Four days spas for a massage and a signature treatment with an international flavour – inspired by far flung locales from Morocco to Japan.
1. Spa de Marrakech, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Bringing a little bit of Morocco, Dubai and Egypt to the Yarra Valley is the new Spa de Marrakech, just 45 minutes east of Melbourne (but a hemisphere away in terms of design). Everything in this new spa and bathhouse has been plucked from these distant countries and installed here, from the hand-crafted mirrors to the decorative floor and wall tiles to the lanterns. The spa menu, too, has an international flavour: as well as your traditional aromatherapy massages and facials, there’s an Oriental Hammam, an Arabian Steam Temple and Indian Ayurvedic colour therapy. Plus, before stepping back out among the Yarra Valley gum trees, you can step into the Moroccan Lounge for a Middle Eastern feast (think fatoush, hummus, Persian love cake…), to stretch out that Arabian fantasy just a little bit longer. Selection of Arabia Package for $348 per person with lunch; $399 per person with dinner.
2. Isis Egyptian Day Spa, Ulladulla, NSW
Egypt in Ulludulla? Alright, the synergies between these two themes mightn’t match at first glance, but step into this outrageously decked-out day spa and any thoughts of your sleepy seaside locale will go out the window: the wall and ceilings are adorned with drapery in deep shades of red and maroon, colourful lanterns hang from the ceilings, bright cushions and pot plants are scattered everywhere and you won’t be able to leave without admiring at least one piece of gold décor (probably one the dazzling pharaoh busts). Make a day of it by adding a cheese platter, glass of bubbles or lunch to your treatment (to be enjoyed in the Egyptian courtyard, of course) or just come for a massage amid some exotic scenery plonked in the middle of NSW’s South Coast – “it will take you on a journey down the Nile of your senses,” or so its website promises. See: Isis Egyption Day Spa
3. Lella Hammam, Gold Coast, Queensland
Claiming to have the Gold Coast’s only Moroccan-inspired hammam, Lella Hammam, in Bundall just west of Surfers Paradise, was purpose-built to offer the treatments that Arabic, Tunisian and Moroccan women have been enjoying for centuries. With Moroccan-style mosaic tiles adorning the walls, pressed metal décor, stained-glass lamps and lanterns, and mosharabi wooden screens, this spa has an overt yet tasteful ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ theme. In fact, there is a four-hour package of that very name, which is designed for a group of four and includes a session in the hammam, a floral foot soak, body massage, hot-oil head massage, eyebrow threading and tint, eyelash tint, nail polish, some refreshments, and a henna tattoo (if that’s your kind of thing). One Thousand and One Nights package for $350 per person, based on four people; lellahammam.com.au
4. Shizuka Ryokan, Daylesford, Victoria
The Japanese word ‘shizuka’ means tranquillity and this Japanese spa offers exactly that. Set in Daylesford, Shizuka Ryokan is traditional Japanese all the way: minimalist and very zen. Opaque rice paper shoji screens, soothing music, a Japanese-style Tsuboniwa garden, paper lanterns, simple furnishings, tatami flooring – every single aspect of this spa has been thoughtfully designed to create a Japanese ambience. The usual suspects are on the spa menu (massage, pedicures etc.) plus some traditional treatments like shiatsu and reflexology, and a Yin and Yang couples package – how very cute. But we are most intrigued by the Geisha Facial, which uses white tea, lotus root, camellia oil, yamamono mountain peach, brown sugar, bamboo and nightingale droppings – yes, you read that right. Also, as the name suggests (‘ryokan’ means ‘traditional Japanese inn’), there’s accommodation on-site too. Geisha Facial for $140.