A day at the spa is already a wonderfully indulgent experience, but spending that time in a room with a great view takes it to another level. Most people keep their eyes firmly shut (or even doze off) while getting a massage or a facial, but when a treatment room offers panoramic views of the great outdoors or a city skyline, it adds another dimension to a typical procedure. These views at these 15 spas are so good that you may be tempted to keep your eyes open the whole time.
By Christina Valhouli
Christina Valhouli writes about travel, beauty and lifestyle trends. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post and Departures.com. Follow her on Twitter.
Miami is all about seeing and being seen, but the view from the The Setai's spa focuses on tranquility. Each spa suite contains a double bed, a steam room, and oversized bath. Every room comes with a view of The Setai's three swimming pools, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Another perk is the double-paned window, so you can see out, but other guests cannot see in. Couples can sign up for a “bathing ceremony” as well as body polishes, facials, and massages.
Insider tip: The Setai also offers complimentary beach yoga, where guests can sign up for a 60-minute class while taking in the sights and sounds of the beach.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Miami Guide
Mandarin Oriental New York
WHERE: New York
The spacious guest rooms at the Mandarin Oriental New York offer some of the best views in the city, and the hotel's spa is no exception. Located on the 35th and 36th floors of the hotel, the spa treatment rooms have floor-to ceiling windows, with views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Guests can unwind with a massage, Thai yoga, or a facial. Be sure to come early to enjoy the spa's steam room, pool, and tea salon.
Insider tip: Inside the hotel, keep your eyes peeled for two pieces by the artist Dale Chihuly. A lobby level chandelier features Waterford Crystal and weighs about 2,000 pounds. The “Crystal Cranes” on the 35th floor was Chihuly's first foray into glass gardens.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's New York City Guide
Resort at Paws Up
One thing guests won't be listening to while enjoying a spa treatment here is an Enya soundtrack. The spa at The Resort at Paws Up is made up of a series of tents with views of the Montana meadows. While enjoying a massage or body treatment, guests can listen to the sound of birds, a nearby brook, and the wind blowing through trees. In addition to massages and facials, the spa offers Body Vibration Healing Treatments, which use holistic aromatherapy and end with a scalp massage utilizing a homemade, organic blend of wild lime.
Insider tip: Want to challenge yourself on vacation? Try out the resort’s new Grizzlyman Fitness Trail, a one-mile trail featuring 12 fitness stations.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Montana Guide
Monastero Santa Rosa
WHERE: Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is full of stunning views, and guests of the Monastero Santa Rosa hotel can enjoy one of its finest while being pampered. The outdoor treatment garden, which is available to a maximum of two guests at a time, is located on the edge of a cliff. It offers a 180-degree panoramic view over the Gulf of Salerno and guests are shaded by a bougainvillea-covered pergola. All the treatments feature cult-favorite Santa Maria Novella products, which date back to 13th century and are only found in a handful of hotels.
Insider tip: The hotel is a former 17th-century monastery, and guests can try the sfogliatelle pastry once made by the Santa Rosa nuns.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Amalfi Coast Guide
El Conquistador Resort
WHERE: Puerto Rico
Guests unwinding at the Waldorf Astoria Spa at the El Conquistador Resort can enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean while getting a massage. The outdoor treatment area is perched on a bluff that overlooks the point where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. On a clear day, guests can see all the way to Vieques, Isla Culebra, and even St. Thomas. Treatments incorporate massage oils that are created, harvested and produced in Puerto Rico.
Insider tip: While staying at the resort, carve out time to kayak through the mangrove fields and experience the nearby biobay.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Puerto Rico Guide
C Lazy U Ranch
WHERE: Granby, Colorado
A ranch stay is all about getting back to nature, and guests holed up at C Lazy U Ranch’s spa will still feel connected to the great outdoors. The C Lazy U spa features two massage tents suspended over a stream, and the tents have glass floors to take in the view. Guests can also enjoy a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains through the flaps in the tent opening.
Insider tip: The spa’s signature treatment is the “Cowboy Soak,” which includes a moonlit soak in a copper tub with views of the creek. Champagne and strawberries are also served.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Colorado Guide
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Many hotels in the Maldives offer overwater bungalows, but the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island takes it one step further with its overwater spa. Three of its treatment rooms have glass floors, so spa guests can gaze at a tropical underwater scene while getting pampered. The spa uses products by Thalgo, which contain marine algae, and the Swiss brand Valmont. Post treatment, guests can head to an outdoor deck and relax in a Jacuzzi while taking in the view.
