Editors’ Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!


As editors at Spafinder Wellness 365 we’ve gotten the unbelievable opportunity to travel to some incredible destinations around the globe and despite it all we still have “pinch me” moments each and every time. Getting to travel the world to experience spa and wellness is a dream in itself but there are still some properties and cities that have a permanent place at the top of our travel “bucket list” (we all have one!) We’re sharing our top 10 here with you and hope that you share your own dream destination list in the comments below!

Jackie’s Pick: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat, Western Cape, South Africa

Of all the experiences I want to have in my lifetime, going on a true African safari and spending time on a continent that has mesmerized me since I was younger has a permanent spot at the top of my bucket list. (Bonus points if I can channel my childhood dream of becoming Dian Fossey and spend some time with a band of gorillas.) And while I know my favorite animal resides exclusively in the central portion of the continent, on my dream adventure I’d visit all three of The Red Carnation Hotel Collection’s properties in South Africa, specifically Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat.

The Relais & Châteaux property seamlessly blends the ultimate in luxury with the beauty of nature to create a truly unique and once-in-a-lifetime (for most of us) travel experience. Settled in the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the property takes conservation and environmental sustainability seriously.

Between a generous offering of activities, outrageously appointed accommodations, and dining options that I’m sure would blow my mind (hello, onsite organic garden for a hyper-local produce experience after my heart) what I have to see is the spa! I mean, do you blame me? Just look at that outdoor treatment area! The spa features a Crystal Steam Room which has a central block of pure Quartz Crystal that gives off healing energy and restores your mental, physical, and emotional balance.

Photo courtesy of Bushmans Kloof

Jackie’s Pick: Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest, Hungary 

While I’ve been to Budapest before, I was 18 years old and 95% sure I was staying in a hostel. I was more concerned with my cute tour guide than in truly experiencing all the beautiful, historical city had to offer. So naturally, when I go back, I plan to go in style and stay at the famed Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace which overlooks the Chain Bridge, the River Danube, and the charming cobblestone streets.

The palace was built in 1906 and after a five-year $110-million restoration the hotel was brought back to its original Art Nouveau-style glory. The palace reopened in 2004 with added amenities including an indoor lap pool and spa which features signature treatments which use Hungarian moor mud.

The hotel also offers an exclusive and truly unique experience, Stage Presence, where you take center stage at the Hungarian State Opera House for a private dinner and performance. What’s more? The Opera House closes for 3 days prior to ensure everything is to your exact specifications. A girl can dream…

Plus while there I would clearly have to visit the famed Szechenyi Baths (check out an exclusive inside look here).

Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace

Jackie’s Pick: Kirini Suites & Spa, Santorini, Greece

My mother was born and raised in a small town just outside of Athens, Greece called Ilioupoli, so my whole life I’ve always wanted to travel there to see where she and my aunts grew up, to see the sights, and to sail around the islands (because according to my mother there is nothing like it in the world). While I’ve sadly yet to go, when I think of Greece I think of the blinding white buildings and blue roofs found most often on the island of Santorini. So post Athens I would most definitely head out to that beautiful, idyllic island.

The Relais & Châteaux property, Kirini Suites & Spa, in the village of Oia, is a hotel after my heart. With views of the Caldera Volcanic islands and an architecture style that looks like the ocean itself carved out each room, this clean white hotel is exactly what my vision of the Greek islands looks like.

The hotel’s A. SPA offers visitors a hammam, body spray shower, and full spa menu of luxurious treatments to ease away tension after a day exploring the island.

Photo courtesy of Kirini Suites & Spa

Jackie’s Pick: Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris, France

Between the romance floating in the air, the rich pastries, wine, and food, the art and the architecture, there is not a stone I plan to leave unturned when I finally make it to the City of Light. Paris was a place I’ve been dreaming of for years but wanted to hold off on until I was head-over-heels, madly in love, a girl doesn’t want to waste her top of the Eiffel Tower kiss on just any old frog. So now that I have my forever prince, it’s time to plan a dream Parisian getaway!

And while my actual trip may not look quite like this, in dream travel land I’d be staying at the iconic Hotel Plaza Athénée, which just reopened its doors this August! I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a Carrie Bradshaw in Paris moment?

