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Spa Mantra unravels the health secrets and many finer points of hot springs, and rounds up some of the hottest hotels that indulge and heal their guests at the same time

Earlier in May 2013, Angsana Hotels and Resorts announced that they were setting up a whole wellness village with a spa that would have a whopping 43 hot spring pools. So what is this special lure that all major hospitality brands want a piece of the hot springs pie?
A hot spring is formed by the surfacing of geothermally heated groundwater from the crust of the earth. They are sometimes referred to as geothermal hot springs that are naturally patterned in various locations all over the earth’s crust. Hot springs have always been tourist hotspots as they are considered therapeutic for many medical conditions. This gives a spa or wellness resort built over or around a hot spring an edge over other destinations.
Spa Mantra delves into this topic to give you insights about these naturally-created phenomena.
Types of Hot Springs and benefits
There are many types of hot springs that are distinguished by the minerals dissolved in the water. Different minerals give the hot springs different colours, smells and health benefits. Generally speaking, all hot springs have a relaxing effect on the body and mind, but choosing the right type of hot springs to bathe in can help provide an effective cure for some illnesses.
Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate Springs
The colourless and odorless water from these springs beautifies the skin, accelerates tissue regeneration, and promotes metabolism and blood circulation. It also has positive effects on gastrointestinal disorders, arthritis, external injury, liver disease, allergies and skin diseases.
Sodium Carbonate Springs
Water from such springs have no colour, a clear appearance, and are known to help treat athlete’s foot, arthritis and skin diseases. It is especially helpful for those with painful joints. It also helps lower blood pressure and reduces stress. The filtered spring water can be made into a refreshing beverage to relieve constipation and improve one’s appetite as well as gastro-intestinal health.
Salt or Hydrogen Sulfide Springs
The water from these springs has healing effects on skin disease, women’s diseases, and problems of the intestine and stomach.
Sulphur Springs
Water from these springs appear either yellow-brownish or milky and emit a strong smell of rotten eggs. Although the springs can irritate sensitive skin, the minerals in the water can have a therapeutic effect on skin disease, women’s diseases, asthma, neuralgia, rheumatism and shoulder, neck and wrist pains; they also have a detoxifying effect.
Ferrous springs
Water from these springs contains a high concentration of metallic elements. It can help treat anaemia, women’s diseases, menopausal problems and chronic eczema.
Mud Springs
The water from these springs appears gray or even black, and helps treat skin disease, neuralgia, and gastrointestinal disorders.
HoteLs cashing in on Hot Spring locations
Wellness travelers across the globe are increasingly looking for destinations that will offer them a slice of the healthy life. From eating all-organic food to fitness boot camps to exotic spa therapies, the new age traveler is willing to go that extra mile. Hot springs are tourist magnets and clusters of hotels often come up around hot springs. Land around hot springs is often bought by hotel giants as a sound investment. For example, the erstwhile hot springs in China called the South Lian Hua Village has now been taken over by the Riyuegu Hotsprings Resort.
These hotels have much more to offer just fine dining and accommodation. Fabulous spa treatments that involve some elements like the water or the mud obtained from the spring are often on the menus of these hotels. These complement the therapeutic nature of a hot spring vacation.
Basking in springs
Geothermal/Hot Springs are sited in all continents around the world. Countries that are renowned for their hot springs include China, Costa Rica, Iceland, Iran, New Zealand, Peru, United States, Taiwan, and Japan. Here are a few we fell in love with…

Blue Lagoon, Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is among the wonders of the world according to National Geographic. Located just 20 minutes away from Keflavík airport, it is known for its healing powers and is known to have worked wonders on people with psoriasis and other skin-related deceases. Therefore, people around the globe visit the Blue Lagoon to experience its sheer healing power. It is a unique experience and an unforgettable opportunity to energize with the forces of nature. Located in the heart of the Icelandic landscape, the Blue Lagoon is a breathtaking site.
Blue Lagoon, 240 Grindavík, Iceland, Phone: +354 420 8800 (Mon-Fri 9:00 – 17:00 GMT)

Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada
The Banff Upper Hot Springs is one of Banff’s most famous attractions. Discovered in 1884, the hot springs were included in Banff National Park, the first National Park in Canada. The Banff Upper Hot Springs has all the amenities of a modern facility in a splendid historic spa and bathhouse – against a backdrop of Banff National Park’s spectacular alpine scenery. One could stay at The Banff Aspen Lodge, Brewster’s Mountain Lodge, Charlton’s Cedar Court or Banff Voyager Inn that put together special accomodation and sightseeing packages.
Banff Springs, 1 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1K2, Canada, Phone: +1 403-762-1515

Beppu, Japan
Beppu is located on the east coast of Kyushu Island, sandwiched between the Seto Inland Sea and its steep mountains and hills. It has long been known as Japan’s premier hot spring resort city. In fact, there is more hot spring water in Beppu than anywhere else in Japan. Over 100 hot spring resorts are located in this city of 125,000, and visitors from all over Japan flock to Beppu to relax in the hot spring pools, hot mud baths, and hot sand baths. Some of the most famous resorts around the vicinity are the Japanese Guest Houses and Beppu Showaen, a five star property.
1-15 Kaminoguchi-chō, Beppu-shi, Ōita-ken, Japan- 874-8511. Tel: 0977-21-1111

Szechenyi Baths, Budapest Hungary
There are more than 120 hot spring spas in Budapest. Szechenyi Bath and Spa in Budapest can rightly be called the city of spas. It was the first thermal bath on the Pest side. Back in 1881, it was called ‘Artesian Bath’, and was only a temporary establishment. In 1913, it was converted into a permanent bath, and received its present name and most parts of its pretty yellow building complex. The property includes a total of 15 pools and a wellness centre, where trained instructors await guests with services, such as fat burning, weight- and body-toning gymnastics, and aqua aerobics.
Állatkerti Körút 11,City Park, XIV. District, Budapest Hungary.Tel: (+36 1) 363 3210

Arenal, Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, there are many hot springs of different temperatures, flow volumes and mineral content that can be found in the regions but the most famous is the Arenal springs, thanks to the Arenal Volcano’s geothermal activity, there is a number of natural hot springs throughout the area. However, the perfect combination of volume, temperature and mineral content (low sulfur content to prevent strong odors) that is present in Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is unique in Costa Rica and worldwide.The property boasts of having three thermal springs that naturally surface and flow in the property at 50 degrees Celsius. The resort also has The Grand Spa that gives you a spa experience with the outdoors in full view in open-air bungalows set among our lush gardens, with the tropical rain forest, hot springs and volcano as background.
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica, Tel 00 506 2519 1999

Pamukkale, Turkey
Pamukkale is an amazing display of natural hot water pools in Denizli Province, south-western Turkey. Pamukkale denotes the Turkish words ‘cotton castle’ due to its naturally created white travertines or the terraces. This is formed due to the carbonate minerals that gather up as the flowing water circles. This heavenly place can be visited all year long, but it is absolutely spectacular during the winters when natural pools of hot water form and tourists can take long, soothing baths. Five star hotels and resorts like Pam Thermal Hotel, Spa Hotel Colossae Thermal and Umut Thermal Hotel are among the best around here.
Pamukkale, Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey


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