The Spring Spafinder Wellness 365 in NewBeauty Supplement explores unique spa escapes within close reach of some of the world"s most popular sightseeing locations. From The Great Wall of China to the Las Vegas Strip to Wine Country and the breathtaking heights of Machu Picchu, we look at pampering treatments and products as awe inspiring as the views.
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For most spa-goers who book a trip to a spa, location doesn"t matter—it"s the treatments, service and surroundings that make the destination appealing. But who says pampering and perfect sightseeing location can"t coincide? These scenic spots prove that your next trip can blend a balance of famous vacation spots with the total spa experience.
The Planning Process
According to Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder, when going on a vacation where sightseeing is a big part of the experience, consider spa treatments as an accompaniment. "The spa experience may not be the main event, but it makes the main event much more enjoyable. I approach my planning a bit differently than if I were going on a spa vacation." Consider the following:
"Insider"s Take" from The Spa Expert
Susie Ellis, president of Spafinder Wellness 365, is a respected spa industry analyst and expert. She has visited more than 1,000 spas and shares with you some of her insights about these special spa properties.
"I like to pick a place where, at the end of a day of sightseeing, I can come back and soak in a hot tub and get a massage or a good foot reflexology session," Ellis says. "Also, you"ll appreciate a hotel that has room service or at least a restaurant on site and the option of an in-room massage after a long day."
Most hotel or resort spas will allow you to get treatments and use their facilities even if you aren"t staying there, as almost every spa welcomes both day spa guests and those who are staying overnight. "But be aware that, if that spa is very busy, they will likely set aside time for their overnight guests, so you need to book early as a day guest," says Ellis.
When you are sightseeing, it is likely that most of your spa appointments are going to be at the end of the day—so book ahead. "Those appointments are hard to get, so check with the spa you are planning to visit and see if they are open in the evening," Ellis says.so you need to book early as a day guest," says Ellis.
TRANQUILITY BY AN
While most visitors come to the Great Wall of China for the magnificence of one of the world"s greatest wonders, the mountains of Beijing make for a tranquil setting that offers and array of relaxing spots.
The healing power of plants—believed to help the body achieve balance—is what drives most Chinese spa menus. For thousands of years, plants have been used in teas, skin-care products and other beauty-based treatments; today, they are still as popular, as their properties are thought to be the most superior active ingredients available.
"When visiting the Great Wall, expect to do a fair amount of walking—both uphill and downhill. "The right shoes are a must, and a relaxing massage in the evening will feel heavenly," says Ellis. "Ask your therapist to spend more time on your legs; they will need it."
LUXURY SPA TREATMENTS ON THE
With the opening of a slew of new hotels in the past year, Las Vegas welcomes several impressive spas to the strip that make gambling seem like something of an afterthought. "Vegas offers a huge advantage to a spa-goer." explains Ellis. "The hotels have invested a great deal in their spas, and they really offer opulent and over-the-top facilities."
Opening and closing times for spas vary in Las Vegas, so check with the front desk before you decide your day. "Many spas close earlier than you think—they want you to spend time in their casino," says Ellis.
Vegas spas offer so many amenities that you can spend an entire day in one—even if you only pay for a single treatment. "Think mineral baths, snow rooms, salt rooms, hammams, aqua circuits and more, plus gigantic outdoor swimming pools and excellent workout facilities," says Ellis.
While the majority of spas in Las Vegas center their treatments on exotic locales that coincide with the hotel"s concept, desert themed services and sunburn relief pop up on many menus.
UNWIND AND RELAX AT A
They are regions whose relaxing reputations precede them—but, besides the breathtaking views, exceptional cuisine and, of course, the wine, Napa Valley and France are also destinations for wellness.
"You are likely to be sampling wines indigenous to the area when you are in wine country, and Ellis suggests doing the same when it comes to your spa treatments. "Schedule a vinotherapie facial or a grape-seed scrub or try out a new wine-infused wrap. It helps make the experience more memorable when you really "go local.""
All of the interesting spa treatments that come from grape products—vinotherapie facials, the grape seed scrubs, the wine baths--aren"t just for fun. "There is real therapeutic value in taking advantage of their high level of antioxidants," says Ellis.
"Organic" is the word in the wine regions, as many of the spas and resorts take advantage of the area"s natural resources to create treatments for guests. Also popular are vinotherapy spa treatments, which incorporate wines, grape seeds and grape seed oils from surrounding vineyards.
SEEK SOLACE AT
The mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is one of the most intriguing places in the world—for both its spectacular scenery and ancient wellness traditions.
Fresh regional fruits and produce, as well as ancestral Incan ingredients like coca leaves (known for medicinal properties), volcanic mud, coffee and herbal essences, complement many spa treatments in the area.
If you are going to be in such natural beauty, selecting a hotel, restaurant or spa treatment that focuses on sustainability and offers organic food and spa treatments is appropriate. "It just feels right," Ellis says.