In an age where pampering is finding its way into more and more vacation plans, spas are doing backflips to stand out from the pack, with treatments that feature organic, exotic or locally sourced products and techniques that promise everything from dermatological miracles to a return to youth.
Even in this climate of spa one-upmanship, here are three treatment packages at some of Europe's finest spas, curated by U.K.-based Health and Fitness Travel www.healthandfitnesstravel.com/, that certainly score points for their originality.
The Red & Black Pepper Lipolysis detox treatment at Porto Elounda www.portoelounda.com/en/home on Crete uses dinner table spices to moisturize and break down fatty tissue, according to therapists at the on-property Six Senses Spa. The treatment comprises warm and cool toning techniques, a spirulina wrap and a dip in the thalassotherapy pool.
The 127-room property, which overlooks Mirabello Bay, features a private golf course and soccer camp.
A weeklong spa package is priced from about $1,800 per person, including accommodations, half board, treatments and transfers.
Burning mugwort may sound like something out of a "Harry Potter" novel, but it's actually part of a Moxibustion Chinese Therapy treatment at Lefay Resort & Spa www.lefayresorts.com/eng in Italy's Lake Garda region.
Mugwort, a medicinal herb, is heated and placed on acupuncture points on the body, which is said to stimulate energy and produce other beneficial results. Spagoers are encouraged to follow the treatment with a soak in Lefay's saltwater lake.
The 93-room property, which is set on 11 acres among olive trees and wooded parkland in the village of Gargnano, also features several swimming pools, a fitness center and two restaurants serving Mediterranean cuisine.
A five-night stay, including accommodations, full board, spa treatments and transfers, is priced from about $2,600 per person.
Also in Italy, the Farm-to-Facial Abbel Bel treatment at the five-star Borgo Egnazia resort http://borgoegnazia.com/ in Puglia nurtures your face with, basically, salad dressing.
Using ingredients straight from the chef's kitchen garden, the signature treatment features lemon, mint, sage, rosemary, lavender, almond milk, camellia oil and olive oil.
In addition to the spa, the 184-room, Baroque-style property, which overlooks the Adriatic Sea, offers three restaurants and a menu of fitness activities.
A four-night stay, including spa treatments, accommodations, daily breakfast and transfers, is priced from about $1,300.