These Spas Are Worth a Visit for the Design Details Alone
17 zen-inducing spots to know.
There are few phrases in the English language that elicit as much immediate enthusiasm as 'spa day.' Plush robes, plunge pool dips, a soul-purifying steam, rejuvenating facials—it's heaven on earth, really. And regardless of if you treat spa visits like a sport or only make your way to one every year or two, the universal appeal of self-care is what makes a *spa day* all the more worthwhile.
Beyond treatments, one very important component to a successful spa jaunt is the property's design direction. Architecture, landscape, decor—it all comes together to cultivate a mood that's unique to that specific spa. Whether it's a massage room perched among treetops or a dramatic step pool positioned in a remote desert landscape, a spa that fosters a strong point of view is only going to enhance your experience. Ahead, 17 wow-inducing options to book your next spa day at.
Location: Canyon Point, Utah
Photo: Courtesy of Amangiri
Set in the vast desert landscape of the Colorado Plateau lies Amangiri, a secluded luxury resort situated on 600 acres overlooking flat-topped mesas, ridges, and gorges. Architects Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette, and Rick Joy nod to the region's Navajo traditions and designed the property to blend into its natural red rock surroundings (the best example of this being the communal pool that winds around a gargantuan 165-million-year-old Entrada sandstone rock). The resort's use of raw concrete materials cement the brutalist aesthetic and the spa with its heated step pool, outdoor treatment terraces, and floating pavilion serves as a strong continuation.
Location: Livingston Manor, New York
Photo: Lawrence Braun
For verdant countryside charm, The Arnold House in the western Catskills provides a picturesque respite. The property is just two hours north of New York City and positioned on 80 acres of land near the Shandelee Mountain Forest. The Arnold House underwent a renovation in 2014 and offers cozy Catskills minimalism at its finest. The spa leans into this aesthetic with a neutral palette and natural materials like light wood furniture and a cast iron fireplace.
Location: Granby, Colorado
Photo: Courtesy of C Lazy U Ranch
If you've ever wondered what it's like to stay at an authentic dude ranch, pay a visit to C Lazy U, a guest ranch in prime Colorado mountain country that's been around since 1919. The onsite spa sits along Willow Creek and is composed of six tents—two of which are suspended over the river and have glass floors, allowing guests to watch the river sleepily float by while enjoying a massage. Another design highlight are the old fashioned copper bathtubs, which add to the property's rustic appeal.
Location: Carefree, Arizona
Photo: Courtesy of Civana
With over 20 acres of Sonoran Desert acting as its backdrop, Civana is among the more ideal places to slow down and appreciate the natural world. Surrounded by succulents, the property's clean design details establish a tranquil environment. The spa takes inspiration from the ancient art of water healing with its hydrotherapy thermal circuit of hot and cold pools, waterfall shower, and sanarium. Follow up a visit to the sauna with an outdoor shower encircled by plants and zen-inducing views of the desert.
Location: Dolores, Colorado
Photo: Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs
History-lovers will no doubt find inspiration with a visit to Dunton, a restored 19th-century mining ghost town that now plays host to a luxury resort. Book a stay at Dunton Hot Springs in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies and experience what it feels like to step back in time; hand-hewn log cabins, a 'life-worn' saloon, and other romantic nostalgic elements await. The spa relies on the alpine valley's natural hot springs and offers a perfect outlet for escape from the everyday.
Location: Kennebunkport, Maine
Photo: Heidi Kirn
Surrounded by 60 acres of birch groves and balsam fir, this Maine resort is an outdoor-lover's paradise. The spa consists of three tree house-inspired rooms, meaning an above-ground massage with panoramic tree views is what you can expect. Ingredients used in spa services include herbs freshly-picked from Hidden Pond's organic garden, adding to their inspired-by-nature ethos.
Location: Aurora, New York
Photo: Courtesy of Inns of Aurora
Nestled just above the historic village of Aurora in the Finger Lakes, The Spa at the Inns of Aurora is set on 350 acres of farmland and has unobstructed views of Cayuga Lake. Design firm Hart Howerton concepted a trio of connected barns as the spa's base, while preserving the integrity of its surrounding vistas, lavender fields, and serene ponds and nature trails. The property's outdoor fire pit and outdoor hydrotherapy circuit pools are amongst the spa's highlights as are the eight fireplaces and sleek saunas. The menu of treatments designed and delivered onsite are by Rasa Spa and include options like energy work and body treatments.
Location: Washington, Connecticut
Photo: Courtesy of Mayflower Inn & Spa
Designer Celerie Kemble cultivated a homey mood when tackling the direction for refreshing the Mayflower Inn & Spa. The mix of Scandinavian and colonial American influences found their footing with pieces like Turkish rugs and hand-crafted ceramics and while the entire property is full of color, texture, and depth, the onsite spa speaks to a more pared-back sensibility. Awash in light thanks to ceiling-to-floor windows, an all-white palette is contrasted by natural touches; namely, an assortment of plants and indoor trees.
