Spas dot the New England landscape, but only an elite few are truly transformative destinations that also have all the playful amenities you’d expect from a resort. From the mountains to the sea, the region’s five best spa havens are planted in sublime locations that alone are a balm for the soul. Each has a distinctive approach to pampering guests, but they share a common goal: to transport you to a state of pure bliss, and leave you with a map for finding your way there again on your own. Read on for our list of top New England spa resorts.
A sweeping wall-of-glass view of the Atlantic will stop you in your tracks and deepen your breathing the moment you step inside this storied oceanfront resort. There is no spa product or treatment yet developed that’s as therapeutic as time by the sea, so every moment you spend ensconced in the intimate Spa at Cliff House has extra potency. Like the entire 1872 hotel atop Bald Head Cliff, which underwent a dramatic $40 million renovation from 2014 to 2016, the reimagined spa is plush yet soothing. Extensive facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a year-round outdoor hot tub, a sauna, yoga studio, and 24-hour fitness center. Natural products like vegan nail polish reflect the resort’s respect for its sensitive coastal location. Easy-to-pair services — the Seacoast Rose mani-pedi, massage, wrap, and facial, for example — encourage guests to spend hours wrapped in cuddly blue plaid robes, sipping tea between treatments, watching the sea, and staying utterly in the moment.
All cream and marble-white with woodland views, the sanctuary inside the 20,000 square-foot Spa House at this country estate–style resort has that “away from it all” aura that type A people see in their dreams. Sip detox tea or champagne; spend tension-easing time in the hammam bath, sauna, pool, or whirlpool; then embark on a journey custom-designed to comfort your body and mind. Even before you land at this 58-acre Auberge Resorts hideaway known for extraordinary service and farm-fresh cuisine, the spa concierge will get to know you and guide you toward service providers, treatments, and fitness classes suited to your personality and goals. With a globally and spiritually inspired spa menu that includes purification rituals, sound healing, connectedness meditation for couples, and a dozen massages, you may be surprised when your deepest healing occurs miles from the spa on a kayaking excursion with a confidence-boosting guide or a meditative “forest bathing” walk, where you’ll learn to really listen to the natural world and your own inner voice.
It seems fitting the Restoration Massage is one of the most in-demand services at the OH! Spa at Ocean House. This 1868 grand hotel by the sea was itself restored meticulously: Artifacts were preserved when possible, but much was built new to endure for generations. Your sustained wellness is at the heart of the Restoration Massage, which uses magnesium and arnica oil to aid long-term recovery for muscles and your mental state. Imagine simply melting as your skilled therapist intuitively delivers exactly what you need. Hours-long, multitreatment signature spa experiences are particularly personalized to nurture a complete sense of disconnectedness. What’s lovely about time in this spa environment, which is decorated in shades of ivory and ocean blue, is how buoyed you’ll feel gazing out to sea from the indoor saltwater lap pool, a treadmill in the 24-hour fitness center, or a chaise in the relaxation room. You’re steps from a walk on the resort’s private, butler-serviced beach, which may be the best therapy of all.
It’s New England’s original wellness destination — a grand hotel that’s lured visitors with the promise of fresh, restorative White Mountains air since 1902. Known for four-season outdoor activities including skiing, dog sledding, golf, fly fishing, horseback riding, and ziplining, the Omni Mount Washington includes a spa that’s just 10 years old but still an integral component of the getaway equation. Reserved for adults only, the spa is its own quiet realm, where steam and sauna time will warm and relax you for treatments with true New Hampshire flavor. Hamstrings ache from climbing Mount Washington? The spa team lives and breathes the mountain lifestyle: Therapists are skiers, peak baggers, and outdoors lovers who know exactly what will soothe tired muscles and wind-chapped skin. Choose from a menu of services that spans both ancient techniques (like dry brushing, a practice that’s easy to continue at home) and modern applications of native botanicals and seasonal ingredients from a local beekeeper and maple sugar maker.
Sip a cup of coffee, and you’ll feel the eye-opening effects for a few hours. Indulge in a Green Mountain Coffee body treatment at this ski-country spa — known for incorporating local products like maple sugar, honey, and yes, coffee, in some of its 150-plus offerings — and the stimulating comfort stays with you as if you’ve been awakened to the best version of you. Everything about this mountain-view retreat and its encyclopedic menu of services is designed to encourage you to stay longer — not just within the spa but on this planet. So, soak as long as you’d like in the indoor aqua solarium’s Hungarian mineral pool or beneath the pummeling hydrotherapy waterfalls. Have lunch in your robe at the spa café. Walk the outdoor labyrinth, and enjoy the resort’s golf, squash, tennis, yoga, and fitness facilities, too. It’s easy to make health, mindfulness, and longevity the focus of your escape.
Which New England spa resorts would you add to the list? Let us know!
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated.