These Are the Best-Smelling Spas—Ever

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These Are the Best-Smelling Spas—Ever featured image
Bürgenstock Resort Lake Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne

“It smells like a spa in here.” We’ve all said it—those sensory-specific few little words, that, regardless of the fragrance, just means something good. Sometimes, it is as simple as some lavender essential oil or even a candle burning, other times, it’s something more bespoke, crafted specifically for that location. No matter your scent preferences, these 23 best smelling spas have smell-good spaces down to a science.

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Carmel Valley Ranch

If you like lavender, you’ll love Carmel Valley Ranch. The laid-back—yet luxe—location not only produces dried bundles of the Grosso variety for guests, but it also uses the essential oil it distills in a lot of different ways. You’ll find it in the in-room soaps, in-treatment at Spa Aiyana and even in dishes and drinks at Valley Kitchen. But, be warned: This lavender has an intense fragrance, so a little goes a long way.

carmel valley ranch spa
Carmel Valley Ranch
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Manoir Hovey 

Located in the picturesque Eastern Townships of Quebec, Manoir Hovey is a five-star estate set on the shores of scenic Lake Massawippi. Last summer, the property opened a new spa with a Nordic thermal experience and three new guest suites, setting out to become Canada’s top wellness destination. Besides the standout amenities—including a four-seasons heated outdoor pool, two private beaches, clay tennis courts, a gym, a fleet of Louis Garneau bikes, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards—the well-appointed spa features the signature candle scent of Eucalyptus & Mint from Hatley Naturals, a local family-owned business in Hatley, Quebec, about 15 minutes from the property.

Manoir Hovey
Manoir Hovey
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The Rockaway Hotel + Spa

You may not think of Queens, NY as a destination for relaxation, but this urban beach getaway is rewriting the rules for getting outside the madness of Manhattan. The full-service lifestyle destination boasts a spa, four food and beverage outlets, including a buzzy rooftop bar, a heated outdoor pool, and a series of arts and cultural programming. Loved by locals and out-of-town guests alike, the custom-designed Seaside signature scent features notes of everlasting flowers, orchids and jasmine pumped throughout the hotel and spa via the HVAC. Working alongside a local candle company, the scent is also available as a custom take-home candle for guests.

The Rockaway Hotel + Spa
The Rockaway Hotel + Spa
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Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club

Best described as a tropical fresh-flora fragrance, the Grande Blossom & Frangipani is an intoxicating mist of tuberose, frangipani, lemon peel, orange blossom. Besides smelling good, the scent purposefully incorporates the fragrance of the flowers found around the property, including public spaces and the spa. All bath products—shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body moisturizer—as well as Aurora Anguilla candles feature the scent.

Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club
Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club
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Abi d’Oru Beach Hotel & Spa

When the seasonal, luxury beachfront hotel located in Sardinia reopens its doors this May, guests will enjoy new offerings and experiences including a brand-new signature scent throughout the property. The scent, created exclusively for Abi d’Oru, was brought to life in partnership with renowned Italian-born and award-winning perfumer Luca Maffei, along with culture expert Mariangela Rosi. Designed to capture the nuances of the distinct Sardinia flora, elements of white sand, the sea breeze, centuries-old trees and spices grown locally with hints of helichrysum, juniper, saffron and wood, the one-of-a-kind scent will permeate throughout the hotel’s guest rooms and suites, public spaces and the spa.

Abi d’Oru Beach Hotel & Spa
Abi d’Oru Beach Hotel & Spa
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Sandals Dunn’s River

The very first location in the Sandals Resorts portfolio to be infused with a new signature scent, this new bespoke fragrance is designed to evoke the romance, flora and fauna of the Caribbean—and they have the votes to prove it. Tested against a panel of custom aromas and hand-selected by Sandals Resorts team members, the new signature scent features notes of white florals, sandalwood and musk. Fully exclusive to the Sandals Resorts brand, the scent will roll out across the entire portfolio of resorts soon.

