While spas often have outdoor areas, some take it to the next level: the surroundings dictate the entire set-up.
From a city rooftop spa in Miami to a spiritual jungle retreat in Ubud, these are the outdoorsy spas that give you a serious side order of views alongside your facial. Discover these six al-fresco spas where the great outdoors takes centre stage.
THE PACKING EDIT
THE JUNGLE ONE COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali
The description of ‘outdoor spa’ doesn’t quite cut it for COMO Shambhala Estate: jungle wellness retreat would be more apt. Nestled within nine acres of lush jungle and rice paddies just outside Ubud, spa treatments take place in open-air pavilions so guests feel fully submerged in nature. Instead of the dulcet tones of pan pipes, guests relax to the ambient soundtrack of jungle wildlife and the rushing Ayung River. With a 360 approach to wellness, the ancient pools – fed by fresh spring water – comprise traditional water blessings as part of the spa menu.
THE AL FRESCO HOTSPOT: 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 tucked away at the back of the grounds. Lightly scented by the aromatic 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. Take a barefoot stroll to the new eco spa garden, brimming with organic botanicals and herbs that make their way into the signature treatments for an all-encompassing experience with nature.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Book in for the secret Sauna Pod in the Spa Garden immersed in the vegetable patch.
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, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, makes for a dramatic outdoor spa experience. Bathe in the soothing waters (the temperature is around 36-39 degrees) and smear the mineral-rich white silica mud over your face – no therapist necessary. For those who book into the Retreat Spa, there’s also 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 the 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 spot.
THE ROCKY ONE Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
Wedged between giant granite boulders at the edge of the Indian ocean, the secluded Six Senses Spa Zil Pasyon is completely ensconced by towering rocks and lush jungle. Each of the five double treatment villas – Cave, Rock, Nature, Ocean, or Floating – are carefully positioned amongst the island’s rugged landscape, and have unique outdoorsy features. NB: it’s worth swotting up before you book for your pick of the best views! For minimal intrusion on the island landscape, spa areas are linked by winding pathways of timber steps and rope bridges, while dreamy fabric-sails create private relaxation zones.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Wallow in the outdoor infinity pool that makes it feel like you’re suspended amidst gargantuan boulders, with endless blue views.
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. The soundtrack of lapping waves, and an invigorating sea breeze are an added bonus to your spa treatment: this serene South Beach rooftop has sweeping, unobstructed views of the ocean, peeking just above the palm trees. Whilst treatments take place in private bamboo and canvas spa cabanas, relaxation zones are shaded by giant retractable sails to protect guests from the Miami heat.
THE AL FRESCO HOT SPOT: Book the post-sunset 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 impeccable 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 indoors, the ocean takes centre stage: think floor-to-ceiling glass in the panoramic saunas and a romantic 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.