Balcony views of the Eiffel Tower aside, the luxurious hotel’s Dior Institut spa is a showstopper! The spa features five cabins with white and grey linens, the colors of the House of Dior; iconic Christian Dior metal chairs; and specific lights for each stage of treatments. The spa itself has a sauna, steam baths and fitness room, a sunken relaxation room with a tea corner and fainting sofas where guests can relax, watch fashion shows on big-screen TVs and marvel at the Patrick Ribes-designed marble floor under a glass-covered fountain, which showcases the palace initials and Murano blown-glass lamps!

Photo courtesy of Hotel Plaza Athénée

Jackie’s Pick: Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa, Bali, Indonesia

With architecture that blends seamlessly into the surrounding environment and healing spa and wellness programs for the mind, body, and soul, a trip to Bali’s Fivelements is something I know I need to scratch off my travel bucket list.

A truly holistic healing experience, Fivelements’ goal is to share the Balinese way of life – to promote balance and harmony with the spirit and it’s surrounding environment.  They do this by offering a wide range of healing and wellness programing and specialized retreats, including a silent meditation retreat where you must truly be mindful and disconnect from all the chatter around you in order to focus on your true self.

Photo courtesy of Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa

Editors' Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!

Kate’s Picks: CastaDiva Resort & Spa, Blevio, Italy

When a luxury hotel spa meets Lake Como—that’s amore. Add to that a private marina, a “floating” pool extending over the lake, and a spa that capitalizes on green stem-cell treatments, and you’ll realize why visiting Italy’s CastaDiva Resort & Spa is on my bucket list. The spa itself replicates a period steamboat (another architectural highlight is the relaxation lounge’s glass floor, which offers a glimpse of the 19th-century dockyard underneath) and comes stocked with a Himalayan pink salt room and Kneipp circuit. Unwinding Italian-style in this charming village of Blevio has never been so chic.

Photo courtesy of CastaDiva Resort & Spa

Editors' Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!

Kate’s Picks: Indigo Pearl, Phuket, Thailand

The Phuket-based Indigo Pearl’s Coqoon Spa definitely has that “it” factor that I seek while spa-searching. And while I don’t consider myself crazy about spending time in the great outdoors, I would definitely change my mind for a chance to visit this spa. Its signature treatment room, dubbed The Nest, is a wicker tree house nestled within the branches of a magnificent banyan (it should be noted other treatment spaces are enveloped by a rainforest setting as well—some even include private pools, rain showers, and saunas). Maybe I’m a nature lover after all.

Photo courtesy of Indigo Pearl

Editors' Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!

Kate’s Picks: Jade Mountain, Soufriere, Saint Lucia

While I haven’t been here (yet), I think Jade Mountain will be worth a visit for its architecture and sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea and Pitons alone (though its boutique spa and access to two beaches don’t hurt, either). The eco-friendly St. Lucian resort is constructed into a hillside, and “infinity pool sanctuaries,” aka, seriously sleek accommodations, are designed with an open fourth wall and a private infinity-edge pool that appears to be one with nature. Kai en Ciel spa, translated as “house of the sea” in Creole, looks intimate yet spectacular, with elements like a hilltop open-air treatment room, overlooking Anse Chastanet bay. Sign me up, please.

Photo courtesy of Jade Mountain

Editors' Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!

Kate’s Picks: One&Only The Palm, Dubai, Dubai, UAE

When my travels eventually take me to Dubai, the One&Only The Palm, Dubai, is a property I’m eager to discover. Not only is its location pristine—on a peninsula of Palm Island—but it has an amalgam of architectural designs to marvel at (think Moorish-Andalusian influences coinciding with modern Arabian accents) and a spa with world-class amenities to boot. I would spend a significant amount of time at The One&Only Private Spa; in collaboration with ESPA, it’s home to a Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez, hair salon by Alexandre Zouari, and nine treatment rooms with private indoor/outdoor showers, steam rooms, and relaxation areas. Did I say a significant amount of time? I meant forever.

Photo courtesy of One&Only The Palm, Dubai

Editors' Picks: Our 10 Dream Getaways!

Kate’s Picks: The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s spa by ESPA is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights. Luckily, I’m neither, which is why this wellness complex is on my bucket list of someday travels. The spa sits on the hotel’s 116th floor, way, way, way above the city and Victoria Harbour—and enhances its spellbinding views via floor-to-ceiling windows. I can already see myself indulging in a treatment or taking a dip in the infinity pool here—now that’s my idea of taking spa-ing to new altitudes.

Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong