Relaxation. Comfort. Beauty. Whatever the reason for seeking out a great spa experience, the essential ingredients seem to remain a mixture of these three emotional states, combined with a gorgeous setting. So in case you are looking for an opportunity to treat yourself this summer, I went ahead and rounded up my personal favorite spa experiences all over the world from the Maldives to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. And of course I couldn't leave our beloved D.C. out, so read on to see my pick for best spa experience in the city.
- FOUR SEASONS BOSPHORUS, Istanbul, Turkey
This three-story Ottoman Empire palace-turned-hotel situated on the banks of Istanbul’s legendary Bosphorus River gracefully showcases the arresting scenery from the surrounding land. And in a sweeping wing of the basement level is the impeccable Four Seasons Bosphorus Spa, the best spa in the world. Inspired by the Turkish spa tradition of the hamman, which focuses more on deep cleansing of the skin, large swathes of flat marble create the ideal “mat” for guests to lay down upon and be fully scrubbed. In addition to a scrub, consider a relaxing massage, a facial or even head next door to the adjoining spa for one of the best blow-outs you'll ever have.
- MANDARIN ORIENTAL, Washington, D.C.
While the ebb-and-flow of the newest restaurants, building and growth seem to be occurring over on 14th Street, the stately Mandarin Oriental has been a perennial favorite for visiting celebs, including Kevin Spacey, as well as locals in search of luxe staycation accommodations. In addition to the epic afternoon tea overlooking the Potomac River, their spa is divine. Massages, scrubs, facials, waxes and several other traditional spa services can be bought a la carte, however, it's totally worth it to really indulge and book one of Mandarin Oriental’s “timed” treatments; purchased in two, three and four-hour intervals, you can do whatever treatments you curate within that time frame. My two-hour timed treatment resulted in the best massage and scrub combination of my life, with spa therapist Thea.
- FAIRMONT BANFF SPRINGS, Alberta, Canada
Situated at the base level of this famous 19th-century castle, The Willow Stream Spa at the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs rejuvenates a tired mind and body at first sight. Pulsating waterfalls, a mineral pool in the heart of the spa as well as a heated outdoor pool allows spa guests to restore themselves before engaging in a treatment. Do not miss the opportunity to have a massage with Leah -- one of the better masseuses I've encountered -- or a relaxing Glacial Reflections Facial. This 90-minute treatment is a locally-inspired facial, starting with a rosehip tea and aromatic pine footbath before moving on to a balancing rosehip facial massage, a moisturizing masque, and a temple/scalp treatment performed with glacial globes. Truly, it's an experience as unforgettable as Banff itself.
- SUNDARI SPA AT ANANTARA DHIGU, Maldives
Located in one of the most pristine, remote spots on the globe, the Anantara Maldives properties -- Veli, Dhigu, Naladhu and Kiharah -- are connected by a singular theme of impeccable luxury. Everything from the food to the insane accommodations -- I actually called the corporate Anantara office to see if I could buy the bed -- the staff and the beaches which are combed daily to look like the broken sea shells that they are, makes guests feel like royalty. Additionally, within this South Male Atoll resort is one of the best spas in the world, the Sundari Spa. Positioned on stilts a few feet above the clear, aquamarine Indian Ocean, chose one of the therapeutic massages where a glass peephole in the floor gives you the soothing sensation of floating on water.
- SPATERRE AT TETON MOUNTAIN LODGE & SPA, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
SpaTerre at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa combines the exotic treatment styles of Indonesia and Thailand with elements of Jackson Hole’s Western culture to create a menu of treatments not available anywhere else. With 10 treatment rooms -- including two couple rooms -- a nail salon, a tranquility lounge, eucalyptus-infused steam rooms and an accompanying 1,200-square-foot state-of-the-art fitness center, the full-service, three-story SpaTerre is one of the largest yet most intimate spas in Jackson Hole. Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa’s connection to the land is celebrated at SpaTerre by incorporating natural elements -- spring water, salts, herbs and mud -- into its Indonesian, Thai and Jackson Hole-inspired treatments. Unique indigenous treatments include Red Rock Mud Detox Treatment, Arnica Sore-Muscle Salve and Hydrating Quench Balm.