7 of the best luxury spas in adventurous destinations

Chi The Spa

Barr al Jissah, Oman

While most of the world’s largest yachts congregate in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, an increasing number of superyacht owners are visiting more remote destinations. But, just because some of these locations are less well-trodden, doesn't mean you need to sacrifice your luxury pampering as it is still possible to find some of the best luxury spas in the world.

Here is our guide to six of the best luxury spas in adventurous locations:

1. Chi, The Spa at Shangri-LaWith picturesque beaches and waters filled with a plethora of marine life, including yellow-fish tuna and sea turtles, this stretch of coastline is slowly being discovered by the superyacht elite ­­– recent visitors included Motor Yacht A and explorer yacht Itasca.

At the heart of this middle-eastern jewel, which includes three Shangri-La hotels, lies Chi The Spa. Set in a traditionally styled villa the central courtyard, with lush vegetation and flowing water, sets the spa’s calming atmosphere. Water is central to the spa’s philosophy and guests are encouraged to experience the vitality hydro pool, tundra and tropical showers and ice fountain. The menu features a popular selection of signature massages and for the full experience book in for a “Chi Vitality Journey” – featuring an aromatic bath, detoxifying body scrub, hot stone massage and facial.

Best by boat

Barr al Jissah has its own purpose built marina which can accommodate yachts up to 40 metres. Larger yachts can anchor out in the sheltered bay, which is protected by rocky outcrops, and tender into the marina.

Picture courtesy of Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa

The Brando

Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

Just north of Tahiti is the private Tetiaroa atoll. Centuries ago the Tahitian royal family came here to get away from it all and Marlon Brando had the same idea when he bought it after making Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962. Now it’s your turn to drop anchor and sign off. Ideally, you’d rock up on a J Class sloop as this place has a serious eco ethos, with seawater-powered air-conditioning and an on-site research centre; even the mosquitoes have been genetically modified not to bite (supposedly), so you can leave toxic repellents at home. The spa is a revelation, featuring woven wicker spa pods built into the trees, the most spectacular of which is Fare Manu – “the Birdhouse” – six metres above the ground. Treatments offer an authentic natural twist; expect papaya and black sand body scrubs, volcanic stone massages with local coconut oil and Algotherm marine facials. Days are spent swimming with green turtles, snorkelling in coral gardens and ogling the sunsets. It’s the stuff of dreams.

If you are interested in visiting the region don't miss our guide to 8 days exploring French Polynesia on a luxury yacht.

Picture courtesy of The Brando Spa/Facebook.com

The full Spa Guide is available in the February edition of Boat International

Laucala Island


This private island’s 1,300 hectares pack a scenic punch, with volcanic mountains, swathes of rainforest, pristine mangroves and coconut plantations, all wrapped up with sandy beaches. The overall effect is both sexy and natural, just like one of its most famous guests – supermodel Elle Macpherson, who married Jeffrey Soffer here in 2013. That lush landscape isn’t just useful for wedding photos, though, it also provides basketfuls of exotic flowers, herbs, spices and fruits that are pounded into delicious good-enough-to-eat lotions and potions by excellent therapists. They can also teach you how to create your own essential oil and impart the secrets of Fijian herbal medicines and tropical aromatherapy. Add a little adventure to the mix with a trip on Laucala’s £1 million DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark II submarine, one of only two in the world, which lets you dive colourful coral reefs without having to struggle into a wetsuit.

Best by boat

Just to the south is Vanua Balavu, Bay of Islands. Anchor here and explore the interlinked channels and limestone pinnacles. For fuel and provisioning Port Denarau lies on Fiji’s western coast, close to Nadi International Airport.



A postcard paradise with spa treatments to match. Drop anchor in peaceful Anse Louis Bay on Mahé’s west coast and tender into the beach where, melded into the island’s volcanic rocks, you’ll find gorgeous indoor/outdoor spa pavilions complemented by a gushing waterfall, birdsong and the distant wash of the sea. The sign outside the spa reads “Quiet, please…Shh. Shh”. And they mean it. Maia’s watchword is privacy; the ethos is de-stressing, revival and relaxation. There are yoga and qi gong sessions for lowering the heart rate and revivifying facials and massages headlined by Hungarian skincare brand Omorovicza, which employs the healing properties of mineral-rich thermal waters to soothe and rejuvenate the skin. The Blue Diamond Facial is a must for salty sea dogs and who could resist a Gentle Soul Massage that uses no oil but just the lightest of strokes synchronised to your breath.

If you are inspired to visit the region don't miss our guide to seven days discovering the Seychelles on a superyacht.

Six Senses Zighy Bay


Too lazy to get off your yacht? No problem: pull up at Zighy marina in this pristine pocket of the Musandam peninsula and the spa will send not one but two therapists on board to massage your aching muscles. Revived, you’ll be ready for its white-knuckle activities. Paraglide over the biscuity beach and survey the surrounding Hajar mountains’ fragile ledges and fjord-like gorges. Bike up into the mountains and scare-yourself stupid on the freewheel descents, or hike the paths that cling to the cliff edges, scattering the goats as you trek by. This spa does rugged well but it does relaxation even better, so make time for the aloe vera ice hammam, which includes a herbal steam bath, a body exfoliation and cool aloe vera picked from the spa garden to smooth your skin and stimulate your circulation.

Bet by boat

The resort has its own marina, which can take yachts up to 60 metres. Boats must contact the resort with vessel details to book a place.

Tresco Island

Isles of Scilly, UK

If you’re thinking of following in Roman Abramovich’s wake and charting a course around Britain this summer, the Isles of Scilly should be top of your itinerary. This cluster of beautiful, tropical-style islands, with its unique microclimate, is just the place for an Enid Blyton-style adventure. Anchor at New Grimsby quay and let the kids roam free (there are no cars on the private island resort of Tresco). They will love the Sailing Centre, which offers excellent sailing, kayak and paddleboard sessions, while you bag yourself an afternoon’s peace. Treatments by organic brand Ila are skin-smoothing, soul-brightening and heavenly smelling (even the Marine Algae body wrap). And the Ila Kundalini Back Massage, designed for “emotionally exhausted souls”, is a winner with men, too.

Vamizi Island


Everything is wild on this enchanting private island: its location – the Quirimbas archipelago is remarkably untouched; the beach – covered in pastel-coloured shells that everywhere else have been raided for souvenirs; the spa products – therapists pick and prepare ginger, ginseng and coconut just before use; and the exercise – anchor your boat offshore and jump into the bath-warm waters to take part in aqua yoga. Your therapist will come to your villa, set up on the beach or on the deck of your yacht and deliver some of the best holistic therapies in Africa. Try the signature “ocean ritual”, which features local ground and dried seaweed. For an adrenaline hit, go hiking through its lush interior or shark spotting off its beach. The grey reef shark is one of Vamizi’s “big five” – a magnificent animal that is often seen by divers.

Best by boat

There are anchorages west of Vamizi for vessels larger than 30 metres. Contact Stephen Griffiths at the island’s dive centre, and call on VHF 16 for assistance on arrival.

Picture courtesy of Vamizi Island/Facebook.com

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