Insider tip: After detoxing in the spa, take your pick from the extensive wine cellar at dinner. The hotel has the largest wine cellar in the region, with over 20,000 bottles. Standouts include one of only two remaining methuselahs of the 1999 Louis Roederer Cristal.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Maldives Guide
The Amangiri is one of only two Aman hotels in the U.S., and the Utah property is spread over 600 acres in a desert valley surrounded by cliffs and mesas. The 25,000-square-foot spa makes the most of the dramatic desert views, thanks to two outdoor treatment terraces and a couples suite with open-air views of the desert. Every spa treatment begins with “smudging,” a Native American ritual that involves burning sage or sweet grass, which is meant to clear away any negative energy.
Insider tip: On a full moon during the summer, the spa offers “Full Moon Yoga,” where participants hike to the top of a mesa for an hour-long yoga class.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Utah Guide
The Oberoi Amarvilas
WHERE: Agra, India
Most travelers come to the Oberoi Amarvilas for its luxurious rooms as well as its proximity to the Taj Mahal (the monument is only 600 meters away). Nearly all areas of the hotel offer a view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including every spa treatment room. One way to literally soak up the view is to book the three-hour Noor-E-Taj spa experience, which includes a steam bath, pomegranate exfoliation, and a massage.
Insider tip: Although for many people the Taj Mahal symbolizes love, it is an enormous mausoleum. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan began construction of it in 1632, in memory of his favorite wife who died in childbirth.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Agra Guide
The Singular Patagonia
WHERE: Patagonia, Chile
The Singular Patagonia has been making waves and garnering accolades since it opened in 2011; it also won a 2012 Fodor's 100 Hotel Award. The hotel's 3,000-square-foot spa overlooks the Fjord of Last Hope and the Andes, and spa visitors can enjoy the view from the steam room, sauna, relaxation room, or the couples treatment room. Guests can unwind with an oxygenating massage, facial, or hot stone massage.
Insider tip: The hotel was originally a 100-year-old cold storage plant, and was converted into a luxury hotel by descendants of the plant's founders. An on-site museum showcases the original steam engine brought over from England to power the freezers.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Patagonia Guide
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
When you go on safari, you want to soak up every aspect of being in the bush, including the sounds and the smells. The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti does not disappoint. The spa is made up of six individual treatment pavilions, which are open-air and offer views of the African landscape. The spa uses Africology products, and all rituals include a complimentary milk bath on a private spa terrace overlooking the Serengeti.
Insider tip: The signature Kifaa massage (Swahili for “tool”) incorporates warm Tanzanian Baobab oil, which is considered to be a powerful antioxidant. The oil is thought to boost the immune system, reduce stress, and help weight loss.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Tanzania Guide
Curtain Bluff is known for being a low-key, all-inclusive resort in a unique location, straddling a piece of land where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. The spa takes full advantage of these sea views. Treatments take place on an outdoor patio, overlooking the spot where the waters meet, but all of the indoor rooms have views over the water to Montserrat, Cades Reef, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Insider tip: Guests looking to luxuriate can sign up for a Caviar and Champagne Massage, which includes champagne being poured all over the body for a tingly sensation.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Antigua Guide
AYANA Resort & Spa
It would be hard to find a more dramatic location for a spa than AYANA's Spa on the Rocks. Two spa pavilions are perched on a rocky ledge overlooking the Indian Ocean and each thatched-roof pavilion is open-air, so guests can hear the sounds of the ocean and feel the breeze. Only three treatments a day are booked at the spa, and the spa menu highlights just a handful of treatments, including the 2.5-hour Diamond Miracle Treatment or the Global Anti-Aging treatments.
Insider tip: To guarantee a sunset view after an appointment, book a treatment for 4 p.m. When the treatment ends, guests can relax in a bath tub filled with more than 500 red rose petals while enjoying a view of the sunset. Champagne and strawberries can be served upon request.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Bali Guide
La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge & Spa
Located in the heart of the rain forest, La Selva Amazon Eco-Lodge & Spa may have only one treatment room, but it's open-air, allowing guests to hear the sounds of the jungle while indulging in reflexology or a massage. The treatment room also offers views across Lake Garzacocha. Guests shouldn’t be surprised if their treatment includes a visit from little creatures; the spa is located near the resort's butterfly farm, so hundreds of exotic butterflies might be are around during your massage.
Insider tip: Yoga classes are held on the spa deck overlooking Lake Garzacocha, which is home to many types of monkeys, six-foot long paiche fish, piranha, and caiman.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Ecuador Guide
WHERE: St. Moritz, Switzerland
When the Kulm opened in 1856, it was the first hotel to debut in St. Moritz, and one thing that hasn’t changed at the Kulm since the 19th century is the hotel's Alpine views. The Kulm’s spa recently underwent a complete renovation and reopened in December. All five treatment rooms, plus a private spa suite, have views over Lake St Moritz, which freezes over in the winter and turns a deep shade of blue-green in the summer.
Insider tip: St. Moritz is best known as a chic skiing destination, but its original claim to fame was due to its healing spas, dating back almost 3,500 years. The springs at St Moritz are the highest in Switzerland and are also carbonated.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's St. Moritz Guide