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To protect your skin from the elements, you have to embrace the elements — element number 79, that is. We’re talking about gold, a prized ingredient by celebrity aestheticians and cosmetic dermatologists. From 24k gold leaf to flakes and dust, its purest forms aren’t just for show; they are also championed for their anti-aging effects. It’s no wonder destination spas have an affection for the refined mineral, folding its enduring beauty into brightening facials and toning massages. From London to Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong to California, here’s where to go for the gold treatment.
1. Pure Gold and Collagen Facial
The Dorchester, London, UK
England loves a golden crown, and gold-infused spa treatments. Nobody does the latter better than The Dorchester, where its elegant spa folds an array of gold-infused treatments into its menu. The spa menu has been exclusively developed by the anti-aging experts at Carol Joy London. Our fave, the Pure Gold and Collagen Facial, which begins with a pure collagen mask for the face, neck, and shoulders. Then, 24k gold leaf is layered over the skin and finished with a collagen spray. Designed to do away with dull complexions, the treatment reveals youthful skin that is truly brilliant.
2. Splendour Anti-Age Gold Mask
San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice, Italy
Gold leaf often glints throughout ancient architecture — but the real glitter at Venice’s San Clemente Palace Kempinski comes from the spa. The first wellness outpost to partner with Venice’s illustrious perfumery Merchant of Venice, the Kempinski’s Merchant of Venice Spa offers Italy’s only 24k gold-leaf treatment. Its signature Splendor Anti-Age Gold Mask utilises 11 gold sheets (made locally by the renowned Mario Berta Battiloro’s workshop); each is applied with two bespoke serums in order to promote cell renewal while eliminating pigmentation. The result is a youthful — and golden — glow.
3. 24-Karat Pure Gold Facial
The Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The spa at the Peninsula Hong Kong may overlook Victoria Harbour, but all eyes are on its unusual 24-Karat Pure Gold Facial. The treatment utilises a delicate 24k chain mask that is said to emit electroacoustic signals, stimulating cell reproduction. Though it might look like an avant-garde accessory for the runway — or something from medieval times — the mask yields powerful results, hydrating and regenerating skin for a luminous complexion.
4. Day of Gold Treatment
Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, UAE
The crown jewel of the Corniche waterfront, Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi is all about the 79th element — from its gold-flaked cappuccinos and gold-dusted camel burgers to its gilded suites and lobby. Expect no less from the hotel’s bedazzled spa, where the fabulous Day of Gold treatment lasts for more than five hours. The top-to-toe treatment pairs full-body massages with a showstopping facial, in which 24k gold leaf sheets are micronised and massaged into the skin while an ultrasonic nano-mister permeates the metallic glow with constant hydration. By the end of the treatment, you’ll be glowing. For those with lesser time to spare, shorter massage treatments using 24k gold, diamond or caviar oil are also available.
5. 23-Karat Gold Signature Hammam
Hotel Cafe Royal, London, UK
London’s Hotel Cafe Royal already has its fair share of gilt, which makes its 23-Karat Gold Signature Hammam all the more germane. The two-step treatment, a highlight of the Mayfair hotel’s Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, begins with a full-body exfoliation with rhassoul clay and soap that’s blended with 23k gold minerals and black olive. Next, pure shea butter is melted into gold-steeped oil and used during an indulgent back massage. Back to black? Try back to gold.
6. Golden Peel-A-Way Masque
Golden Door Spa, California, US
The Golden Door Spa’s gilded entrance may give the legendary wellness resort its name, but the real sparkle comes from its Golden Peel-A-Way Masque. The glittering gem of the property’s robust proprietary product line, the signature mask shimmers with colloidal gold that works together with sugar enzymes and botanical extracts — among them, lemon, licorice and watermelon rind—to lift away dead skin cells and toxins. A key feature of the spa’s Anti-Gravity Facial (an anti-aging treatment that the resort calls “Pilates for the face"), the mask is also available for purchase.
7. Golden Way Toning Treatment
Hotel Eden, Rome, Italy
Fresh off its own face-lift, Rome’s Hotel Eden unveiled a new spa following a 17-month renovation. Set beneath original Roman vaulted ceilings, the Eden Spa’s treatments are no less humble: The Golden Way Toning Treatment, developed by Italy’s ANMIN Cosmetics, incorporates 24k gold flakes and Baltic amber extracts. Applied all over the body, it tones, smooths cellulite, and eases water retention; as a facial, it’s a fountain of youth in the Eternal City.