Aranwa Hotel Sacred Valley, Urubamba, Peru Spa vibe: Hello, South America! You’re in the heart of the Andes, so why not embrace the philosophies and traditions? That’s the main goal and atmosphere at the Unno Spa at the Aranwa Hotel. Set in the stunning Sacred Valley of Peru (aka, the middle of the snow capped Andes and next to the ancient Urubamba River), it’s the first wellness centre in Peru and draws on tradition from the ancient Inca civilizations that roamed the valley years before. Be sure to arrive early so you can practice a bit of meditation or relax in the aromatherapy oxygen room. Or go through a traditional sauna cleanse with your own shaman who will help you cleanse through ancient rituals ($300 for a one-on-one session). What: After lounging around the spa and sipping some coca tea (ideal for soothing a upset stomach from the altitude), I head into the treatment room set for an invigorating scrub. The treatment starts with a relaxing massage to ease the muscles and get the skin prepped for the hydrating exfoliator. Then a mixture of yellow corn flour, honey, salts and aguaymanto is gently rubbed into the skin and allowed to sit and soak. For my slightly sunburned skin (I quickly learned that at such a high altitude the sun’s says required more frequent SPF application), the honey was calming and moisturizing, while the fine salt and corn lifted just enough of the dry skin off to reveal a fresher, more glowing version of me. A quick shower to rinse off the exfoliant and a slather of rich cream and oil and I'm ready to relax on my Peruvian vacay.
The grounds of the Aranwa Hotel & Spa Sacred ValleyLuxe ingredients: Ground yellow corn (Peru has over 400 varieties of corn that they use in everything from cooking, to sweet drinks to beauty rituals) straight from the Sacred Valley gently lifts away dead skin cells when massaged into the skin. Aguaymanto, typically called ground cherries in North America, also provide some extra exfoliation power thanks to the tiny seeds. And finally some local honey to help soothe irritated or sensitive skin. Not into scrubs? No worries. You can still get an Inca experience with essentials oils made from local quinoa, coca leaves, aguaymanto and corn, as well as Pevonia skin care products (which are biodegradable) – all used in various treatments. Bliss factor: 4 out of 5 aromatherapy oil drops. If the massage and scrub didn’t rejuvenate me, the setting certainly did. OVER TO YOU! TELLS US: What's the best spa experience you've ever had? Facial, massage, body scrub? Which do you choose?