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Earth-inspired wellness: the very best all-natural spa treatments

The first in our five-part wellness guide on the best places to go to find your element (Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, and Metal) after pressing pause on international travel in 2020, these elemental experiences from boutique hotels around the world combine the powers of nature and science to give guests some long-awaited post-lockdown pampering for both body and mind.

From herbal infused baths and vinotherapy to seaweed wraps and white sand scrubs, these boutique hotels are incorporating natural, organic ingredients and locally sourced products into their spa treatments to celebrate everything Mother Earth has to offer.

The Majestic Malacca, Malacca – Malaysia…Based on local Peranakan healing philosophy and inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, therapies at Spa Village Malacca are moulded around guests’ cool or warm energies. The warming, three-hour Suam-Suam Panas Experience includes Malacca Palm-Sugar and Honey Body Scrub, Nutmeg-Rice Rolling Massage, Pandan-Coconut Hair Mask, and Bird’s Nest Facial with Fermented Tapioca Mask.

Mykonos Riviera Hotel & Spa, Mykonos – Greece…A sanctuary of bliss and calm, the Mykonos Riviera Oqua Spa collaborates exclusively with the world’s top spa brands to offer a wide selection of pioneering health and beauty services – including the ‘Detox Thalassotherapy’, which combines a dip in the indoor heated thalassotherapy pool with a sea salt exfoliation and triple action algae application, and the ‘Healing Mud-ness’ self-heating sea mud mask designed to soothe muscle pains.

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, Neyphu Valley – Bhutan…Specialised in traditional Bhutanese medicine, guests at this high-altitude hideaway benefit from a private consultation with the in-house traditional medicine doctors (which is included in the room rate). The skilled and internationally trained therapists offer a wide range of treatments rooted in the nature and wellbeing traditions of Bhutan, including herbal compression, hot oil compression, moxibustion, herbal Jacuzzi, herb-infused hot stone bath and Ku Nye massages – making full use of the Sanctuary’s collection of more than 100 original Bhutanese herbs. Upon request, guests can enjoy an ‘herbal walk’ around the gardens with the traditional medicine doctors to learn about the natural benefits of the herbs.

Villa Franca, Positano – Italy…Believing that a massage should represent the true essence of a place, the ‘Scent of Positano Massage’ at this stylish Amalfi Coast residence is made with essential oils of the citrus fruits found along the lemon-grove dotted coast. The chic wellness centre also offers the ‘Sur Mesure Massage’ with seven sensorial evasions as oils with bamboo, cherry trees mixed with seaweed.

Can Ferrereta, Mallorca – Spain…The SA CALMA spa at this converted 18th-century farmhouse offers an express exfoliation treatment using rose quartz and white sand to leave skin feeling soft and hydrated for days. Following the scrub, a selection of Anne Semonin Body Products are applied to the skin on a bespoke basis, including natural local products such as salts from Es Trenc salt flats, seaweed, natural olive oils and rosemary, lavender, lemons and oranges from Sóller.

Los Altos Resort & Spa, Manuel Antonio – Costa Rica…The all-organic Orquídea Spa Menu at this rainforest retreat features a full-body coffee exfoliation massage for 30 minutes of head-to-toe relaxation surrounded by the sounds of the jungle. A stimulating mini facial rounds out this refreshing treatment.

Hôtel Les Ottomans, Istanbul – Turkey…You could spend every moment at this seaside mansion on the Bosphorus Strait sampling the spa treatments on offer – and still not experience all of them. Featuring an array of vinotherapy treatments by Caudalie, from their famous Barrel Bath to the revitalising Pulp Friction massage, Les Ottomans is one of the only spas outside of Caudalie’s home-turf of Bordeaux to offer these treatments.

Aleenta Resort & Spa Phuket, Phuket – Thailand…The 90-minute Dinn (‘Earth’) deep tissue massage at this secluded west coast retreat uses long palm and elbow strokes that flow from one to another seamlessly, releasing tension in the body and mind and creating a deep sense of relaxation and rebalancing of your element. For those looking to prepare themselves for the post-pandemic lifestyle, the Ayurah Spa is launching a post-Covid recovery programme, ‘Breathing Recovery & Immunity Boosting,’ aimed at those who have had Covid-19, and who might be suffering from long term symptoms, or those who have not had it, but want to be ready for the brave new world. Developed by a renowned Thai hospital, the programme uses both Western medicine and integrated medicine to promote a stronger and healthier return to the ‘new normal.’

