Indigenous ingredients are fast becoming a highlight for spas worldwide, not only to preserve centuries-old use but also to introduce spa-goers to traditional native remedies. Neem oil, extracted from the neem evergreen, is prized in its native India for the way it protects and nourishes skin. Hungarians swear by their locally grown stonecrop (or Sedum, a cactus plant), which lightens complexion and tones the epidermis. Noni, Hawaii?s claim to miracle herb fame, regenerates the skin.
Dr. Wilkinson?s Hot Springs Resort in Calistoga, Calif., is a classic example of looking locally when creating a spa destination. Capitalizing on the area?s sulfur-rich spring water, volcanic ash, and peat, the doc first mixed up a batch of his iconic mud in 1952, launching a thousand copycats since. With visitors neck-deep in euphoria, Napa Valley lavender wafting through the air, the ashes cleanse and smooth the skin, while the water detoxifies and enriches it with minerals.
The aloe plant had been used for thousands of years in Africa to heal sunburns, reduce perspiration, and moisturize before it arrived on arid Aruba?s shores in 1840. Founded 50 years later, Aruba Aloe now sprawls with 150 acres of aloe fields, green seas of sharp, spiny succulents reaching towards the sun, plus an on-site plant bottling its own line of skincare products. That same aloe figures into all 22 treatments at Renaissance Aruba?s Okeanos Spa, including Take the Burn Out, a sunburn-healing facial enriched with marine collagen to rejuvenate the skin.
Down in Chile, the native carmenère grape is the country?s most prized wine varietal. While the red is full of antioxidants for the blood, it?s a blessing for the body as well. Ritz Carlton Santiago is the only hotel in the country that offers a carmenère wine bath—mineral water, oats (for scrubbing and exfoliation), and vino, prepared in-room by a "bath butler." The wine helps moisturize skin with complex amino acids, eliminating toxins and leaving the skin silky. Candles and a glass of carmenère to drink complete the experience.
For ultimate smooth skin, you need to slough. Four Seasons Nevis offers the Nevisian massage, which uses the island?s mineral-rich, fine-grain black volcanic sand for exfoliation, mixed with a secret recipe of oils (we detected lotus and a note of frangipani); it?s one of the few resorts in the Caribbean literally bringing the beach into its treatments.