Image: Amangani hot tub
Amanresorts
At the Amangani in Jackson, Wyo., the slate hot tub is 103 degrees and was designed, alongside the 35-meter, quartzite-tiled pool, to be the resort’s centerpiece.
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updated 3/20/2009 11:03:59 AM ET 2009-03-20T15:03:59

There’s no escaping it: After a day hoofing it around Paris from Montmartre to Montparnasse; off-roading in a bare-bones Land Rover on safari in Botswana; or attacking moguls in Vail, Colo., the day’s activities are bound to haunt you.

One of the oldest, most common ways known to man to relieve aches and pains is also one of today’s most luxurious and coveted amenities. In ancient times, the Romans named it the caldarium; we simply call it the hot tub.

Today, hot tubs are tucked into balconies and placed like ornate centerpieces on white-sand beaches. Hotels are increasingly charging architects with creating steaming jet-powered oases that will fuel guests’ imagination and allow them to while away their vacation in warmth — and turn to Jell-O.

And that’s exactly what happened when Resorts West partnered with Ski magazine and Deer Valley Resort in 2007 to build the most idyllic ski-in, ski-out home possible. Resorts West CEO and co-founder Joe Ballstaedt wanted to one-up the extravagant lodges he had visited in Europe and South America — especially when it came to the après-ski amenities.

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“Our Ski Dream Home — a six-bedroom luxury home atop Deer Valley Resort’s Little Baldy Peak with a stunning kidney-shaped hot tub for 12 — improves on Chile’s top resort lodges with natural grottoes and epic mountain backdrops,” says Ballstaedt.

It's A Snap! Readers' best shotsThe view, though, is just one measurement of a great Jacuzzi. For John DiScala, owner of the travel Web site JohnnyJet.com, the hot tub also needs to be secluded. And DiScala has seen plenty of hot tubs, good and bad — he travels about 150,000 miles and visits around 20 countries each year, from Brazil to Malaysia.

So we consulted him and other hot tub aficionados to compile a list of the world’s best hot tubs, which stretch from Jackson, Wyo., to the Maldives. Some tubs sit on the edge of pristine, white-sand beaches, while others are hidden behind deep jungle foliage. A few will take hours and a tiny seaplane to reach, and one was even created by film icon Francis Ford Coppola.

All of these tubs are unique, but the experiences they offer don’t come cheap. At the Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa’s North West Province, for example, the Metsi Suite features a 3,423-square-foot wooden deck, complete with an alfresco dining area, a private infinity pool and a seamlessly integrated hot tub that overlooks the 185,329-acre (malaria-free) Madikwe Game Reserve. Cost: more than $4,100 per night.

And New York City’s Hotel on Rivington is even pricier: It costs $5,000 per night to soak in the 10-person hot tub on the penthouse terrace. But the scenery — a bird’s-eye view over buildings and bridges — is spectacular.

So go enjoy the sense of place all these tubs offer — it’s a great excuse to soak yourself silly.

Copyright © 2012 American Express Publishing Corporation

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