Travelers expect more from their accommodations than just a simple room with a bed and an assortment of free movie channels—they're looking for a tranquil environment in which to unwind. And whether or not a hotel's services succeed in creating this type of atmosphere helps determine its reputation. After compiling our annual evaluation of the Best Hotels in the USA and the Best Hotels in the Caribbean, we noticed that a hotel's luxurious amenities directly affect guest approval rating and its status among travel experts.
With alluring extras such as award-winning restaurants, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and even custom furnishings, the properties on this list have already earned recognition as some of the top hotels in the U.S. and in the Caribbean. But we feel that these luxurious digs deserve extra props for one amenity in particular: their spas.
Amanyara—which boasts the No. 9 spot on our 2013 round up of the Best Hotels in the Caribbean—takes full advantage of its Turks & Caicos location, with guestrooms donning sliding glass doors that open to the salty sea air and mirror-like pools that reflect a relaxing aura. Naturally, you'll experience the same calming vibes at the resort's tranquil spa. Sprawling across 1.5 acres of ponds, boardwalks, and open-air pavilions, The Spa at Amanyara is as easy on the eyes as it is refreshing to the mind and body. Using a signature line of chemical-free oils and lotions, Amanyara's spa therapists will banish stress with signature treatments like the Envelop-me clay wrap (infused your choice of nourishing green tea, sandalwood, sage, or lemongrass) and The Amanyara massage. And to keep your energy glowing as brightly as your skin, this spa also offers several different types of yoga sessions.
While based in the center of Southwestern art and adobe architecture, The Inn of the Five Graces transports guests to the East with its warm, Asian-inspired décor. But to steal away from Southwestern kitsch completely, and feel like you've crossed over to the other side of the world, head to the hotel spa. The sumptuous décor found within the spa reflects the eclectic Middle Eastern and Asian design elements of this top-ranking Relais & Châteaux property, which earned the No. 8 spot on our 2013 list of the Best Hotels in the USA. What's more, the spa at The Inn of the Five Graces is currently undergoing an expansion that will result in a 6,000-square-foot space inspired by Tibet's high-mountain monasteries. Although the spa is currently in a transitional state, you can still indulge in rejuvenating treatments, like the High Mountain Hydration skin conditioning or the Ayurvedic Healing Massage. Taking a cue from the East Indian art of health, spa technicians use a unique blend of warm oils to restore energy and boost immunity.
In New York City—where space is at a premium—The Setai Fifth Avenue breaks constraints. Rising above midtown Manhattan, the No. 4 hotel on our 2013 Best Hotels in the USA list welcomes guests into spacious rooms and suites outfitted with lounge areas and refreshment centers. But what may be even more impressive than its luxurious guestrooms is its sleek, 11,000-square-foot spa—complete with 11 treatment rooms—at the heart of the bustling Big Apple. Like the rest of the hotel, this roomy retreat tucked away from the midtown mayhem promotes relaxation with its neutral tones and minimalist, yet elegant décor. But you didn't come here to look: Invigorate your skin and soothe your muscles after a jaunt through town with a soak in the Turkish-style hammam bath and a massage with all-natural oils and lotions.
This Napa Valley hotel holds the No. 5 spot on our 2013 Best Hotels in the USA rankings for a variety of reasons: The free-standing lodges with personal decks and floor-to-ceiling windows provide guests with the privacy they need for a romantic escape, while Calistoga Ranch's signature wins over grape seekers. But if you're venturing to this verdant valley in search of some quality R&R, an afternoon at The Bathhouse should be on your agenda. Taking its cue from the enduring therapeutic tradition of "taking of the waters," The Bathhouse features several mineral water pools surrounded by moss-draped oaks and rejuvenating organic treatments. Signature treatments like the Healing Water Massage and The Calistoga Cure incorporate the curative properties of the water with invigorating massages and therapeutic body scrubs.
A primary goal of the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is to provide a serene and relaxing experience for its guests, and it succeeds in its on-site spa, The Palms. Surrounded by the swaying palm trees and soft sands of Nevis' northeastern coast, the sixth Best Hotel in the Caribbean pampers luxury-seekers with a host of treatments. Kick-start your stay with a Nisbet Plantation Signature Island Breeze Massage, which combines the gentle rub-down your muscles need with the hydration your skin craves. After you've spent some time in the sun, top off your island glow with a Noni Body Wrap, which uses gel from the tropical Noni plant to sooth and tighten skin. Or add a bit of flavor to your vacation with a Spice Island Body Indulgence—the combination of a Chai soy mud mask, an herbal spice body scrub, and a warm coconut milk massage.