Sandals Dunn’s River
Sandals Dunn’s River
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Cal-a-Vie Health Spa

Tucked away on more than 500 private acres in Vista, just north of San Diego, Cal-a-Vie is a destination health spa resort offering a 5:1 staff-to-guest ratio. Combining luxurious European spa philosophies with California concepts, the French Provencal- styled retreat also features a sophisticated Sweet Berry signature scent in the candle burned throughout the property, a fusion of sweet berries, pear, grapefruit and rhubarb.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
Cal-a-Vie Health Spa
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Kamalaya Koh Samui

Integrating ancient Eastern healing traditions strengthened with Western medical research and modern therapeutics, this Koh Samui wellness destination is known for delivering life-changing results. Like everything at Kamalaya, the signature scent has an innovative and purposeful philosophy: The essential oil revolves around an Ambrosia scent, which is gently heart-opening and soothing for the nervous system and “assists with the process of letting go and releasing to clear the way for clarity, creative growth, emotional healing and transformation.” This scent is diffused throughout Kamalaya’s common areas, including the spa and wellness facilities, and is available via body and skin amenities.

Kamalaya Koh Samui
Kamalaya Koh Samui
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Bürgenstock Resort Lake Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne

Perched on the Bürgenberg mountain 500 meters above Lake Lucerne with majestic views of the Swiss Alps, the Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne is an impressive luxury alpine destination. The iconic resort (it opened in 1873!) spans over 60 acres, encompasses 348 rooms and suites and features not one but two spas. The custom scent is equally impressive, developed by by Kukui, a luxe Swiss perfumery based in Zurich, while the facilities offer a variety of aromatherapy features—including pine for relaxation, eucalyptus for invigoration, and lavender for calming, and products that utilize pine oil derived from the nearby forest and chamomile from the meadows.

Bürgenstock Resort Lake Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne
Bürgenstock Resort Lake Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne
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ONE the Spa at Shutters

Santa Monica’s steps-from-the-beach ONE the Spa at Shutters is a small space that feels a little bit like a hidden hideaway for solace seekers (even the lounge area is so tucked away, you might miss it before you go in for your massage). But, it’s precisely that privacy factor that makes the space feel so fantastic. Dimmed lighting and flickering candles set the stage, while the scent of Red Flower’s Ocean line (it’s also the star of the in-room luxurious amenities) plays in the backdrop. The official list of accords in the featured fragrance includes sea flowers, herbs and trees, balsam, clove, bay laurel leaf and eucalyptus; somehow, when blended together in this seaside location, they deliver a scent that is undoubtedly “the ocean.” 

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Heavenly Spa by Westin

The clean scent of white tea is always comforting, and, for the Heavenly Spa by Westin it is also a core part of the spa experience they present to guests. As the property’s signature fragrance, the aroma helps guests “shift modes the moment they step through the hotel doors,” and, according to the brand, also helps to balance and inspire. Regardless of what it does for you, don’t skip purchasing one of the take-home diffusers at the gift shop to set up your own scented space after you leave.

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WestHouse Hotel

Technically, there isn’t a spa (there are some very specific in-room spa services, on request), but New York’s boutique Westhouse offers such a unique olfactory experience, that it would be remiss to not include it in this list. Located just steps from Central Park, the cozy space feels more like your personal townhouse than your average home-away-from-home, with carefully curated touches and an exclusive warm spicy-amber scent that wafts through the lobby and halls by fragrance designers 12.29. The exotic blend is truly memorable, and the magic doesn’t stop there, as the rooms are also outfitted with the opulent DanNa Decker line of candles and bath and body products (it’s the first hospitality partnership for the couture brand).

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Aulani Disney Resort and Spa

Hidden within a private lagoon on O’ahu, lies Aulani Disney Resort and Spa, a remote paradise surrounded by plumeria and hibiscus flowers that naturally smell just about as good as the spa. Laniwai—a Polynesian phrase for freshwater heaven—smells exactly how you would imagine a Hawaiian spa would smell, only better. With a mission to truly represent Hawaiian culture, each room hosts an aroma flight of traditional scents like coconut, pineapple, plumeria and papaya scented body butters used during treatments so you can fully experience the fragrant elements Hawaii has to offer. The spa’s signature scent Maile, however, is truly beyond compare. The only way to give it justice is to describe it based on the spa’s theme; a play on light, color and water. The fresh scent fills the air (and complimentary locker room toiletries) with an aroma comparable to the ocean mixed with fresh fruit and flowers and a touch of the way the air smells just before the sun sets.

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Rosewood Hotel Sense Spa

What does endless sunshine, stunning beaches and a carefree attitude smell like? According to Carmel, CA, organic perfumery Ajne, it smells like “Jumby Bay”—an invigorating blend that highlights fresh lemongrass, bay pimento and a hint of rosewood found at the Rosewood Jumby Bay and its Sense spa. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is making those notes work so well, but it is so undoubtedly “paradise,” and it’s concocted from plants found on the island. The fragrance is diffused not only throughout the resort, but it’s also the signature massage oil found in the treatments and infused into all the body care and home-fragrance products used throughout the spa. 

