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Wellness with wow factor: NZ's most luxurious spa retreats

Travel Journalist/Digital Producer

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Overhaul your health with these indulgent spa experiences, writes Juliette Sivertsen

This winter is the perfect time for a reset and a spot of extravagance. From multi-day retreats to just a few hours of spa therapy, these are the most indulgent ways to recharge and revive.

Northland

Enjoy the magic of the Bay of Islands at Paihia Beach Resort and Spa, a waterfront boutique resort. The in-house spa, La Spa Naturale, offers a range of therapies, including sea salt body exfoliation and rain shower massage with micro-jets.

Stay onsite in the resort's guest suites, which all have floor-to-ceiling windows with views out to the Bay of Islands. Continue the relaxing vibes poolside on the sun loungers while soaking up the sea views. Eat, sleep, massage and repeat.

Auckland

The serene Chuan Spa at The Cordis is an exquisite spa experience with a tri-bathing ritual offered to all day spa users. It includes the use of the heated rooftop swimming pool, herbal steam room, snail shower and an ice experience. Rebalance the body and mind with therapies such as signature spa massages, facials and traditional Chinese therapies.

The hotel and spa are located in central Auckland but you'll feel miles away from city life, thanks to the feng shui-inspired setting and contemporary Chinese designs.

Chuan Spa at The Cordis, Auckland. Photo / Langham Hospitality Group
Chuan Spa at The Cordis, Auckland. Photo / Langham Hospitality Group

Alternatively, escape into nature at Warblers Retreat near Albany. This peaceful, five-star eco-luxury nature retreat offers romantic accommodation as well as forest bathing, the Japanese concept of wellbeing through connecting with nature. Your hosts will provide you with some tips to make the most of your experience through the forest. Finish with a forest spa bath in a private setting by a waterfall.

cordishotels.com
warblersretreat.nz

Waikato

Situated on the border of Auckland and Waikato, Castaways Resort is home to the Bersantai Day Spa, high above the black sands of Karioitahi Beach. The resort is well known for its wedding venue and private glamping experiences.

Bersantai is a Balinese-inspired spa with outdoor stone baths and a variety of spa packages including facials, manicures and massages. If you're not staying on-site, you can choose from their "Spa & Dine" packages to enjoy lunch or dinner as well as some pampering - perfect for date nights. For a special occasion, the couples package includes a 45-minute outdoor stone bath, 60-minute couples relaxation massage, 60-minute couples facial and a glass of bubbles with a cheeseboard.

Coromandel

Experience ultimate seclusion and bliss at the Coromandel's exclusive Earth Energies Sanctuary. The cabin is in the middle of an organic farm, and you will only share the property with the owners, who live more than 800 metres away. The spa is a private wing which has a number of specialist treatments to rebalance your body and mind, including flotation therapy, infrared sauna, aroma, hypno and zero-balance therapies.

There's a strong focus not only on deep relaxation, but also on healing and releasing stress and anxiety. Consider it a mindfulness retreat as much as a physical spa experience.

Rotorua

Bathe in the healing natural waters of Polynesian Spa, the geothermal hot pool retreat in Rotorua. The spa has 28 pools; 14 of them have views out to Lake Rotorua.

Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied
Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. Photo / Supplied

The pools are fed from two famed springs. The acidic Priest Spring is known for its healing properties to soothe aches and muscle pain, but the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring leave skin feeling youthful and soft.

The spa has a range of therapies including geothermal mud wraps and massage, and a waterlily triple berry facial.

Hawke's Bay

Stay in a beautiful French colonial style homestead near Hawke's Bay's Ocean Beach and indulge in a wide range of healing and specialist therapies to rejuvenate body and mind.

Cape South Country Escape and Wellness Retreat is set within 16 acres of gardens and grounds. Guests can book to stay exclusively in the homestead and cottage, or attend one of the many wellness retreats held on site.

Cape South is a luxury wellness retreat in Hawke's Bay. Photo / Supplied
Cape South is a luxury wellness retreat in Hawke's Bay. Photo / Supplied

You'll have access to a magnesium salt swimming pool, gym, sauna, yoga studio, and organic gardens. Therapies available include Swedish massage, sound healing, polarity energy healing and reiki as well as traditional spa treatments.

Hosts Cam and Kate are passionate about wellness, and Kate has training in yoga, mindfulness, meditation, massage and energy healing.

Ruapehu

Learn hands-on tips to carry back into everyday life at Rua Awa Lodge's wellness workshops. The self-contained accommodation in Kakahi sleeps two people and has prime views of the region's majestic landmarks, Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngāuruhoe.

