Six of Our Favourite Spa Hotels for Those Who Need a Break

Now that massage beds have been scrubbed down and saunas made COVID-secure, we’re unwinding and indulging in a little self-care at some of the world’s best, under-radar spa hotels. Expect design-forward sanctuaries, perfect for those who need a break.

There's nothing quite like slipping into a pair of towelling slippers and a robe - even one a little starchy from over-washing - and heading into the steamy, tea-tree-scented whirl of a hotel spa, especially after a period of high stress. If lockdown has proven anything, it's that no number of refrigerated cucumber slices or glasses of sparkling lemon water will compare to the real deal. We're grabbing Hotel Credits from our friends over at Porter & Sail and checking into one of these design-forward, lesser-known sanctuaries as and when travel restrictions allow. Here they are; six of our favourite hotels for those in need of a spa break.

Lesser-known spa hotels for those who need some post-lockdown self-care


The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Bath, UK

This place dates back to the 1800s, when Bath was really in its Austen-era heyday. While its sturdy, neo-classical framework hasn't changed, things look a little different inside today. Clad with sharp-as-you-like art-deco mirrors and upholstered in shades of moody aubergine and sopping wet clay - courtesy of New York-based Champalimaud Design, we should add - this hotel is the place to go for classic luxury. The spa itself is a patchwork of 11 treatment rooms which sit around a classical bathhouse teaming with thermal pools.


Beau Street, Bath, BA1 1QY, UK


Twelve Senses Retreat

Encinitas, CA, US

You might have thought we have five senses, but the experiences at this coastal SoCal hideaway are so especially spine-tingling, that you'll leave convinced there are perhaps several more. Yoga on the beach, Evan Healy facials and energy healing sessions are all on the menu. It even has a prenatal package that lavishes mums-to-be with extra pampering.


1004 Nardo Road, Encinitas, CA 92024, US


Bisma Eight

Bali, Indonesia

There are times, while staying at Bisma Eight, that it feels as if you're floating - not necessarily due to the sheer elation elicited by its vibrant Balinese restaurant, but because of the vast mirror-like pools which create leafy dioramas throughout the hotel. When you aren't busy destressing in its ostentatiously large infinity pool, why not try out some Balinese temple-flower aromatherapy or ease into a somnolent butter massage?


Jalan Bisma, Ubud, 80571 Bali, Indonesia


Habitas Tulum

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum isn't short on designer hotels, though it can be a little tricky to find somewhere that really embraces local customs. Habitas Tulum offers the best of both worlds. Expect tented rooms and antique furniture and set among swarming Yucatan palms, a lip-smacking restaurant and a wellness program that includes Mayan clay rituals, cacao ceremonies and bespoke, medicinal treatments distilled from the surrounding wilderness.


KM 4.5, Avenida Boca Paila, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico


Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa

Calistoga, CA, US

We love a zhuzhed-up motel. This retro-style pit-stop-turned-luxury-hotel In the trough of the Napa Valley combines all the trinkets and paraphernalia you might expect to find on a great American road trip with mid-century furniture and a surprisingly sprawling spa that dishes out a variety of off-the-wall treatments. Aside from its three geothermal pools, all sourced from Castiloga's natural underground hot springs, and a meditative spa garden, expect CBD-infused deep-tissue massages and DIY mud bars.


1880 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515, US


Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary

Bhutan, Bhutan

Expect Shangri-La and then some. Yes, this oasis in the clouds is home to all the typical spa amenities - steam rooms, pools, etc. - but the real draw is its herb-infused treatment menu which makes full use of the surrounding natural bounty. Book in for a Tibetan Ku Nye massage or, if you're really brave, a spot of Chinese moxibustion whereby dried mugwort is burned near your body's meridian points to help stimulate the flow of Qi energy. The staff here are serious experts in Bhutanese herbal medicine, always willing to take guests on nature hikes through the majestic Neyphu Valley (you'll want to bring a notebook, trust us).


Neyphu Valley, Shaba Paro 12001

The Lowdown

Porter & Sail is changing the way we book hotels, offering flexibility and exclusive savings on hotel experiences to travelers seeking community, connectivity and culture. They've partnered with some of the world's best independent hotels to curate value-driven travel opportunities that can be redeemed now or later. Their Hotel Credits initiative allows travelers to purchase and bank future trips at as high as a 50% discount at more than 100 hotels and resorts worldwide. Travel dates are not required to book and credits are valid for up to two years, providing flexibility for travelers.

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