Traveling can come with some serious stress—between going through TSA, dealing with occasional delays and cancellations, and worrying about the potential for lost luggage. So, it makes sense why so many travelers deliberately seek out hotels and resorts with on-site spas. After all, there’s no better way to relax and reset after a long day in transit than by indulging in a deep tissue massage, luxurious facial, or rejuvenating body treatment.
In fact, a recent survey found that “spa vacations” are becoming increasingly popular. While 16 percent of travelers have visited spa resorts at least once and 10 percent have gone multiple times, 47 percent said they’re interested in staying at a wellness retreat in the future where they can relax, receive spa treatments and take part in other health-promoting activities.
Of course, not all hotel spas are created equal—some go above and beyond in offering special amenities and services, like oceanside couples massages, detoxifying salt caves, advanced complexion-refining peels, and state-of-the-art whirlpools and saunas.
Below, travel experts share the U.S. hotel and resort spas that stand out among the rest.
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Nordic spas have a noteworthy difference from their spa counterparts: these trendy facilities revolve around a style of hydrotherapy that’s been popular in Scandinavia for hundreds of years. The idea is that by going from extreme heat to extreme cold, you can purify your body, alleviate aches, and even bolster your immune system.
After a soft launch, the 50,000-square-foot Nordic Spa at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, will officially open in September of 2022—and according to Jimmy Carroll, a travel expert at Pelorus, it’s worth booking a full day of access. Featuring a series of outdoor hot and warm hydrotherapy pools, cold water plunges, waterfalls, aromatherapy-infused steam rooms, and an exfoliation cabin all connected by a heated walkway, there’s no shortage of options for pampering yourself.
“Just in time for Alaska’s Aurora Borealis season, the spa debuts a forest loop that will include an elevated boardwalk through the Chugach Forest, North America’s northernmost rainforest,” says Carroll. “It will incorporate six outdoor hot and cold wooden tubs, in addition to two large barrel saunas and two Banya saunas, all nestled throughout the walking experience allowing for a unique moment to relax and connect with the surrounding nature.”
Back indoors, guests can unwind in cozy device-free nooks, 10 treatment rooms for a wide range of massage options, wellness and fitness classes, and the new Two Trees Bistro, which boasts a menu highlighting local artisans and unique regional selections.
Suzanne Wolko, the founder of the travel blog PhilaTravelGirl, calls this one of her favorite spots to disconnect and reset her mind, body, and soul while traveling.
“The mountains of Utah seem to call me back when I need to make or process a change in my life,” she says. “And they use local ingredients for their mud, clay, and botanical treatments. It was like nothing I had experienced before.”
The daily activities can be as active or relaxing as you want—with hiking, biking, yoga, and swimming pools available. Best of all, you can build your own spa vacation tailored to your needs, as the resort has affordable à la carte services as well as packages.
They even offer in-room treatments at The Red Mountain Resort Spa, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your space to indulge in a personalized massage or Thai reflexology session.
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With breathtaking views of the Wenatchee River nestled beneath the Cascade Mountains, this adults-only spa in the Bavarian-styled village Leavenworth, Washington, is the ideal oasis for anyone craving some R&R, says Carly Brown, founder of the travel blog Seek Out Serenity.
“The spa promotes wellness and rejuvenation throughout, from the light and airy decor to the various pools, saunas, and upscale amenities,” she says. “They even accommodate full-service in-house dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you never want to leave the blissful premises.”
From trendy HydraFacials to detoxifying algae wraps and anti-cellulite massages, there’s a little something for everyone at the Posthotel Leavenworth spa. Let all the stress melt away in the sauna, take a soothing swim in the saltwater pool, or meditate with expansive nature views in the lounge.
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If you’re heading to Nashville any time soon, Brittany Mendez, CMO of FloridaPanhandle.com, says the European-inspired Relâche Spa is a must-stop.
“Not only does this spa offer a wide selection of amenities, but it also offers an atrium setting with ponds and tropical forestry within the confines of the hotel,” says Mendez.
Relax in the steam room or lounge, get a facial or body scrub to enhance your skin, or partake in the makeup application services before a big night out on the town. And if you’re looking for a full day of pampering, book the Music City Escape package, which includes a massage, organic facial, and a classic mani-pedi.
Larry Snider, VP of Operations of Casago Vacation Rentals, calls CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa, in fittingly named, Carefree, Arizona, one of his top picks— and with good reason.
