Each spa is different and has different benefits and characteristics to offer. Some will have a pool, sauna, steam room and gym as well as offering treatments. Some might have extensive thermal facilities. Some may have spa gardens. And some might be all about the treatments, but not have a pool or other wet areas.
A good rule of thumb is to refer to our article on common types of spas, in which we talk about the difference between day spas, leisure destinations, hotel spas and destination spas. While it is a very generalised guide, it does give you an idea as to what to expect from different types of destination.
That said, when it comes to possibilities, there really is a wealth of facilities ready and waiting for you to find and experience them in the abundant spa world. For many, spas are defined by their wet and thermal facilities. That may be a pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub, or it may extend to a full thermal suite, which can have include a combination of any or all of the following:
Caldarium - a heated room which provides an even heat that stimulates the circulation and regenerates the body’s natural energy. This effect has often been regarded as having healing benefits causing tense muscles to relax, making the skin smoother, and easing joint pain.
Salt steam and crystal steam baths - these are beneficial for the respiratory system and for rheumatic complaints. The salt steam has the added benefit of a salt water atmosphere, which is great for cleansing and toning the skin and stimulating the circulation.
Sanarium - which is an ideal way to recharge your batteries. The unique blend of heat followed by a stimulating shower boosts the body’s natural defences and promotes the circulation, shifting your metabolism up a gear. A Sanarium bath also cleanses the skin and tones the body tissue.
Saunas - these are known to reduce incidence of the common cold and temporarily relieve symptoms and reduce stress levels. They help to clean and rejuvenate the skin, eliminating dead skin cells, exposing new, fresh, clean, healthy cells.
Ice caves - these are a great place to cool off after your sanarium or sauna. Grab a few ladlefuls of ice and rub it over the skin to provide instant cooling. Mix in a cold shower in the ice cave and you will have truly cooled down, contracting your blood vessels, stimulating your circulation and oxygen intake at the same time.
Furthermore, many specialised spas and luxury hotel spas are adding new and unique experiences all the time. For example, at Rudding Park in Yorkshire there is an oxygen pod which delivers concentrated oxygen into the room, and a sunlight therapy room which allows guests using to benefit from sunlight simulators that recreate the same spectrum of light as the sun but also remove the harmful UVA and UVB rays of natural sunlight.
Equally, at Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort in Ireland, they enhance facilities with experiences such as their Celtic Sauna Ritual. The line between facilities and experiences merges at times as well, for example, when it comes to self administered mud therapies like mud rasuls, which require a dedicated steam chamber, like the one at Celtic Manor. This has then been enhanced with little lights in the form of constellations.
Beyond the wet and thermal facilities, you might also expect to find a gym, exercise classes. If the size of the spa facility permits, they may have other sports and activities available ranging from tennis to jogging trails. The possibilities are endless, and are then taken to new levels by the locations themselves, who incorporate facilities in their own way - Rudding Park for example has glass sided saunas in their rooftop spa garden, so you can relax with an exceptional view! That’s all before you get to the spa treatments too!
At Spabreaks.com, all of the spa destinations that we work with have their facilities listed on their description pages. However, if you are in any doubt about what facilities a spa has or what a particular facility is, just ask one of our spa consultants by calling, emailing, or getting in touch via our online chat facility.Read our spa glossary