Travel Writers And Influencers Share Their Favorite Spas For A Steam, Sauna, And Soak

The best part of winter might just be the creative ways to stay cozy. From soaking in coveted hot springs around the world to working up a sweat in a sauna, warming your bones in the dark days of winter is just the thing to get you through the season. And in 2024, with self-care being all the rage, spas have gotten cooler, younger, and sexier than ever.

As we find ourselves in the throes of a relaxation revolution with wellness-inspired travel trends booming, we asked travel influencers to share their favorite spas in the US and abroad. From Vail’s famed aprés-ski Sonnenalp Spa to Miami’s peaceful and detoxifying Tierra Santa Healing House, let’s dive into this season’s curated list of the best spas to visit.

See you in the steam room!

EDITOR’S PICK (@Steve_Bramucci): The Spa Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch –Avon, CO

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch Spa
Chris Rodriguez

This is a bad topic for me! I’ve become a “spa guy” very rapidly in the past two years and have all sorts of thoughts. A few of my picks have been shouted out here a lot and, frankly, deserve to be continually shouted out. If you haven’t gone to Aqua Dome Tirol — which you’ll read more about later in this list — make a point of it. It’s the coolest, youngest, vibiest spa I’ve ever set foot in.

It was on the Uproxx Travel Hot List in 2019, because we are habitually ahead of travel trends. I also covered it when discussing Christmas in Austria (something I’d highly recommend).

I’m also a huge fan of Knot Springs in Portland (it was shouted out in the 2021 Hot List, as a sign of Portland’s post-pandemic resurgence). It calls itself a “Wellness Social Club” and truly nails that designation. Of all the spas I’ve been to, this is where you’re most likely to meet someone and vibe out. It also makes for an amazing date. It’s got views of the entire city and would be an Instagram heaven… except there’s a very strict “no phones; no photos” policy (which makes perfect sense for a whole bunch of reasons!).

The coolest aspect of Knot Springs, in my book, is that members have access to shared workspaces, a gym, communal areas, pools, and plunges. If I ever get to move back to my beloved Portland, I’ll become a member before I even lock in an apartment. The only downside is that the experience is not a particularly chill one. You’re encouraged to move quickly and have to be out of the space in 90 minutes.

Still, at $89 per visit ($69 midweek), it’s become a part of my Portland routine.

Knot springs sauna
Knot Springs

My current favorite spa in the United States is also my most recent discovery — the spa at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. With a cold plunge, sauna, steam, and hot tub for both men and women, this property was ahead of the curve on the overall wellness trend. Vibe-wise, everything is made of stone and wood, so it feels very European in that sense. It’s also below ground — which conjures this spirit of being in an ancient bathhouse buried below a mountain.

The highlight is a giant — I mean, it could be a lap pool — hot tub in the shared grotto. Accessible to both men and women, this is the perfect place to meet with your date after a day on the slopes and separate steam, plunge, and sauna sessions. The vibe in this co-ed space is relaxed and drinks are allowed, making it an après ski dream.

Now here’s the crazy bit of it all — use of the spa is free to guests. Free-free. That’s a whole lot of relaxation without having to spend more than your basic room rate. It’s the best deal I can remember seeing for anyone looking to splurge on a luxury resort in the mountain.

Bachelor Gulch
Chris Rodriguez

Bunny Zingler (@xo.bunny): Tierra Santa Healing House At The Faena Hotel — Miami Beach, FL

Bunny Zingler

My absolute favorite spa in the heart of the heat – my home, the 305, is the Tierra Santa Healing House located at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach. This is not just any type of spa, you’re greeted with the most welcoming, comforting, and, more importantly, peaceful ambiance.

Upon arrival, Tierra Santa has so many intriguing experiences to indulge in. If you’re looking for a natural detox, head over and look out on the menu for the “Pranic Healing.” This irresistible 60-minute journey is the ultimate cleanse for your chakras and energy – including the beautiful healing and aroma of Palo Santo and goosebump-worthy sound bowls. I usually save this service for last because you’re advised to shower 12 hours after to let the soul cleanse sink in.

Prior to this experience, my husband and I love to start our spa day with a 60-minute couples massage followed by the add-ons, which focus just on the head and face for some extra love on tender points. After the massages, we either go with a dry brush exfoliation or a body scrub to shed off all the dead skin. Following that, we love to indulge in their signature wet spa, packed with amenities like a cold room, steam room, and sauna. It’s the perfect location to get lost in, and my favorite part is that it’s co-ed, so feel free to enjoy it with your partner or friends!

The whole experience at the Tierra is very luxurious. I especially love that this place offers plenty of carefully curated options for healing the inner or outer body. Check out their menu before booking the perfect lineup for your appointment!

