Most Spoiling Spa
Invigorating massage with Alpine views? A mud treatment for two? Serious anti-ageing facial? A bit of a swim and a loll in the sauna? Whatever your spa style, these are the places to spend a life-enhancing, mood-improving, radiance-boosting afternoon of bliss…
Winner: Euphoria Retreat, Mystras
Our judges say ‘This really is a destination retreat. Marina’s story is really special and the love, care and detail that has gone into Euphoria’s creation is captivating. She understands better than anyone the stresses and strains of everyday life, and what it takes to completely unwind – be it in the tepidarium, infrared saunas, meditation room or sensory deprivation pools. There’s even a labyrinth!’
Lon Retreat, Bellarine Peninsula
Australia's Lon Retreat, an eco-friendly stay with just seven suites, sits on mineral-rich springs that feed into the pool, spa and guest rooms. Suites are decked in soothing neutral and oceanic colours, and some have soaking tubs and oversized windows with coastal views. The Private Mineral Retreat for two, in particular, is a meditative masterclass in water therapy. The experience includes a treatment of choice (a massage and/or facial), a mineral soak in astone bath, a DIY body scrub and clay mask, a Vichy shower steam,locally-sourced refreshments and plenty of time for lounging on an ocean-facing sunbed.
Domaine des Etangs, Aquitaine
Beyond the storybook château, Domaine des Etangs plays host to a fertile forest, herds of hulking Limousin cows and glistening lakes aplenty. But the peace-seeker’s pièce de résistance is the still-working moulin turned soothing spa. Taking full advantage of its surroundings, it incorporates plants from the hotel’s garden in its compresses, local Charentes salt in the footbaths, ground wheat in its scrubs and freshly milled nut oils. Such ingredients make for unparalleled body treatments, including the Fantastic Herbarium Detoxifying Body Scrub, which leaves skin sublimely soft.
Sangha by Octave, Suzhou
Some hotels improve your weekend; Sangha by Octave improves your health. At its At One Clinic, spa-ing is basically doctor’s orders – there are physicians on staff here, as well as nutritionists, physiotherapists, life coaches and mindfulness experts. That’s why it’s not about one treatment to try, but creating a full regimen. Each spa programme is personalised but may include a salt body scrub, rebirth massage, facial and daily hydrothermal therapy circuit.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Grindavik
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon sits on some of the world’s most famous healing waters. Adding to its locational appeal, the hotel is carved into an 800-year-old lava field with private access to the famed waters. Tucked beneath the lava flow, the spa is a mix of Scandinavian furnishings with exposed volcanic rock where guests can relax in the steam cave then enjoy an in-water massage in the geothermal lagoon. Facials are another highlight and feature products by Blue Lagoon Iceland, which are packed with skin-transforming silica, algae and minerals.
See more spa turns from past Smith awards
Most spoiling spa award criteria
DETAIL, DETAIL, DETAIL
We know you'll agree when we say we also need nice changing rooms, with pristine robes and plenty of products to hand; water, tisanes or juice to sip; a warm welcome, gentle instruction when we need it, and an invitation to linger as long as we like.
Artfully tiled hammams, column-flanked pools, state-of-the-art spa suites, ocean-view yoga pavilions, heated treatment beds… all things we love.
TREATMENTS THAT DELIVER
Whether it's a technically brilliant facial or a muscle-soothing massage, the Most Spoiling Spa doesn't just go through the motions: it's an expert in its chosen field. Therapists should be intuitive and knowledgable, spa menus will be well-considered and flexible, and the end result should leave you relaxed, radiant and restored.
The best hotel spas reflect the ethos of their setting: it's not an afterthought but a natural extension of the property's outlook. Think Napa Valley mustard seed, Tuscan viticultural products, hot tubs on the piste or thalassotherapy by the sea…
Does the spa use an exceptional product range, an iconic beauty brand, or craft its own signature blends? Has it cherry-picked the best available for each treatment type, be it a manicure or a body wrap?
Beautiful decor and layout that appeals to all the sense? Soothing, unobtrusive soundtrack? Forest views from your treatment room? Alfresco treatments on the beach?