JO FOLEY WORLD OF WELLNESS Familyfriendly spas? It’s child’s play
he spa world is divided over what to do about children. Those who head off regularly to detox, lose weight or regain their marbles would rather share a sauna with Saddam Hussein than spend
time surrounded by bouncing four-year-olds or bored 10-year-olds. But canny and successful hotel owners know that fraught parents need a break with a good dollop of pampering, which is one reason why Calcot Manor (calcot.co) – close to Prince Charles’s HQ at Tetbury, Gloucestershire – consistently tops the list of best hotel spas in Britain. Very early on, its management realised that locals popping in for a massage or a facial during school hours were as important a market as short-break weekenders. School holidays posed a problem, though, which is why the pool and its surrounds were opened to children at certain hours of the afternoon, if they were accompanied by an adult. This became a blueprint for many hotel spas, but resort spas had to try harder. After all, they were housing
whole families for up to 14 nights. But it isn’t rocket science to realise that a happy child means a happy parent. Lots of resorts went into overdrive on kids’ clubs and activities, such as the award-winning Forte Village (fortevillageresort.com) in Sardinia. Its staff and facilities keep children so enthralled and occupied that the resort has become a summer must, with groups of friends reuniting there summer after summer. Football and face-painting were first to appear on the menu, followed by nail-painting, hair-braiding and shoulder massages for both teenagers and smaller children – always in the presence of an adult. The French, of course, were decades ahead. At Évian-les-Bains (evian.com) in the Haute-Savoie region, mothers were encouraged to take to the thermal waters with
their babies. Programmes were introduced teaching new mums how to massage their offspring in the water. Gradually, spa resorts recognised the importance of the family market and began to spend time, imagination and money on this new sector. One of the most imaginative results emerged just a couple of years ago at Stanglwirt (stanglwirt.com) in Austria. It features a waterworld with pools of different depths for different ages, plus a magnificent water slide that is 40ft high and 10 times as long. Another attraction is a pool cinema showing children’s classic movies. Less sportif are the spa treatments offered at the Princess Yaiza resort (princesayaiza.com) in Lanzarote, where children can share a 40-minute chocolate head and body massage with a parent, using chocolate-infused lotions and oils that smell just like the real thing. At the Fontaverde spa (fonteverdespa.com) in Italy, visiting children are given towelling robes and slippers and treated to yogurt face masks and candy-scented massage oil treatments. Taking it one step further, older children with nutritional queries or problems such as teenage acne have access to a specially trained dietitian. My Spa at Sani Beach (sani-resort.
PEOPLE & PLACES
Youth is no bar to spa benefits
Children can share a 40-minute chocolate head and body massage with a parent
com), in the Halkidiki region of northern Greece, has a series of treatments for children over the age of 12, from manicures and pedicures to body scrubs using formulated milks and lotions. Meanwhile, the Adler resorts (adler-resorts.com) in Tuscany and the Dolomites offer a range of massages using chocolate, honey and almond for children as young as four (the minimum age for hotel guests). At Adler Dolomiti, a gentle facial for young troubled skins is on the menu along with two rituals for parent and child to share. The first is a “Milk and Chocolate Dream”, which begins in the sauna and is followed by a milk and honey butter massage for the adult and a chocolate one for the child. The ritual finishes with a milk bath in a traditional Tyrolean tub. The second option is a “Yogurt Spa” version in which a whirlpool bath is followed by an application of vanilla oil for softening and moisturising the skin. With all good habits, the saying goes, it’s never too early to start – whether it is healthy eating or a good head-and-shoulders massage. To read more of Jo Foley’s columns, go to telegraph.co.uk/ travel/team/jo-foley
RARE WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS Ahead of Endangered Species Day, Richard Madden picks his favourites
6 TIGER, TIGER
Russia’s Durminskoye Reserve is prime habitat for the last remaining Siberian amur tigers, one of the animals that will be remembered on next week’s Endangered Species Day (May 18). The chance of seeing these tigers is real, albeit slim, but on this unique trip with Natural World Safaris you will explore the reserve by foot, skidoo and fourwheel drive while setting up camera traps to record footage of them. You will also spend time with Alexander Batalov, who has spent 20 years protecting the Siberian tiger. From £3,775 per person for seven days excluding international flights. Departure dates by request (01273 691642; naturalworldsafaris.com).
WHALE OF A TIME
This whale, dolphin and turtle study trip with Biosphere Expeditions will take you to the Azores archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. As part of a small team, you will help photograph endangered blue and sei whales and make recordings of their vocalisations while studying migration patterns. You’ll be working from a catamaran research
boat by day and staying in a converted manor house at night. From £1,578 per person for 10 days excluding flights. Departs March 29 and April 9 2019 (0870 446 0801; biosphere-expeditions.org).
