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Start the year off right at these top spa resorts around the world

Legendary sunsets are on the menu at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort in Santorini, Greece. | Photo courtesy Andronis Concept Wellness Resort Legendary sunsets are on the menu at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort in Santorini, Greece. | Photo courtesy Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

Though every January offers a fresh shot at the age-old promise—new year, new you!—this one is different. Given what we’ve all just been through, rarely has the possibility felt so poignant. And never has it been so broadly backed by the ever-expanding wellness world.

Whether you crave something as elemental as nature’s cleansing effect or something as elaborate as a pandemic-recovery program, spa resorts and retreats across the globe are rolling out the welcome mat—or yoga mat. Read on for 8 of the best.

1. The Springs Resort, Colorado

Steamy pools beckon guests at Colorado’s The Springs Resort. | Photo courtesy The Springs Resort

Steamy pools beckon guests at Colorado’s The Springs Resort. | Photo courtesy The Springs Resort

Anyone experiencing the primal urge to just soak off the past year and change will, frankly, need the mother of all baths. Fortunately, that’s not so hard to find. The Mother Spring—as it’s known in the town of Pagosa Springs beneath the Rockies, where it holds a Guinness world record for the deepest hot spring ever measured—lies at the heart of The Springs Resort. Sink into any of the 25 additional pools that feed off the steamy, mineral-rich source, and you’ll understand why wellness seekers have come here for ages—from the Ute people who populated this stretch of the San Juan River at least 500 years ago to the 19th-century Army physicians who declared the waters of Pagosa “without doubt the most wonderful and beneficial in medicinal effects that have ever been discovered.”

To see for yourself—in the most immersive way possible—check out the 2022 additions to The Springs’ wellness lineup, which include Aqua Sound Bathing (a geothermal soak paired with the harmonic waves of singing bowls) and a Warrior Plunge—a hot-and-cold immersion series that ends with a jump in the river, and major bragging rights.

Info: Rates start at $309. (800) 225-0934; pagosahotsprings.com.

2. Amanemu, Japan

A ryokan-inspired room at Japan’s Amanemu retreat offers water views. | Photo courtesy Amanemu

A ryokan-inspired room at Japan’s Amanemu retreat offers water views. | Photo courtesy Amanemu

For another modern take on a centuries-old hot spring culture, head to this ryokan-inspired onsen hot spring retreat in the lush hills of Ise-Shima above Ago Bay. At Amanemu, you’ll find wellness immersions both literal (hot spring–fed private pools) and figurative (the spa resort’s customizable Wellness Immersions, with a focus on anything from de-stressing to slowing the signs of aging).

Though you’ll be hard-pressed to pry yourself from the thermal spring garden—or the spa’s central hot spring bath that channels the mineral-rich waters of Ise-Shima—the off-campus wellness opportunities are equally amazing. Bookable as a guided hiking experience, the ancient, UNESCO-designated Kumano Kodo pilgrim trails are easy to reach from Amanemu.

You could also proceed directly to what many consider the most sacred site in Japanese Shintoism: Ise Jingu, where you can experience morning prayers and the ritual dance to the deities. Also not to be missed: the resort’s Bianchi road-bike excursions to the famed Ise Shima National Park.

Info: Rates start at $967. +81 599 52 5000; aman.com.

3. Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas

Lake Austin Spa Resort provides guests with waterfront views and water-centric activities. | Photo courtesy Lake Austin Spa Resort

Lake Austin Spa Resort provides guests with waterfront views and water-centric activities. | Photo courtesy Lake Austin Spa Resort

To take the waters in an entirely different context, consider this Hill Country lakefront icon (though as locals will remind you, Lake Austin is technically a river). Long beloved for its spirited group wellness sessions out on the water, the spa has recognized that after so many months of cocooning and social distancing, not everyone is ready for communal workouts just yet. So for 2022, several of the spa’s greatest hits are available as private experiences: wakeboarding lessons; yoga on a floating mat; meditation on a neutral buoyancy float; local tours by hydrobike, paddleboard, or kayak, paired with picnics and prosecco (be sure to designate a driver if you plan to drink alcohol); and that’s just the short list. When you’re not on the water, the spa’s treatment tables call with signature services such as the Tour of Texas: a native cactus–enhanced scrub followed by an agave-nectar moisturizing wrap and warm essential-oil massage.

Info: Rates start at $595. (512) 372-7300; lakeaustin.com.

Read more: 9 Texas wellness retreats where you can relax and refresh.

4. La Casa de la Playa, Mexico

Mexico’s La Casa de la Playa offers plenty of opportunities to relax. | Photo courtesy Muluk Spa/Hoteles Xcaret

Mexico’s La Casa de la Playa offers plenty of opportunities to relax. | Photo courtesy Muluk Spa/Hoteles Xcaret

For another twist on private pampering, head to La Casa de la Playa in the Riviera Maya, where you can check into one of several Wellness Suites that lead to an exclusive spa area at this brand-new beachside eco-resort. Regardless of which room category you choose, you’ll have full access to the main spa—Muluk Spa (named for the Mayan water sign)—where the menu leans heavily on ingredients with a long history of natural healing around here: chamomile, clay, honey, and copal, for starters. Then again, you need not be face-down on a treatment table to experience natural healing. From the adjacent jungle’s underground rivers to the 131-foot, infinity-edged swimming lane that stretches over the sea, the magic of these surroundings won’t be lost on you.   