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Seadream Yacht Club Spa

Making a ship smell spectacular is a little tricky. Due to safety regulations, you can’t have a burning candle on board, but the uberluxurious Seadream Yacht Club Spa found a fabulously fragranced way to get around that. Thanks to an electric burner and some carefully selected Harnn aromatherapy oil blends, plus the Camylle essential oils used in the sauna, the spa is a space of exotically scented solace. It also has some serious treatments (La Prairie facials, MoroccanOil hair treatments and traditional Thai offerings, to name a few), but if you just want a whiff of some decadently aromatherapeutic air, just head down for a steam and soak it in (it’s free and open to all guests).

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The Wayak Spa

The smell of incense can go either way. To some, it’s a bit too smoky; to others, it’s warm and inviting. The Wayak Spa at Viceroy Riviera Maya goes more toward the “warm” way, offering one of the most unique full-on fragrance experiences we’ve seen. Revolving around the essence of copal (an aromatic tree resin native to the area) incense, the spa has a Shaman-in-Residence who blesses all arriving guests with the incense in a purification ceremony intended to dispel negative energy and prepare them for a positive experience. His message: “The peace and nature of the cosmos will be in all of us.”

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Omni Mount Washington Resort

Going the indigenous route, New Hampshire’s The Spa at Omni Mount Washington Resort’s scent of “Mountain Mist” is as memorably fragranced as it is effective. Available in the spa’s lotions, scrubs, body washes, shampoos and conditioners (as well as serving as its signature fragrance), it’s infused with Iberis, a local plant commonly known as Candytuft, which has been used since ancient times to relieve muscle soreness; nettle, rich in vitamin E; and rosemary, a soothing, calming, anti-inflammatory herb that gives it that aromatic woody-mint scent.

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Providence Biltmore

The magic of Malibu’s cult-classic Kai fragrance has made its way to the East Coast, setting up shop as the signature fragrance at The Spa at the Providence Biltmore. The natural essences of gardenia, white floral and honeysuckle leaves an intoxicating scent everywhere you turn—plus you can take it home, as the spa carries the full line of fragrance, bath, body and home care products.

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Pumped through all the vents at Miami’s classic Fontainebleau (including the Lapis Spa) is the perfect green-floral-meets-bamboo-foliage signature scent. The fragrance is complex (but in a good way), and comes across as calming and captivating and delightfully surprising in the oceanfront setting. Crave more? Just look in the gift shop for Staircase-The Signature Lobby Scent candle.

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Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts

With an aromatherapy angle that is so special it has its own schedule (Monday may be lemongrass but by Friday eucalyptus is featured), Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts creates what it refers to as its “aromatherapy sanctuary,” an always-present signature scent of incense and essential oils you can find not only in the spa, but in all guest rooms and public spaces. Best of all: The front desk can take requests if there’s something specific you favor.

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Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Mysterious and enchanting, the Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia offers unexpected touches at every corner of its desert hideaway location. The Joyambrosia signature scent, collected exclusively for the spa and infused from the Peniocereus Greggii, commonly known as the cactus flower called ‘Queen of the Night,’ greets guests as they make their entrance into the Joya Spa. This rare fragrance (the flower blooms one night only under a full moon) can only be described as an alluring twist on your most complex floral fragrance, but its real draw is its aromatherapeutic properties, as it is said to increase clarity, wisdom and insight.

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The Ritz-Carlton

It’s hard to believe two simple scents such as mango and guava can merge together to create such an appealing and alluring fragrance, but that’s exactly what’s been accomplished with The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach’s brand-new signature Mango Guava candle. The intoxicating blend burns through the spa, making it almost hard to pinpoint the notes, but making it almost mandatory to stop and ask. As an added bonus: A limited quantity of candles are exclusively available to guests as a complimentary gift when they purchase the Taste of the Tropics experience, a 50-minute sensory scrub and massage that exfoliates the body head to toe, getting bodies beach-ready—and deliciously fragranced to boot.

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Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Lovers of uber-luxury fragrance house Le Labo almost have to make the fragrance mecca to one of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts properties to experience their “official” scent of Le Labo Rose 31. To categorize the unisex scent as simply “rose,” would be an understatement, as it mysteriously makes its way into the warm-spicy category as well. Either way, the evocative scent shows up not only in the air but also in the in-room amenities as handcrafted, made-to-order concoctions.

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