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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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3 Unusual Ways to Improve the Value of your Home

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A house is one of the biggest things you’ll ever buy. It’s also one of the most significant investments in your portfolio. After all, when all else fails, you can rest assured that people will always need real-estate. However, it’s up to you to make sure that the house you purchase continues gaining value in the years to come. While there are many outside factors that can affect the value of a home, including changes in the ecosystem, and even the arrival of new amenities in your area, there are also things that you can do as a homeowner to make people want to pay more for your property. Since you’ve probably already thought about common options like replacing your kitchen or designing a new bathroom, we’re going to share some of the less conventional things you can do to transform your home.

Create a Fisherman’s Paradise

How to increase the value of your home

If you have a property that’s close to a body of water or even has its own riverside, then you’re going to be ahead of the curve already when it comes to gaining real-estate value. However, you can always take the desirability of your home another step further by making sure that you have fishing rights to offer your buyers. Let people know that buying your home comes with the option to spend their weekends fishing on the side of a beautiful river, and they’ll be biting your hands off for the chance to move in. Estimates suggest that this adds a value of about 15%.

Add a Residential Lift

a residential lift increases the value of your home
A residential lift can make your home more appealing for retirement home buyers

Finally, if you’ve got a beautiful home to offer a couple looking for a great place to spend their retirement, then there’s one easy way to help them imagine their life in your property. Australian residential lifts show buyers that they’re going to be able to manage and maintain their independence when they get a little older, because they won’t have to worry about using the stairs. What’s more, residential lifts can also appeal to younger buyers too, because they give them a unique and modern selling point to share when the time comes to sell the property in the future. You’d be surprised at how affordable it can be to place a lift in your home these days, and the value that you get out of the investment can be astronomical. Just imagine how much easier it would be to carry laundry upstairs!

Give Your House a Name

A house name can improve the value of your home
A house with a name needs a sign

This might sound like a strange way to upgrade the value of your home but bear with us. For most people, it might not matter whether they live at “The Oak”, or 35 Oak lane. However, research has shown that 88% of buyers would prefer to pay more for a home with a name. Perhaps it’s just because people feel like they’re getting a property with more personality this way. Just make sure that you have permission to name your house with your local council and choose a title that’s fitting for the property. It doesn’t make sense to call a city-based property “The Orchard” for instance.

Read next: Importance of Saving for Retirement

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“Magnificent Emeralds: Fura’s Tears” exhibition comes to New York, featuring the world’s largest gathering of important emerald specimens

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Wilensky curates a provocative, historic show in the heart of the Chelsea gallery arts district.

If art is an expression of beauty, then the exquisite minerals at the Wilensky gallery are the highest form of aesthetic that nature has to offer. This fall, set in their Chelsea gallery, Wilensky will exhibit the greatest collection of emerald mineral specimens ever assembled. This breathtaking exhibition will embrace the undeniable transformative power that emeralds hold on the human imagination. “Magnificent Emeralds: Fura’s Tears” will open on Thursday, September 26th and run through Monday, December 30th, 2019.

A human obsession for over 5,000 years, emeralds have been worshiped as a talisman, cut for ornaments and jewelry, and have inspired countless fashion runway shows with their color. Over the centuries, a myriad of writers have honored their history, geology, and gemology. A touchstone for artists, and a springboard for art, emeralds are timeless and live in many expressions. This exhibition is a prelude to that metamorphosis, a celebration of the specimen as it emerges from nature.

Emerald on Calcite, Fura's Tears
Emerald on Calcite, Coscuez Mine, Muzo Municipality, Vasquez – Yacopí mining district, Boyacá Department, Colombia. 9 cm height. (currently in the collection of the Rice Northwest Museum

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“The Yamile Emerald” Emerald on Calcite,from the Coscuez Mine,
Boyaca, Columbia. (formerly in the Víctor Carranza Niño collection, and
currently in the collection of Ms. Lyda Hill)

“This exhibition is focused on natural emeralds, as found and preserved in specimen and crystal form. By bringing together many of the world’s finest known examples of natural emerald specimens, we can better understand all emerald specimens. Important emerald stones and jewelry can be found in every gem collection around the world. The same cannot be said about exceptional natural emerald specimens. We estimate that there are less than twenty-five in the world that would qualify. Of those twenty-five, half of them are here on exhibit,” says Stuart Wilensky, President of Wilensky.

emerald new york agendadaily
Emerald on Calcite , from the Coscuez Mine, Boyaca, Columbia. (currently in the collection of Dr. Stephen Smale)

The significance of having half of the world’s finest known emerald specimens all in one place cannot be overstated. This has never happened in the history of mineral collecting. Wilensky invites the viewer to experience wonder and emotionally connect to the profoundly exquisite qualities of emerald specimens.

Amongst mineral collectors, emeralds are one of the most difficult specimens to acquire. Likened to the world’s greatest works of art, each emerald on display is a masterpiece. Elements of connoisseurship confirm significance, including: provenance, color, luster, and composition. Internationally renowned for building one-of-a-kind collections for many of the world’s most influential collectors, Wilensky is uniquely able to curate and elevate an emerald show of this caliber.

Exhibition highlights include an emerald on calcite from the Muzo Mine, formerly in the James Horner collection. One of the greatest mineral collectors to have ever lived, his matrix emerald is that which all others are measured against. It has the ultimate deep rich color, with a large, thick, double terminated crystal sitting atop a complete whitish to clear calcite crystal. Finding a specimen where the emerald crystal is attached to an attractive crystallized matrix is extremely unusual. Another highlight is an emerald on calcite from the Rice Northwest Museum, also unearthed in Muzo, which displays a rare group, or spray, of emeralds. Over twenty emeralds fan out from the matrix; it is one of the most significant specimens in this style.

Emerald Crystal, from the Muzo Mine, Colombia (currently in the collection of Dr. Eugene Meieran)

Gene Meieran, President of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, says, “It is a rewarding experience to be able to see so many of the great uncut emeralds, from so many mines and found over so many years, indeed centuries and millennia, in one place. Like a gathering of Rembrandts or Van Goghs, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Emerald, a mineral important enough to be regarded as a biblical gemstone, and yet now is used as a modern laser….wow! It is an honor and pleasure to have some of my specimens included in Wilensky’s exhibit.”

Emerald on Calcite, from the most famous of all emerald mines, Muzo Mines, Muzo, Boyaca, Colombia.
5 cm. tall by 5 cm. wide

Connecting to the mythological tale of Fura and Tena, from the now extinct Muzos indigenous people of the Colombian Andes, the exhibition narrates emeralds through their creation story, where the tears of Fura’s infidelity begot the beloved green rocks. The seductive connection between nature, beauty, legend and art are explored through the mesmerizing green of the specimens.

Exclusively featuring historic emeralds in the contemporary gallery space, “Magnificent Emeralds: Fura’s Tears” will run from September 26th through December 30th 2019, Monday through Saturday, from 11:00 AM-6:00 PM at Wilensky, 173 10th Avenue, New York, NY, 10011. For questions regarding exquisite minerals or sales, contact the gallery directly at info@wilenskyminerals.com, call 646-822-0837, or visit www.wilenskyminerals.com.

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California Garlic Festival Shooting – 3 dead

At least three people are dead, including a 6-year-old boy, and at least 12 more have been injured, officials say.

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At least three people are dead, including a 6-year-old boy, and at least 12 more have been injured, officials say. A spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Health System said their hospitals received 11 patients with gunshot wounds, and 8 more with injuries that weren’t gunshot related.

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