Gone are the days when a massage room in London looked just like one in Lima. Today, cutting-edge spas want to give guests an extension of the travel experience, not an escape from it.
These eight spas across the world offer exactly that: treatments inspired by local traditions and native ingredients.
The Golden Door Spa at The Boulders, Carefree, Arizona (www.theboulders.com/golden_door_spa)
Worn by Native Americans for its protective properties, turquoise defines the jewellery of the American Southwest. Increasingly, it is defining the region's spa treatments too and at the Golden Door Spa, you can start your day in a tub full of turquoise bath oils. "Turquoise has a colour vibration that protects against negativity," said Golden Door Spa director Jennifer Wayland-Smith. "It also helps calm a stressed or hyperactive mind." The bath is followed by a massage with Hopi blue corn meal for exfoliation and a clay wrap with ionized turquoise to warm and detoxify the skin.
SpaTerra Napa, California (www.spaterra.com)
When relaxing in wine country, you expect grapes in your glass - not on your face. But that is exactly what you will find in many Napa-area spas, since grape seeds offer skin-saving benefits. Often discarded after the wine-making process, seeds from red and white grapes are collected and distilled into nourishing body oils. The extracts work to fight aging through their high antioxidant levels, and in the SpaTerra Meritage facial, technicians apply a grape seed masque and serum to restore suppleness to travel-weary skin.
Red chile and honey wrap
Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico (www.eldoradohotel.com/nidah-spa)
Spice up your spa day with Chimayo New Mexican red chiles. An ideal winter treatment, "chile for the skin is warming, stimulating and increases circulation," said spa director Susan Keene. The wrap combines powdered pepper with local honey to moisturize and re-mineralize the skin.
Blueberry body wrap
The Cliff House, Ogunquit, Maine (www.cliffhousemaine.com)
Excluding lobster, the blueberry body wrap combines a little bit of everything that makes Maine special. Organic local blueberries and algae provide a mix of sea and land that restores and heals the skin. "Blueberries have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruits," said spa director Mary Weisheit. When used on the body, they protect capillaries, fight signs of aging, and soften the skin. Plus, they smell delicious. "Guests always remember us for our blueberry treatments and the wonderful scent," said Weisheit.
Colombian coffee deluxe
Tcherassi Hotel and Spa, Cartagena, Columbia (www.tcherassihotels.com)
Downing espresso is not the only way to get a caffeine boost in Cartagena, Columbia. At the Tcherassi Spa, the body is first exfoliated with a chocolate scrub, then wrapped in a mask made of Columbian-grown coffee. The caffeine increases blood flow, relieving dullness and plumping the skin. Some say it can even temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite, and many women in South America have used the ingredient to make skin-smoothing creams.
Spa qualia, Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia (www.qualia.com.au)
The Aboriginal word "Kumali" means "sacred," and in this treatment, Spa qualia reveres the native and natural ingredients used to bring guests relaxation. After applying a rice and oil scrub, a massage therapist rubs heated poultices full of Australian herbs and extracts, like tea tree and kakadu plum, over the body. "Eucalyptus, lemon myrtle and other native aromas provide a relaxing and therapeutic treatment," said spa director Aleisha Lloyd. "The heated herbs relieve tight muscles, while the sacred herbs act to bring the client into a dreamtime state of consciousness."
Banana leaf wrap
Spa Vida of Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort and Spa, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/SJOPAHH-Hilton-Papagayo-Costa-Rica-Resort-Spa/index.do)
You do not have to traverse the rainforest to bask in banana leaves. In this uniquely Costa Rican treatment, warm local volcanic mud is applied all over the body before you are cocooned in five banana leaves. The metre-long leaves work to keep the mud warm while it works its re-mineralizing, relaxing magic.
Frankincense salt scrub
Spasaab at Sasaab, Kenya (www.thesafaricollection.com/camps-and-lodges/sasaab.aspx)
Extracted from the Boswelia neglecta trees in Northern Kenya, the frankincense oil used in Spasaab's salt scrub not only lifts moods and regenerates skin, but also contributes to the local community. "Frankincense is a traditional African beauty product and the sustainable collection provides an important source of income for rural people," said Ali Allport, one of the general managers of Sasaab, the safari resort located just west of Samburu National Reserve. "Using native ingredients and traditional remedies fosters a deeper connection to the experience and locally grown and collected ingredients provide a direct benefit for the local people."