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I’ve been covering spas and luxury travel for two decades, so the bar is set pretty high for me. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the Richmond Nua Wellness Spa, located on the banks of Lake Sapanca and about an hour away from Istanbul by car. Surprisingly, it’s the only full-service spa resort in the country of Turkey. During my stay, I met people from all over Europe and the Middle East who came for five-day stays not only to relax, but also to focus on their health and well-being.
There are 20 suites among the 131 guestrooms, but the best are located on the “Q” (quiet) floor on the top level. These rooms are spacious with a separate shower, desk, living room and, my favorite, an expansive balcony to take in the lake and forest below. I started my day with a cup of coffee (there’s a tea and coffee station in the room) on the balcony, all while listening to the sound of the call to prayer. It was perfection.
Of course, the main reason to come to the resort is the spa, so I didn’t actually spend too much time in the room. The spa area spans nearly 30,000 square feet — in short, it’s enormous. In addition to the extensive treatment menu (that can easily be customized), the spa has about a dozen relaxation rooms, steam rooms, an ice grotto, various showers, mists and Jacuzzis. I could easily spend the whole day here and not even get a treatment.
But I certainly indulged in my fair share of treatments. I started with the Turkish bath. While this is one of the shortest treatments (30 minutes in length), it was one of my favorites. This was my third visit to Turkey, so I was experienced in the way of the bath, but each place puts on its special spin. Here, I was scrubbed, rubbed, soaped up and cooled down, all while my body slowly melted into the heated stone. My skin felt exfoliated and baby soft by the end.
I then headed to the circuit of wet and dry rooms that kept my body in this pleasant euphoric state. I relaxed in the water beds, listening to music on headphones, and then moved to heated benches, a ice grotto, a steam room and a Jacuzzi.
In all, I had a variety of treatments, from a facial and a wrap to a massage and scrub, and found the therapists to be experienced. I made each treatment last for hours by doing the circuit before and after the scheduled appointment. After my revitalizing experience at Richmond Nua Wellness Spa, I now understand why people come from around the world to relax and rejuvenate here.