Jun 7, 2021
AFTER A FULL YEAR OF LITTLE TO NO TRAVEL and high cortisol levels, there’s a lot of collective longing for a physical, mental and spiritual reboot. Luckily, a number of exceptional wellness retreats have opened their doors and are inviting guests to relax and recoup in style. Here are some of the best hotel spas in Asia that have opened in the past couple of years.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
Just existing in the Maldives is bound to take your pulse down a notch or two, but a trip to the Waldorf Astoria Spa ensconced in the resort’s botanical gardens brings bliss to a whole other level. Just this month they’ve opened the massive, why-aren’t-we-there-now 718-square-meter Aqua Wellness Centre starring a 270-square-meter Hydrotherapy Pool, the first in the Maldives, in which you move among stations targeting different spots on your body with water and air jets for the ultimate in tension release—out under that perfect Maldivian sky so you can work on your tan at the same time! Talk about multi-tasking: water circuits like this help boost the immune system, increase blood circulation, speed up metabolism and improve deep sleep quality. Guests can enjoy a specially curated healthy lunch in the garden and a choice of massage, meditation or yoga session following the pool experience.
Boasting the first wellness concierge service in the archipelago, this relaxing haven takes a highly personalized approach to healing, including curating a healthy lunch based on your dietary needs. You’re sure to get the most out of your time in wellness sessions that are private and customized, with their stable of everyone from holistic experts and Ayurvedic doctors to crystal healers and martial arts pros from all over the world.
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (3)
T+L Treatment Picks: From Himalayan Salt Stone Massages to a custom Thai Herbal Poultice Muscle Release, there’s little they can’t do to soothe away stress. The best treatment of all might be the one that lets the magic of this unearthly setting take center stage: for the Starlight Ocean Massage, guests lie beneath the night sky, lulled by the sounds of the Indian Ocean, while a collagen mask banishes those fine lines.
waldorfastoria3.hilton.com; doubles from US$2,066
Stepping into this plush cocoon by the Chao Phraya River feels like entering another dimension. There’s no sign of Bangkok’s usual high-octane vibe here—just a lushly textured oasis kitted out in a palette of muted neutrals by a riverfront garden. Auriga Wellness Bangkok fuses ancient Thai, Indian, Chinese and European healing traditions with cutting-edge science. The hotel has partnered with the prestigious BNH Hospital to offer medical toxicity screenings, individualized dietician advice and consultations with a BNH doctor who comes to meet you on-site. Meals from chef Wichian “Lek” Trirattanavatin, who’s already created an expansive plant-based menu, can be customized to these professional suggestions.
There’s flying yoga and core-crushing BOGAFIT floating yoga. With all the spa staff trained in sound therapy, they offer not just singing bowls but an entire sonic symphony. Auriga’s men’s and women’s lounges each have private aquatherapy circuits; turn on the multi-sensory rainforest thunderstorm for the sounds of tropical wildlife and somehow soothing simulated flashes like lightning during a drenching, omni-directional, fully revitalizing shower.
Courtesy of Capella Bangkok (2)
T+L Treatment Picks: Opt for a soothing Tok Sen massage, which is derived from techniques passed down by trading migrants in the Lanna Kingdom, or a Thanaka Brightening Body Mask made with the highest grade of Burmese thanaka for that natural glow. For a more modern approach, the Cryotherapy Energy Signature Facial detoxifies and contours your complexion to revive even the most fatigued skin.
capellahotels.com; doubles from Bt12,900
6 More New Spa Stays We Super-Love
Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Looks aren’t everything, but it’s hard to ignore the undeniably sensual appeal of this subterranean onsen. Picture a sleek, onyx-hued space with textured rock races and a series of thermal pools. Since the hotel has exclusive access to the only natural hot springs in the city center, you can soak in all those mineral-rich waters to your heart’s content before heading to one of the garden-side treatment rooms for a rose petal oil massage.
marriott.com; doubles from ¥58,500
While the tradition of onsen may be synonymous with Japan, it turns out that the pastoral Guguan region of Taiwan has equally impressive thermal wells of its own. The low-alkaline, hydrogen carbonate hot spring waters here work wonders for congested skin and aching joints, while the verdant, mountainous scenery is a balm for the soul. Treatment rooms at the spa are inspired by Japanese aesthetics, while the extensive menu draws on holistic methods for harmonizing the flow of your chi.
hoshinoya.com; doubles from US$273
One&Only Desaru Coast
Few recent resort debuts have turned quite as many heads as One&Only’s inaugural property in Asia. Situated in the south of mainland Malaysia in the newly resort-y Desaru, this luxe retreat is the pinnacle of R&R, especially when it comes to the first Chenot Spa on the continent. Grounded in the latest technology, the Chenot Method is all about bespoke wellness tailored to suit each individual’s set of needs. From the signature Biolight Diet, in which nutritionists offer consultations on how to reach your fitness goals, to their top-tier aesthetics program with treatments crafted by the likes of podiatrist-to-the-stars Bastien Gonzalez, everything here is designed to leave you looking and feeling better.
oneandonlyresorts.com; doubles from US$999
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
Looking for a spa whose aesthetics will imprint on your soul? With a modern, nearly interstellar, minimalist design courtesy of Kerry Hills Architect, this hotly anticipated debut part of the maximalist-luxe Fari Islands development in the North Malé Atoll comes complete with 24/7 private butler service is a design-aficionados dream. The nine spa treatment rooms reside in a celestial ring surrounded by electric teal waters. Since the spa is a collaboration with organic wellness brand Bamford, expect treatments that draw deep into the well of organic holistic ingredients from around the globe.
ritzcarlton.com; doubles from US$1,500
Does Bali even need another world-class spa? As it stands, the Island of the Gods sports a dizzying array of options for rejuvenation, each of which seems determined to up the ante on its already formidable rivals. Somehow or other, The Retreat manages to stand out even in this crowded field, thanks to two Finnish saunas, an airy yoga shala, and an expansive treatment menu rooted in time-honored Balinese traditions. For the Temple Blessing Ceremony, couples can indulge in a 140-minute healing journey that draws on elements of Balinese weddings, including a sacred water blessing at the on-site temple.
nirjhara.com; doubles from Rp2,456,255
The classic sento gets a subtle, yet stylish update courtesy of Adrian Zecha, the founder of Aman. An unabashed Japanophile since his stint as a journalist in Tokyo in the 1950s, Zecha displays a clear reverence for tradition in this 22-key ryokan on Ikuchijima Island. While the renovated 140-year-old former private residence is a stunner, the sleeper star of the show here is Yubune, the bathhouse located across the street that is complimentary for guests. While a full-scale spa is in the works, this cobalt-tiled sanctuary is already ideal for a relaxing soak, steam and stroll in the adjacent garden. There’s even a lounge for guests to grab an icy beer after sweating out the toxins. The intimate, communal atmosphere is part of the charm here, but for those who prefer something a little more private, the hinoki cypress wood bathtubs tucked into each of the rooms are heavenly.
azumi.co; doubles from ¥88,330