infiniti pool overlooking vineyard at a castiglion del bosco villa

In what once were the stables of a 12th-century monastery in northern Spain, I’m being patted down with tiny linen bags filled with herbs and grapeseed oil. The treatment — La Cuvée Speciale — in El Santuario Wellness & Spa’s sleek, refurbished subterranean rooms borrows from the vineyards and surrounding terroir where rows and rows of grapevines thrive. As my mind wanders, I ponder what the bygone horses who slept here would think. That leads me to wonder about the monks who tended those equines centuries ago — aesthetes who tilled the crops and vineyards of this sacred Romanesque estate near Valladolid in the fecund Castille and Leon wine region. Would they be shocked that their holy home has become a glamorous hotel, now called Abadia Retuerta, acclaimed for its gastronomy, vineyards, clever contemporary refurbishment, and wine-centric spa? Certainly not. They’d be genuinely amused. After all, these friars were winemakers, crafting the fruit of the vine from the grapes they grew, drinking the finished product as an alternative to water — which in those days often was not potable. Sworn to lives of service, used to visiting luminaries, those holy men would surely relate to Abadia Retuerta’s mission of hospitality and pursuit of refined luxury. But, how would they wrap their heads around a gleaming spa set in their once lowly stable? They’d be ecstatic (I think), though likely gobsmacked by the spas’s gargantuan (10,000-square-foot) space. Possibly they’d see it as an elevated version of the monastery’s own hospital where the monks surely cared for ailing visitors, providing their homemade medicines, wine, and herbal elixirs. Melting into the prayer of the treatment, I give thanks to those monks for sharing their refurbished stable spa and its wine-inspired rituals.

More On El Santuario Wellness & Spa, Abadia Retuerta, A Leading Hotel of the World

susana balbos vineyard in argentina
Courtesy, Susana Balbo Unique Stays

Ensconced in a centuries-old restored abbey amongst 500 acres of vineyards in Spain’s Douro Valley, Abadia Retuerta is a momentous melding of ancient bones and clever modernity reimagined by Swiss master architect Marco Serra. It offers a bevy of customized activities from wellness to falconry to gastronomy. El Santuario’s Spa Sommelier Experience stands out. It combines the philosophies of elements-based Tibetan medicine with a tasting of estate wines to help guests articulate and pinpoint their needs and state of mind so that the sommelier can best match them with the treatments most likely to benefit them at this time in their lives.

Other Wine-themed spas (and spa treatments) we love: 

Coquillade Provence, France

A haven amongst olive groves, vineyards, and lavender fields in the legendary Luberon, Coquillade Provence, a Relais & Chateaux property comprises an array of centuries-old houses amid the terrain. Its award-garnering spa harnesses known brands such as Tata Harper and local products for anti-aging and detox treatments. A new series of Vinotherapy rituals include the Escapade Syrah, a multi-step escape that includes a bath, an Elyo body ritual (with wine from their own domaine), and a facial massage. 

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Italy

restaurant at the rosewood castiglion del bosco overlooking vineyard field
Courtesy, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

At this gem of a Tuscan estate, rustically elegant suites and villas pepper 5,000 acres of classic pine and olive tree-carpeted countryside near Siena. The hotel offers an array of activities from cooking classes to golf. At the spa, yield to The Heart of Tuscany Treatment, a massage which dissipates stress with the vitamin-packed extracts of grape polyphenols and grape pomace oil. To complete the experience? A wine tasting from on-site Brunello di Montalcino winery. Certo! 

SB Winemaker’s House, Argentina

susana balbo winemakers house and spa dinner table

Like being invited into the home of one of the world’s premier winemakers, a stay at Susana Balbo’s personally curated SB Winemaker’s House and Spa Suites delivers guests into Mendoza’s textured largesse. It reigns as the only luxury wine hotel in Latin America with fully integrated in-room spa features and services in each suite. Celebrating a sense of place in decor, design, and culinary experiences, the intimate hotel has just seven suites, each equipped with a jaw-dropping, in-room tub shaped like the concrete egg wine tanks used in the fermentation process. Wellness butlers guide guests in extraordinary spa options, including the three-hour Deluxe SB Frutos De La Vine Ritual, which includes a bath, grapeseed exfoliation, mud wrap and massage, among other divine moments — all in the privacy of your suite. 