Location: Highlands, North Carolina
Photo: Courtesy of Old Edwards Inn and Spa
Located on the southwestern plateau of the Blue Ridge mountains, this cozy property stylishly weaves in details like antiques and Italian bedding to give the resort Old European-inspired charm. Old Edwards Inn and Spa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally a boarding house built in 1878. Its spa incorporates wood and stone materials and feels akin to relaxing in a chic English cottage.
Location: Water Mill, New York
Photo: Courtesy of Shou Sugi Ban
Taking a page from Japanese principles of wabi-sabi, Shou Sugi Ban in the Hamptons offers 13 rooms and a luxury spa on 3.1 acres of land. Lily Kwong was the landscape designer for the project and Debbie S. Kropf served as the architect; together, the property and its renovated barns, recycled wood furniture, and floor-to-ceiling windows come together beautifully. Enjoy a healing arts menu of services employing modalities using sound, energy, reiki, and aromatherapy as well as traditional spa treatments like massage and facials.
Location: Yountville, California
Photo: Courtesy of The Estate Yountville
A trip to Napa Valley wine country should include a stay at The Estate Yountville—a property that feels emblematic of the iconic region it sits within. The spa delivers California rustic charm with wood and stone materials and an outdoor fireplace, amongst other well-designed details. And because you're in wine country, spa experiences such as their "Scents and Sensibility' package include a gourmet spa lunch and champagne.
Location: Greenough, Montana
Photo: Courtesy of The Green O
At the intersection of adventure and serenity you'll find The Green O—a secluded resort located on the southern edge of the vast 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch in Montana. The ranch was established in 1915 by Paul Greenough and the resort is home to those who want to wholly immerse themselves in nature. The spa (lovingly referred to as Spa Town) is a collection of tents connected by a boardwalk. Inside, guests can enjoy everything from traditional massages to purifying mineral mud wraps. It's exactly the kind of look you'd hope for from a spa nestled in the woods of Montana, taken up a notch.
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Photo: Courtesy of The Inn of the Five Graces
Santa Fe is a feast for the senses, and sitting smack dab in the heart of its historic downtown is The Inn of the Five Graces. Inside, you'll find a charming palette of texture and color. Bringing together east and west, the property's design incorporates artifacts from the Silk Road and speaks to Hispanic and Spanish influences. After a stroll through the stone courtyard and past foliage and fountains, step inside the property's Tibetan-inspired spa—exposed adobe walls are accented by colorful mosaics and other dramatic decor elements. The lounge features a sky light that shines down near a hand-tiled fountain and kiva fireplace. Taking the sensory experience a step further, aromatic towels are steeped in Santa Fe herbs and flowers for a distinctly impactful visit.
Location: Philipsburg, Montana
Photo: Courtesy of The Ranch at Rock Creek
Head west to this luxury 19th-century ranch located in a breathtaking Montana valley. The property's design reflects its heritage with a variety of accommodation options ranging from a rustic restored barn to glamping in a canvas cabin to a stay in The Granite Lodge where no two rooms are alike but all exude the unique character of Montana. The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a Creekside Conestoga Wagon Massage; a wagon that's been converted into a luxury spa alongside Blue Ribbon Rock Creek. It's a nod to the property's origins as an 1800s working homestead and an experience that shouldn't be missed.
Location: Malibu, California
Photo: Courtesy of The Ranch Malibu
The Ranch Malibu lies on a historic working ranch and spans across 120 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. With the Pacific Ocean nearby and nature in every direction, it makes for the perfect backdrop to immerse yourself in the luxury spa's results-driven multi-day programs. Guests partake in activities like hikes, fitness classes, yoga, and massages—all within classic Californian elements like reclaimed wood floors and neutral, earth-toned colors.
Location: West Hollywood, California
Photo: Courtesy of The West Hollywood Edition
Hospitality legend Ian Schrager is the mastermind behind The West Hollywood Edition's stunning concept. The 6,200-square-foot luxury space was constructed with washed Siberian larch wood and venetian plaster and the overarching feel is equal parts mysterious and elegant and reflects the magnetism that's so often associated with Schrager's projects.
Location: Big Sur, California
Photo: Courtesy of Ventana Big Sur
Just the mere mention of 'Big Sur' tends to elicit a wistful sigh, and Ventana Big Sur solidifies that kind of whimsical attitude. The resort features 59 secluded suites across 160 acres of pristine coastal nature plus tent cabin glamping for those seeking safari-style accommodations. The Alila Spa offers outdoor cabanas and Japanese hot baths for an unparalleled experience to relax amongst the redwoods.
Top photo: Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs
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