The world’s most unique spa treatments

From being wrapped in damp hay to dipping into wine baths, take a look at the world’s most unusual spas using unorthodox remedies to help their guests relax and unwind.

Enjoy a special treatment at one of these spa resorts. Image credit: LumiNola/iStock
Enjoy a special treatment at one of these spa resorts. Image credit: LumiNola/iStock

Spas are one of the main drawcards for people booking their holidays to escape to somewhere more tranquil and indulgent. But with so many places to choose from, how can hotel spas stand out against the pack?

Alternative treatments certainly help. Alcoholic drinks, cannabis, and 24-karat gold flakes are just some of the ingredients being used around the world, setting a new trend in alternative spa treatments. We’ve scoured the most unique among them for you to test out next time you’re on your travels. 

Grand Park Hotel Rovinj, Croatia – absinthe and cannabis

The most anticipated luxury spa in the Adriatic opened its doors in April this year at Grand Park Hotel Rovinj in Croatia, drawing from centuries-old local seafaring history. The spa menu at Albaro Wellness & Spa lures guests with the promise of the best massages in the Adriatic, infused with forgotten secrets of Istrian wellness. 

Treatments include sugar-fennel body scrubs, Istrian absinthe tastings, seaweed leaf wraps, and hemp leaf tea.

Four Seasons, Mauritius – An eight-handed massage

The spa at Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita. Image credit: Four Seasons
The spa at Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita. Image credit: Four Seasons

The Four Seasons Mauritius is one of the only hotels in the world to offer guests the highly indulgent eight-handed massage. No alternative or unorthodox ingredients necessary, just four masseuses who use synchronized movements to balance out the body’s energies to leave you feeling totally refreshed.

This is the hotel’s signature treatment and takes place in an over-water villa to allow the natural sounds of the sea enhance the sensory experience.   

Yunessun, Japan – Bathe like ancient royalty

Legend has it that Cleopatra and Queen Mary both used to bathe in wine and now you can too, along with sake, coffee, or tea, with all four of these different bath options exist at Yunessun, in Tokyo.

The high levels of caffeine in Yunessun’s coffee bath is said to be good for fatigue and combating tired-looking skin. The green tea bath, meanwhile, is meant to put your body and mind at ease while the sake bath is fragrant and warm, producing a calming effect. 

Beer Spa, Czech Republic – Baths of the quirkier kind

The Rybna Room at the Beer Spa in Prague. Image credit: Beer Spa

Maybe you’re more into beer? If so, the Beer Spa in Prague is definitely a curveball option, given it offers its guests a very special bath treatment.

There’s a long-standing tradition in Prague of beer bathing, which dates back to the Middle Ages, with many people still believing in its health benefits today—it’s said to help improve damaged skin cells and help reduce wrinkles.

Hop into a 37-degree bath filled with all-natural ingredients, and keep your own glass filled up at the same time thanks to a tap on the side of the tub. The copper baths are big enough to accommodate several people simultaneously and at the end of the 30-minute sessions, each person gets to take home their own bottle of local beer as a gift.   

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai – A spa fit for a queen

It’s believed Cleopatra’s beauty regime wasn’t just limited to wine, but also included gold face masks. The precious metal is said to have wrinkle-fighting properties and can boost your skin’s radiance.

At Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s Talise Ottoman Spa in Dubai, you too could look and feel as good as the Queen of the Nile with your own custom-made 24-karat gold facial mask.

Considered one of the most opulent hotels in the world often frequented by royalty, this lavish hotel’s multi-award-winning marble and mosaic spa also offers a milk and rose oil bath, an argan-oil massage and a lavishly gold Arabian hammam, complete with a caviar lunch. 

The Hotel Hershey, U.S. – Chocolate-covered treatments

Sweet treats are available between treatments. Image credit: The Hotel Hershey

The three-story, 40,000 square-foot, full-service, European-style spa at The Hotel Hershey, part of a theme park dedicated to the country’s most popular chocolate, is unsurprisingly focused on chocolate treatments.

The most popular treatments include a chocolate fondue wrap, a full-body treatment with cocoa-infused body lotion followed by a chocolate mousse mask, a whipped cocoa bath, and a cocoa facial experience, which uses cocoa bean exfoliation.  

Hotel Heubad, Italy – Hay remedies to keep you young

Located in northern Italy, Hotel Heubad has been open since 1903, offering a unique spa treatment that dates back to the 19th-century. The hotel’s hay bath sees people wrapped in warm, damp hay for up to 20 minutes, and then left to relax for 30 minutes on a lounger. The mold in the hay activates a strong fermentation process that raises temperatures quickly.

This ancient method was first reported about in 1871 by Dolomite shepherds and farmers who spent their nights sleeping in hay lofts as a preventative to developing arthritis and rheumatism.  

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia – Sulphur springs treatment

The Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach. Image credit: Sugar Beach
The Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach. Image credit: Sugar Beach

Known as the location spot for two series of “The Bachelor”, Sugar Beach in St. Lucia offers its extra-special pamper session off-property.

Guests wanting to indulge at this Viceroy Resort are led by hotel staff to nearby sulfur springs where a therapist slathers on mineral-rich volcanic mud, directly from the source, before it is washed off under the Toraille waterfall.

The volcanic mud is said to increase circulation, soften tight muscles, help with skin disorders as well as act as a natural exfoliant. On their return to the hotel, guests are then treated to a full-body massage to round out their experience.

One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives – Detox taken to another level

The outdoor sauna at One & Only's Reethi Rah. Image credit: One & Only
The outdoor sauna at One & Only Reethi Rah. Image credit: One & Only Reethi Rah

The Maldives has a whole host of dreamy hotel spas, leaving travelers spoilt for choice. The spa at One & Only Reethi Rah is aesthetically special as it spans across a gorgeous garden and over-water spa villas, and features all-glass steam rooms and Jacuzzi pools.

The spa’s Detoxifying Body Cleanse has to be arguably the most elaborate treatment in the Maldives. It begins with a mustard foot soak (which apparently aids aches, pains, and even respiratory issues), followed by an algae wrap and a colon massage with the help of a G5 machine.


James Massoud

James Massoud is an experienced, London-based food and travel writer regularly contributing to luxury lifestyle magazines such as 7* Life and the Kensington & Chelsea Review.