Private yoga and stretch sessions are available with a qualified yoga and corrective exercise teacher, as well as food workshops and nutritious meals.

At the end of each day, enjoy a soak in the outdoor bath or soak up the clear starry skies.

If you've had a day carving the slopes at Ruapehu, then release the muscle tension with a hot volcano stone massage at Ohakune's Snowman Lodge & Spa.

ruaawalodge.co.nz
snowmanlodge.nz

Taranaki

Immerse yourself in holistic wellness at Sanctuary Hill Yoga and Retreats in the heart of Taranaki. There is a range of shared and private accommodation options, with a choice of programmes available to focus on your wellness. Come for your own private stay or attend one of the themed group retreats, including yoga, cooking and wellness, and sound and mantra workshops.

There are several winter wellness retreats being held over the coming months, which focus on how to adapt daily habits to better cope with the winter, yoga practice and food choices.

Marlborough

Take a few hours for yourself at the Marlborough Medi Spa for its Pure Spa Indulgence package. Over four and a half hours, you'll experience a private spa pool with a glass of bubbles and a bite to eat, a full body massage and hydrating facial. You'll receive a refreshing lunch before getting your hands and tootsies treated to a manicure and pedicure.

Nelson Tasman

Escape for a few days of picturesque wellness indulgence at Peak View Retreat. This four-day wellness retreat includes accommodation on site as well as a heli-yoga session, where you'll be picked up and flown to a remote secluded mountain for a bespoke yoga session. Also included in the retreat is a two-hour mindfulness session tailored to your needs.

Peak View Retreat, which looks out to Pepin Island in Nelson Tasman. Photo / Peak View Retreat
Peak View Retreat, which looks out to Pepin Island in Nelson Tasman. Photo / Peak View Retreat

For therapeutic nature experiences, head to Maruia River Retreat. Unwind and get close to nature with forest bathing, a Finnish sauna and hot tub, infrared chroma therapy sauna, guided nature walks as well as yoga, meditation and naturopathy consultation.

peakviewretreat.com
maruia.co.nz

Canterbury

Spend a day being pampered at Christchurch's boutique spa, Beauty at the Tannery.
Choose traditional therapeutic massage treatments or indulgent relaxing spa packages. Make a day of it with their premier top-to-toe package including pre-steam, full body massage, advanced facial, lunch, deluxe manicure and deluxe pedicure.

If hot pool therapy and massage sound like your style, head inland to The Spa at Hanmer Springs. The alpine spa village 90 minutes out of Christchurch is a heavenly retreat to unwind and relax. Once you've finished soaking in the mineral thermal pools, head next door to The Spa for a variety of luxurious therapeutic treatments and remedies including steam infusions and thermal gel rituals.

beautyatthetannery.co.nz
thespahanmersprings.nz

Hanmer Springs is an alpine spa village 90 minutes out of Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
Hanmer Springs is an alpine spa village 90 minutes out of Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

West Coast

The benefits of bathing in geothermal waters have been praised for centuries. Maruia Hot Springs is a natural hot pools retreat and day spa in the South Island's beautiful Lewis Pass. Come for a day of relaxation or stay for a few nights for a wellness reset.

There are indoor and outdoor bathing pools as well as a rock sauna, cold plunge, steam room and relaxation lounges. Choose from the daily wellness and yoga sessions including meditation workshops and mindful forest walks.

Mackenzie

With epic views out to Aotearoa's iconic peak Aoraki, a stay at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is an indulgent self-care package to rest and be revived. The retreat's wellness philosophy is to "celebrate the power of optimism, make time for reflection and cultivate an active, engaged perspective on life".

Treatments are based on holistic therapies with a strong spiritual connection and to the natural environment. Winter wellness retreats include massage, yoga, artesian water spa pools and forest bathing while staying in a luxury villa with an incredible backdrop of New Zealand's highest mountain.

Queenstown Lakes

If you're looking for the pinnacle of a luxury wellness retreat, look no further than Glenorchy's award-winning Aro Ha. A wellness retreat at Aro Ha is much more than relaxation and spa therapies - it is designed to be a transformative experience that takes every part of your wellbeing into account.

Aro Ha is an award winning luxury health retreat in Glenorchy, Queenstown. Photo / Supplied
Aro Ha is an award winning luxury health retreat in Glenorchy, Queenstown. Photo / Supplied

Guests report improvements in sleep, thinking, mood and even their overall direction in life after an escape here. Experience hydrotherapy, mindfulness, nature walks, cooking, yoga, functional movement training and healing bodywork in one of New Zealand's most stunning settings.

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newfinder.co.nz and newzealand.com