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The destination spas to add to your itinerary so you can luxuriate in style

By Megan Bedford

The destination spas to add to your itinerary so you can luxuriate in style

Ready to get away from it all? These destination spas are as easy on the eyes as they are good for the soul and whether you visit for the day or stay all week, you’ll be sure to emerge revitalised, re-energised and renewed.

Alba Thermal Springs & Spa, Mornington Peninsula 

If you love a good soak, the newest luxury opening to add to an Australian itinerary is Alba Thermal Springs & Spa (pictured above). Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, a one-hour drive from central Melbourne, Alba introduces visitors to the art of ‘contemporary bathing’. The thermal springs, day spa and restaurant, due to open fully by the end of October, is the epitome of a modern wellness sanctuary. Access the therapeutic benefits of bathing in a number of different-style pools, including a mineral-rich geothermal spring as well as enjoying healthy meals, snacks and juices and a range of face and body treatments.

Along with the warm geothermal waters there are rain pools, botanical pools, forest pools, cold plunge pools and even private salt pools. The latter offers skylights to quiet your mind and minimise your visual distraction, simply gazing at the sky, while another in full dark delivers a complete escape.

Hot pools for one or two make for private soaking, while other larger ones provide a more social experience. There’s even one designed to make the most of the sunset, surrounded by the windswept beauty of the coastal Moonah woodland.

The extensive list of spa treatments extend beyond classic facials and body treatments – although those are also in abundance here – and encompass the likes of Ayurvedic massage, acupressure, guided relaxation, Gua Sha facial massage, herbal salt exfoliation and Vichy showers. Lingering aromatherapy, detox and milk baths are also a drawcard for those that can’t get enough tub time.

Well-known Melbourne chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Karen Martini has created the menu at Thyme, the licensed on-site restaurant that showcases locally sourced, seasonal produce. Some options can even be delivered direct to your pool area.

Dior Spa Cheval Blanc, Paris

The Sauvage Suite features a massage table covered with restorative alpha-quartz. Image: Matthieu Salvaing for Parfums Christian Dior. 

Visiting a spa for a treatment or facial is not always just about the results your skin or body displays. A special appointment will cater to every sense, from the touch of a soft robe to the scent of the room and the considered and calming interiors. Such is a visit to Dior’s elegantly appointed spa within the Cheval Blanc Hotel in the heart of Paris.

The space, which opened in September last year, has been created to evoke a Parisian apartment, with every element chosen by decorator Peter Marino to represent the codes of the famous fashion and beauty house as well as the life of founder Christian Dior. Except not many Parisian apartments have a mosaic-lined pool, evolving digital art installations and air gently scented with a powdery musk fragrance designed by François Demachy, the brand’s famous in-house perfumer, just for the space.

Treatments are provided in six suites, each with unique décor designed around famous facets of the House of Dior. There, choose from a comprehensive menu of nearly 50 treatments, or ‘sensory journeys’, that cocoon, calm, coddle and revitalise skin over a number of hours, using signature Dior skincare, naturally.

The Dior Tissue Massage combines Eastern and Western elements, while the spa’s signature Sapphire Crystal Micro-abrasion uses a tool coated with super-fine sapphire particles to massage and gently exfoliate skin.

The Couture Dream treatment where face, hair, hands and feet are attended by three experts at once and can be ‘tailored down to the last detail’, is one hell of a way to get
ready for a night in the City of Lights.

Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa, Queenstown

Well known for its winery that produces the impeccable pinot noir (among other delicious drops) the region is famous for, Gibbston Valley Winery near Queenstown is now also a desirable escape for those seeking a touch of indulgent pampering.

Nestled within the winery’s breathtakingly beautiful 1,000-acre estate is Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa. With a chic heritage feel, the restaurant, bar and accommodation includes 24 stylish private villas overlooking the vines, while the spa is the perfect destination for an après-ski wind down.

Fittingly, one of the skin treatments on offer is ‘vinotherapy’, making the most of the grape and vine’s powerful antioxidants. A highlight? The TheraVine Luxurious Pinotage & Lime Salt Scrub, a full-body exfoliation using grape extracts, mineral salts and a citrus infusion to reveal silky, rejuvenated skin. Accompanied by a glass of Gibbston Valley bubbles (or herbal tea), of course.

 Crown Spa, Sydney 

The innovative science-led formulations La Prairie’s skincare line is famous for form part of the appeal of a visit to the spa at Sydney’s stunning Crown hotel. But before you feel the magic touch of the spa’s expert aestheticians, you’re swept up in the style and grandeur of the surroundings.

Designed by Sydney-based interior design firm Blainey North, the spa’s colour palette of soft greys and pale lilac with translucent resin walls and marble floors somehow transports you to an immediate state of relaxation.

A number of signature spa packages meld several approaches into one long, blissful experience. Try the Detox and Adrenal Boost Journey or the Sleep Support Therapy which include various meditations, massage and scrubs. Then there’s Swiss skin expertise at your service, thanks to facials that make the most of the brand’s revered skincare, like the Skin Caviar Lift facial or the Pure Gold Radiance facial. Or, try new Psammotherapy – hot sand therapy that involves a massage on a mineral quartz bed using a base of warm, golden alpha-quartz sand.

The Aqua Retreat with stunning vitality pool, steam rooms and infrared saunas is another reason to linger longer than just the length of a treatment.

Monteverdi, Tuscany

If a sun-soaked hilltop spa in the Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany sounds like a dream, you’d be chuffed to wake up at Monteverdi.

A mix of old-world charm – the area has medieval history – and chic modernity, the property, which also includes a hotel, private villas, a farm-totable restaurant and a wine bar, makes for the perfect ‘middle of nowhere’ reset.

Rustic and historic on the outside, the chic and serene interiors offer tranquility for those that lead lives that err on the side of hectic. It’s why the spa treatments focus on taking things slow with an ethos built around restoring, rejuvenating and energising bodies and minds.

Classic treatments, all using local and organic ingredients, join a number of more unexpected delights. A sensory shower uses a trio of different temperatures and water pressures, combined with chromotherapeutic light, to stimulate and energise the body. An underground heated pool and a cold plunge pool, inspired by ancient Roman baths, join the other indoor and outdoor soaking tubs.

The imminent addition of a wellness centre will add dermatologic and aesthetic medicine, regenerative medicine, IV therapy, cryotherapy, preventative therapies and assessments, and healthy lifestyle planning.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley 

Beautiful in summer, a misty private valley with sweeping views of the Blue Mountains is arguably even more spectacular in winter. It’s the location of Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, a
wilderness wellness oasis that also houses a spa which deserves to take up at least some of every visitor’s time when not exploring the great outdoors.

Water therapy takes a lion’s share of the appeal here too with hot and cold outdoor pools, steam room and sauna complementing the range of facials and body therapies. Therapists use nutrient-dense products by Australia’s own natural skincare brand Sodashi and you can even benefit from sound therapy via the ancient sounds of the gong and Himalayan singing bowls.

Indulge your beloved by booking the couples’ Spa Suite, which has floor-to-ceiling views of the bushland escarpments and offers a two-and-a-half hour experience with foot compresses, a full-body pressure point massage and a skin-reviving facial.


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