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 - Museum Hotel, Turkey
Where? The Museum Hotel, restored from ruins, caves and ancient houses, lies In Uchisar, Cappadocia, an area in central Turkey of geological extravagance, dotted with honeycombed hills and towering boulders. A stunningly beautiful lunar landscape.
Why should you get wet? This one-of-a-kind hotel has rooms cut into the mountainside. Each features its own private bathroom and a Jacuzzi bath with unobstructed views of the surrounding valley and the sky dotted with hot-air balloons, and of the incredible architecture of these structures of stone.
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 - Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, French Polynesia
Where? An islet of coral sand on the Motu Tautau Islands, with views of the fragrant vanilla island of Taha’a and Bora Bora. A dream to experience in the South Pacific.
Why should you get wet? Grand thatched huts on stilts, the Beach Villas are enveloped in the enchanting scents of the lush tropical vegetation that fill the air. Each has a private terrace designed as a tropical patio with wooden cabana and an outdoor bath that lets you enjoy a delightful evening soak while admiring the starlit skies of the Tahitian islands.
6. You had me at white sand beach - Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa, Thailand
Where? The Wanakarn Beach Resort & Spa in Phuket, Thailand, looks over the band of white sand of Thai Muang Beach and the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. A protected reserve only a 40- minute drive from Phuket International Airport.
Why should you get wet? For the promise of foam bath bliss, book a villa with a free-standing Jacuzzi bathtub and a view stretching all the way past the idyllic beach and turquoise ocean outside to your private pool. Whether it’s to wash off the beach sand between sunbathing and water sports, or after a spa massage and before evening cocktails at the bar, the large tubs offer the best reason to give yourself a moment to relax.
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 - La Meridiana Resort & Golf, Italy
Where? This charming property lies on the Italian Riviera, between Monte Carlo and Portofino in Italy.
Why should you get wet? You are likely to grow very fond of the large tub in the Executive Suite, whose doors open onto a balcony facing the beautiful garden and hills. There are chemical-free bath amenities exclusively handcrafted for La Meridiana. For the suites on the ground floor, you can bring your pet along, should you be used to bathing with your pooch standing guard, since the hotel received the 2011 prize for Animal Friendly Hotel Award by the Italian Ministry of Tourism.
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.