Facials Worth Traveling For

Facetime: At a luxury spa retreat, that phrase takes on a whole new meaning. In the spirit of wellness travel, we went in search of global resorts where you can experience the facial of your life.  After all, an expert facial not only rejuvenates the skin and leaves you glowing with vitality and gorgeousness, it reduces stress and even boosts the health and function of your organs.  Come along as we engage in game-changing facials, including a three-hour one infused with sturgeon DNA and another treatment based on a cocktail of white algae and white wine.  If a pamper session is enough to send you packing, you had us at wine.

Lake Austin Spa Resort, Texas

Image Courtesy of Lake Austin Spa Resort

A beacon of wellness on the shores of Lake Austin, this luxe spa retreat features16 facials on its extensive 100 plus treatment menu. But I came for just one;  to road test their newest, greatest addition: The Regal by Valmont. I know, it’s a tough gig but someone had to do it.  Exclusive to this spa and created in collaboration with the revered Swiss skincare line, this baby will leave you looking “a million dollars” which is exactly what my husband exclaimed when I returned home after the three hour overhaul.  Involved in this ritual are two facial cleanses, an enzyme peel, five masks of varying benefits (one, collagen that covers even the eye and mouth), four types of massage (including Japanese Kobido, a 540-year-old-technique), HydraFacial machine work, LED Light therapy, and what seemed like an endless assortment of Valmont skincare.  One of which comes infused with Alpine water and sturgeon DNA.  Any wonder this beauty is touted to be the most expensive facial in the world. But, it works. Stumbling from the spa, treatment-drunk I looked into the mirror and conceded my skin appeared luminously better: lifted, firmer, smoother.  And the effects last at least a week, while the memories of rejuvenating at this gorgeous sanctuary will last a lifetime.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Cayman Islands

Image Courtesy of Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

At storied Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman’s western shore, this eco-chic luxury resort evokes Paul Gauguin’s blue waters, while its coral sand beach blushes pink at dusk. But it’s within the stunning, 8,500-square-foot Spa at Seafire, adorned with coastal accents like a glittering sea glass chandelier and driftwood gathered from Caymanian beaches — where the magic happens. Make a date with their signature Coconut Facial, an ultra-hydrating, skin-plumping, thirst-quenching ritual. It comprises a double coconut oil cleanse, revitalizing papaya and pineapple enzyme exfoliation, a coconut cream mask, and Seafire’s Signature tropical coconut herbal facial steam. Now that’s what we call beauty, island style.

Hotel Effie Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Florida

Image Courtesy of Hotel Effie Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Perched in Miramar Beach, the stunning Hotel Effie stands out as the Emerald Coast’s newest boutique hotel—  an area in northwest Florida, known for its powdered sugar-textured sand. At the property’s on-site Spa Lilliana, facial nirvana comes in the form of the Deep Sea Firming Facial.  Employing the antioxidant and healing attributes of white algae, white tea, white wine, and copper peptides (blended with Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, and probiotics), this potent facial brightens and nourishes the skin, releases facial tension, and stimulates collagen production to hopefully turn back the clock. 

Carneros Resort and Spa, California

Image Courtesy of Carneros Resort and Spa

Rooted into the vineyards of Napa and the wine county’s agrarian history, Carneros Resort and Spa feels like a village built amongst the grape rows, with personal suite-size romantic farmhouse style guest rooms. It’s here, beside the pool, with its vineyard views you’ll find the Spa at Carneros where its hero is the anti-aging wonder, the Rose Quartz Reversive Facial. Special lymphatic drainage massage techniques performed with dual Rose Quartz Gua Sha (a Chinese tool known to promote circulation) apparently unlocks the key to more contoured, plumper, smoother, revitalized skin.

The Dorchester, London

Image Courtesy of The Dorchester

On Park Lane overlooking London’s famed Hyde Park, the elegant Dorchester has enticed glitterati into its legendary halls for nearly a century. The celebrity guests head here as much for an opulent stay as a luxury spa session, and as one would expect The Red Carpet Facial is their go-to.  This high-tech treatment which boosts hydration, while smoothing and tightening the skin incorporates Dr. Uliana Gout’s signature London Aesthetic Medicine techniques — a mesotherapy infusion that delivers a deep hyaluronic acid and peptide hid to skin rejuvenating and firming radio-frequency and red LED lasers.

Velaa Private Island, Maldives

Image Courtesy of Velaa Private Island

Indulge in a little bit of Swiss Alpine ingenuity in the middle of the far-flung Indian Ocean at Velaa Private Island, a recluse lover’s oasis in the restorative Maldives. Tear yourself away from your over-water suite long enough to have your complexion redone on a cellular level according to Swiss science dating back to 1955. For the Maldives Million Dollar Man Facial,  Spa therapists use Swiss Dr. Burgener’s techniques and products, including Bamboo Clarifying Exfoliating Scrub, to deeply cleanse the skin.  A coating of green caviar combined with antioxidant-rich gold trace elements follows, intensified by reparative ultrasound waves.

The Retreat, Costa Rica

Image Courtesy of The Retreat Costa Rica

Set ona highly vibrational mountain The Retreat Costa Rica incorporates nature’s power with the teachings of Dr. Vinod Balakrishnan, an Ayurvedic doctor, and naturopath who helms their wellness program. Discover ancient remedies in the Vida Mia Spa, which offers treatments based on the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. Yield to the Royal Facial, a silver and gold modality that uses Silver White Kayolin, infused with Helichrysum, for gentle and effective removal of toxins. An enriching gold mask follows to boost the skin’s own healing process. For the grand finale, the therapist waves a Kansa copper wand over the face, a step that visibly lifts and tightens the skin.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya

Image Courtesy of Grand Velas

Built into the wildlife rife mangrove jungles along the Riviera Maya, the luxurious Grand Velas puts a tony spin on the concept of all-inclusive. Its impressive SE Spa at Grand Velas, built to evoke the natural features and overall zen of a Mayan cenote, proffers guests to various indigenously inspired treatments. Its Mayan Jade Facial pays homage to the regional bygone tradition of carving deity masks and ritual artifacts from jade, a gem they believed blessed whatever it touched. In that spirit, the therapist executes massage with a jade roller for anti-aging effects, including toxin removal, reduced puffiness, improved skin elasticity, wrinkle-smoothing, and eradication of sinus pressure.

El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, California

Image Courtesy of Encanto, a Belmond Hotel

This garden-ensconced, bungalow-peppered retreat on a promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara’s charming downtown was the “it” romantic bolthole for the Silver Screen heyday crowd. Restore yourself around its pool and within its sanctuary-like spa, where the Signature Linda Ross Facial stands out as its top requested treatment. Ross, an esthetician to the stars, never extracts and tells, but her clients include well-known film and music stars. With a referral-only studio in Beverly Hills, Ross shares her house-made products and treatment techniques with only a handful of world-class spas, including El Encanto, where she has personally trained each esthetician.