June 10, 2011 10:04 pm

Hot property: spas

Serious questions would be asked of any self-respecting, top-range hotel that didn’t include spa facilities – a hammam, hot tub or something more exotic like an ice cave. According to the International Spa Association, the number of commercial spas in the US nearly quadrupled to 20,600 between 1999 and 2009, and spas have meanwhile played an increasing role in the global tourist industry. It’s no surprise, therefore, that private houses are following suit, with Jacuzzis, saunas and more sophisticated spa kit becoming as essential as tennis courts and gyms.

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Lake house

▲ The Lake House, Portugal, £10m

Where: Vilamoura, Loulé, the Algarve.

What: A nine-bedroom, 2,000 sq m (21,500 sq ft) carbon-neutral villa in 1.1ha (2.7 acres).

Why: The spa, complementing a multi-zoned swimming pool, includes a therapy bath, steam room and sauna. The nearby resort of Vilamoura is mostly privately owned with a huge marina, so is much smarter than the average Algarve destination. Additional villa attractions include helipad, Japanese water garden, two-lane bowling alley, tennis court, cinema and master suite with a bathroom that stretches from inside to out.

Who: Fine & Country Portugal, www.fineandcountry.com (or www.thelakehouse.me), tel: +35 (0) 1 289 393 366

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Ferry Road

▲ 490 W Paces Ferry Road NW, US, $19.9m

Where: Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia, US.

What: A nine-bedroom, hotel-style 2008 house with staff quarters.

Why: The downside of hotels is that you can’t choose the guests, so they might be ghastly. This gated palace is the solution: with its top-of- the-range spa facilities, a hair and nail salon, “wellness centre”, two hot tubs and a pool, the mansion mimics a hotel, but the current owners use it as their private retreat. It also has a recording studio, so would suit the professional musician or oligarch with musically-ambitious dependents.

Who: Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, www.atlantafinehomes.com, tel: +1 404 835 9600

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Route du Golf

Route du Golf, Switzerland, SFr25.7m (£18.3m) ►

Where: Verbier, Valais, Switzerland.

What: A five-bedroom, newly built chalet with staff accommodation.

Why: Verbier is one of the world’s most exclusive mountain resorts and this is one of its finest chalets. While soaking in the outdoor hot tub and taking in the Alpine views after a hard day’s skiing, you’ll probably agree. Other spa excitements include a hammam steam room with shower, sauna, gym, massage room, indoor hot tub and swimming pool with massage fountain. A billiards room, cinema and high-tech lighting, heating and communications system add to the appeal.

Who: Savills Alpine Homes, www.savills.co.uk/abroad, tel: +44 (0)20 7016 3740

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Queen's Gate

▲ 41 Queen’s Gate, London, £27.5m

Where: South Kensington.

What: A 12-bedroom, Grade II-listed Victorian townhouse spread over nine floors with an attached mews house and staff quarters.

Why: This cavernous property housed the Royal Entomological Society from 1920 to 2007. Renovations have removed the insects and refurbished the interior to suit the modern multi-millionaire. The extensive spa includes a hot tub, steam room, sauna and 8.5m pool. Other features include a large oak-panelled cinema room with chandeliers. For more physical and intellectual stimulation, Hyde Park, the Royal Geographical Society and the Natural History Museum are a short distance away.

Who: Hamptons International, www.hamptons.co.uk, tel: +44 (0)20 7584 2044

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Willot Hall

Willot Hall, UK, £6.5m ►

Where: Prestbury, Cheshire.

What: A five-bedroom, Grade II-listed hall dating from the 15th century with 11 landscaped acres (4.5ha) and a two-bedroom cottage.

Why: The “leisure and entertainment suite” housed in converted outbuildings includes an ice cave, foot spa, rasul room (Turkish steam room) and aqua television, as well as the more run-of-the-mill gym, hot tub and 15.5m swimming pool. Overlooking Alderley Edge, deep in the footballer-and-Ferrari belt and only 13 miles from central Manchester, this lovely medieval house has all the kit to keep a footballer and his WAG happy.

Who: Jackson-Stops, www.jackson-stops.co.uk, tel:+ 44 (0)1625 540340

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