LIFE IN BALANCE:

6 Unusual Spa Destinations

Plan your next getaway to one of these off-the-beaten-path spots.

When it comes to relaxing vacations, it’s hard to beat the soothing and restorative qualities of a spa. Where better to renew yourself mentally, physically and emotionally? With that in mind, here are six far-flung locales to consider.

The Geothermal Pools of Iceland

Nothing is quite so relaxing as being warm while cold reigns outside. If this appeals to you, a trip to Iceland is in order to explore its geothermal springs. Hot mineral water spills from the earth, powering nearby communities and offering visitors an immersion in its soothing, 100°F ease.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Imagine yourself on a beach. The scent of lemongrass surrounds you, the sun soothes your mind and your muscles, and your only decision is whether to stroll through the tropical gardens before or after your Thai massage. A vacation to the popular island of Koh Samui can offer you all of this.

Almaty, Kazakhstan

If you’re more of a city buff and you want to explore unfamiliar terrain in the form of sidewalks, shops and museums, Almaty, Kazakhstan, offers both a city and a retreat. Where the city is fast, its spas are slow, offering respite. Skilled practitioners will rub you, relax you and send you back to town refreshed and renewed.

Marrakech, Morocco

For a meaningful spa experience, consider a culture that takes its spa practices seriously. So it is with the Moroccan spas, which feature the hammam, or steam bath—a staple of Moroccan culture.

Ubud, Bali

This retreat destination offers spas in the jungled recesses of Bali that go beyond the expected offerings, with everything from yoga to Ayurvedic specialists, as well as mountain biking, whitewater rafting and martial arts.

Volcanic Hot Springs of Japan

The onsen of Japan, or volcanic hot springs, are famous for their healing waters. Combine that with a country where bathing is practically a sacred ritual, and you’re in for some soothing soaks. Hot springs are located throughout the country, but several are in or near Tokyo.

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