Although they are now more popular than ever before, hotels that offer spa facilities in Europe have been around since the 70’s when the first hotels specifically dedicated to guests’ well-being were established. Until this time, they were known as spa hotels which offered thermal waters that formed part of the services provided for guests. Spa hotels have since grown incredibly but what are the basic factors they should offer in order to help us cast our deciding vote?

Guests have a clear view of what a good spa hotel should offer: jacuzzi, sauna, turkish bath, special showers, a great pool with swan-neck taps and jet showers. Every time, it gets bigger and better; we know the possibilities and are not afraid to ask. However, a spa hotel doesn’t always have to have a multitude of facilities as guests are satisfied with the following series of requirements:

  • Water therapy treatments concentrated on the well-being of the body.
  • Basic facilities like climatised indoor pools, saunas and turkish baths.
  • Booths and a massage menu.
  • Specific beauty treatments that combine various techniques.
  • Qualified professionals to carry out these treatments.
  • Medical supervision is not required as this already comes with the territory in wellness hotels.

In accordance with the official definition by the International Spa Association: “Spas are places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.” And if you refer to its name, it comes from the Latin acronym Saluten Per Aquam (SPA), since its origin goes back to Roman times.

Following this, hotels which, as well as offering accommodation, offer these types of services and facilities and are able to relieve stress and bad health habits, are given the name “spa hotel”. However, in this regard, there’s often some confusion about the difference between well-being hotels (a more narrow concept) and spa hotels (a more open concept).

A wellness hotel takes the form of a spa and includes general physical and physiological treatments performed by medical professionals. And then there are others that are health spas, focused on the general health of the client, embarking on concepts like nutrition and always supervised by medical professionals who know everything there is to know about the treatments.

The other concept is a spa which is focused on relaxing and combatting stress. This type of therapeutic spa offers a diverse menu of health and beauty therapies, more often than not combined with thermal waters and are always supervised by medical personnel. Finally, you have the holistic spa which offers a range of therapies, facilities and treatments which, combined, guarantee the client a stay of equilibrium.

What Spain can offer

Nowadays, Spain is one of the best countries in Europe to offer a large range of high-quality spa hotels and resorts. The north of Spain is better for traditional spa hotels. In areas of mass tourism, spa hotels have improved incredibly over the last few years and are almost a regular occurrence in this sector.

It is true that whilst spas vary a lot from hotel to hotel, some mention having a spa when really all they offer is a small zone with indoor pool and jacuzzi with some deck chairs on which to relax. Others, on the other hand, are more authentic paradises of well-being and contentment where you’ll find qualified professionals and special, unique and innovative treatments.

However, normally this term is quite well-received, just look for hotels that actually offer spa services as part of their profile. This is certainly true in superior 3 star hotels in touristic or urban zones, centered around business clients or those who desire a weekend escape.

Where are the best spa hotels? You can find them all over Spain. More specifically in luxury urban zones, in cities’ old towns or financial districts and golf or beach resorts. These offer a lot more in terms of services as they are geared towards larger holiday seasons.

If you are looking for a spa hotel, the islands are your obvious choice of destination. Some of these are: the spa hotels in Cala Millor, Palma, Playa de Muro in Majorca, the spa hotels in Fuerteventura in Corralejo and Playa Jandía and the spa hotels in Tenerife, the coast of Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje, and the capital of Santa Cruz. The prices vary according to the season and the time of year you choose as, due to the demanding season, they rise  in the summer months.

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