The snow leopard is one of the world’s rarest and most beautiful cats and seeing one in the wild ranks among the most unforgettable wildlife experiences. Local trackers guide this adventurous expedition in the mountains of Hemis National Park in Ladakh, northern India. Although this is one of Naturetrek’s more physically demanding trips, with guests staying in local housing and camping, the rewards of the spectacular mountain scenery and a chance of seeing this high-altitude predator are immense. From £2,995 per person including flights. Departs Feb 14 2019 (01962 733051; naturetrek.co.uk).
Combine stays at two of Namibia’s most important conservation-focused camps – Desert Rhino Camp (Save the Rhino Trust) and Okonjima (AfriCat Foundation) – with luxury safari operator The Ultimate Travel
Company. At Desert Rhino Camp you will be tracking the critically endangered black rhino on foot and at AfriCat working with orphaned cheetahs (pictured) and leopards that are being rehabilitated for life in the wild. At both camps guests contribute to the work of the respective charities. Responsible tourism is one of the key weapons in the battle against poaching as local communities benefit and more money can be spent on conservation. From £4,900 per person for eight days including flights. The best time to travel is between May and November (020 3553 2024; theultimatetravelcompany.co.uk).
Help save the critically endangered hawksbill turtle on a citizen science project in the Bahamas with Earthwatch. The hawksbill and green sea turtle are in trouble and researchers need to ensure their habitats are protected from coastal development and climate change. Help scientists find out the exact location of their most important habitats by snorkelling in the clear coastal waters, mangrove creeks, sea grass beds and coral reefs. From £2,150 per person for nine days excluding flights. Departs July 5, July 21, Aug 11 and Sept 1 (01865 318838; earthwatch.org).
Explore Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park on a challenging six-day overnight trekking adventure through rainforest jungle that is home to several critically endangered species including the Sumatran orang-utan, tiger, rhinoceros and elephant. Expedition Jungle Tours is a local operator with specialist knowledge of the region. Along the way you will learn key jungle skills such as building fires and camps, finding and cooking vegetables, fishing for dinner and preparing jungle medicine. From £470 per person for nine days excluding flights. Departs July 21, Aug 18, Sept 22, Oct 20, Nov 17 and Dec 15 (01643 818308; expeditionjungle.com).
Track critically endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable rainforest, a Unesco World Heritage site that helps protect around 320 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the population left in the wild. The trek length varies from 30 minutes to seven hours and you will spend an hour with the animals. Travellocal.com creates and books tailor-made holidays with selected
local experts around the world. From £2,860 per person for seven nights, excluding flights. Departures can be tailor-made to suit (0117 325 7898; travellocal.com).
Embark on a 10-day trek in the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, led by experienced local guides, tracking the endangered red panda – one of the world’s shyest, most elusive and exotic species. Destruction of the animals’ habitat has led to a sharp rise in the number of conservation projects but also in opportunities for sustainable tourism. Your trip with Responsible Travel will contribute to the vital conservation work being done by the Red Panda Network. From £2,395 per person for the 10-day trek excluding international flights. The best red panda sightings are in spring and autumn (01237 823700; responsibletravel.com).
Join explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison on a Steppes Travel expedition to Borneo’s Maliau Basin (aka Sabah’s Lost World) in pursuit of the world’s smallest rhinoceros, the Sumatran
rhino. Covered in hair, it is more closely related to the extinct woolly rhino than to any species alive today but poaching and habitat destruction have driven it to the brink of extinction. The basin is a land of immense, vine-clad jungles and ancient giant trees, home to an amazing biodiversity of wildlife. From £5,795 per person for the 11-day itinerary including international flights. Departs June 4 (01285 601050; steppestravel.com).
Take part in Wildlife Worldwide’s first rare-mammal expedition to Borneo. Species include the critically endangered orang-utan, the Asian elephant, the Malay sun bear and the Sunda clouded leopard (pictured). In Sepilok you’ll visit an orang-utan rehabilitation centre before travelling to the Kinabatangan river in search of proboscis monkeys and silvery langur. On night drives you will have a rare chance to track the Sunda clouded leopard in Deramakot Forest Reserve. From £2,995 per person for 14 nights including flights. Departs May 8, June 7, Aug 3 and Sept 29 2019 (01962 302086; wildlifeworldwide.com).
GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY
Azores whale & dolphin expedition mentioned on "Top 10 rare wildlife encounters" list