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Best Spas

Spas offer a respite from daily stress, a transformative means to health, and boost the spirit. Massages melt muscles with seductive aromatherapy, perfect pressure points, and release knots, putting your body and mind at ease. Nothing beats a good masseur or masseuse. For a girls getaway, guys getaway (er, mancation?), or any other trip, here's a list of some of the best spas in the world.

  • Best destination spas ranked by Travel + Leisure's readers in 2004
    Destination spas offer a complete immersion in pampering, with setting, food, ambience, and treatments all aimed at making you feel as relaxed as imaginable (or unimaginable).
  • Best resort spas ranked by Travel + Leisure's readers in 2004
    Resort spas are normally connected to luxury hotels or resorts, often in locations with great natural beauty, offering a wide range of spa treatments.
  • Best spas for hikers by About.com
    For active vacationers who like adventure mixed with pampering.
  • Best spas for detox by About.com
    For travelers in need of a spiritually cleansing or healthy vacation.
  • Best spas on a lake by About.com
    For spa lovers who find as much peace on a lake as during a massage.

But are any of these really the best? Such a subjective word: best. What makes a spa ideal for you? I've heard amazing things about Mii Amo in Sedona, Ariz., but from my personal experience (so far!), the best spa I've gone to was in Calistoga, Calif. Here's why it was amazing:

When I walked in, the clock was at least 10 minutes slow and the front desk clerk smiled, "Welcome. No worries about the time, we're on spa time." My shoulders dropped with relief. No stress here. After calmly slipping into a robe in the dressing room, I drank cucumber-flavored water before the masseuse brought me to my sea salt soaking tub. After the soak, I had the massage of a lifetime. The masseuse was a magician with strong, experienced hands who worked every knot out of my back and shoulders, then had me doing a breathing exercise while she released tension from my neck and left my body and mind dizzy with delight. Being on vacation in Napa Valley also helped with the carefree mood. Still, I highly recommend Indian Springs Spa. As part of your appointment, you even get free use of their outdoor swimming pool. Another cool perk.

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