2024 is still fresh and new, so make a resolution to take some time just for you. Wellness tourism is booming all across the globe, so you can combine exploration and self-care all in one. I made the sacrifice to sample spas all across the globe (in the name of research of course), and here are some of my recommendations for ultimate relaxation (with a side of adventure).
Bellagio Hotel and Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas is one of my favorite places anywhere. The spa at Bellagio is a must-visit. Take your significant other and book the signature couples package. It includes a couple's massage in a beautifully appointed suite. After a relaxing with an hour-long massage, when all of the tension has left your bodies, step into a private couples' pool next-door. In this decadent spa, you'll find a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Included in the package is use of the private pool for 45 minutes. It wasn't only romantic, but relaxing. When is the last time you truly connected with your partner with no distractions, just the two of you? I guarantee this will be the highlight of your trip. Want more? Bellagio has opulent solo facilities as well. In the ladies’ area, there are four (yes, four!) separate jacuzzi pools of varying temps. Multiple steam, sauna and even ice rooms. I guarantee you'll want to spend the entire day.
Ayasofya Hamam, Istanbul, Turkey
This is one of the oldest Turkish Hammams in the entire world, in business since 1556. After operating for 450-plus years, this establishment knows about pampering and self-care. Upon check in, and casting off street clothing, each guest is shown into a white marble cathedral-like room, with their own basin and faucet. It's like a large luxurious steam room in a sense. A plump, smiling Turkish grandmotherly sort greeted me and began rinsing me with warm water, followed by a body scrub and full body mask. After rinsing off the mask, I was escorted to the warmed marble table in the center. After laying down, an industrial-sized bucket of frothy suds was brought over. Using a pillowcase of sorts to harness the bubbles, you are given a bubble wash. (I wonder if this is how my car feels at the wash.) Lastly, before one last rinse, there's a brisk body mitt/brush that brushes all the dead skin off, leaving the new soft skin to shine. (Side note: Expect more dead skin to come off than you ever realized. It is both startling and amazing.) I have never been so clean in all of my life; my skin was glowing when I left. After your time in the hammam, there's a refreshment break of fruit, tea and cherry juice. But wait! You aren’t done yet; it's time for an almost hour-long full body warm oil massage. I would go back to Istanbul just for this treatment alone.
Hilton Luxor, Luxor Egypt
OK, so the previous two places sound amazing, right? But what about a hotel suite that has its own full spa? The Hilton Luxor regularly wins awards for their spa, but even better is the spa suite. Think of a beautiful hotel room on the Nile River, with its own outdoor whirlpool jacuzzi, but then add another entire suite of spa facilities including steam baths, sauna, hydrotherapy, massages and facials. You can have almost any spa treatment in the comfort of your own room and on your schedule. In Egypt, services are often open later than in America. We spent the day touring Luxor and its amazing temples, had dinner, then began our spa treatments from the comfort of our suite. Life changing. A massage is included in the room rate already. This is a room booked often by visiting celebrities, so make sure to reserve in advance.
“You can combine adventure and self-care all in one.”