Cleopatra, the near-goddess-like ancient Egyptian ruler, knew a thing or two about beauty rituals. From top to toe, her body was a powerful temple, used for beautification and often, negotiations. It’s said she bathed in milk and aromatic rose petals to relieve stress, induce an intoxicating fragrance and radiate an irresistible glow. In ancient China, some flower baths were drawn with ritualistic fervor to dispel bad luck, while those in Bali were tied to Buddhist traditions and designed as an alternate form of meditation.
Floral baths are the ultimate form of luxury and natural aromatherapy; a time to disconnect, destress and quite literally stop and smell rose, lavender, orchid, and ylang-ylang petals. Create them at home or explore some of the world’s finest:
Hibiscus & Coconut Milk Bath, Four Seasons Hualalai
This outdoor spa bath combines fresh and sun-dried hibiscus flowers gathered at the resort with coconut milk and coconut flakes for a milky tea bath high in vitamin C and alpha-hydroxy acids. Hibiscus flowers help shed dead skin cells and boost collagen production, while coconut flakes nourish skin and combat itchy, dry skin and inflammation. Finally, the added milk is high in protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and lactic acids to soothe skin irritation.
Celebration of Flowers, Kaveri Spa at the Udaya
Nearby farms grow Balinese Pacar Air (impatiens balsamina) in rich soil and deliver bundles of sweet impatiens daily for this intricate and intoxicating bath. Trained flower arrangers spend years mastering various designs and take upwards of 45 minutes to make the elaborate, multi-colored, layered Celebration of Flowers bath. A best-seller and Instagram favorite that overlooks the jungle outside, the bath hydrates and soothes the skin, relieves tired muscles and calms the mind.
Layan Orchid Signature Ritual, Antara Layan Phuket Resort
A precursor to an herbal compress massage, a milky bath is infused with fresh, fragrant orchids from a nearby farm. The combination relaxes the muscles, softens the skin, and calms the mind within a private treatment room that overlooks a verdant garden.
Relaxing Bath, Banyan Tree Lijiang
One of three “Calming Baths” on this luxury hillside retreat’s bath menu— the others are detoxifying and purifying—the Relaxing Bath is infused with indigenous rose petals collected from the hotel’s organic farm from May through October, then from local farmers. Rooted in ancient Asian traditions, this bath is designed to calm the mind, soothe the liver, and promote blood circulation.
Milky Rose Petal bath with Vetiver, Lavender and Ylang Ylang, Aman-I-Khas, Rhantambore National Park
This luxury resort with a mere ten well-appointed tents, each with its own butler—or batman—has a stand-alone spa; however, its luxurious baths are done in the privacy of guest tents in a free-standing sunken tub made from locally sourced stone. The four-flower combination bath is designed to be one of the most restorative after long days of jeep safaris and cultural outings. Rose petals hydrate the skin, ylang-ylang is said to help lower blood pressure, vetiver relieves joint and muscle pain, while lavender improves sleep and reduces anxiety—often induced by the uncertainty of spotting one of the 70 elusive Royal Bengal tigers that roam the adjacent Ranthambore National Park.
Photo 1: Celebration of Flowers, Kaveri Spa at the Udaya, Ubud, Bali
Photo 2: Hibiscus and Coconut Milk Bath, Four Seasons Hualalai, Hawaii
Photo 3: Celebration of Flowers, Kaveri Spa at the Udaya, Ubud, Bali
Photo 4: Layan Orchid Signature Ritual, Antara Layan Phuket Resort, Thailand
Photo 5: Relaxing Bath, Banyan Tree Lijiang, China