16 Soothing Spas and Saunas

During the winter, some choose to travel to tropical islands and beaches, attempting to escape the cold altogether. Others turn to the warmth of restorative indoor environments and natural hot springs. These spas and saunas are just what the doctor ordered to cure the winter blues.

1. Blue Lagoon Retreat Spa by Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia

The warm aquamarine water at this Iceland destination is celebrated for its healing properties. In the subterranean spa, treatment areas are dedicated to silica (for scrubbing), algae (moisturizing and anti-aging), and minerals (purifying).

2. Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa by AvroKO

This spa feels like the Platonic ideal of a roadside motel—congenial, comfortable, subtly transformative. The tub room is clad in porcelain mosaic tile and outfitted with tubs painted a custom color.

3. Spa des Soules by Jouin Manku

Four rooms for treatments—one option is a willow-bark oil massage—are supplemented by a sauna and a steam bath. A corridor passes between treatment rooms to reach the plunge pools, the warmer of which flows outdoors to become a hot tub.

4. Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa by Powerstrip Studio

The 8,500-square-foot spa infuses a beachy aesthetic with sophistication and nods to local artisans and island history. Mosaic tiles depict the sun's reflection on the ocean.

5. Artyzen Sifang Nanjing Recreation Centre by Hirsch Bedner Associates

Soft textures and tones dominate the spa's palette, meeting guest expecta­tions of calmness and a feeling of refuge. The hot tub, floor, and walls are marble.

6. Sangha by Octave by Tsao & McKown Architects

In another subterranean spa, glass mosaic tile lines the pool. Treatment rooms include the therapeutic salt room for breathing and skin problems, and a dome room for meditation.

7. Sukhothai Shanghai by Neri & Hu Design and Research Office

Every aspect of the hotel's design nods to nature. Guests navigate the lower level by way of a pebble-bordered garden path, which continues into the spa.

8. Jaffa Hotel by John Pawson

The subterranean spa is located between the restored 19th-century building and its new addition. In a treatment room, cedar veneers the walls.

9. Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá by Rottet Studio

This spa is lush and textural, not stark and clinical, with stripes of the ceiling fabric evoking thick rope. The relaxation room is furnished with Tom Dixon tables, custom love seats covered in cotton velvet, and Michael Anastassiades lamps.

10. Explora Valle Sagrado by José Cruz Ovalle Estudio de Arquitectura

The interior of a house once inhabited by 18th-century independence hero Mateo Pumacahua has been completely reinvented as this hotel’s spa, with feature walls in adobe. The spa includes a range of massage rooms, steam baths, and saunas.

11. Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort Alpine Spa by MKV Design

This sauna is part of the spa's cantilevered glass building, perched on the side of a mountain above Lake Lucerne. The project was an honoree for the Best of Year 2018 award for Beauty/Spa.

12. °C Pod Hotel by Schemata Architects

Utilizing space on the hotel's third level left open from the removal of old capsules, the team added a sauna lined with abachi, a wood that doesn’t transmit heat, and fragranced with fresh mint water. Visitors can drop in for an hour or two, and sleeping pods are available for those who wish to stay the night.

13. Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown by AC Martin Partners

Throughout the vast 1,000,000-square-foot hotel, director of design Sandra Lévesque decided that each space should have its own personality. In the gym's sauna, hemlock meets porcelain tile, and red stools add a colorful touch.

14. Healing Stay Kosmos by The System Lab

With few manmade structures in the immediate vicinity, this resort was planned to let the setting do the talking and not include anything that would obstruct its natural beauty. In Villa Kosmos, the four-suite main building, cedar lines the Finnish-style sauna.

15. Mortenhals House by Stinessen Arkitektur

In true Norwegian fashion, the natural environment and man-made architecture meet seamlessly and unpretentiously in this house. Regardless of the season, views of the surrounding forest can be enjoyed from the sauna.


16. Freizeitbad Stegermatt by 4A Architekten

Tucked away in this Offenburg, Germany aquatic center, the sauna serves as a relaxation room. The shingled exterior walls evoke a cabin.

Not done relaxing? Take a quick nap and when you wake up, visit your favorite coffee shop. We won't tell.

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