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12 of the Most Unique Spas in the World

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12 Unique Spas You Might Just Find are the Most Relaxing

Picture this: You’re lying on a massage table, but instead of the masseuse’s hands, snakes slither along your back. They weave through your hair, nibble on your eyelashes, and curl around your toes.

You can get one of these odd massages on a farm in northern Israel. There and at the rest of the world’s most unique spas, you’ll be immersed in unforgettable, oddball situations that all somehow share the same common goal—to help you heal and relax.

1. Bota Bota, Canada

floating spa

Most folks love the sound of waves when getting a massage. At Bota Bota, you’re on the waves—floating on a barge-turned-1960s-showboat that morphed into a luxury spa in 2008. It’s anchored in the Saint Lawrence River in the port of Old Montreal. Clients typically start with the “water circuit,” a series of pools, showers, sauna, and a steam bath, and then indulge in a body treatment like the Cocoa Wave or Honey Ocean. Hang on to that blissful post-treatment feeling by swaying on the boat’s hammock overlooking the city skyline.

2. Chodovar Brewery Beer Wellness Land, Czech Republic

Talk about a full immersion experience. At this spa on the grounds of a family-run brewery, you slip into a bath of dark beer, mineral water, and beer yeast with seven dehydrated curative herbs. The mixture supposedly improves body immunity and helps skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Start with 20 minutes in a 93-degree beer bath, then recuperate wrapped in a fleece quilt during a 25-minute bed rest. The spa suggests pairing the bath with a massage—and a few of its beers, naturally.

3. Galos Caves, Chicago

You no longer have to visit Poland to experience salt caves built with crystals from the Black Sea—thanks to the Polish and Ukrainian specialists who came to Chicago to construct the first U.S. salt-iodine caves (opened in 2005). Visitors spend about an hour in the dim caves, relaxing on lounge chairs amid kitschy decorations of seahorses and mermaids, listening to calming music, and breathing in the salty air. The environment is supposed to ease asthma and digestive issues. Kids make a beeline for the “saltbox,” where they can play with brightly colored beach toys.

4. Chiang Mai Women’s Prison Spa, Thailand

spa run by prisoners

 

You don’t need to have seen episodes of Locked Up Abroad to be fearful of entering a foreign prison. But people actually do come to this women’s prison to relax. The spa is equipped with a large room with mats and chairs for your choice of Thai or foot massages. Inmates run the spa as part of a massage school prison rehabilitation program, and the cost of a massage is set aside for the inmates for use after their release.

5. Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo, Tokyo

Launched last year by Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo in Tokyo, the facial incorporates several snails that are given free reign to wander around your face and leave slime in their wake. Snail-based creams are available for those who don’t plan on visiting Tokyo anytime soon (or who simply have no desire to pay to be slimed).

6. The Spa at The Firehouse, Iowa

More than a century ago, this Greek Revival-style firehouse employed award-winning horses, both named Jack, which won fire-wagon races and dashed out whenever there was an emergency. Now, instead of putting out fires, the staff come to the rescue by alleviating stress. Folks check in by the old brass fire pole and check out the operational fire gong and a large collection of historic firehouse memorabilia on display.

See also: 10 Weird Foods You’ve Never Heard Of

7. Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa, India; Spa at Sandy Lane, Barbados

At this Caribbean spa resort, treatments are drawn from wellbeing traditions across the world, from the Caribbean, North America and Europe to the Ayurvedic Philosophy from The Far East, all combined with a Barbadian sense of warmth. One of their spa treatments in particular leans more toward the unique. Ayurveda has been practiced in India for thousands of years as a traditional form of medicine, and its alternative treatments continue to be popular around the world. Less popular is shirodhara (from the Sanskrit words for head and flow), which involves pouring a drizzle of warm oil on your forehead for about an hour from a pot-like contraption.

8. Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm, Israel

Ever since biblical times, recoiling has been the first instinct when a snake slithers near. But in the Holy Land, of all places, Ada Barak is convinced that her snakes can be a soothing influence. If you dare, Barak will watch over the creatures as they writhe along your back, legs, stomach, hair—even your face. The nonvenomous snakes vary in size, with the largest ones providing a kneading feel and, at most, a little nibble on your eyelashes.

9. Mais Oui Spa Train, California

When you board this authentic 1920s luxury Pullman railcar, go for the “roundtrip”: a massage, an herbal facial, and a body scrub. The boutique spa is stationed at Napa Valley’s Calistoga Train Depot, the second-oldest depot in California. Opened in December 2010, the train has only three cabins, with room for up to six—so be ready for an intimate trip. Staff up the kitsch factor by giving you train tickets when you enter the spa.

10. Lime Spa, Maldives

The Maldives are famous for luxurious over-water bungalows with glass floors—and now for the world’s first underwater spa, part of Huvafen Fushi resort in the North Malé Atoll. Clown fish, parrot fish, blacktip reef sharks, eels, and many other creatures swim by as clients enjoy treatments like the Marine Wave, an aromatic body and scalp massage, or Pulp Friction, a full-body exfoliation with mineral sea salts and botanical oil. The spa brings sea life indoors with décor inspired by coral and sea sponges.

11. New York Spa Castle, New York

Most spa excursions last only an hour or two, but you can easily spend the whole day at Spa Castle, a 100,000-square-foot oasis among warehouses in Queens. It’s modeled after a Korean bathhouse (jimjilbang), complete with plunge pools, igloo-shaped saunas lined in gold and jade, and a food court. When you arrive, you’re issued a uniform of shorts and a T-shirt, plus an electronic bracelet that works as a locker key and a charge card. Before slipping into your new getup, spend time in the all-nude steam rooms and baths (separated by gender). Then head to the rooftop for a dip in the coed heated pool, with whirlpools, massage jets, and a view of Long Island Sound.

12. Marienkron, Austria

wellness center run by nuns

Get a massage by a habit-toting Austrian at this nun-run spa. After years of operating a chicken farming business, the sisters made over Marienkron Abbey as a wellness center in 1969. The menu ranges from lymphatic drainage massages to colonics. One signature treatment created by a 19th-century priest involved being hosed with hot and cold water. You can always cap it off with a little holy water by attending a mass during your stay.

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The Ultimate American Road Trip: Route 66

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route 66

If you’re looking for the omega American road trip then you’ve got to hit the Mother Road, otherwise known as Route 66. From Chicago to LA, it’s a journey that’ll provide the experience of a lifetime, showing you the heart of a great nation.

Start in Chicago & Chase the Sun

In reality, the best always head west. Would you rather end the trip in the Windy City, or just in time to catch a gorgeous L.A. sunset on the beach? There’s just something deeply spiritual for folks when we head west. It becomes an adventure. It becomes a vehicular voyage to the sea. Here are some of the highlights you can expect in order:

Illinois: It’s a pretty straight shot through the state from Chicago through Springfield (which has some stretches of restored Route 66) and southwest to St. Louis. There’s a bit of the bright lights of big cities, but also a good calm stretch of rural to cruise through as well; vast fields of corn and farmland for close to 300 miles.

Missouri: Once you hit East St. Louis you’ll again be greeted by sky scrapers, industrial areas and the mark of modernity but then it’s another SE straight shot through the entire belly of the state.

Kansas: You’re only going to spend a little time in the good’ol Kansas heartland. And by little we mean a whopping 14 miles far down in the bottom south east corner. You’ll go through two towns: Galena and Baxter Springs but rest assured there’s great classic restaurants and places that’ve been open as long as Route 66 has been around. In fact, it’s because of road tripper like you just passin’on through that keep’em goin.

