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From classic luxury to the new school of eco escapes, these are the pamper spots to book now
While we have some exceptional spa hotels in the UK, if you’re looking for a little luxury on the continent, you’ve come to the right place.
For the ultimate wellness holiday – whether you’re after classic luxury, clinical guidance, or more of a modern eco escape – there are some standout spa hotels in Europe for a restorative retreat.
Take Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux, which set within rolling vineyards is the ultimate advert for wine and spa tourism. Or, on the flip side, Clinique La Prairie in the Swiss Alps offers services from fasting to facelifts (yes, really). For a taste of the Med, Capri Palace Jumeirah offers both a medical spa and Michelin-starred dining. Or, if you’re after a city break with some r ‘n’ r, Cheval Blanc in Paris boasts the flagship Dior spa – need we say more?
Below, find 10 of the best spa getaways in Europe:
This beautiful property, situated a mere 30 minutes from Bordeaux airport (making it an ideal weekend getaway) combines two of life’s greatest pleasures: skincare and wine.
Set in rolling vineyards of Château Smith Haut Laffite, and featuring three restaurants (including one Michelin-starred must-go), scenic biking and walking trails, and luxurious cabin-style rooms, the hotel is a haven in many ways. But the spa is truly the star of the show.
Housed in a high-ceilinged old barn, the Vinotherapie spa utilises ‘waste’ from the wine-making (seeds for scrubs, active extracts from the grape skin) and the full range of grape- and wine-based Caudalie products in a range of holistic treatments. Try a facial with brightening hot and cold stones (and plenty of the brand’s refreshing Grape Water) or a Merlot body wrap, which harnesses the antioxidant powers of the fruit.
Post-treatment, you can wallow in the mineral-rich swimming pool, warmed from a hot spring 540 metres below the ground. Wine-in-hand optional. – Jennifer George
Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France
Gone are the days when lavender and low lighting signalled the ultimate spa experience: now, those in the know take the presence of 111 Skin as the ultimate seal of approval.
The Harley Street-born brand is moving swiftly into the world’s most forward-thinking spa destinations, providing treatment menus that offer both tension relief and aesthetic improvement.
The science-first brand sits at the centre of Daios Cove’s sun-strewn new wellness destination, Kepos By Goco, offering a menu of its famously effective facials. Here, jawline-sculpting massage is amped up with microneedling, masking, LED and cryotherapy, offering the satisfaction of a medical facial in the most luxurious setting.
True to form, you can also find 111 Skin’s favourite thermal experiences here. Jump into the cryotherapy chamber for 120 seconds of circulation-boosting chill, or recline in the infrared sauna to ease the aches from an early-morning workout. (With BXR trainers installed in the unusually large gym, you can expect to need it.) For the truly committed wellness-seeker, colonic hydrotherapy, IV vitamin infusions and a hyperbaric oxygen chamber await. You’ll barely find time to plunge into the (multiple) pools. – Roberta Schroeder
Kepos By Goco, Daios Cove, Crete
There’s much to love about Puente Romano, a luxury village-style resort located on the sunny Costa del Sol, not least its impeccable Six Senses Spa. From the calming design and tranquil energy to the recalibrating therapies offered, it immerses you into the mood of the Mediterranean, elevating a beach holiday no end.
The intimate, sensory haven features a jaw-dropping hydrotherapy pool, cold plunge pool, heat and ice experience showers, sauna and steam room. There’s also a traditional Hammam hosting wellness rituals, and six treatment rooms offering the ultimate in luxury pampering. Our pick is the heavenly Six Senses Signature Massage which, opened and closed by a gently vibrating sound bath, combines personalised pressure and light stretching to melt stress and restore balance.
Peel yourself away from the spa to enjoy the water sports, top-notch gym, and world-class tennis court (first managed by Björn Borg, no less). Equally celebrated is the prestigious Marbella Club Golf Resort, located nearby.
There’s plenty of opportunity to indulge, too. With more than 15 restaurants and bars (including Nobu Marbella) on site there are choices to satisfy all. – Bridget March
Puente Romano Beach Resort, Marbella, Spain
The words ‘Dior’, ‘spa’, and ‘Paris’ are probably enough to conjure up how chic this subterranean haven is. Situated in the Cheval Blanc hotel, an art deco building overlooking the Seine, from the second you walk down the marble staircase to the spa you’re in a Dior-branded paradise.
From the waiting room, warm and inviting with a neutral palette and freshly cut roses, to the hypnotic swimming pool – the largest in Paris – every inch of the space has been considered. Each of the six treatment suites has a theme to represent ‘a facet of the House of Dior’, from ‘Sauvage’ (an alpha-quartz floating table signalling a return to nature) to ‘Bonne Etoile’ which has a starry ceiling, lit up to show your astrological constellation.
Serene settings aside, the treatments are top notch. Within almost 50 options which took five years to develop, the facials take centre stage, and utilise the Solution Professionnelles line exclusive to Dior spas. Expect active skincare, facial massage, bespoke serums, and an urge to steal the Dior blanket you’re lying under… – JG
Cheval Blanc, Paris, France
The blissful lake views always play a starring role in any Lake Como hotel, and Il Sereno really makes the most of incorporating its location’s natural beauty as much as possible – something which is particularly cleverly done with its spa. The hotel collaborated with award-winning designer Patricia Urquiola, who worked to balance the natural ambiance of the world-famous lake with the ultimate in comfort and luxury, in what was originally built as the property’s boathouse over a century ago.
