World's Best Eco-Spas

by Madhu Puri

Styria, Austria

The spa: Rogner Bad Blumau

Green peace: Channel the old European tradition of a holiday dedicated to bathing at the quirky Rogner Bad Blumau spa, which appears to have grown from the grassy hills that cover and envelop it. Inspired by well-known Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, whose biomorphic work has been compared to Gaudí's, the property is a Seussian wonderland of green (as in eco) roofs, spires, and brightly painted facades. The hub is the central, circular spa known for its milk, saffron, and honey treatments, though the series of outdoor baths are equally popular. Water for the restorative treatments comes from the Vulkania curative spring; known as the warmest and most highly mineralized source in the region, the water self-purifies through its high carbon-dioxide content. Hundertwasser believed in "life in harmony with nature," so electricity and heat for the spa is derived from the same healing waters, using geothermal technology. Operating solely on green energy has the same effect as removing 2,700 cars from the streets each year. A portion of each night's stay is donated to a World Wildlife Fund project to protect almost 100,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest. In spite of all these earthly concerns, the hotel's playful design keeps the mood both light and relaxing.

Signature treatment: During the relaxing Blumau Sound Massage, a therapist places brass bowls on the body and then hits them to create resonant vibrations deep within ($130). Live instruments are played for a polyphonic experience.

Rogner Bad Blumau
Tel: 43 3383 5100
Doubles from $365

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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