Oklahoma: You’re going to go through two huge metropolises that have “country” written all over’em: Tulsa first and then into Oklahoma City before heading directly west towards the Pan Handle. Of all 8 states, it’s here that they take Route 66 the most seriously. It’s got the most preserved still-drivable miles and you’ll be able to see the remnants of Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Native American land. And, you’ll get to take the same route as families long ago in the Dust Bowl took to escape.

Texas: You’re going to go through the upper tip of the Texas Pan Handle that takes you through Amarillo. It looks short on a map but the 200-mile stretch of plains is a sight to behold like none other. If you can time it so you cut through here in the afternoon on a sunny day your spirit will be recharged. Just try not to pay any attention to all the truckers!

New Mexico: Welcome to the Land of Enchantment where you’ll pass through Sun Belt city and Albuquerque. These days, it can be a bit challenging to stay strictly on the old road but with all the sandstone mesas and pine forests it’s definitely worth it.

Arizona: In Arizona you’ll stay in the northern plains rather than heading down into the really hot areas around Phoenix. Instead, you’ll pass directly through Flagstaff which is a mountain town and where Northern Arizona University is located. The sights here are like a completely different world from everything you’ve seen so far, especially once you begin to head south right before passing into California. Oh, and because of the high speeds on the I-40, this will feel like one of those awesome car track days.

California: Once you reach this point get ready to cruise through rolling hills, vineyards, orchards, stunning landscapes and then at Barstow you should begin smelling the sea. From San Bernardino and Pasadena to Santa Monica it’s simply breathtaking.

This is only a taste of the experience really. You’ve just got to get out and do it. There’s plenty of great resources online to keep you on track and if you have the time you don’t have to miss a thing. Enjoy!

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Key Moments from Trump’s Impeachment Hearing

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Trump's Impeachment
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Heartbreaking; Another School Shooting Santa Clarita, CA

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Santa Clarita School SHooting

Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting leaves 2 students dead, multiple injured

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) — A 16-year-old boy shot five fellow students, two fatally, Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita before turning the .45-caliber handgun on himself, authorities said.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson said multiple 911 calls prompted firefighter-paramedics to respond about 7:40 a.m. to the school at 21900 Centurion Way.

Six students, including the gunman, were found in the quad suffering from gunshot wounds, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference. All six were transported to hospitals, where two of them, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, were later pronounced dead.

The surviving victims were described as two girls, ages 14 and 15, and a 14-year-old boy.

In a tweet, Henry Mayo Hospital said it had received four patients.

Their names were not immediately disclosed. The sheriff said the deceased girl’s parents were at the hospital. He was notified of the second fatality during a press conference at the school.

Gunman turns .45 caliber on himself

According to sheriff’s Capt. Kent Wegener, surveillance video “clearly” shows the suspect pulling a semi-automatic handgun out of his backpack in the quad and shooting five classmates before shooting himself in the head.

Thursday was the gunman’s 16th birthday, the captain said.

He was listed in grave condition at a hospital, according to Villanueva.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, authorities released a description of the suspect as a manhunt got underway. Heavily armed deputies and an armored SWAT vehicle were seen at a home near the school, but it was unclear if the house was connected to the investigation.

The high school remained on lockdown for hours after the incident. Shortly before 11 a.m., lockdowns were lifted at all campuses in the district, as well as Rosedell and Highland elementary schools.

Central Park, at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road, was being used as a reunification point for parents and students, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Undersheriff Tim Murakami tweeted an apology to parents, saying investigators need to interview “every student at Saugus HS” before they can be released.

In a statement, the White House said President Donald Trump was monitoring ongoing reports about the shooting.

“The White House encourages all those in the area to follow the advice of local law enforcement and first responders,” the statement said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted an expression of gratitude to the emergency responders.

“We simply should not have to fear for our kids’ lives when we drop them off at school,” the governor said. Addressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Newsom asked: “How many more lives will be lost? How many more shootings will we have to endure? We need commonsense gun reform. NOW.”

Amid the chaos at the scene, the number of reported victims fluctuated throughout the morning. The sheriff later confirmed that six people were shot, including the gunman.


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