Auberge du Soleil, Napa

Dreamed up by French restaurateur Claude Rouas, bijoux Auberge du Soleil opened first as a Provence-meets-California restaurant amid the vines in Napa Valley in 1981. In short order, its success led the founders to add an inn, much like the Michelin-starred dream spots in France that operate as both eatery and place to sleep. Ever evocative, Auberge du Soleil set the standard for the valley’s romantic allure. Visit it today for wine tasting, pool time, and The Spa At Auberge du Soleil, where each treatment comes as a customized gift of salubrious vinotherapy. Don’t miss the “Premier Cru experience,” tailored for couples. It consists of a personalized grapeseed gommage scrub followed by a relaxing bath “a deux” in the outdoor soaking tub with a selection of fruits and wines. Afterwards, a 60-minute piece-de-resistance massage (including scalp and foot treatments) completes the fantasy.

Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection, Greece

cliff top balcony at the grace hotel overlooking the coast of greece
Courtesy, Auberge Resorts Collection

You’ve probably come to Santorini for the sunset, the way bone white buildings cascade down the island’s inclines, and for that swim in the famed caldera. But you’ll return for a sip or two of its crisp, white wine on a sun-dappled afternoon as you peer at the bluest of seas. Stay at cliff-top Grace Hotel in Imerovigli, awash in dramatic views. Its spa celebrates the region’s rarer red wines with the Wine Elixir treatment. Offering an antioxidant-rich red wine bath — a boon for boosting collagen and renewing skin elasticity — the treatment was inspired by the beauty of Santorini’s red and black beaches. 

Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

pool at the six sense duoro valley in portugal
Courtesy, Six Senses Douro Valley

With historical gravitas, Six Senses Douro Valley occupies a 19th-century manor house on a stunning wine estate in the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Settle into the sprawling resort to enjoy activities such as picnics in the valley, tree climbing, bike riding, and Douro boat trips and sailing excursions. When it comes to spa-ing with a wine theme, the retreat offers a range of treatments including the Warming Schist Vinotherapy, a two-hour ritual that begins with a full-body body exfoliation using grape seed pearls and port. Next, warm, local schist stones are used for a mind and muscle melting massage, certain to reset your body and soul.

Salamander Middleburg, Virginia

Head to “the Napa Valley of the Mid-Atlantic.” In historic Middleburg, Virginia’s bucolic Loudoun County, just 25 miles outside of Washington DC, Salamander Middleburg beckons amid lush horse farms, sloping vineyards, and the Blue Ridge Mountains rising like beacons on the horizon. After hours on the tennis courts or at the outdoor pools, be pampered in the spa, known for its wine-centric rituals. Choose the Grand Cru Massage, 90 minutes of bliss that begins with a grapeseed scrub. Or, try the wine-enriched Pinot Noir Body Wrap.

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn

fairmont sonoma vineyard field in california
Courtesy, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Nothing conjures wine country like the classic Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. A wine cuspidor’s spitting distance from characteristic downtown Sonoma, and surrounded by countless wineries and vineyards, this wine-centric property boasts a healing, geo-thermal mineral spring — among other wellness amenities Spend time in the terme-style bath house, then yield to the spa’s wine-inflected modalities. Go for the Fleur de Vigne Body Bliss ritual, a 60 minute massage rich with grape-derived antioxidants, followed by a countenance renewing Gold-Vine Facial by Le Domaine & Knesko, which uses Grenache and Syrah grape seeds and skins for fabulous results.

Featured image courtesy of Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco

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