The Sukhothai Bangkok, Bangkok – Thailand…Experience serenity in the heart of the buzzing city of Bangkok with an all-natural spa menu featuring treatments such as the 90-minute ‘Jasmine Purifying Ritual’, the 60-minute ‘Moor Energising Wrap’ to soak away jet lag or stress-related ailments in the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes of black magma, and the three-hour ‘Thailand Flower Ritual’ with specially prepared local herbs and flowers.

Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa, Lake Placid – USA…Experience a 45-minute halotherapy session in the Salt Room of this beautiful lakeside setting surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains – unwind as the micro-particles of pharmaceutical grade salt are dispersed into the air, entering the airways to naturally cleanse and detoxify the lungs, sinuses and skin.

Canaves Oia Suites, Santorini – Greece…The ‘Terra Sigillata Signature Treatment’ at this all-suite clifftop retreat offers three freshly prepared mineral muds of the highest value, each as precious as gold. Guests rub the muds on the skin creating a mask over the entire body while the room fills with gentle steam and enticing scents of fresh herbs. The ceremony ends with a wonderful warm, tropical shower from the starry sky above and an application of nourishing body lotion.

Les Sources de Caudalie, Bourdeaux – France…The Vinothérapie Spa offers exclusive treatments in the incredible natural setting of the Bordeaux vineyards, combining the virtues of natural hot spring water drawn from 540 meters beneath the earth – rich in minerals and oligo-elements – with the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of the grape and the grapevine. Enjoy the complimentary 100% organic draining herbal tea and fresh grapes before indulging in an exfoliating scrub made from a fresh blend of grape oil, brown sugar, grape seeds, honey, and six slimming essential oils.

Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm, Salamanca – Spain…The Wine & Olive Spa is located in the oldest building of the Hacienda, a water mill dating from AD780. The natural rituals are all based around the benefits of grapes and olives, including a series of peeling, wrapping and massages with laminary and micronised salt, a red vine wrap and rose flower water.

Columbia Beach Resort, Cyprus – Greece…The 60-minute ‘ELEMIS Thousand Flower Detox Wrap’ at this beachfront boutique is enriched by Somerset soil, packed with tree, flower and grass rich nutrients to provide super skin-health and powerful detoxification. Omega-rich green tea seed oil is massaged into the skin followed by the thousand flower, vitamin-packed, super nutritious earth wrap encouraging the body to surrender its toxins. A nourishing green tea balm, rich in minerals, proteins and Omegas – the superfoods of the skin – is the final touch in this invigorating treatment.

Hôtel Le Cep & Spa Marie De Bourgogne, Beaune – France…This ancient hostelry turned spa retreat works with the cosmetics brand Vinésime, whose products are made just a few kilometers away from the hotel, in Burgundy. Vinésime draws its efficiency in the heart of the vines as its products are composed of the active elements from grape marc, vine leaf or from grape seed oil, whilst pinot noir grapes are the most concentrated in anti-oxidant actives – all of which are used during the signature massages and Grand Cru scrubs.

Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach – Australia…Begin with a Jojoba Bead Body Polish to exfoliate and cleanse the whole body in the pretty pink spa of this seaside sanctuary, before a nurturing full body mask made from pink clay, rich in herbal extracts, cocoons your body to nourish, firm and tone the skin while your therapist delivers a relaxing scalp massage. Finish off with an application of body cream with jasmine and rose to seal in nourishment. Madagascan rose quartz crystals are used in the 105-minute Samadara ultimate age-defying facial to allow the crème to penetrate deeply into the skin.

137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai & 137 Pillars Suites, Bangkok – Thailand…The Nitra Serenity Centre at 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts offers a Thai Hot Herbal Compress Massage for either 90 minutes or 120 minutes, drawing on the ancient healing art of old Siam with the use of hot compresses that are filled with herbs, oils and natural healing enzymes which help detoxify and de-stress tired, aching muscles and joints.

Eagles Villas, Halkidiki – Greece…The lusciously fragrant, intensely moisturising ELEMIS Body Nectar Nourishing Frangipani Wrap will transport you from the Aegean Sea to the Far East. The aromatic Monoi Oil is applied using sweeping strokes with maximum attention paid to any particularly parched areas. You are kept cocooned and warm while the mood-balancing aromatics and skin conditioning oils do their work.

