China's Top Hot Spring Resorts

Culture | by Stephan Larose
Posted: October 7th, 2008 | Updated: October 9th, 2014 | Comments

China's hot spring resorts are one of its best kept secrets. Hot springs in tropical caves, exfoliating fish therapies, Himalayan hot springs and springs next to top-notch golf coursesthere really is no shortage of ways to take a restorative dip while in China. If relaxing in warm, mineral-rich waters by temples and beaches sounds good to you, read on for the lowdown on China's top spas, with hotel and attraction info to boot. Enjoy!

1. Jiuhua Spa and Resort, Beijing

Formerly the private retreat of emperors, the Jiuhua Spa and Resort is one of the most popular hot spring spa destinations in the country, and it's open to all. Crystal clear pools fed by springs 1,230 meters (4,035 feet) underground emerge at a tension-melting 40°C (104°F). Untainted by the sulfurous odor common to most hot springs, Jiuhua's water has a slight yellowish tint owing to microelements such as strontium, lithium and metasilicic acid, earning it an emperor's epithet as "a basin of golden water."

Guests of this elegant four-star resort have a wealth of hot spring pools to choose from. The resort has 40 pools offering 21 distinct therapeutic applications including mud baths, herbal baths, an Egyptian-themed pool, a foot massage pool, a lotus pool and a medical stone sauna. Those with tired muscles after treks along the Great Wall, exploring the nearby Ming Tombs or hiking in nearby Python Mountain National Park will be rewarded with head-to-toe relaxation as well as therapeutic benefits for a host of ailments including rheumatic arthritis, sciatic nerve pain, lumbar muscle strain, eczema and hypertension.

The resort also features a host of recreational and therapeutic facilities. Hydrotherapy, salt baths, Thai spas and skin care treatments revitalize and rejuvenate while bowling alleys, bumper cars, swimming pools, satellite TV, archery and nearby attractions entertain and invigorate.

Book the Jiuhua Spa and Resort

2. Crown Spa Resort Hainan

Hainan is a hot springs paradise

Hainan is the place in China for sun-worshippers looking to bronze their bodies. Just 15 minutes after exiting Haikou's Meilan International Airport, you can be strolling along endless stretches of gorgeous private beach or taking a dip in what Guiness World Records describes as the "largest indoor hot spring in the world." Surrounded by lush Thai, Balinese and Caribbean gardens, the Crown Spa Resort Hainan is a European-style leisure palace overlooking the South China Sea and boasting myriad exclusive spa and beauty treatments. After a day frolicking in the waves or taking advantage of the resort's luxury yachts, Jet Skis, windsurfing, parasailing or the nearby golf course, you're bound to need some of the Crown's spa treatments. The luxurious five-story Tea Tree Spa complex is fed by natural mineral hot springs and houses meditation decks, garden pavilions, massage rooms and treatment suites. And you won't want to miss the signature fish therapy—it's the most organic exfoliation there is. Just sit back and let the fish stimulate your nerves and as they nibble your skin. If you can't handle being kissed by fishes, there's always the exercise pool, Jacuzzi hot tubs, steam rooms, Thai massage and aromatherapy to unwind with.  

Book the Crown Spa Resort Hainan 

(Note: The hotel is currently closed while undergoing rennovation).

Zhongshan Hot Spring Resort

3. Zhongshan Hot Spring Resort 

Probably the best-known hot spring resort in China, the Zhongshan Hot Springs Resort is a four-star resort featuring over 30 hot springs. The resort is also conveniently next to some of the best golf in the country. What better way to justify an extended dip in warm, mineral-rich waters than by spending the day putting for birdies on courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus? Zhongshan's mountains are dotted by numerous hot springs, one of which feeds the resort's massive 30,000-square-meter (323,000-square-foot) outdoor spa. Once done mollifying muscles, dissolving stress and achieving inner peace, guests can zip over to the seaside resort city of Zhuhai, just a 15-minute drive away, to soak up some rays, or train their newfound Zen-like focus at the resort's shooting range.

Book the Zhongshan Hot Spring Resort


Conch Gully Hot Springs

4. Hailuogou Hot Spring (Conch Gully Hot Spring) 

Western Sichuan's Mount Gongga is the scene for some of the hardiest, most majestic landscapes in China, including Hailuogou National Park, site of China's biggest glacier park. The area is renowned as a place where you can see all four seasons in the same day. If you love rustic, outdoor springs, rugged mountain views and chances to catch snowflakes on your tongue while dipping in hot spring water, Hailuogou is the place for you. Mineral-rich, therapeutic spring waters gush out at toasty temperatures ranging from 50 to 92°C (122 to 198°F) and are said to be effective in combating diabetes, neuralgia and arthritis. And that's not to mention the obvious psychological benefits reaped by lounging in extreme comfort in a gorgeous setting. After a day of hiking the verdant forests on the slopes of Mount Gongga, trekking across icy fields, listening to thunderous avalanches, skipping across the Conch Gully's milky rivers and dipping in the hot springs, the five-star Gongga God Hot Spring Hotel offers a range of clean rooms and plenty of hot spring pools in which to spend the remains of the day.

5. Lingxiu Hot Spring

Emei Shan's temple-studded peaks and mist-shrouded valleys was memorialized by a old poet who said, of all the mountains in the Shu Kingdom, "Mount Emei stands above them all." A setting for scenes from the legendary Monkey King in "Journey to the West," this magnificent landscape now serves as backdrop for bathers in Lingxiu Hot Spring's pellucid pools. Claims abound of the water's therapeutic benefits with its high concentrations of radon. Sourced 3,000 meters underground, the springs are said to be helpful in combating diseases affecting digestive, neural, respiratory, vasomotor and cardiovascular systems. The four-star Emeishan Hot Spring Hotel is ideally located to take advantage of the hot springs in the area. Whether you decide to make the climb to Golden Peak Temple, or run the monkey-ruled trails to other historical and natural points of interest, there'll be no shortage of opportunities to pump those thighs until they're screaming for a little hot spring love.

6. Guangdong Conghua Hot Spring

Guangdong's Conghua Hot Spring Scenic Area was originally built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Seventy-five kilometers (46.6 miles) from Guangzhou, it is now a nationally renowned tourist attraction and health resort. Warm water enriched with 10 kinds of minerals bubbles to the surface at 12 different springs, ranging between 30 to 71°C (86 to 160°F). A large area replete with historical landmarks such as the Bi Lang Bridge, Di Cui Pavilion and Tao Ran Hall, the springs are surrounded by waterfalls, slow-moving rivers and tranquil forests. Try the Guangdong Hot Spring Hotel, a sprawling property comprising over 40 buildings set lakeside amidst pine forests with hot spring water piped into rooms. You'll find everything from villas to presidential suites, along with squash courts, bowling alleys and a host of mountain trails to keep you busy when you're not lounging in the springs.

Book the Guangdong Hot Spring Hotel

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