“It’s set on a beautiful 20-acre property in the Sonoran Desert and features a wide array of luxury spa treatments,” says Snider. “The resort also hosts daily wellness classes—including sunrise and aerial yoga, journaling, sound healing, myofascial release, and intention setting.”
From hot stone massages and reiki therapy to marine oxygen facials and gemstone energy balancing, the wide range of services here are sure to leave you feeling refreshed after a long day of travel.
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The stunning location—right in the heart of California’s wine country—is just one reason why Emily Smith, travel blogger at The Female Abroad, calls this her favorite hotel spa.
What sets the spa at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn apart is that it’s located atop an ancient thermal mineral spring—so the five thermal pools boast 27 different health-promoting minerals, which local Native Americans often praised for their healing properties.
In addition to a Roman soaking pool and hot tub, a halotherapy sauna, and an aromatherapy steam room, there are 28 treatment rooms for every service imaginable, outdoor terrace seating, and wood-burning fireplaces indoors for a blissfully cozy vibe.
One of the more unique services? A floating massage in the alfresco Watsu mineral pool. In this weightless, 98-degree environment, your specialist will guide you through a series of restorative stretches and movements.
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Adria Saracino, a food and travel blogger and founder of The Emerald Palate, says this trendy, minimalist hotel in Bingen, Washington is worth a stay—if only to check out their brand new Scandinavian-style spa.
“Inside The Society Hotel Spa you’ll find steam and dry saunas, different temperature plunge pools, and a hot tub outside overlooking the wildflower-covered hills,” she adds. “You can also get massages, enjoy a healthy snack from the juice bar, or do yoga in the nearby sound cave.”
After relaxing in the cedar sauna or soaking in the saltwater pools, swing by the spa café for a CBD soda, kombucha on tap, or soothing herbal tea.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for an extra peaceful experience, make sure to visit the spa between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m, which are the designated adults-only quiet hours.
Situated right in swanky Beverly Hills, this luxurious 20,000-square-foot spa offers a diverse array of skin and body treatments.
“The Maybourne Beverly Hills is ideal for a tranquil getaway or a day excursion to the world-class spa,” says Jenny Ly, founder of Go Wanderly. “Before your treatments start, arrive at least an hour early to enjoy the riad-style mineral pool, herbal steam room, sauna, and whirlpool. The earth’s elements are honored by the holistic therapeutic modalities.”
Ly highly recommends the CBD facials and aromatherapy massages—and she notes that the spa’s cruelty-free, vegan skincare items are a major plus.
A list of standout U.S. hotel and resort spas wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Miraval Austin. Set on a 220-acre natural sanctuary overlooking Lake Travis and the tranquil Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, this lush southwestern respite provides the perfect environment for some R&R.
Michelle Snell, founder of the travel blog That Texas Couple, notes that even the resort’s rooms are geared toward wellness—thanks to thoughtful additions like meditation pillows and Tibetan singing bowls.
“There are numerous treatment rooms offering over 75 different types of treatments, an equine center, an onsite farm, and so many fun classes to enjoy,” says Snell. From vitamin C facials and prenatal grounding rituals to apothecary couples massages and radiance body renewal services, there’s no shortage of ways to spoil yourself here.
You also wouldn’t want to miss the exercise physiology, sound bathing, chakra balancing, and meditation experiences, along with the many outdoor adventures. And did we mention that many of the wellness classes, workshops, and lectures are complimentary with your stay?
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The Well & Being Spa at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is so much more than just a place to get a facial or massage—it’s a charming respite with innovative, personalized treatments designed to enhance your body and mind from the inside out. Inspired by the Arizona landscape and more specifically, the hidden Havasupai set deep in the Grand Canyon, this design draws from all of nature’s primary elements.
“Day treatments at the spa come with full access to all the spa amenities including a steam room, sauna, hot tub, plunge pool, grotto waterfall, fitness center, and changing room that is fully equipped with everything you need to freshen up post treatment,” says Valerie Edman, a luxury travel advisor and agency owner at Cultured Travel LLC. “But the best part of their spa is the secluded adults-only rooftop pool and cabanas, where guests can further rejuvenate with a healthy meal or beverage.”
Whether you’re looking for an exhilarating experience like aerial yoga or a more tranquil option like aromatherapy massage, you’re sure to return from your trip feeling refreshed and revitalized.