The Lumiares Hotel and Spa, Lisbon – Portugal…Renew your body, mind and spirit at this bohemian Bairro Alto boutique with the option of two earth-inspired treatments. The full body exfoliation with Portuguese organic marine salt regenerates your skin and increases the natural flow of circulation, whilst the Aromatherapy massage with Portuguese essential oils is a millenarian practice with countless healing powers.

Le Grand Bellevue, Gstaad – Switzerland…Find peak serenity in the Swiss Alps with this grand dame’s signature Alpine Serenity Ritual. Beginning with a calming hay to quieten the mind and an invigorating alpine salt scrub, the ritual includes a fragrant bath steeped with a bouquet of fresh mountain botanicals and local goat milk to promote inner peace and serenity. The ritual ends with a signature bespoke massage using aromatherapy oils from the region, including alpine meadow, calamint, bergamot, and lavender, before relaxing with green smoothies and organic snacks from the region.

The Racha, Phuket – Thailand…At the serene Anumba Spa set on one of the Andaman Sea’s most beautiful islands, the ‘Moor Mud Body Wrap’ nourishes and rejuvenates, detoxifies and reduces skin inflammation. As one of the earth’s most potent natural healing substances, moor mud contains bio-minerals, amino acids and plant hormones in a form which can easily be absorbed by skin.

Domaine de Manville, Les Baux de Provence – France…Inspired by its origins as a working farm, the in-house cosmetic brand at this Provençal estate has been created exclusively with a French laboratory by infusing elements of the surrounding land including olive oil, almond oil, Verbena leaf, and lemon extract. A fabulous signature fragrance is diffused throughout the villas.

Grossarler Hof, Grossarl – Austria…Harnessing the true nature of its alpine surroundings, the spa at this chalet-style hotel boasts an extensive menu of locally sourced ingredients, from a Blackcurrant & Lingonberry Wrap and Pure Altitude Massage with mountain-balm to the Alpine Herb Stamp Massage.

Tanjong Jara Resort, Dungun – Malaysia… The philosophy of Sucimurni emphasizes purity of spirit, health, and well-being. And the award winning Spa Village Tanjong Jara is a sanctuary anchored in this ancient Malay way of life. Red flowers from the Roselle plant have long been used in traditional medicine and local delicacies, and are also incorporated into the Roselle Body Treatment – consisting of an Asam Relaxing Massage, Roselle Cream Scrub, and Roselle Tea.

Ka’ana Resort, San Ignacio – Belize…The spa at this subtropical outpost features organic products and local specialty treatments like Maya Abdominal Massage. This is a non-invasive, external, massage technique, which works by relieving congestion and blockages to improve the flow of chi and fluids of the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems, improving organ function by releasing physical and emotional congestion from the abdomen. Follow your treatment with a fever grass infusion or kombucha tea.

Elounda Gulf Villas, Crete – Greece…The Cretan ‘Red Grape Experience’ at this collection of Aegean Sea-facing villas is inspired by the natural treasures of the island – the Red Grapes. Their natural anti-oxidant benefits enhance body drainage, maximise hydration and leave the whole body with a complete sense of wellbeing, in addition to feeling soft, smooth and nourished to perfection. The Red Grape seed body scrub is used to exfoliate the body followed by a nourishing and anti-ageing body mask of red wine, while guests drift away with a wonderfully soothing scalp or full body massage.

Grand Hotel Victoria Concept & Spa, Lake Como – Italy…Working with the renowned brand Biologique Recherche, the facial and body products at the ERRE Spa of this lakeside villa contain precious natural extracts with a very high concentration of elements, including magnolia flowers, tuberose extracts, honey pearls, sandalwood and jasmine. The signature ‘Swans of Lake Como’ Ayurveda couple massage also uses pure hot Shea Butter mixed with white hot chocolate.

Grand Powers, Paris – France…As the Parisian exclusive institute of renowned French facialist Sophie Carbonari and with Dermalogica as its partner, this Eiffel-tower facing boutique also provides Holidermie Yoga face sets and Gua Sha rollers in every room. You’ll also find a wide selection of vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose-free options on the health-focused menu of the in-house Café 52.

Ca’Sagredo Hotel, Venice – Italy…Opt for a session of Ayurvedic Yoga, one of the oldest natural medicine systems known to man, above the rooftops of Venice at this meticulously renovated 15th-century pink palace, set on the iconic Grand Canal.