The Dog Days of summer are almost here, which means we crave, almost require, a spa break. Yet typical offerings often leave today’s seasoned traveler unimpressed. “People are so used to a Swedish massage that they get bored and want something more unexpected,” says Karen Benson, a Virtuoso spa specialist from Camelback Odyssey Travel.
“Being outside, surrounded by nature, heightens our senses while offering a greater opportunity to become relaxed,” she says. If you’re seen it all when it comes to spa menus, we’ve rounded up these latest offerings—unusual twists on outdoor summertime spa treatments.
Related: Nine Great Meditation Retreats
For The Uber-Lazy
If you consider relaxing in a hammock being active, then up your unmotivated ante with a hammock massage—performed in a treehouse ($225). Offered at Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve, in Puerto Rico, the therapist comes to you and works the pressure points on your back, hands and feet while you sway to the ocean's rhythm. The smell of bay rum leaves, lemongrass and ginger growing throughout the spa's garden will take you deeper into the zen moment.
For The Water Worshiper
Those who want more movement than the dead man’s float—but aren’t quite ready for diving and skinny dipping after dark—should opt for Solage Calistoga’s floating meditation (pictured), which takes place in their bathhouse geothermal mineral pool ($130 for a private or couples session, $25 per person for a group of 10 or less). The water temperature is naturally set by the sun at a dreamy 96 to 98 degrees while you float in a mesh chair, partially submerged in the warm water. Held at night so you can see the stars and the moon—both of which are incorporated into the session—a guide leads you a meditation designed to release stress and tension while enhancing mental clarity.
For The Sun Seeker
Rather than cover your skin in sunblock, try a four-hour white clay body mask lagoon trip ($150) at the UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil (one of Anderson Cooper’s own picks). First, you’ll travel via horseback to the red-colored cliffs of Taipe Beach, then detoxify your body by applying a mineral-rich clay created per the rich traditions of the native Pataxó Indians. After basking in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes (so the oil can go deep into the skin), dip in the ocean to wash it away before heading back to the property—by horse or by car.
For The Shady Lady
If you’d rather take cover, head indoors to an authentic Temazcal, a domed structure, for traditional Mayan therapy ($90) offered at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, Mexico. Set within the jungle, this pre-Hispanic ritual helps eliminate toxins, purify the body and stimulate circulation as you’re guided through different levels of heat and steam generated by volcanic rocks and medicinal herbs stored inside. Once you’re reborn, get baptized in a cenote—a natural pit formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater considered sacred.