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Fall 2004 | Perfect 10: Spas

Fall 2004 | Perfect 10: Spas

The world's top gay-welcoming spa retreats

What's not to like about an aromatherapy massage by a waterfall, a petal-strewn soak overlooking the sea, or a garden shower in a lava-rock grotto? It seems that everywhere you look nowadays there's a new spa, and although many say they're "gay friendly," some hiccup when a same-sex couple asks for a romantic room. So we've done the dirty work for you by scanning the globe for the top 10 bona fide gay-welcoming spa getaways. Grab your honey and go!

1 Mirror Lake Inn, New York
The spa at Mirror Lake Inn, a casually elegant lodge in the Adirondack Mountains of Lake Placid, features a separate Gentlemen's Corner with services that include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling. The panoramic lake and mountain views will make you feel like you're outdoors--even if you're doing laps in the 60-foot indoor pool or kicking back in the waterfall Jacuzzi in the dead of winter.

2 Park Hotel Weggis, Switzerland
With its perch on glorious Lake Lucerne, a private beach, art nouveau design, and five-star service, the Park Hotel Weggis--built in 1875 and recently renovated--is perfect. Its new spa cottages, each accommodating up to four pleasure-seekers, are surrounded by a Japanese meditation garden. Each spa cottage features a private sauna, still pool, whirlpool, and footbath as well as a solarium and a water bed.

3Bora Bora Lagoon Resort, Tahiti
The new treetop spa at the lush and exotic Bora Bora Lagoon Resort takes pampering to new heights. Take in a vista of white-sand beaches from your perch in banyan tree branches as you yield to centuries-old Polynesian remedies using native herbs and spices. Once back on earth, retreat to your bungalow, where you can feed tropical fish or shower in your garden. Refreshed, take a boat to a deserted motu (a small islet), where you can enjoy a gourmet lunch--complete with parasol, fine linens, and china--served to you at a table and chairs set in two feet of water..

4 Hotel Hana-Maui, Hawaii
With stunning views of Hana Bay, and with one of Hawaii's only watsu (shiatsu water massage) pools, the new spa at Hotel Hana-Maui ensures ultimate relaxation. Enjoy a Hawaiian lomilomi massage and then cleanse in outdoor lava-rock showers. The spa sports high design with mahogany lockers, bamboo floors, and travertine tiles inlaid with 'ili 'ili stones. Couples packages are offered in a private suite with a 30-foot hot tub overlooking the ocean.

5Begawan Giri Estate, Bali
Nestled near a spring-fed waterfall, the mystical, magical spa at Begawan Giri Estate offers physical and spiritual treatments such as self-awareness sessions with visiting masters, participation in Balinese rituals, aromatic island-oil massages, and
spice body rubs. Therapists visit your villa, or you may
enjoy your treatment at a garden bale near the waterfall.

6 Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, Arizona
A secluded and sleek resort in Arizona's Paradise Valley, Sanctuary features an indoor-outdoor spa with a Zen meditation garden, reflecting pond, and watsu pool. Try the Emperor Facial, or retreat to the Sanctum, a private outdoor suite for two with pool, deluge shower, and fire-pit features. Hike or rock-climb in the surrounding desert, then cool off in the vast infinity pool, shaded lap pool, or mountainside pools.

7 Cradle Mountain Lodge, Australia
Get a mountain high at the new Waldheim Alpine Spa at Cradle Mountain Lodge in the Tasmanian wilderness. Constructed of local stone, slate, and recycled timber, the spa features open fires set within river-rock walls and floor-to-ceiling windows offering dramatic river and valley views. Try the Mountain Mystique couples massage, which includes a luxurious milk bath with essences of fennel and sage.

8 Westin Century Plaza, Los Angeles
A stone's throw from West Hollywood, Spa Mystique at the Century Plaza melds tradition and trendiness with its dark woods, sleek lines, and Asian-influenced treatments. Want someone to walk on your back for the best shiatsu massage you've ever had? How about an enzyme facial for face-lift results without the pain? And you may be sharing a furo bath with your fave celeb.

9 Paraiso de la Bonita Resort and Thalasso, Mexico
An intimate 90-suite resort at the Yucat?n's Riviera Maya, Paraiso de la Bonita Resort & Thalasso is one of only two certified thalassotherapy centers in the Americas. (Thalassotherapy involves immersion in fresh heated seawater for relaxation and energy balancing.) The guest suites are themselves like mini spas, with luxury amenities such as private plunge pools, showers with multiple nozzles, and deep marble soaking tubs large enough for two. Artwork collected from around the world adorns the accommodations, further augmenting the therapeutic benefits of your stay.

10 The Kahala Mandarin Oriental, Honolulu
Located in an upscale Honolulu neighborhood, Kahala Mandarin Oriental is so popular among stars, jet-setters, and glitterati that it's often called "Kahalawood." Book a couples treatment and the two of you will get your very own residence-style plush suite with a tropically landscaped courtyard, infinity-edge deep-soaking tub, private shower, and heated massage beds. Once refreshed, take in the gay nightlife of Waikiki.

The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. We suggest that you confirm all details directly with the establishments mentioned before making travel plans. Please feel free to e-mail us at if you have any new information.
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