Around the World in Destination Spas


Ada Barak's Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa

It sounds sensational, but Ada Barak -- who operates the Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa in northern Israel -- swears by her snakes. Yes, Barak offers snake massages amid a slew of plants that munch on insects, reptiles, small mammals, and even schnitzel. It's essentially a roadside exhibit that invites tourists to get a little closer with Barak's non-venemous California and Florida king snakes. Up to six of the slithering creatures crawl and writhe on people's bodies (including their faces) to help relieve tension. If you believe that relaxation can go hand in hand with unpredictability and adventure, seek out Barak's spa. To get a taste of the experience, watch this Time correspondent get covered in snakes. We were hoping to see more of the overall environment with plants that have the munchies, but the snakes have obviously stolen their thunder.


Geomagnetic Vortex Desert Spa

George Van Tassel was an aeronautical engineer and test pilot who worked for people like Howard Hughes, and later became a leader in the UFO movement after having what he believed were encounters with extra-terrestrials. Eighteen-years later the Integratron was born -- an acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine that sits on a powerful geomagnetic vortex in the magical Mojave Desert. The giant dome structure offers sonic healing sessions to those seeking a one-stop shop for physical and spiritual healing. Don't just take our word for it, though. The Integratron website quotes lead vocalist of the Fleet Foxes, Robin Pecknold, who said of his visit, "The notes sound like they're coming from inside your mind... It was the closest thing to a psychedelic experience I've ever had."


Geometric Mountain Wellness Center

The striking, geometric structures jutting from the Tschuggen Bergoase spa in Switzerland were created to resemble vegetal forms and trees. They provide an exceptional view of the rugged mountain terrain and allow natural light into the treatment rooms that spread over four floors -- some of them underground and set into the mountain. Architect Mario Botta was mindful of the surrounding villages and natural environment, so he aimed to "build without over-building." Botta hopes the distinctive, but attractive design creates a collective relaxation.


Serbian Sky Spa

The Danube Flower was erected as a landmark on Belgrade, Serbia's waterfront. The project was funded by the communist government and endorsed by the late J.B. Tito who first ate at the Flower's exclusive restaurant in 1973. It fell into decay during the country's civil war, but architects have resurrected it as a high-end fitness center and spa. The large-scale, triangular building sits fifty feet above the Danube River. Complex geometric configurations were added to the equilateral triangular structure, making room for 390 backlit panels and more. The short description? It looks like a massive, hovering UFO inside and out.


Oil Rig Spa 

Morris Architects hope to see their award-winning Oil Rig Resort, Spa, and Aquatic Adventure become a reality soon. In the next century, about 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico will become decommissioned, offering builders a potential 80 million square feet to play with. Removing the rigs is a costly and violent process that requires a damaging explosion, harmful to sea life. Morris envisions Dubai-esque luxury hotels, resorts, and spas that will become eco-friendly islands -- a destination for discerning travelers, business retreats, and entertainment showcases.

A version of this post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.


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