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10 Under-the-Radar Spa Retreats

These off-the-grid getaways offer plenty of opportunity to catch up on R&R.

U.S. News & World Report

10 Under-the-Radar Spa Retreats

Couple relaxing in hot tub at luxury spa drinking champagne overlooking wine country.
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(Getty Images)

Plan your escape to these lesser-visited spa spots.

When searching for a lesser-known spa retreat, there are a few key qualities to consider, including location, activities and amenities. After all, aside from rejuvenating massages and pampering body treatments, the most memorable wellness getaways offer the right mix of activity and relaxation along with beautiful backdrops to restore and replenish physical and mental health. So, in this spirit, here are 10 off-the-beaten-track spa retreats filled with striking scenery, enriching workshops and soothing treatments to enrich and replenish the mind, body and soul.
Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus.
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(Courtesy of Sery Kim)

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

Located near Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia, this former Ottoman palace features spacious rooms, plush beds, tantalizing Mediterranean fare and a sprawling hammam (or Turkish bath). And at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, you can enjoy signature treatments like the Tropical Magnolia Massage to diminish stress and the Four Hands Massage – where four hands work out any lingering kinks – for 60 minutes. For the ultimate pampering, sign up for the Turkish Indulgence, which includes a 60-minute massage and an hour in the on-site hammam, along with access to a steam room, sauna, swimming pool and nutritious snacks.
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Plan your escape to these lesser-visited spa spots.

When searching for a lesser-known spa retreat, there are a few key qualities to consider, including location, activities and amenities. After all, aside from rejuvenating massages and pampering body treatments, the most memorable wellness getaways offer the right mix of activity and relaxation along with beautiful backdrops to restore and replenish physical and mental health. So, in this spirit, here are 10 off-the-beaten-track spa retreats filled with striking scenery, enriching workshops and soothing treatments to enrich and replenish the mind, body and soul.

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus

Located near Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia, this former Ottoman palace features spacious rooms, plush beds, tantalizing Mediterranean fare and a sprawling hammam (or Turkish bath). And at the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, you can enjoy signature treatments like the Tropical Magnolia Massage to diminish stress and the Four Hands Massage – where four hands work out any lingering kinks – for 60 minutes. For the ultimate pampering, sign up for the Turkish Indulgence, which includes a 60-minute massage and an hour in the on-site hammam, along with access to a steam room, sauna, swimming pool and nutritious snacks.

The Fairmont Banff Springs

The Fairmont Banff Springs' 10,000-square-foot Willow Stream Spa is one of the premier spas in the world. Nestled high on the cliffs of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada – and perched on the ground level of a 19th-century castle – the spa affords striking surrounding vistas of glaciers, teal lakes and lush valleys, creating a soothing atmosphere. And with plenty of treatments designed to alleviate stress, detox, cleanse and rehydrate, you'll be hard-pressed not to have a memorable experience. Try a signature treatment such as the Glacial Reflections facial or the Rocky Rehydration massage to melt away stress and leave feeling rejuvenated.

Le Bristol Paris

Located near France's presidential palace, Le Bristol and its lavish Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie is the pinnacle of luxury. Since the hotel's debut during the Roaring '20s, it's played host to icons such as Chanel, Schiaparelli, Picasso, Mondrian and Dali. Away from the hustle and bustle of Paris' iconic city streets, the spa is a tranquil oasis offering unique, decadent treatments such as full-body massages with caviar to improve skin vitality and detox seaweed, lemon and eucalyptus organic scrubs to exfoliate and nourish skin. The Midnight in Paris package even includes two glasses of Champagne, a Caviar Lift facial (or Swiss facial for men), two foot baths, access to a spa suite with a private steam room and two aromatherapy massages.

Angama Mara

High above Kenya's Maasai Mara game reserve, on the very site where some of the most romantic scenes from the Oscar-winning 1985 hit "Out of Africa" was filmed, Angama Mara lodge seems to float 1,000 feet above Africa's Great Rift Valley. While there are plenty of worthy active pursuits to experience – from safaris to daily hot air balloon rides – if you want to indulge in the luxury of nothing at all, a personal masseuse will relax your body in-suite on your deck for a truly unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime off-the-beaten-track experience.

Lorien Hotel & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel

Situated along a charming, brick-lined street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, the Lorien Hotel & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel features a 4,000-square-foot full-service spa. Here, guests have access to five treatment rooms and a wide range of services, from makeup application to aromatherapy massages and caviar facials – all using organic and paraben-free products. Plus, guests can unwind before and after treatments in the spa's cozy Relaxation Room or take advantage of the tranquil eucalyptus steam rooms.

Jumeirah Vittaveli

Located on an isolated atoll in the Maldives, Jumeirah Vittaveli's Talise Spa offers serene, unspoiled forest surroundings and locally inspired holistic healing treatments. The Island of Life – Health and Vitality treatment, for example, includes aromatherapy and Swedish massage techniques, along with warm Maldivian sand to soothe tired muscles and replenish balance. Other unique treatments include detoxifying, deep-tissue bamboo massages and a coconut body scrub utilizing one of the fruits native to the Maldives. Once you're feeling recharged, don’t skip checking out other facilities, including an overwater fitness center, or snorkeling, windsurfing or stand-up paddling.

The Dolder Grand

Overlooking the Alps and Lake Zurich, this hotel's storybook setting offers peaceful surroundings for indulging in a wide array of healing treatments. Here, spa-goers can enjoy customized treatments such as wraps, body scrubs and facials. Best of all, the 43,000-square-foot spa features diverse pre- and post-treatment amenities – think: indoor pools, outdoor pools, Japanese warm black pebbles nestled in individual baths and an amazing ice room – catering to serenity-seekers of all kinds.

Hôtel Royal – Evian Resort

The stirking Hôtel Royal – Evian Resort not only offers postcard-worthy interiors and top-notch restaurants but also a spa filled with indulgent services. Stretching across more than 15,000 square feet, the spa features an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a steam room and indulgent massages, including Thai massages and hot stone therapy treatments. If you prefer facials, the Spa Evian Source offers pampering facials with La Prairie products, along with a hydro circuit that has water currents designed to stimulate the senses and boost well-being.

Enjoy a Spa at Sea on Seabourn Cruises' Seabourn Quest.

On the Seabourn Quest, cruisers can enjoy facials, body treatments, massages and wraps, among other services. The sprawling 8,820-square-foot spa includes the Kneipp Walk, a therapy system designed to relieve stress and boost circulation with warm and cold water jets. Best of all, you can enjoy customized training or nutritional consultations and take part in complimentary onboard classes like Pilates and yoga to stay healthy at sea – all while cruising to far-flung, exotic locations, like Antarctica, across the Drake Passage.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe sits along the shores of Lake Tahoe in historic Truckee, California. At the tranquil on-site 17,000-square-foot spa, guests can indulge in signature treatments such as the Barefoot Massage, the Revitalize Facial and the Olive Orchid Oasis, which offers a mineral bath soak followed by a warm stone massage. And after getting pampered, guests can enjoy scenic hikes through mountains of North Lake Tahoe, a detox at the spa's dry-heat-lodge or eucalyptus steam room or fitness classes.
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