Madrid spas used to be few and far between. Only ten or twenty years ago, travelers were able to book a massage at the best luxury hotels and perhaps enjoy a sauna if they were lucky. But that was about it. Over the last few years, the country has been working hard to change its reputation as a destination for young people looking to party in hotspots like Ibiza and budget conscious families on cheap vacations on the beaches. This has meant the development and opening of exclusive resorts and world-class hotels where you can enjoy a Madrid spa vacation in style and comfort.
Part of the heritage and history of the city was shaped during the country’s occupation by the Roman Empire (from about 410 B.C. to about 410 A.D.) and during the subsequent occupation by Islamic Moors from North Africa (from about the eighth to about the eleventh century). These occupiers brought with them a tradition of public baths and health spas utilizing mineral springs, similar to the public baths and hammams found today in Turkey. They established Madrid spas and bathhouses all over the city.
Ever since, Spaniards and Madrilenos have frequented balnearios, seeking the healing qualities that can be found in natural thermal springs. Today, some of the most authentic and best spas in Madrid Spain draw on that tradition. The perfect place to spend time during your Madrid spa vacation in order to sample this historic tradition is the Medina Mayrit (pictured), located right in the heart of the city between Plaza Mayor and the world-class museums near Retiro Park. Mayrit is the Arabic word referring to the old city, and the pools and baths are built within a series of cold, tepid, and hot spring wells. It is a quiet and fragrant subterranean traditional hammam that has been restored and adorned with traditional Mudejar décor and architecture. After your healing dips in the pools, you can book a massage, and there is a tea room (complete with shisha pipes) serving traditional specialties and offering music and belly dancing.
Some of the best spas in Madrid Spain are much more modern than this. A number of these Madrid spas are day-use facilities, including extensive health club services. Just a couple blocks east of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts is the Fusiom, offering massages, sunken stone baths, and steam rooms. The O2 Wellness Center is a chain of 35 spas and fitness centers located throughout Spain, from Granada and Barcelona to Valencia. There are four of them located in the Madrid area, one of which is for women only. These centers have everything from fitness and exercise facilities, to whirlpools and massage services. Just north of Retiro Park is the Aqua Spa Center, with a wide variety of spa and beauty treatments, including a chocolate bubble bath.
In general, the best spas in Madrid Spain with the most modern equipment and services will be found in exclusive boutique hotels and luxury hotels. These properties offer everything under one roof and have the atmosphere of deluxe resorts. The palatial Ritz, built in 1910, is likely the finest hotel in the city. Here you can enjoy a Madrid spa vacation that includes luxurious rooms and suites, fine gourmet dining at a number of restaurants, a fitness and wellness center with a fully equipped gym and full-service spa. All topped off with an excellent location near the Prado Museum.