12 treatment villas where guests can splurge with treatments like the Kuxtal Sensory Garden Ritual. The treatment starts with a traditional Mayan blessing ritual performed by a local shaman to restore energy and well being. After the one-on-one blessing, guests pluck fresh herbs from the resort’s private garden to be bended with the oils used in their massage treatment. The Kuxtal Sensory Garden Ritual, $540 for 3 hours, Rosewood Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico.
LUXE LEG TREATMENT
This exclusive seaside resort, Capri Palace, is well known for its unique spa. Among oxygen facials and body contouring with Elos technology, the most sought after treatment is the “Leg School,” which helps improve the condition of lower limbs, including varicose veins, lymphatic problems, blood circulation, stretch marks and muscle tone. Using bio-stimulation, hydrotherapy, and mineral-rich, medicated mud treatments aestheticians focus on making legs healthy (and good looking). It’s why a host of supermodels, athletes, and celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Elizabeth Hurley have visited. Leg School, $204 for 100 minutes,The Capri Beauty Farm at Capri Palace, Capri, Italy.
After a long flight, travelers staying at Four Seasons Mauritius can decompress with an indulgent 8-handed massage: one of few luxury hotels in the world where the service is offered. The massage features four masseuses using synchronized movements—like a choreographed dance—to balance the body’s energies and leave the guest refreshed and relaxed. The signature treatment takes place in an overwater villa, enhancing the sensory experience with natural sounds of the sea. ‘Let It Go’ Eight-Handed Massage, $757 for 60 minutes or or $1,048 for 90 minutes, Four Seasons Mauritius, Beau Champ, Mauritius.