Info: Rates start at $1,120. (844) 795-4425; lacasadelaplaya.com/en.

5. Awana Spa & Wellness at Resorts World, Las Vegas

Mood lighting at Awana Spa & Wellness at Resorts World in Las Vegas. | Photo courtesy Awana Spa & Wellness; Resorts World Las Vegas

Mood lighting at Awana Spa & Wellness at Resorts World in Las Vegas. | Photo courtesy Awana Spa & Wellness; Resorts World Las Vegas

For all the privacy and distance some still seek during this period of reemergence, there’s an equal and opposite effect: the desperate desire for togetherness and camaraderie. If you lean toward the latter, proceed directly to this Vegas megaresort, where the new Awana Spa & Wellness facility was crafted to foster one of the most social spa atmospheres in existence—nowhere more so than in the thermal theater, where your schvitz turns into a whole shindig in accordance with the Nordic Aufguss tradition. Expect a Sauna Meister (essentially, a DJ), aromatherapy, music, lighting, and dancing towels. Seriously.

On the other hand, if you’d still prefer at least the occasional solo treatment, there’s a full menu to choose from at this 26,000-square-foot wellness wonderland, with rounded rooms, curved walls, and faintly mythic-feeling features. Picture everything from a heated crystal Laconium Room to an alternately cooling and warming Rain Walk.

Info: Rates start at $265. (702) 676-7000; rwlasvegas.com.

6. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawai‘i

Lush gardens and blue-green waters make for an Edenic setting at Maui’s Four Seasons. | Photo Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Lush gardens and blue-green waters make for an Edenic setting at Maui’s Four Seasons. | Photo Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Though it recently doubled as The White Lotus, this retreat shares little more than its idyllic setup with HBO’s fictional magnet for the misguided. While the series includes wellness-centered scenes (not to worry—no spoilers here), the real-life offerings speak more to preventive care. In a first for the Four Seasons, the AAA Five Diamond property is collaborating with Next Health to help guests assess their specific biomarkers (you can do the necessary bloodwork at the Next Health Lounge, or at home predeparture), and then craft a custom wellness plan under the supervision of an on-site registered nurse, who may recommend anything from vitamin shots to IV drips.

Of course, if all you really want is some good, old-fashioned pampering in an Edenic setting, the full-service spa here won’t disappoint. Skip the medical menu and proceed directly to one of the thatched, oceanside hale for, say, Lomi Mohala Massage, whereby Hawaiian ti leaves, herbal oil, and rhythmic forearm strokes combine to banish tension and—if the mohala portion of the name holds true—open your heart to the year’s possibilities.  

Info: Rates start at about $1,100. (808) 874-8000; fourseasons.com/maui.

7. BodyHoliday Saint Lucia

Caribbean waters meet verdant hills at BodyHoliday on St. Lucia. | Photo courtesy BodyHoliday

Caribbean waters meet verdant hills at BodyHoliday on St. Lucia. | Photo courtesy BodyHoliday

Another tropical wellness titan is addressing the pandemic even more specifically in 2022. Among the new offerings at this all-inclusive Caribbean resort—best known in the Before Times for its fitness, yoga, and detox offerings—is a Covid Convalescence Program: a holistic complement to any medical treatment you may have received if you’ve had COVID. (To be clear, you’ll need a negative test result before you arrive.) Suggested as a 5-day retreat, the program includes manual lymphatic drainage, meditation, and Reiki, for starters.

Other new of-the-moment retreats take aim at everything from corporate burnout to suboptimal immunity. But, again, if you’re simply looking to unplug and be kind to your body in a setting that blends white sand, turquoise sea, and emerald slopes, you’ll be good: The programming that endeared this place to wellness seekers from way back is still here in abundance, from on-site fitness classes and water sports to off-campus mountain scaling. The resort even has its own sailing club and PADI-accredited dive center.

Info: Rates start at $800. (758) 457-7800 or (800) 544-2883; thebodyholiday.com.   

Read more: How to choose the right Caribbean vacation spot for you

8. Andronis Concept, Greece

Epic views greet guests at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort in Santorini, Greece. | Photo courtesy Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

Epic views greet guests at Andronis Concept Wellness Resort in Santorini, Greece. | Photo courtesy Andronis Concept Wellness Resort

It may take no more than a single sunset on Santorini—where the daily event is elevated to a legendary ritual—for you to feel cleansed, refreshed, and ready for the year ahead. But just in case you need a bit more help in that department, the island’s Andronis Concept Wellness Resort is introducing 3-day well-being retreats in 2022. Bookable for whatever dates work for you, these immersive escapes include, among other highlights, a wellness analysis, nutritional guidance, tailored cooking lessons, bathing rituals, and (because it’s Santorini) sunset yoga.

But even if you don’t book a retreat, you’ll feel the wellness benefits of this high-up perch, with views from the terrace and infinity pool over the Aegean toward the caldera and hiking paths that wind past blue-domed churches and bougainvillea-draped villages to ancient settlements or bustling towns.

Then there’s the hotel’s Kallos Spa, where treatments such as the Andronics Signature Experience blend locally sourced grapes and honey to mind-melting effect.

Info: Rates start at $406. +30 2286 036738; andronis.com/hotels/andronis-concept.

Read more: Which Greek island is right for you?

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