World's most beautifully designed spas
A new class of international spa resorts has emerged with high-design decor and luxe amenities. Here are our picks, perfect for a spa holiday.
Verdura Golf & Spa Resort
Hotelier Rocco Forte opened the Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, a 568-acre mecca of rest and relaxation, in 2010, bringing a new level of Mediterranean luxe to a private stretch of beach on Sicily’s southwest coast. For the holistic spa, which recently launched one- and two-week-long Vita Health wellness retreats, Italian architect Flavio Albanese, a former editor of European design bible Domus, collaborated with Forte’s sister and the brand’s director of design, Olga Polizzi, to create some 40,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space. Inspired by the region’s vernacular architecture, the pair arranged a series of minimalist, local tufo stone–and-glass pavilions (containing treatment rooms, a double-height hammam, and a 25-meter pool) around seawater-filled thalassotherapy pools (shown) that overlook the resort’s golf courses and, beyond, the Caltabellotta mountains.
Photo courtesy of Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Elciego
Vinothérapie SPA Caudalie Marqués de Riscal
Post–Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Frank Gehry returned to northern Spain to create the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a Luxury Collection hotel and spa and a jubilant shot of dynamic contemporary design amid the rolling vineyards of the Rioja Alavesa wine region. Gehry used some 30,000 square feet of titanium to create the ruffled roofline—whose energetic waves evoke a flamenco dancer’s skirts—and created a glass passage that leads to the spa, designed by architect Yves Collet. There, the Bordeaux, France–based Caudalie offers the relaxing, rejuvenating—and, in some cases, even slimming—wine- and grape-based wellness treatments that the brand originally perfected in its home country.
Photo courtesy of Viceroy Miami
The Spa at the Viceroy Miami Hotel
Just when you think you’ve seen it all from design’s ageless enfant terrible, Philippe Starck continues to surprise. Recombining some of his signature set pieces—oversize mirrors, brightly colored crystal chandeliers, and haute-French furniture—the master of whimsical pastiche debuted this 28,000-square-foot fantasy of a spa and fitness center at the Viceroy Miami in December 2008, on the 15th floor of an Arquitectonica-designed downtown Miami skyscraper. The double-height, library-like “water lounge” (shown), with its plunge pools of various temperatures and floor-to-ceiling views of Biscayne Bay, proves the most jaw-dropping spot among many.