Nikta Nilchian (@Niktanic): The Spa at Séc-he — Palm Springs, CA

The Spa at Séc-he
The Spa at Séc-he

As soon as you walk in The Spa at Séc-he, it’s clear that every aspect of the space was thought through in great detail. From the design elements honoring the history and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the circular layout of this massive wellness center, the unique, one-of-a-kind massage tables, the decor of the waiting rooms — everything has a story, a reason for being, and an in-depth explanation.

On top of that, Séc-he is truly an epicenter for all of your wellness needs. Not only do they offer every type of massage therapy you can imagine (the list is longer than the Cheesecake Factory menu), but with a “Taking of the Waters Day-Pass,” one can easily spend an entire day taking advantage of the spa’s many amenities and still walk away as relaxed as ever.

The pass allows access to some things that you’ve seen at most spas—access to a steam and sauna room, cold plunge, fitness center, pool, and hot tub access, relaxing common areas, and grooming amenities. But even these offerings are far from typical. The steam room has eucalyptus for promoting skin health and improving your respiratory wellness while acting as a natural stimulant to re-energize you. The sauna includes menthol inhalation, which is known to provide symptomatic relief for upper airway congestion and reduces capsaicin cough sensitivity. The showers are equipped with aromatherapy steam and vitamin C-infused water. The bright smell and feel of this water was so divine, I took three showers during my day visiting this spa.

One of my favorite rooms that should not be missed at Séc-he is the Acoustic Wellness Lounge. Sound therapy is gaining popularity for its proven benefits of lowering anxiety, stress, depression, sleep disorders, and high blood pressure. This room was lined with zero-gravity vibrational (and heated) lounges for binaural therapy. I loved this room because after a massage, I always want to continue feeling ultra relaxed and I’m never ready to enter the world with other humans in it.

I also usually want to take a nap. This room allows not only for that nap but also the added benefit of audio therapy. While in one of these charges, I was able to enjoy a guided breath-work session, chakra–sound waves to work on all six chakras, gamma meditation that focuses on memory, perception and compassion, and “sleep wave” souynds. As someone who is chronically underslept, the power nap and deep sleep options were a godsend.

There was also a weight management option in the audio therapy menu. I didn’t ask questions, I just hit “play” and hoped some weight was being magically redistributed while I chilled. It’s no surprise that Séc-he was named #1 spa in the country for 2023.

Sam McClendon (@sammcclendon): Aqua Dome — Tirol, Austria

Sam McClendon

Austria is an epic winter escape for anyone looking to hit the slopes, indulge in a spa day, and enjoy charming European towns. Located in western Austria, the Tyrolean Alps are home to one of the best spa hotels in Europe, Aqua Dome. Aqua Dome has one of the largest thermal spa complexes in Europe and is a top-rated wellness destination by both local Europeans and foreigners alike. To give you an idea of the magnitude, this thermal spa has 12 indoor and outdoor baths, seven saunas, and four restaurants and bars! I felt like a Bond girl relaxing in these futuristic baths that are set against a backdrop of the Austrian Alps.

Aqua Dome is a great destination for a holistic wellness trip in Europe, but if you’re unable to stay overnight, you can also book a day pass to the thermal spa. The packages start at just €36.80, and it’s well worth the price tag!

Emily Mei (@emily.ghoul): Solaniwa Onsen — Osaka, Japan

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Las Vegas, NV (4/26-27)

Emily Mei

My top recommended spa recommendation has to be Solaniwa Onsen in Osaka, Japan! There’s a good reason it’s called a “hot spring village”! You enter and change into their traditional yukata robes, and the interior is beautifully decorated in traditional architecture. The village has everything from an indoor night market to multiple saunas and hot springs.

My friends and I booked a private room with a traditional tatami floor, a private hot spring bath, and a mini garden. You could easily spend all day here, and I actually finished writing my song Venom (a dark, rock-heavy song) while relaxing in the private bath!

NAWAS (@nawas): Chill Out Sinatra Style — Palm Springs, CA


I love taking it old school, so for my winter spa day, I’m grabbing the Mrs. and doing it the way of the Rat Pack. I’d book Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate for some mid-century magic and a bit of lounging by the piano-shaped pool. Then it’s off to The Yacht Club Spa at the Parker, because who can resist a bit of pampering?

After a couples massage and a couple of glasses of bubbly, I’m heading straight to Mr. Lyons for a perfectly cooked steak and a gin-something cocktail. The last stop is nightcap at Seymour’s, naturally to soothe the sight of the weekend bill that’s coming with a vengeance on Monday.

