Airport lineups, delayed flights, lost luggage, jetlag – let’s face it, sometimes vacations are anything but relaxing. If you find yourself in need of a holiday upon returning from your holiday, perhaps it’s time to consider a soothing spa vacation.
Picture yourself in the lap of luxury, surrounded by breathtaking scenery while you enjoy a rejuvenating massage or pampering pedicure.
Sound pretty good? Here are Indulge’s top picks for spa resort vacations – near, far and very far – that will leave you feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to face reality.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa
If you’ve only got a day or two to unwind, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa has plenty to offer in the way of health and wellness, natural beauty and rich history, just an hour-and-a-half drive away.
Nestled on the edge of Harrison Lake and surrounded by lush mountains, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa is one of the province’s most popular vacation destinations for Lower Mainlanders and international visitors.
Originally built as the St. Alice Hotel and Bath House in 1886, travellers from all over the province would come to soak in the natural mineral hot springs the resort is now famous for.
After the St. Alice was destroyed by fire in 1920, it was replaced in 1925 by the current main hotel building, followed by expansions in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘80s.
The resort features five hot-spring-fed mineral pools – three outdoors and two indoors – renowned for their medicinal properties and rejuvenating effects.
The on-site Healing Springs Spa offers an array of stress-relieving, immune-system boosting, energy-building and rebalancing treatments designed to create a feeling of true bliss.
Inspired by the energy and healing properties of the mineral springs, the spa combines ancient treatments and the latest in soothing therapies, offering services including massage, body wraps, hand and foot care and beauty treatments.
Once you’re relaxed and ready to explore the gorgeous natural surroundings, you’ll want to check out the resort’s marina, featuring fishing tours, kayaks and bumper boats.
The area is also home to scenic hiking trails, boutique shopping and a golf course; however, one dip in the resort’s heavenly mineral pools, and you may not be venturing far from the hotel.
Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
With a little more time on your hands, your relaxing vacation options begin to flourish, much like the feeling of peace and tranquility you will find at the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa.
Located in the Cariboo region of B.C. – about a five-hour drive from the Lower Mainland – the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa offers a unique blend of rustic wilderness and indulging luxury.
On the adventure side, the ranch offers a variety of activities designed to invigorate while exploring the great outdoors. Daily hikes and guided horseback rides through the ranch’s 160 acres, mountain climbing, 4×4 safari drives through the breathtaking Fraser Canyon, fly-fishing and panning for gold are just a few ways guests can get a taste of life on a B.C. ranch.
When it comes time to slow down the pace and unwind, the spa offers a full range of ‘east-meets-west’ treatments. Choose from the Thai spa – housed in a traditional Baan Thai pavilion, offering ancient treatments including Thai massage, hot compress treatment, body masques, polishes and scrubs – or the Cariboo spa, offering classical European treatments such as Swedish stress relief massage, hydrotherapy, seaweed and mud wraps and other beauty treatments.
The spa also includes an indoor pool, fitness centre, sauna and steam rooms and daily Thai yoga, fitness and meditation classes.
And it’s not just the health and well-being of guests that is of great importance at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa – this ‘eco-aware’ destination features geo-thermal heating for the lodge and spa, naturally sourced water and a zero-waste policy.
While resorts in B.C. may boast lush terrain and beautiful mountain views, if it’s a little heat you seek, you will want to head south.
The Canyon Ranch in Tuscon, Ariz. is set in the iconic Sonoran Desert, with sunny weather year-round, clear desert air and access to nearby plunging canyons and towering mountains.
Originally a working cattle ranch, this southern U.S. destination is now a health and wellness mecca, featuring a full-service spa, luxury clubhouse, aquatic centre, media centre and lounge featuring live entertainment.
With an emphasis on getting active – and more than 150 acres to do so – the ranch offers hiking, golfing, racket sports, biking and yoga as well as private personal training sessions.
The ranch’s 80,000 sq.-ft. spa complex offers a range of traditional and modern treatments, including massages, restorative-touch therapies, ayurvedic body treatments, hydrating body scrubs and replenishing facials.
Combining western and non-western practices, Canyon Ranch also has a range of health specialists on-site with a goal of offering comprehensive and preventative care. Specialists include board-certified physicians, acupuncturists, chiropractors, nutritionists, podiatrists and more.
If your dream vacation includes a complete mind and body makeover, Canyon Ranch offers a Life Enhancement Program, designed to educate and inspire participants in all things health-related.
Carried out in a group setting for additional camaraderie and support, the program includes fitness training, nutrition consultations, life-management support, physician visits and spa services.
If budget is of no concern, and you have plenty of time on your hands, then a trip to Iceland’s most popular natural attraction is definitely in order.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, located in a lava field in southwestern Iceland, and is renowned for its relaxing properties and healing power. The geothermal seawater originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where it travels through porous lava and is then fed to the lagoon, where visitors benefit from its active ingredients, including silica, minerals and algae. The lagoon holds six million litres of seawater, all of which is renewed in just 40 hours.
If a soak in this astonishingly beautiful lagoon surrounded by snow-capped mountains isn’t quite surreal enough, the Blue Lagoon Spa offers in-water treatments, including body and face massage, relaxing algae treatment and lava exfoliation.
For guests seeking a little more privacy, the lagoon offers an Exclusive Bath and Lounge option, which includes private changing rooms and access to a reserved lounge with a fireplace, private indoor lagoon and access to the Blue Lagoon.
Guided tours of Blue Lagoon are offered and highly recommended for newcomers, highlighting the history and science behind this gorgeous natural phenomenon.
A state-of-the-art clinic and research centre is available just minutes away from the lagoon for visitors seeking natural treatments for psoriasis; the facility includes a 15-room hotel, which is also available to guests who aren’t seeking treatment.