Looking to book a relaxing summer spa getaway? You could opt for a typical (and lovely) five-star hotel spa retreat—or you could unwind in a spa located inside a cave. If unique is what you’re looking for, read on. We’ve rounded up six offbeat destination spas that are built into their exotic surroundings—with incredible results.
Spa retreat: The teetotaler Yunessun Spa Resort, Hakone, Japan. ( 81)-0460-82-4126 (
While there’s nothing unusual about enjoying Japanese sake, green tea or coffee at a spa just 100 kilometres outside of Tokyo, the Yunessun Spa Resort has a different use for them: soaking in Roman-style baths. Against the lush backdrop of Mount Fuji, spa-goers submerge themselves in a pool of their favourite local beverage. For this spa retreat, soak in the antioxidant rich green tea from the foot of the Tanzawa and Hakone mountains as it pours from the spout of a two-metre tall teapot. Or speed up your jet lag recovery in a tub of coffee and hot springs water. And while swimming in red wine offers total-body rejuvenation—and let’s be honest, our Saturday night dream come true— we wouldn’t recommend taking a swill from the 3.6-metre tall bottle.
Spa retreat type: The locavore The Singular Patagonia, Puerto Bories, Chile. ( 56) 61-722-030 (
Chile’s newest luxury retreat is the result of an intensive 10-year restoration to a 1915 sheep factory along the southern shores of the Señoret Channel. Resurrected by fourth generation relatives of the post-Victorian Bories Cold Storage Plant founders, The Singular Patagonia is set on 100 acres that overlook the cascading streams and cliffs of Chile’s Fjord of Last Hope. For a luxe retreat inspired by the storied earthy surroundings, the 3,000 square foot Singular SPA uses extracts from local organic plants and fruits in holistic oils and moisturizers applied in
spa treatments like the Patagonian Aroma hydrotherapy immersion bath (approx. $40) or the seaweed-enriched Marine Moisturizing Facial (approx. $98). The eco spa features a heated indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
Après spa must-do: Further indulge local flavours at The Singular’s restaurant with dishes of Patagonian hare, lamb, white strawberries and Patagonian honey and wine from Chile’s lush grape valley.
Spa retreat type: The jetsetter Clubhouse Spa, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Terminal 4. 1-718-244-4444 (
The latest hot spot for a glam spa getaway is up in the air—sort of. Virgin Airlines recently unveiled a 10,000-square-foot spa at its new Upper Class Lounge at New York’s JFK Airport. The first Clubhouse spa outside of London, the swank lounge has its own Bumble and bumble salon and offers facials using Dr. Hauschka products. Try the Hot Stone Foot and Leg Treatment (approx. $48) post-jet set or opt for a soothing back massage (approx. $48) to relax before catching a flight. Top off with bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in Upper Class Red –a lip shade in collab with Virgin Atlantic—to match the iconic crimson fleet.
For more exotic locales to try for your summer spa getaway, read on…
Spa retreat type: The cave dweller Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa, Nevsehir, Cappadocia, Turkey. (0090) 3842-19-3194 (cappadociacaveresortandspa.com)
Nestled into the jagged landscape of the Cappadocia region of Anatolia—known for its extensive system of caves dating back to 4,000 BCE— Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa offers a panoramic view of this UNESCO world heritage site, while you soak in a steam bath. Carved into the mountain, the spa offers old world, total-body pampering stemming from its Byzantine heritage, including a four-handed massage, sound and light-effected shower and couples’ massage sessions.
Bonus: This majestic five-star resort offers 79 suites that range in luxury from Superior Room to the PadiShah Suite, a cave wine cellar and tours of its luminously lunar setting.
Spa retreat type: The fossil lover Heartwood Inn & Spa, Drumheller, Alberta. 1-888-823-6495 (innsatheartwood.com)
Located in the Red Deer Valley, this town just 110 kilometers northeast of Calgary—known as the Alberta Badlands—is more commonly referred to as Dinosaur Valley, on account of its land rich in dinosaur fossils. What better way to prep for a visit to the world’s largest replica Tyrannosaurus Rex —the 26-metre tall steel mammoth four and a half times the size of the real dinosaur—with the spa’s The Oasis treatment (three hours, $165) which includes a HydroSonic water therapy treatment, massage and pedicure.
Gourmet tip: While it’s not exactly prehistoric cuisine, we’d stay in this cottage style inn just for the berry-stuffed French toast breakfast.
Spa retreat type: The hot tub lounger Laugurvatn Fontana Spa & Wellness Center, Laugarvatn, Iceland. (354) 486-1400 (fontana.is)
On the shores of Iceland’s historic Lake Laugarvatn, the thermal spring feeds steam into the brand new saunas and heats the water of the multiple outdoor pools of the recently opened Fontana Spa. The geometric-style building sits atop the volcanically heated waters, which locals have been stewing in for its cleansing health benefits since 1929. Steam rises through grids in the cabin floors of the wellness centre, which makes for year-round simmering in the thermal bath (approx. $17 per person). Open the connecting gateway to cool off in the Vatnið Lake situated on the warm black sand of the Ströndin beach, known for its arthritis and joint illness healing properties. Then make your way back to one of three outdoor mineral baths and enjoy local delicacies of trout, sand-baked brown bread and homemade cakes. Why would you ever leave?