Not just for eating, the al fresco life is having a moment right now. And while spas often have outdoor areas, some take it to the next level where the surroundings dictate the entire set-up.
From the city rooftop spa in Miami to the spiritual jungle retreat in Ubud, they’re the outdoorsy spas that give you a serious side order of views alongside your facial. Doing away with the traditional treatment room and getting back to nature, these open air spaces are too good to shut away behind closed doors.
These are six al fresco spas where the great outdoors takes centre stage.
Embrace the al fresco life with a spa-drobe to suit the landscape. Here’s what to wear on your spa-scape.
THE PACKING EDIT
THE JUNGLE ONE COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali
The description of ‘outdoor spa’ doesn’t quite cut it for COMO Shambhala Estate. Think jungle wellness retreat. Nestled in an enclave of nine acres of lush jungle and rice paddies just outside Ubud, spa treatments take place in open air pavilions so guests can fully soak up the nature-filled surroundings. Instead of pan pipe music, guests relax to the natural background soundtrack of the rustling jungle and rumbling Ayung River. With a 360 approach to wellness, the ancient pools (fed by fresh spring water) even feature on the spa menu for traditional water blessings.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: One of the waterside pavilions at the estate’s tranquil water garden, Kedera. Natural spring water flows out of the earth into jungle fringed pools.
THE RURAL ONE Atzaró Spa, Ibiza
Deep in Ibiza’s Spanish countryside, Atzaró Agroturismo Hotel sits on a lush 13-hectare estate with a spa hidden away at the back of the vast, rural landscape. Fragranced by the gentle waft of the orange groves and abundant gardens, the open air spa has a yoga pavilion, 43-metre freshwater pool, and relaxation decks with giant day beds shaded by palm trees. Adjacent to the spa, take a barefoot stroll to the new eco spa garden which is full of organic botanicals and herbs that make their way into the signature treatments for a 360 experience with nature.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Book in for the secret Sauna Pod in the Spa Garden to be at one with the organic courgettes.
THE VOLCANIC ONE Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Home to one of 25 wonders of the world, wallow in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon where super-blue geothermal seawater overlooked by snow-capped mountains makes for a dramatic outdoor spa experience. Bathe in the soothing oh-so-blue waters (temperature is around 36-39 degrees) and smear the mineral-rich white silica mud over your face – no therapist necessary. Other al fresco spaces for those who book into the Retreat Spa include the elevated Terrace for Icelandic views from a height, Steam Cave for chilling out in an earthen chamber of moist heat (hello, natural sauna), and Cold Well if you can brave taking a plunge in invigorating ice cold water.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Nothing beats the Blue Lagoon itself but venture into the lava canyons and hidden corridors of the Retreat Lagoon for a more secluded way to spa.
THE ROCKY ONE Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
Wedged between giant granite boulders at the edge of the Indian ocean, the Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon is completely immersed in the private island’s natural landscape of towering rocks and lush jungle. Each of the five double treatment villas – Cave, Rock, Nature, Ocean or Floating – are carefully positioned among the island’s rugged landscape and have unique outdoorsy features and views that are worthy of swotting up before you book. Think rock shower on a cliff edge in Rock Villa. For minimal intrusion on the island life landscape, spa areas are linked with winding pathways of timber steps and rope bridges, while dreamy fabric-shading sails create casual relaxation zones.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Wallow in the outdoor infinity pool that makes it feel like you’re hovering amidst gargantuan boulders like a Bond Girl.
THE ROOFTOP ONE The Betsy Wellness Garden & Spa, Miami
Perched on a rooftop ocean deck and framed by jasmine and birds of paradise, The Betsy’s Wellness Garden & Spa is the only fully outdoor spa in Miami Beach. Giving you refreshing sea air as an extra with your spa treatment, this serene South Beach rooftop has sweeping, unobstructed views of the ocean peeking just above the palm trees. While treatments take place in private bamboo and canvas spa cabanas, relaxation zones are shaded by giant retractable sails so you don’t feel the Miami heat.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Wait for post-sunset hours to experience The Moonlight Sonata ($230 per person for 60 minutes) for an evening massage under a canopy of stars.
THE OCEAN ONE Joali Spa by Espa, Maldives
Like a spa haven floating on still blue waters, Joali Spa by ESPA is set on Muravandhoo – a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean’s remote Raa Atoll. For views-on-views of the Indian Ocean during your treatment, the overwater spa area is designed to take in the deep blue sea from every angle. Even the indoor spaces are designed to make the ocean take centre stage as you spa – think glass sauna and a dramatic couples treatment room sitting above the ocean.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Zone out post-treatment in the shaded outdoor relaxation lounge. Tucked away in a lush garden, lounge beds overlook the Indian Ocean and private spa beach.