Sitting on 12 acres in Cary, N.C., The Umstead was built with a focus on art and nature: The surrounding landscape features glass sculpture, while the guestrooms are appointed with stylish objets d'art and balconies, allowing you to enjoy the view both inside and out. The Umstead Spa, where verdant plant life frames 14,000 square feet of lavishly designed space brings beauty and wellness to the forefront. A day at this spa will be equally pleasing to your other four senses, with customized treatments like The Umstead Body Ritual that nourishes the body with aromatic oils, scrubs, and lotions from the spa's signature, all-natural product line. Although The Umstead Spa will close for renovations on April 1, 2013, weary travelers will be able to enjoy the revitalized 14,000-square-foot space starting in July.
Basking in the warmth of the Valley of the Sun, Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort sets itself apart from other retreats in the area by offering travelers a more serene atmosphere. The No. 1 property on the 2013 list of the Best Hotels in Phoenix, Sanctuary is often the go-to spot for A-listers—we think that it's the resort's lavish spa that keeps them coming back. Boasting 12 indoor and outdoor treatment rooms overlooking the red, craggy slopes of Camelback Mountain, the award-winning Sanctuary Spa breaks from the region's focus on Southwestern culture with its Asian-inspired treatments. For the ultimate spa experience, indulge in the "luk pra kope" massage, which starts with a lime and essential-oil foot bath and then relieves any aches with an exfoliation and a Thai-style massage using white clay, fresh lime, and organic herbs.
The name just about says it all: As the fourth Best Hotel in Florida, The Breakers Palm Beach caters to travelers in search of a respite from their hectic lifestyles. While the hotel's large, Renaissance-style rooms and oceanfront seat will surely do the trick for some, those looking to really renew health and wellness will want to make an appointment at the spa. Founded on the belief that inner beauty will radiate outward as long as you slow down to heal aches and melt away tension, The Spa at The Breakers offers several signature spa packages to help guests unwind and recharge. For pure pampering, try the 4.5-hour Palm Beacher experience, which includes an 80-minute customized massage, a facial with deluxe Orchidée Impériale products, a "Walk on the Beach" pedicure (using marine-inspired ingredients, like seaweed), and a healthy spa lunch.
Flanking Grand Anse Beach's crystalline sands, Grenada's top-ranking hotel has a knack for helping travelers relax. Spice Island Beach Resort is small and family-owned, giving it an intimate and personalized atmosphere that distinguishes it apart from many of the Caribbean's sprawling all-inclusives. You're bound to unplug and relax regardless of your activities, but for total pampering, block off some time for a treatment at Janissa's Spa. Janissa's treatments are infused with the rich scents of the island's abundant spices. Treat your achy muscles to an Aromatherapy Massage blended with the alluring scent of locally grown nutmeg or sooth your sunburned skin with a Body Hydro Wrap that includes being lathered with cooling aloe.
Reigning supreme in Park City's ski haven, the Stein Eriksen Lodge provides a luxurious setting for unwinding after a day on the slopes. Surely, relaxing by one of 145 stone fireplaces with a cup of fine wine will certainly warm you inside and out, but the après-ski place to be is the spa. Occupying an impressive 23,000 square feet and boasting over 16 treatment rooms, The Spa at the Stein Eriksen Lodge features seasonal treatment menus catering all types of traveler needs. Once you've shaken the snow from your soles, splurge on a "Ski Boot Relief" massage, or alleviate your dry, wintery skin with an "Alpine Glow" body wrap. Or if you've retired your skis for the season, relax post-hike with a Stein Signature Massage, customized for optimal soreness relief.
Jamaica's coastline is peppered with big-name resorts that feature an array of all-you-can-eat restaurants, as many pools as there are days of the week, and, of course, massive full-service spas. And yet the 2013 Best Hotels in Jamaica rankings took a David-and-Goliath twist, with the tiny Jamaica Inn and its sumptuous KiYara Ocean Spa triumphing over the all-inclusive giants. Like the rest of this boutique property, KiYara feels intimate and inviting with brightly colored furnishings and fantastic sea views. Translated to "sacred place of the earth spirits" in the language of Jamaica's original inhabitants, the Taino people, KiYara boasts a versatile menu of sensual treatments influenced by the island's culture and environment. Melt away your stress with a hot stone deep tissue massage, or absorb some of the flavors of Jamaica with a coffee-infused body detox or a chocolate skin mask.
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