We know you’re not going to book a trip somewhere just because there’s an absurdly cool hot tub waiting for you. That’s not why you travel. But let’s say that place also has jagged mountains ready for skiing, wild rivers full of salmon, or the northern lights visible from the jetted seat of that hot tub—wouldn’t that help tip the scales in the tub’s direction? We thought so. Here are some soaks that might just be worth the journey.
The Observatory at Alta Lakes
The Observatory at Alta Lakes is a plush lodge just outside Telluride’s ski boundary that’s accessed via snowmobile or skis in winter or a five-mile unmaintained road in summer. You can drop into fantastic backcountry skiing right out your door or hire a guide from San Juan Outdoor Adventures to show you the area. In summer, you can climb 13,000-foot peaks and loop mountain bike trails right from the lodge. The best part? The view of the jagged San Juans from the deck’s stellar outdoor hot tub.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
British Columbia, Canada
Located in a fjord deep within western British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, the waterfront Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort can be reached only by boat, helicopter, or seaplane. You’ll be dropped off at one of nine two-bedroom cabins, all powered by hydroelectricity generated on-site. By day, take a guided hike up 5,500-foot Mount Stephens, sea kayak or paddleboard among seals and eagles, or be whisked by helicopter to a picnic atop a 10,000-year-old glacier. By night, steep in the cedar hot tub neighboring a waterfall before heading to the main lodge for a dinner of locally harvested salmon.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Minutes from Queenstown, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the upscale Matakauri Lodge features an eight-person cottage with one major highlight: a dramatically placed hot tub perched on the edge of the private balcony. From the lodge, you can charter a boat to explore the lake, take a helicopter tour of Milford Sound, or taste local wines. You’ll also dine on meals prepared by an on-site chef and head to the spa for hot-stone massages and yet another perfectly situated whirlpool.
Futaleufu River, Chile
In 2015, Earth River Expeditions began offering lodge-to-lodge trips down Chile’s legendary Futaleufu River. You’ll spend nine days rafting through Class IV and V whitewater and sleeping in deluxe accommodations each night. The remote Puema Lodge will be your home base for two nights, but you may want to stay even longer after you ease into its wood-fired outdoor tub.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
After 4,000-vertical-foot tram-accessed laps at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, you’re sure to appreciate a long soak in Amangani’s stunning outdoor tub and heated infinity pool. The resort’s spa also has steam rooms, morning yoga sessions, and a plethora of body treatments. The concierge service can arrange everything from guided tours of Grand Teton National Park to fat biking through the National Elk Refuge to cat skiing at Grand Targhee.
You can spot the Mount Hekla volcano from the three outdoor riverside hot tubs at Hotel Ranga, located in a pastoral corner of south Iceland. Visit during the northern lights and you can request an aurora alarm to make sure you catch a night sky lit with color, or stargaze from the hotel’s standalone observatory, complete with retractable roof. When the sun’s up, explore glacial caves, take a scenic flight over Mount Hekla, and fish for salmon in the East Ranga River.
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Book a night at the Rifugio Scoiattoli, accessed via chairlift from Italy’s Cortina ski resort, and you’ll be treated to a traditional dinner of house-made pastas, basic overnight accommodations in a bunk room, and a supreme wood-barrel hot tub heated by wood-burning stove. From the tub’s perch, you’ll have a view of the surrounding Dolomites. The hut was built in the 1960s by Italian mountain guide Lorenzo Lorenzi and is still owned and operated by his family.
Hidden Ridge Resort
Banff, Alberta, has everything from ice climbing in its namesake national park to ski resorts like Lake Louise and Sunshine Village. But whatever your sport of choice, there’s no better way to end the day than a dip in the massive outdoor heated tubs at Hidden Ridge Resort. Each whirlpool has views of the Canadian Rockies. There’s also a sauna, and each condo features a wood-burning fireplace and full kitchen. Want your own tub? Some accommodations come with private hot tubs on the balcony.