The World's Top 5 Greenest Spa Escapes


Steamy waters at the Vulkania spring in Austria. Photo courtesy Rogner Bad.

Bet you didn't know that spa is a possible* Latin abbreviation--derived from "Sanus Per Aquam" or health via the water.

There's a million definitions for what might constitute a 'green' spa--including a tub with an overgrowth of algae! So instead of concentrating on the treatments or ingredients that give most spas their green tinge, we'll take our cue from the Latin and dish up five great spa escapes from around the globe (with some extra honorable mentions) using, quality, healing properties of the waters, and the dedication to sustainably as our guide. Of course, while this list is neither exhaustive nor officially audited or certified by anyone, you can rely on the fact that a visit to any of them will leave you feeling...well, at the very least, squeaky clean. So dive in.
Eighties purple lighting aside, this couple looks pretty relaxed, right? Photo courtesy of thespaprcompany.com

1. Titanic Spa, Linthwaite, England

Titanic Spa doesn't scream green when you walk in its doors--it's a refurbished spinning mill--but it really doesn't have to. This spa, located in Yorkshire, has tackled the serious issues of energy use, water waste, and the building's carbon footprint. Photovoltaic panels and a biomass generator burning wood chippings from industry waste are topped up if need be with the purchase of 100 percent renewable energy. Cold water wash is used for all spa linens. There's no chlorine in the swimming pool--all water used for the pool, steam, and showers is pumped up 330 feet from a borehole original to the mill. Titanic doesn't have much of a 'green' atmosphere--the focus is relaxation, with massage, and other alternative treatments like Hopi Ear Candle on the spa menu. If customers are interested, staff will show off energy saving measures like auto on-and-off lights and even offer a peak at the meter that tracks whether the spa manages to be carbon neutral with its efficiency measures and alternative energy generation.


Whimsical baths at Rogner Bad Blumau. Photo courtesy Rogner Bad Blumau.

2. Rogner Bad Blumau, Bad Blumau, Austria

The philosophy at the Austrian Rogner Bad Blumau spa--visually a style cross between Gustav Klimt and Dr. Seuss and designed by architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser--is a "life in harmony with nature." To that end, hot water from the highly mineralized Vulkania hot spring supplies the hotel with heat and electricity. The Vulkania spring is supposed to be curative, with both cold and warm pools. Each overnight stay at the spa hotel contributes $.80 toward to the World Wildlife Fund, in order to protect a piece of Amazon rain forest. The spa hopes to protect some 100,000 acres annually with the program, which launched in 2008. The main buildings of the spa are built underground and sport green roofs. In addition to standard massages, the Blumau offers detoxifying packs, muscle relaxing packs, milk and honey packs, and even a "Vulkania" algae pack.


One of Breitenbush's rock-encrusted pools. Photo via MrLunch @ flickr.

3. Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, Oregon

Breitenbush is a funky New Age hot spring, and for some, it's heaven on earth. Unlike Rogner, which blends its funky with a four-star hotel, Breitenbush is down to earth with massage and other treatments and rustic cabin accommodations where sustainability reigns. The fact that Breitenbush has its own sustainability pages with detailed information on its Web site says a lot, actually. And visitors going to this hidden-in-the-forest spa along the Breitenbush River in Oregon (yes, we mean Detroit, Oregon, not Michigan) realize that the commitment is rock solid. A sometimes creaky geothermal heat infrastructure means some cabins might be toasty warm while others are just livable. The 40 kilowatt hydroelectric facility supports the other electricity needs of a community of 55 full-time residents and up to 135 guests, and everyone is asked to conserve all the resources at Breitenbush--and not get cranky on the hair dryer ban! Much of the lumber for new projects is from "volunteer" fallen trees. Breitenbush also has serious large-scale composting and a commitment to local (meat-free) food service. For visitors, the real jewels are the rock-lined pools, tiled tubs, and the cedar cabin sauna. While the rustic edges at Breitenbush are not for the pampered spa seeker, this place has serious green chops and conveys a true back-to-nature pleasure.

Discover more healing green spas on Page 2

Tags: Alternative Energy | Alternative Fuels | Geothermal Power | Renewable Energy | Solar Energy | Solar Power | Water Conservation