This results in wonderfully calming treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water, and a semi al-fresco hot tub (or cool tub, depending on temperatures) that you can laze in while listening to the waves lapping below. The relaxation area also features a sauna and steam room, both lined with beautiful Italian tiles, and the space can only be booked for private use by guests during their stay – no sharing required.
The outdoor-to-indoor theme continues via the treatment menu, with a range of massages and rejuvenating, cellular-boosting therapies inspired by nature – using Valmont products – all uniquely tailored to the individual. – Sarah Karmali
Il Sereno, Lake Como, Italy
Near Sparta in the Peloponnese, Euphoria lives up to its name: elation is reached during journeys of transformation, helped along by the forest setting, which is within the Unesco World Heritage Site of Mystras, in the foothills of Mount Taygetos. Meals (of delicious Mediterranean dishes, of course) are tailored to each individual guest, based on how their body metabolises food, and the goal is nourishment, balance and enjoyment, not deprivation. This philosophy extends to private dining at the Leoncini Mansion, which was built in the 1830s and is one of the most romantic corners of the estate.
Signature retreats include Feel Alive Again, a four-night programme created to help attendees recover from the effects of the pandemic; a Spartan-inspired week of fitness in the great outdoors; and a three-day path to cultivating more meaningful relationships. You’ll also be able to channel Odysseus and embark on your own epic journey. Spa treatments range from reflexology and reiki, to massages on a quartz bed, Watsu, Theta Healing, chakra balancing and even psychic consultations. – Caroline Lewis
Euphoria, Mystras, Sparta, Greece
The Alps have lots of super-clinics, where you can check in for everything from fasting and extreme detoxes to facials (and facelifts), but few are as well-equipped, not to mention indulgent, as Clinique La Prairie in Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland. The restorative retreat has been open since 1931, so it has had almost a century to perfect its approach – and it’s now widely regarded as one of the best centres for preventative medicine in the world.
Its programmes include Revitalisation, which focuses on slowing down ageing and enhancing immunity; and the Master Detox, which, as the name suggests, is the pinnacle for flushing out toxins. You’ll also be able to enrol on its Weight Loss System, and find the remedy for a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, fatigue and anxiety.
There are 50 specialists in residence, all with access to the newest technology and the latest genetic insights, as well as knowledge of ancient healing and holistic practices. And, as if that doesn’t sound like tonic enough, guests can book a room or suite with a view of the Alps and Lake Geneva, and enjoy some fresh mountain air. – CL
Clinique La Prairie, Montreux, Switzerland
Just down the Southern French coast from Marseille, before you get to the glitz of Saint Tropez, is the chic fishing port of Cassis, a hub for linen-clad locals on weekends away. Les Roches Blanches hotel is the jewel in the town’s crown – an art deco luxury property built into the cliff side that’s hosted Winston Churchill and Edith Piaf in its time.
The Sisley spa, adjoined to the hotel with access to its two swimming pools, sea swimming jetty (if you can brave the brilliantly blue but famously cold water) and restaurants, is a must for any visitors.
Ask for a room with floor-to-ceiling views of the port and you’ll feel like your toes are practically dipping in the sea while you enjoy your treatment. The 90-minute Phyto-Aromatic Sisleyä Facial is our tip if lifting, anti-ageing effects are desired; this premier line of theirs has the most potent ingredients, and the massage techniques are thorough and sculpting. – JG
Les Roches Blanches, Cassis, France
If leg health (varicose veins, cellulite) is a concern for you, then a trip to Capri Palace on the chic Italian isle could be just what the doctor ordered. It helps that you’ll be able to combine your stay with shopping trips to the boutiques lining the cobblestoned streets (including stockpiling sandals handily made right next-door), sailing around the island or along the nearby Amalfi Coast, and walks that showcase Capri’s captivating beauty, such as up to Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele.
The famous leg treatment at the hotel’s Capri Medical Spa, pioneered by Dr Francesco Canonaco who runs the Leg School, involves Kneipp hydrotherapy at varying temperatures, mud applications and having your limbs wrapped in cold bandages. You’ll feel like you’re floating from the waist up afterwards. The spa also has nutritionists that can help break yo-yo-dieting habits, and treatments include Valmont facials, medical consultations and private Pilates classes.
Since it’s Italy, there’s no calorie and carb restriction or alcohol avoidance here – aperitivo hour is soundtracked by a pianist in the stylish cream lounge, and there’s a two-Michelin-starred restaurant to head to for more indulgence afterwards. Down by the water, the palace’s iconic Il Riccio beach club has the island’s most extensive seafood selection and a majolica-tiled room dedicated to desserts. – CL
Capri Palace Jumeirah, Capri, Italy
Luxury resort Parklane is nestled within Limassol – 30 minutes from Larnaca airport in sun-soaked Cyprus. With an idyllic aesthetic inside and out, a peaceful ambience flows through it while staff provide warm hospitality, typical of the Cypriot culture.
The blissful Kalloni Spa is a prime example of all this. Award-winning, this stand-out facility combines modern technology with a tempting menu of locally-inspired treatments. Inspired by the curative properties of the ocean, the wet facilities are focused on Thalassotherapy, with three indoor and two outdoor pools, each mineral-enriched but with different temperatures and salinity contents for specific rejuvenation.
Thalasso bath treatments and an in-water shiatsu massage therapy also harness the healing of seawater, while elsewhere on the spa menu you’ll find a traditional (albeit amplified) Russian Banya experience.
Beyond the spa there are more dazzling swimming pools to enjoy, and a serene sandy beach framed by 25 acres of landscaped gardens. – BM
Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol, Cyprus