Ahhhhhh. Does anything feel better than sinking into a tub of steaming-hot water and letting your muscles—and your mind—relax completely? That’s the prime appeal of staying in a hot spring resort, where thermal pools typically come with an indulgent side of spa treatments, luxurious accommodations, and fine cuisine.
The Best Hot Spring Resorts
The following hot spring resorts offer travelers a chance to soak in natural thermal pools with stunning views of woods, water, or even the northern lights.
Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa, Arenal, Costa Rica
At the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano is an inviting collection of steaming hot springs and flowing waterfalls, nestled amid lush tropical foliage. These pools are just a short walk (or free shuttle ride) from Tabacon, and while they’re open to day visitors, the intimate Shangri-La Gardens section is reserved exclusively for guests at this luxurious hot spring resort. Rooms offer cozy sitting areas and rainforest views, and there are restaurants and bars on site.
Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa, Puyuhuapi, Chile
Tucked away in Chilean Patagonia is Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa, where you can soak in outdoor hot springs overlooking snow-capped mountains and the serene waters of Dorita Bay. Using this ecolodge as a base, you can hike through a temperate rainforest, sample Chilean wines, and go sea kayaking—then come back and relax with a massage or thalassotherapy algae bath. At dinner, savor locally caught seafood accompanied by vegetables and herbs grown in the lodge’s own greenhouse.
Indian Springs, Calistoga, California
Four geysers provide natural heat and mineral water for the Olympic-size main pool, the private adults-only pool, and the serene Buddha Pond at Indian Springs. This hot spring resort in the Napa Valley offers lodge rooms, cottages, bungalows, and houses for guests looking to get away from it all while exploring California’s Wine Country. The pools stay open until midnight so you can soak under the stars. Don’t miss the resort’s famous Calistoga mud bath treatment, renowned for softening skin and encouraging relaxation.
San Giovanni Terme Rapolano, Rapolano Terme, Italy
As if Tuscany’s picture-perfect hill towns and fine wines weren’t restorative enough, the region is also home to San Giovanni, a hot spring resort with five thermal pools overlooking the countryside. You could easily spend a whole day moving from the waters to a poolside sun lounger to the spa, where you can enjoy a mango butter massage or be treated with healing thermal mud. For those who want to combine relaxation with sightseeing, the hotel is a half-hour’s drive from Siena and about 90 minutes from Florence.
Takinoya, Noboribetsu, Japan
With thousands of hot springs (known as onsens) scattered across the country, Japan is one of the best places on Earth to enjoy a leisurely soak. Try it for yourself at Takinoya, located on the northern island of Hokkaido, where options include rocky pools and infinity-style baths looking out over the surrounding wilderness. You can also enjoy a traditional kaiseki-style meal, wander through tranquil gardens, and sleep on your choice of tatami mats or Western-style beds.
Hot Water Beach Top 10, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
One of the more affordable hot spring resorts on this list, the family-friendly Hot Water Beach Top 10 offers a wide range of lodging options, from villas and motel rooms to cabins and powered RV campsites. While there’s plenty to see nearby—think beaches, hiking trails, and artist studios—the prime draw is Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own spot and enjoy the natural hot spring water seeping up from under the sand.
Chena Hot Springs Resort, Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Imagine soaking in a natural hot spring lake while gazing up at the northern lights blazing through the sky overhead: That’s the appeal of a stay at Chena Hot Springs Resort. Located about 60 miles from Fairbanks, the hotel has a large hot spring lake open from 7:00 a.m. to midnight, as well as hot tubs and an indoor pool. Massages and reflexology treatments are available on site. Accommodations include lodge-style rooms, yurts, campsites, and cabins.
Ma’in Hot Springs, Ma’in, Jordan
Discover your own desert oasis—complete with steaming waterfalls and hot spring pools—located near the Dead Sea. Let the warm water cascade down on your shoulders, then work out those last few kernels of tension with a massage at the hotel’s spa facility. Rooms at Ma’in Hot Springs are basic but comfortable, and some offer views of the falls. Guests can dine at multiple on-site restaurants.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland
This brand-new hot spring resort opened in April 2018 and boasts spacious suites with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking either lava fields or the steaming geothermal waters of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. (Upgrade to a Lagoon Suite to enjoy access to the waters right from your door.) For the max in indulgence, sign up for the spa’s Blue Lagoon Ritual, with treatments featuring lagoon ingredients such as algae, mineral salt, and silica.
Harrison Hot Springs Resort, British Columbia, Canada
Travelers flock to this friendly lakefront lodge to take advantage of its five hot spring mineral pools, including one for lap swimming, one for families, and one for adults only. Two of the pools feature waterfalls. Other area activities include hiking, golf, Jet Skiing, and quad-cycling. For a poolside room, book accommodations in the West Tower; for more privacy, rent a cottage.
More from SmarterTravel:
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- 9 Epic Luxury Hotels We’d Book if We Won the Lottery
- Calistoga: A European Spa Town, California-Style
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