What better moment to enjoy a good hot soak than during a luxurious escape far from home? Enjoy every moment in these 10 Relais & Châteaux establishments chosen with care, where taking a bath is an art, and even, perhaps, the purpose of your stay.
1. The ancient way - Gôra Kadan, Japan
Where? Centred on bringing the five senses to life by immersing guests in the ancient Japanese way of life, this traditional Japanese ryokan sits in the heart of the wilderness of Japan’s Hakone National Park.
Why should you get wet? Gôra Kadan has a range of different open-air baths – for public, private or family use. The baths are fed by mineral-rich, hot spring water which flows from three springs. A quintessentially Japanese experience, onsens offer a relaxing and delightful immersion that pairs indulgence with good health!
2. Otherworldly beauty - Awasi Patagonia, Chile
Where? Set within a private reserve near Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, looking out over the endless Patagonian landscapes.
Why should you get wet? This one-of-a-kind hotel is an assemblage of independent wooden villas designed to blend in with the pristine landscape, just like traditional Patagonian huts. Each has an outdoor jacuzzi with magnificent views of the forest, Sarmiento Lake, and Torres del Paine, making this getaway not only unique, but unforgettable.
3. Where the wild things are - Zarafa Camp, Botswana
Where? Zarafa Camp is an intimate, four room tented camp in the Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, overlooking the crystal waters of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which attracts a tremendous population of wildlife, including buffalo and elephant.
Why should you get wet? The romance of yesteryear safaris and the art of nomadic living will have you quickly under its spell here. Each of the Zarafa Camp tents, made of beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceiling, features an open-plan bathroom with an impressive copper clawfoot bath. Sink into your tub with organic bath products and glimpse views of the Botswanan savanna through the tent’s netted sides – and perhaps the odd wild animal creeping closer for a look of its own.
4. A haven for wine lovers - The Yeatman, Portugal
Where? Located in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia, the historical headquarters of the Porto wine houses, The Yeatman stands on a hill on the south bank of the Douro River, in Porto, Portugal, with views of the city and river.
Why should you get wet? Every single room features an enticing tub. Choose between the Artist Suite, with its oval tub with views over Porto, and the Bacchus Suite, with its round copper Jacuzzi tub at the very centre of the room, a freestanding fireplace to one side and views of Dom Luís I Bridge to the other. The spa, specialised in Vinotherapy®, also deserves a visit. The signature barrel bath treatment is a must, using Caudalie grape extracts, with views overlooking the Douro River and the historic city centre. Relaxing and unique.
5. Alone at the centre of the world - The Nautilus Maldives, Maldives
Where? An isle of coral sand on the island of Thiladhoo in the Baa Atoll, listed as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. A dream come true in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Why should you get wet? The Beach Villas, superb huts on stilts, bloom like tropical flowers, wrapped in the enchanting scents of lush vegetation and turquoise waters. Each villa has a panoramic view, letting you linger in a delightful bath while gazing out upon the endless, idyllic waterscape of the Indian Ocean.
6. Deep in the jungle - Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Sri Lanka
Where? Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sri Lanka, near Yala National Park, looks out onto the jungle and the shores of the Indian Ocean.
Why should you get wet? To treat yourself to an exquisite bubble bath, reserve one of the twenty-eight tents with bathtubs. Be it to unwind after a leopard-watching safari or to drink in the sunset before sipping a cocktail in the hotel bar, these tubs stand ready to welcome you to a relaxing, cleansing moment.
7. Under African skies - Royal Chundu, Zambia
Where? Royal Chundu is tucked amid lush trees on the remote banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia. A true getaway on 15 kilometres of private waterway, it sits only 30 kilometres from Victoria Falls.
Why should you get wet? Royal Chundu’s secluded Island Lodge rests among riverine vegetation on the private Katombora Island in the middle of the Zambezi. Here four spacious villas sit, each with their own private deck looking out over the water and the surrounding wilderness. In the evenings, return to your villa from dinner or a day on the river to find a bubble bath already drawn, lit by the glow of lanterns. Watch night fall from your tub and listen to hippos starting to stir below.
8. How the French do it - Domaine de Rochevilaine, France
Where? This relaxing wellness break takes place on the edge of the Vilaine estuary with its jagged cliffs and blue waters in the Morbihan in southern Brittany, France.
Why should you get wet? Domaine de Rochevilaine offers something truly special for bath lovers, with entire spa treatments focusing on the healing art of the bath. Along with your usual massages, indulge in hydromassage baths with seaweed and sea salts in the Aqua Phénicia Marine Spa, with views of the ocean extending all the way to the horizon. Enjoy the rejuvenating powers of these baths, taking time for yourself, in the spirit of place in this Breton setting.
9. La Dolce Far Niente - Castel Fragsburg, Italy
Where? This enchanting property stands on the heights of Merano in South Tyrol.
Why should you get wet? The hotel boasts an award-winning “alchemistic” spa that takes communing with nature to an entirely new level. The spa’s star attraction is unquestionably the larch wood tub on the terrace, with a breathtaking view of the Texel mountain range. You can bathe in goat’s milk or mineral-infused rose water while savoring the sensory wonderland of this location between heaven and earth.
10. The sweet life in California - Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, USA
Where? Near the beaches of La Jolla and Del Mar, near San Diego, this Californian hacienda is set among 18 hectares of rolling hills, orange groves and gardens of hibiscus and cacti.
Why should you get wet? At Rancho Valencia Rest & Spa, baths are everywhere. Each of the villas has a private bathroom featuring deep soaking tubs with custom-blended organic bath products. A stop at the spa is also worth the detour, to enjoy an outdoor soak against a backdrop of characteristic SoCal ethnic mosaics. The hotel also offers the chance to take part in yoga classes by the pool.