Top 10 places to relax: Australia's best hotel spas
Australia's top 10 hotel spas
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania. At this spa you can soak in the hot tub while admiring towering King Billy pines and fresh mountain streams that run through the wilderness.
In this era of jet lag, back-to-back meetings and 24-hour technology, the hotel spa has never been more important to the global business traveller.
And for the leisure tourist there's nothing quite like being massaged into a jelly-like state and feeling all your cares drift away at a resort's spa.
In a 2012 survey commissioned by Hilton Hotels and Resorts, nearly half of respondents said the existence of a hotel spa was an important factor in choosing where to stay.
Chinese travellers, in particular, were the most likely to factor in whether a hotel has an on-site spa in their booking decisions, followed by Australians, the survey of 6000 global travellers found.
Of the Chinese travellers polled, 84 per cent said the inclusion of a spa was important in the decision to choose a particular hotel, compared with 52 per cent of Australians, 37 per cent of Britons and 32 per cent of Americans.
"Hotels are much more than a place to sleep," Hilton Hotels and Resorts global head Dave Horton said at the launch of the paper in Sydney this month.
"Hotels worldwide are increasingly finding that spas can drive guest bookings."
In regards to spa treatments, Chinese tourists wanted more "results-orientated treatments", such as those meant for detox, blood circulation and weights loss, while Australians placed emphasis on treatments that focused on relaxation and stress reduction.
The research also highlighted the growing importance of men to the global spa industry.
"The assumption globally that the spa market is overwhelmingly female is simply not true," Hilton Worldwide global spa senior director Tyra Lowman said.
"Especially in urban hotels and those that cater to business travellers, the gender split is often closer to 50-50."
The needs of the male spa guest are very different than those of the female visitor, she says.
Generally speaking, men prefer a no-nonsense approach to their spa experience and want to know that the treatment they select will ultimately be effective.
"Men tend to be loyal spa-goers," Ms Lowman said.
"If they are provided with their desired results, they are likely to return."
AUSTRALIA'S TOP 10 HOTEL SPAS:
The Darling, Sydney, NSW
This fancy, meandering 16-room spa features a couples' room and a tiled hamam. Treatments range from 15-minute pick-me-ups to three hour journeys. Products used include Li'tya, which is made from Australian native plants.
Byron at Byron, Byron Bay, NSW
This spa has six treatment rooms and an open-air hot tub to immerse yourself in before your pamper session. The treatments reflect "the spirit of Byron" and include the likes of the Rainforest Body Ritual and the Native Flora Journey.
Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, Daylesford, Victoria
This iconic bathhouse has been welcoming visitors since 1895 to bathe in the region's mineral waters. You can relax in the traditional communal bathing pools, a salt therapy pool and the aroma steam room before trying a facial, massage or wrap treatment.
qualia, Hamilton Island, Queensland
This attractive spa has six treatment rooms, a sunken Roman bath, outdoor shower and relaxation area. One of the best treatments on offer is the Bullari Yarrul, a hot stone massage using stones that are 300 million years old.
Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW
This elegant spa has six double treatment rooms with private Japanese-style soaking tubs. During winter months a massive stone fireplace in the relaxation room creates a cosy atmosphere.
Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
At this spa you can soak in the hot tub while admiring towering King Billy pines and fresh mountain streams that run through the wilderness.
Park Hyatt, Sydney, NSW
This recently opened spa is an urban retreat nestled in the historic Rocks area. One of the best treatments is the spa champagne afternoon tea, which combines massages and desserts.
Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree, Queensland
Set in lush tropical gardens, this spa has been inspired by "the spirit of the Daintree" - the oldest living rainforest on Earth.
Gwinganna, Gold Coast, Queensland
This gorgeous spa is housed in a circular wooden building that you enter via a "water curtain" that is fitted with a sensor that cuts the flow as you approach. Large glass doors open out on to 33 treatment rooms arranged in a giant "healing circle" and connected by an open-air walkway.
Lake Crackenback Resort, Crackenback, NSW
Surrounded by crisp alpine wilderness, this spa has five treatment rooms that feature organic cotton sheets, soft bamboo robes and mountain views.
Photos: Australia's top 10 hotel spas