Ava Roxanne Stritt (@spatravelgal): Sonnenalp Spa — Vail, CO

Ava Roxanne Stritt

The best spa for a winter getaway is definitely the Sonnenalp Spa in Vail, Colorado. Not only can you wake up and take an early morning sauna or hot tub soak to warm those muscles before a big day on the slopes – you can also return after a day of skiing for a little après-ski right in the spa. They offer an oxygen bar along with flutes of prosecco to get you ready for another day on the slopes. Pro Tip: Be sure to take advantage of their ski concierge!

AR/CO (@wearearco): Aire Ancient Baths UK — London, England

If you want a mega treat we’ve found our best secret spot in Central London, it comes with a price tag but is definitely something for a special occasion. Aire Ancient Baths UK, smack bang in Covent Garden. It’s pretty unassuming from the facade but the spiral staircase leads you down to these Grecian-like pools and it feels like you take a step back in time.

They keep numbers low because of the pricey tag, but it means it feels private, and there are plenty of corners and nooks to sit or hide in! Personal favorites are the salt baths or sauna with a plunge pool. There’s a treatment option that also comes with massage (£££), but if you’re lucky enough to make that happen you may have visited London’s closest thing to heaven for an afternoon.

Rob DelliBovi (@robdellibovi): Tierra Santa Healing House at the Faena Hotel — Miami Beach, FL

Tierra Santa Healing House

Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena is by far the best in town, and of course great during the wintertime. It’s unique because of its size – spanning 22,000 square feet, it features the East Coast’s largest hammam, inviting guests to experience ancient bathing rituals. With shaman-crafted body-healing ceremonies and state-of-the-art facial treatments featuring Biologique Recherche skin care lines, the spa really provides the best rejuvenation experience in South Florida.

The spa also offers technologically advanced facial treatments using Biologique Recherche skincare lines. Faena is a Miami staple and the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a luxury property combining design, luxe amenities, and legendary service. The spa has a great wellness programming schedule too — including yoga, weekly meditations, and sound healing.

Vescoe Blake (@vesblake): ESPA Riga — Riga, Latvia

Vescoe Blake

ESPA in Riga is 100% one of the finest indoor spas I’ve ever experienced. It is an impressive size and encompasses everything you’d expect from a top-tier 5-star spa. If you’re familiar with Espy then I don’t have to tell you the place smells great and all the products are good quality.

Featuring two pool areas with saunas and an extensive menu of treatments to choose from, the ESPY spa is connected to the largest of the three Radissons in Riga city center, although it’s not accessible to guests. Fortunately, I managed to secure a day pass to the spa, and I’m genuinely pleased I did. It added a touch of relaxation to my final day of the trip. I would 100% come back to experience the spa experience again.

VASSY (@vassy): Relax Bee Syros — Syros, Greece

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Miami, FL (3/21); West Coast (March/April); Mindil Beach, Darwin, Australia (5/18)


One of the coolest places I’ve ever visited on vacation is Relax Bee Syros, a chill spot for yoga and wellness vibes on the island of Syros, Greece. It’s just a quick 30-minute plane hop from Athens, and as soon as you land, you’re greeted with stunning mountain views and crystal-clear ocean waters.

The spa itself sits right by the water, overlooking the Glyfadas, with a sweet open-air garden vibe. They’ve got everything from mud bath therapy to massages, and you can enjoy them in different spots around the spa. You can get a massage while basking in the sun on a rooftop, or chilling in a green garden oasis—pure bliss. You can see the old town of Syros and the iconic St. Nicholas Church, adding a cool architectural vibe to the scene.

What I dig most about Syros is the vibe—it’s all about health and wellness, and the island’s younger crowd adds to the laid-back atmosphere. Plus, there are plenty of spots to grab fresh juices or a matcha latte. Overall, Relax Bee Syros is a total sensory treat, blending nature, culture, and wellness into one epic vacation experience.

ZUEZEU (@zuezeu): Nalu Spa — Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaii

Featured Upcoming Tour Dates: Berkley, CA (3/8); Nashville, TN (3/16); Tampa, FL (4/27)


As I stepped into Nalu Spa at Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, I was immediately transported to a world of tranquility. The soothing ambiance, coupled with the mesmerizing views of the North Shore’s coastline, instantly put me at ease. The spa’s staff welcomed me warmly, ensuring my experience would be nothing short of exceptional.

I indulged in their signature Hawaiian massage, a deeply relaxing treatment that left me physically and spiritually rejuvenated. The therapist’s expert hands worked wonders on my tense muscles, melting away the stress of everyday life. The use of locally sourced ingredients in their facials added a unique touch to my skincare regimen, leaving my skin glowing with vitality.

After my treatment, I savored some quiet time in the spa’s relaxation lounge, sipping on herbal tea and basking in the serene atmosphere. Nalu Spa offers a holistic approach to wellness that is truly unmatched, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking inner peace and rejuvenation amidst Hawaii’s natural beauty.