From a beer bath in Denver to treetop soaking cabanas in the Smoky Mountains, these spas are standouts.
What if we told you that one of the best ways to get a feel for a new place is by seeking out the spa and booking a treatment? Destination spas tend to have a strong sense of place, sourcing local salts for body scrubs or foraging native herbs to incorporate into aromatherapy. What’s more, some treatment rooms come with amazing views should you be able to keep your eyes open long enough to take in the scenery.
Ready to relax? Check in. Bliss out. And relax at one of these under-the-radar spas that serve as lovely ambassadors for the cities in which they’re located.
The Beer Spa
Denver loves beer so dang much that locals bathe in it. At The Beer Spa, spa-goers can pour a local brew from the tap wall and proceed into a private therapy room where a tub of bubbles beckons. Steeping in the warm water is a supersized tea bag packed with hops, barley and a rotating bonus seasonal medicinal herb. The herbs, like the featured brewery on the tap wall, rotate every month. Afterward, shower off and lather your locks with a beer and honey conditioner.
Alyeska Nordic Spa
What better place to disconnect than at a 50,000 square-foot, cell phone-free spa in “America’s Last Frontier?” At Alaska’s first-ever Nordic Spa, heated pathways connect cold water plunges, aromatherapy-infused steam rooms, a Finnish sauna and an exfoliation cabin where you can be buffed with local sea salt. The Alyeska Nordic Spa at Girdwood’s Alyeska Resort is 40 miles outside Anchorage, but you’ll feel like you’re on another planet when you walk the spa’s forest loop as the Northern Lights beam neon green swirls in the night sky.
In New Mexico, between Taos and Santa Fe
The healing waters at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort in New Mexico have been drawing spa enthusiasts since 1868, yet the destination remains a high-desert hideout. Surrounded by earthy orange cliff walls, spa days here include soaking in mineral pools and checking out the spruced-up Historic Bath House outfitted with a new Himalayan salt sauna and eucalyptus steam room. Enjoy a Southwest-style spa treatment with a hydrotherapy hot towel wrap infused with locally harvested botanicals like pinon and comfrey. Ojo Caliente also plucks desert sage on the property. The spa’s signature line of shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotions features the sage.
The Spa at The Hotel Hershey
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more indulgent hotel than The Spa At The Hotel Hershey. This spot is known as the “the chocolate spa” and is aptly located in Hershey, PA. Downright decadent, the spa menu features a variety of chocolate-inspired treatments — a cocoa massage, a chocolate fondue wrap, cocoa facials and whipped cocoa baths. As it turns out, cacao is also a treat for the skin because it’s full of antioxidants and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, the secrets to supple, radiating skin. While the chocolate spa is most famous for its creative use of cacao, it also offers traditional and seasonal treatments and services that are a nod to Cuba, where Milton S. Hershey owned sugar mills from 1916 to 1946.
With rolling hillsides and more than 90 wineries, Yakima Valley is Washington’s wine country. But it also has a dreamy landscape of lavender fields, and Ummelina spa puts the calming herb to good use by using it in aromatic foot baths and rainforest steam treatments. The spa also sells fresh lavender bundles, lavender bath salts, sprays and more. As for the vino, we heard through the grapevine that you can get a wine face peel at Ummelina, too. Derived from grape and wine extracts, the peel gently exfoliates the skin and delivers nutrients and antioxidants.
Lakeview at Fontana
Bryson City, North Carolina
You’ve heard of a room with a view. But how about a spa with a view? At Lakeview at Fontana, the Treetop Soaking Cabanas are a sylvan oasis, with the tubs tucked away in the trees, showing off views of Fontana Lake and the Smoky Mountains. Each luxury cabana has its own oversized standalone tub that’s large enough for two. You can customize your soak with add-ons like CBD-infused soaking salts and clay facial masks.
Pomona Salt Cave and Spa
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
In West Virginia, you can visit a halotherapy spa that also offers massages, foot soaks and light therapy. But you might mistake this whimsical spot as a hobbit house. Pomona Salt Cave and Spa is a man-made cave tucked away in a hillside and lined with thousands of pounds of restorative Himalayan salt. Salt is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, and the tiny particles can have respiratory and skin healing benefits.
Exhale at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa
Beaver Creek, Colorado
Already, you’ll feel some European familiarity in Beaver Creek Village as the Colorado enclave is modeled after St. Moritz, Switzerland, Cortina, Italy and Val d’Aran, Spain. But when you step foot into the Exhale at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, you’ll do a little time traveling, too. The spa’s centerpiece is the specialty Aqua Sanitas, a hydrotherapy treatment modeled after historic Roman baths. We recommend visitors enjoy a five-step ritual inspired by ancient customs. Then enjoy a massage with moisturizing shea butter or a wildflower body scrub.