Top Five Hot Springs Destinations
Best 5 hot springs destinations in In the world of spa treatments, everything goes back to water-and travel
In the world of spa treatments, everything goes back to water-and travel. In the end, the word “spa” itself comes from Spa, Belgium, a well known watering spot back in the 1600s. Within the centuries since, cultures around the world turned to natural, mineral-rich waters to deal with a wide array of concerns, from the medical (sinus issues, muscle and pain) to cosmetic (skin clarity, psoriasis). The traditional Romans turned soaking into a skill form-and a part of daily life-and as the Roman Empire grew, baths referred to as thermae were established wherever mineral springs were found. Over the years, many of these ancient hot spring towns grew into wellness resorts, particularly once European doctors started recommending “water cures” within the 18th century. With so many steamy spots to select from in the world, we’ve narrowed our jot down to natural hot, mineral, and geothermal springs in historic, picturesque locations, including two the following in the U.S.
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Back in the early 1500s the Ute Indians enjoyed these southwest Colorado hot springs, which sit 8,600 feet above sea level. Ore miners (and speculators) found the region in the 1880s, and a private homestead was established around the land that’s now Dunton. Owners recognized the hot springs’ moneymaking potential and began charging a nickel to consider a dip. The first “hot tub” was built-in a log-lined pit, followed by various shack bathhouses. By 1918, though, the mining boom was bust and also the town deserted. The current owners took control of in 994 and spent seven years turning the entire town into an upscale resort.
The advantages: Controlled by tectonic forces, the naturally heated Dunton springs are full of iron and magnesium, with trace levels of lithium. Along with the therapeutic benefits of the minerals as well as heat (temps range from 85 to 106 degrees), soakers obtain the added bonus of calcium bicarbonate, which will help open peripheral blood vessels and improve circulation.
How you can Soak: Dunton’s deluxe cabins start at $550, but day passes are for sale to travelers who aren’t spending the night time or booked in the spa (remedies are $185). Once on site, you can decide to soak in one of several pools, such as the renovated 19th Century bathhouse, two outdoor pools, or directly in the source. duntonhotsprings.com; $115 for a day pass, including lunch.
Ma’In Hot Springs, Jordan
Like the ones from their neighbor, the Dead Sea, the healing powers of those desert oasis springs are biblical: King Herod would travel here often for treatment and legend has it that Salome did her famous dance in the nearby villa. Since then, kings, queens, and commoners of all have come to enjoy the hot and cold springs, a few of which tumble down from picturesque waterfalls.
The advantages: Known locally as Hammamat Ma’in, the springs result from winter rainfalls in Jordan’s highland plains. Because the water makes its way with the Wadi Zarqa Ma’in valley, underground lava fissures help heat them (temps vary from 104 to 145 degrees) and infuse all of them with skin-healing minerals like hydrogen sulfide, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Stand under among the hyperthermal waterfalls for a natural deep-tissue massage.
How you can Soak: The springs come in a desert valley close to the Dead Sea, about 866 feet below sea level; it’s around a 20-minute drive in the town of Madaba and one hour from capital Amman. The public bathing complex at Hammamat Ma’in includes Roman baths in the base of a waterfall (visitjordan.com; $14 entrance fee). The ability is popular with local families and may get crowded on weekends. For a far more private experience, check-in to the Evason Ma’In Hot Springs resort nearby, where guests enjoy after-hours admission to the main springs, as well as use of falls and pools on the hotel grounds. (011-962-5-324-5500; sixsenses.com/Evason-Ma-In; from $207 every night).
Arenal Hot Springs, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes and 61 more which are dormant or extinct. Because of all this geothermal activity, the nation also boasts several hot springs sites, especially around the Arenal Volcano in the northwest. Technically still active (it’s considered “resting”), Arenal’s heat and minerals infuse streams that flow with the marshes and grasslands at its base. Several hotels offer accessibility springs, but the original-and the gold standard-is the Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort, opened in 1993.
The advantages: Tabacón’s hot springs are 97 percent rainwater which has sunk to the earth’s core and been heated, and also the remaining three percent is magma-based. Because the mixture rises back to the top, it brings with it the minerals imbedded on your lawn. The springs are naturally heated to some muscle-relaxing 77 to 122 degrees and also the high levels of hydrothermal flora and fauna strengthen the skin’s immune system and repair surface damage. Better still, the springs are lower in sulfur. Meaning you won’t stink after going for a dip.
How to Soak: If staying in the luxury resort is not within the budget, buy a day pass to savor the dozen mineral pools (including one with thermal water slide and the other with a swim-up bar), three thermal waterfalls, and sweeping volcano views. tabacon.com; from $60 for any day pass.
Archeological evidence suggests activity around these springs in southwest England dating back to 8,000 B.C. Those water-crazy Romans constructed the very first formal baths in the first century AD (visitors can tour the remains today) and also the baths’ popularity didn’t wane within the centuries that followed. As Jane Austen fans know, the waters were popular through the 1700s and 1800s with travelers seeking to “take the waters.” In 2006, after greater than a decade of renovations, the Thermae Bath Spa complex opened in certain of the most historic bath sites.
The advantages: The three wellheads under the center of Bath are sourced by ancient rainwater which has made its way up with the region’s limestone faults. The waters (which may be as warm as 117 degrees) contain a lot more than 42 minerals, including sulphate, calcium, silica, iron, and chloride. Doctors have sent patients for centuries to treat rheumatism, psoriasis, gout, as well as infertility; injured WWII servicemen also came for rehab. These days, most soakers seek relaxation and respite from skin issues.
How to Soak: The Thermae Bath Complex is appropriate in the center of Bath, about a 15-minute walk in the railway station. The main building houses the biggest of the thermal baths, the brand new Royal Bath, has a whirlpool in addition to a “lazy river,” a heated rooftop pool, aromatherapy steam rooms, along with a full-service spa (thermaebathspa.com; entrance fees from $34). Next door, the smaller (and very basic) thermal Cross Bath stands to begin where ancient Celts and Romans honored their respective goddesses (thermaebathspa.com; $21 for 1 hour 30 minutes).