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Written by Ana Grilo
A day at the spa is an undeniable luxury. But the benefits of a mineral soak, a deep-tissue massage or a reflexology session can go far beyond a gratuitous endorphins boost: For the athletically inclined, an indulgent spa treatment is restorative bodywork. From runners to golfers to skiers to surfers, athletes of all types and levels aim for maximum physical efficiency—and spas have stepped up to help.
With the arrival of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, also the football players need this hotel experience, which is essential for the mind to clear, allowing the athlete to focus on their own competitive or personal fitness goals. Whatever your preference, the best hotel spas for athletes are sure to keep you in the game.
Already home to two golf courses redesigned by owner and World Golf Hall of Fame member Johnny Miller, the spa at Silverado Resort helps golfers sharpen their game. The Golf Swing Therapy menu includes the Par for the Course massage, which zeros in on the muscles of the upper body to enhance range of motion using an invigorating sports balm. The Golfer’s Reflexology treatment utilizes reflex points on the hands and feet, releasing tension, increasing energy and restoring physical balance.
With its jungle-meets-coast location, Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo provides access to hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and more to its adventurous guests. The resort’s spa complements outdoor pursuits with a team of skilled physical therapists and other massage professionals who are certified in deep-tissue and Thai massage, the latter being a standout treatment here. Based on a 2,500-year-old technique, it is combined with stretching and performed on a large mat to help elongate the body and release tight muscles. Benefits include improved flexibility and range of motion and increased circulation.
Traveling to high altitudes can have a profound effect on the body. Add in multiple days of powder runs on Aspen’s four mountains and you have a body in need of adjustment and rejuvenation. Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen Resort focuses on treatments for skiers with its two-hour Sports Recovery Ritual, which begins with a stimulating exfoliation followed by an application of an anti-inflammatory herbal liniment. The final step is a therapeutic massage using a sports cream designed to reduce both muscle inflammation and stress on ligaments and tendons. Relax in the spa’s oxygen lounge to help increase red-blood-cell circulation and provide energy for the next session on the slopes.
The Miraval Life in Balance Spa offers a restorative Athlete’s Massage designed especially for bikers, hikers and climbers. The treatment combines intense, constant pressure with targeted stretching to relieve sore muscles and increase flexibility. Therapists use arnica oil, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, to increase muscle elasticity, encourage muscle recovery and repair the body for improved overall performance.
With Snow Canyon State Park and nearly 7,000 acres of red-rock canyons, cliffs, lava caves and volcanic cones in Red Mountain Resort’s backyard, it’s no wonder hiking is a popular activity at Red Mountain Resort. The Red Rock Hiker’s massage at the Sagestone Spa & Salon is a full-body treatment, with extra attention paid to the build-up of lactic acid in hikers’ legs. It uses a potent fusion of peppermint, clove and eucalyptus oils to relieve muscle and joint tension; a marine mudpack draws out toxins and improves circulation.
Lake Austin Spa Resort offers an ultimate way to restore the body after a long bike ride or hike. LakeHouse Spa’s Sports Soak blends mineral salts into a 58-jet hydrotherapy tub where athletes can ease muscle soreness and aid detoxification before a specialized massage. The vigorous massage incorporates rhythmic strokes and medium pressure to stimulate muscles, improve flexibility and flush away metabolic waste.
Mii amo is nestled among the red rocks of Boynton Canyon in Sedona, Arizona. Native Americans consider this a place of healing, which makes it a perfect location for a world-class destination spa. The Seven Canyons Champion is an epic experience perfect for golfers, runners, hikers and road cyclists—those engaged in sports that exert significant pressure on the feet. It begins with an hour-long hydrotherapy treatment, followed by an hour of full-body massage, and ends with a 30-minute reflexology session.
After an intense surfing session, guests at Travaasa Hana, Maui, can enjoy the Aquatic Renewal therapy at the spa in the island’s first resort aquatic therapy pool. During the session guests float and stretch in a trained therapist’s arms. The warm water supports the body evenly, releasing tension and producing a deep sense of renewed well-being.
Outdoor warriors from around the world visit Patagonia for its adventurous opportunities. Before or after excursions, they can visit Uma Spa for the Chua K’a massage—a foot-to-scalp treatment originated (legend says) by Mongolian warriors who prepared for battle with the ritual, using it to remove physical and psychic tension. Chua K’a unblocks and revitalizes energy in 27 areas of the body, combining reiki, Thai massage stretching and reflexology into one. It reduces pain, restores mobility and stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage—all of which is particularly beneficial to those who glacier trek, ice climb and hike difficult routes in the Torres del Paine National Park, where the resort is located.
One of the signature treatments at the spa at Viceroy Snowmass is the Sami Zen Ritual. Created by Kerstin Florian, the Swedish founder of her eponymous skincare line used in spas around the globe, the ritual was inspired by the Sami people, who are indigenous to Scandinavia. Perfect for cross-country and alpine skiers, the treatment, meant to open energy pathways throughout the body, is set to two hours of traditional Nordicjoik music. A detoxifying exfoliation is followed by an herbal aromatherapy bath before the body is massaged to the music using sacred Arctic birch oil and botestenar—healing rose porphyry stones that reflect energy, purpose, clearing and release.