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The 10 best Rio spas

Wind down after exploring the city with a relaxing treatment at one of the best, most rejuvenating Rio spas

Le Spa at Hotel Santa Teresa Rio Mgallery By Sofitel
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com Le Spa at Hotel Santa Teresa Rio Mgallery By Sofitel
By Estella Shardlow |
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Seeking respite from Rio’s hedonistic side? The city has no shortage of world-class day spas, which are just the ticket to soothe aching limbs after all that samba dancing hiking around the city’s many hilltop sights and exploring the best things to do in Rio. Residents love pampering themselves in sleek neighborhood salons – fitness and beauty are, after all, both big business in Rio – while the spas at luxurious five-star hotels give non-guests a taste of the celebrity lifestyle. On a serious shoestring? Even on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, skilled masseurs work their magic, setting up massage chairs right on the sand.

Best Rio spas

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Copacabana Palace Spa
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com

Copacabana Palace Spa

What is it? This historic beachfront hotel still leads the pack for luxury, and its spa is no exception, boasting a sauna, steam room, relaxation area, boutique and five treatment rooms.

Why go? Its signature Belmond Experience is one of the most indulgent treatments in town: a five-hour session that includes an exfoliation, face mask, aromatic bath and even a special healthy meal to conclude. If you’re not chilled after that, there’s no hope. Natural native ingredients such as acai berries and white Amazonian clay take a starring role in the therapies.

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Lavanda Fitness Spa
Photograph: Courtesy Lavanda Fitness Spa

Lavanda Fitness Spa

What is it? Proving the hotels don’t have a monopoly on impressive spas, São Conrado’s Lavanda is an all-round healthy living hub.

Why go? This place really runs the gamut of wellness services: Pilates and yoga classes to themed treatment packages – ‘energy stabilization’ or ‘after-party detox’ could come be just what the doctor ordered. Its dizzying array of alternative therapies includes Ayurvedic massage, New Seita (oriental spine alignment) and ion foot detox.

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3
Hotel Fasano
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com

Spa Fasano

What is it? Enter the hallowed halls of Ipanema’s most luxurious hotel and shoulder through the celebrities (Madonna, Kate Moss and the Beckhams have all stayed here) to hit the first floor ‘holistic wellness’ sanctuary.

Why go? Reset after the plane with the legendary jet-lag-relieving treatments, savor the hammam and sauna areas, and don’t forget a visit up to the rooftop Vichy Shower Room. Extra points for its sustainability ethos, which includes all-organic products and recycled bamboo-fiber staff uniforms.

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W Spa
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Wikimedia Commons/Boris Gorjan

W Spa

What is it? ‘W’ stands for wellness at this Barra da Tijuca retreat, as it aims to address the health of mind, body and spirit – the whole package.

Why go? Forget your standard lavender oil, each of the unique massages on W’s menu use rare, exotic ingredients with healing properties – examples include uncaria tomentosa, a woody vine grown around Latin America, or thanaka powder, a derived from Burmese tree bark.

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5
Photograph: Shutterstock

HBD Spa

What is it? Drag yourself from Ipanema’s powdery sands and you’ll find a favourite pampering parlour of the neighbourhood’s glam residents, close to the Rodrigo des Freitas lagoon.

Why go? Follow the lead of famous Brazilian actresses Adriana Esteves and Cynthia Howlett by letting HBD’s expert therapists work their magic on you too. The invigorating skin cleansings or spiritually-healing reiki sessions are popular, while hair treatment, makeup application and cosmetic procedures can also be booked.

6
Santa Teresa Hotel RJ - MGallery By Sofitel
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com

Le Spa - Hotel Santa Teresa Rio MGallery by Sofitel

What is it? Up in charming, bohemian Santa Teresa, the whole five-star hotel has the air of a relaxing rural retreat. The secrets within its walls include one of Rio’s best spas.

Why go? Brazilian essential oils and natural ingredients – think: green coffee oil and tropical fruits – are applied by skilled hands in a gorgeous setting decked out in natural wood, inigenous artworks and woven fabrics. The extensive massage menu includes pre-natal, shiatsu and hot stone options.

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7
Shine Spa for Sheraton
Photograph: Courtesy Shine Spa for Sheraton

Shine Spa for Sheraton

What is it? Between Ipanema beach and upmarket Leblon, this large gilded spa really looks the business, and has the services to match.

Why go? Massages, facials, hairstyling and make-up services are all on offer, so you can be beautified from head to toe. From the marbled entrance to the orchid-strewn relaxation room, it’s easy to feel like a VIP here. But the view from the glass-fronted treatment rooms is the real star – just look at that brilliant turquoise sea.

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Vila Santa Teresa
Photograph: Courtesy Booking.com

Vila Santa Teresa

What is it? A hilltop haven set within a boutique hotel, offering everything from Day waxing and pedicures to meditation and Pilates.

Why go? There’s a lot to love about Vila’s cozy treatment rooms, but if you prefer al fresco they can set up a table in the hotel’s lush gardens. Only naturally and ethically produced products are used, and there’s a steam room plus outdoor pool for relaxation time before your treatment.

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9
Viver Zen Spa Urbano
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Viver Zen Spa Urbano

Viver Zen Spa Urbano

What is it? A hot stone's throw from Ipanema beach, this dreamy little spa help you unwind with head massages, shiatsu, reflexology or sports massages.

Why go? Its half-day packages are a great way to experience all manner of soothing treats, with prices more accessible than others in the neighborhood (it offer discounts for cash payments, too). The jet-lag sessions are brilliant when you’re feeling spaced out in the unfamiliar time zone.

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Photograph: Shutterstock

Bem Zen Spa

What is it? Circulation-boosting massages or deep cleansing facials – take your pick at this off-the-beaten track retreat.

Why go? As it’s further away from the tourist hotspots, on the other side of the Christ Statue, the spa’s prices are much lower than you’d find in the South Zone. The quality is still excellent though, especially the romantic couples’ packages.

Another way to relax in Rio

Copacabana
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Carlos Ortega
Things to do

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