Water, water everywhere. From thermal springs to seawater cures, these are the spas where refreshed, healthy skin gets top billing. Read to the end for our top at home Scentiana spa tip.

September is a time to refresh and renew. The heat of the summer is over, we are coming into a more balanced and grounded energy. We needn’t rewrite the world, instead this is a time for gentle refinements to our routine and perhaps a change of scene rooted in the self-care ethos that we at Scentiana are such big believers in.

Water helps us feel cleansed emotionally.

We all know that drinking plenty of water is good for the skin and our hydration, but there are many other ways to reap its health benefits too. In recent years, age-old bathing practices have seen a global revival, from Finnish saunas to Japanese onsens and Icelandic thermal springs. The likes of Wim Hof extol the virtues of cold-water showers and ice baths. And thalassotherapy – made popular by the Victorians who would visit seaside towns to ‘take the waters’ – is increasingly becoming a core part of a nature-harnessing wellness regime.

There’s nothing like a hydrotherapy spa to impart the feeling of a fresh start.

The healing powers of seawater (and elements related to it, such as sea salt, algae and mud) are varied and wide-reaching: the high mineral content can help everything from muscle pain and skin conditions to rehabilitation after injury, strengthening the immune system and insomnia. Of course, water also helps us feel cleansed emotionally too. There’s nothing like a hydrotherapy spa to impart the feeling of a fresh start. So, here are our top 5 finds around the world for hydrotherapy.


Part James Bond lair, part modernist Zen, this geothermal resort is the best way to experience Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon (without the tourist crowds). Carved into volcanic rock, the five-star hotel has a Michelin-star restaurant and its own milky lagoon, sourced from the same mineral-rich seawater as the rest of the reservoir. Suites are clean-lined and minimalist, with natural textures, private terraces, and dreamy views of an otherworldly landscape. The subterranean spa is a proper sanctuary, with a trio of interconnected chambers for a cleansing three-step ritual: silica to strengthen skin, algae to nourish and moisturise, and minerals to stimulate circulation. Extraordinary ‘in-water’ treatments include guided float therapy (excellent for alleviating stress and relieving pain) and an underwater massage, cocooned in the arms of a therapist that uses the pressure of your own body and weight. Utterly surreal, it feels as close to returning to the womb as you’ll get.


With its natural underground springs, Bath has been a honeypot for bathers wanting to tap into the healing properties of hydrotherapy since Roman times. For direct access to the fabled waters – and a modern spin on the ancient practice of social bathing – this is the place to stay. In the serene spa, all softly lit limestone with a glass atrium above, guests can take a self-guided hot-cold circuit of the two thermal baths, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room and ice chamber. Rooms are a calming shade of blue with contemporary two-poster beds; the best also have roll-top baths with thermal water running from the taps. When you’re not out exploring, unwind with afternoon tea in The Canvas Room or a relaxing treatment. In the candle massage, for instance, regenerating rose and aloe vera oils are gently poured over the skin to melt away tension while the Frangipani Indulgence includes an invigorating salt scrub and full body kneading that sorts out sluggish blood flow. A winning combination of transformative therapies and aqua-based rituals rooted in age-old traditions.


Set on Sardinia’s southern coast, this sprawling estate with eight hotels has a something-for-everyone approach, from kids’ clubs and sports academies for families to numerous restaurants and the pioneering Acquaforte Thalasso & Spa. The latter, created by Dr Angelo Cerina with the Thalasso Research Centre at Milan University, has a comprehensive seawater course, set in a lush garden, with six pools connected by open-air pathways: the first two 38°C pools are filled with magnesium-based sea oil (it has a higher salinity than the Dead Sea) so that you can’t help but float (it detoxes and also works wonders for psoriasis). The third pool introduces sea salt to relax muscles; the fourth, hydrotherapy massage jets; while the final pair of pools are cooler, to regulate body temperatures. Other spa treatments include slathering on anti-inflammatory sea mud, exfoliating with a salt scrub to remove toxins, and cryotherapy with sea oil, which freezes at -40°C and will leave your body feeling blissfully light.

Herb Ritts "Christy - Waterfall, L.A. (a)", 1988


Seawater cures are something of a national obsession in France and this hotel in Brittany, a short hop from Nantes on a wildly beautiful shoreline, has been espousing the benefits for nearly 60 years. At its heart is the thalassotherapy centre: start off with the marine course which includes relaxing bubble chairs and geysers, pummelling back jets and an outdoor jacuzzi. Depending on the desired intensity of your stay, choose from several laser-focused programmes (for up to six days) or dip into the treatment menu – think purifying seawater baths, regenerative wraps (mud to relieve painful joints, seaweed to replenish skin) and group cold water sessions. But a stay here isn’t just about the spa – it’s a full-blown sea immersion, from the bedrooms with ocean-facing balconies to the freshest seafood platters served in La Presqu’île restaurant for dinner. Active guests can sign up for mindfulness walks, aqua jogging (a buoyancy belt means you float as you run), bicycle rides along the coastal paths and paddle boarding in Quiberon Bay. Here, watery wellness comes in many forms.


Set into the hillside between the tiny fishing village of Plaka and the port of Elounda, this pink-hued stone hotel blends seamlessly into the landscape. The sea views are breathtaking and restorative, visible from all around the resort; the sweep of white pebbles out front are threaded with wooden walkways that lead to the beach club. Make a beeline for the spa, where, alongside the hammam, sauna, and jacuzzi, you’ll find a series of thalassotherapy pools. Book a private session and sit back as the jets ease tight muscles and aching joints. Afterwards, you’ll feel noticeably more supple and flexible – and ready to get stuck into everything else on offer, from sailing round the coast and the isle of Spinalonga in a traditional caique to wine tasting in the organic garden and the weekly Cretan feast which takes place by the water’s edge. This is a brilliant all-rounder, where a seawater soak offers a holiday-ready, health-boost.


To create your own hydrotherapy experience at home slather yourself with Scentiana’s Smoothing Body Scrub. Massage in circular motions towards your heart and turn the shower from warm to cold. The benefits of cold showers are huge. They are said to increase circulation and metabolism, bolster your immunity and reduce both inflammation and sore muscles. 

2007 clinical study by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine showed that participants who took cold showers for several months even reported an effective relief of depressive symptoms. Anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes is a good start. After 30 days you will notice your body acclimatises and you can stay under the cold water for up to five minutes. Pat skin dry and then use Scentiana’s gorgeous Replenishing Body Cream to soothe and seal in moisture.

Images: Herb Ritts "Christy-Waterfall, L.A. (a)", 1988