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Wellness | Autumn/Winter 2017


Making the most of your spa time

Ways to get that glow


Your complete guide to all things spa


BENEATH THE MASK Finding the right facial








deep the

Sacred pools to Nordic lagoons

Well-renowned researchers* have discovered that Vine Resveratrol, patented by Caudalie, boosts the natural production of hyaluronic acid for firmer skin.










Make the difference to your Spa with exclusive Caudalie facial and body treatments. Contact us on +44 207 498 8944 • Twitter @CaudalieUK (1) Consumer test, % of satisfaction, 100 women, 30 days. (2) Consumer test, % of satisfaction, 33 women, 56 days. (3) QuintilesIMS France figures, brand distribution clients, in value, set accumulation at the end of April 2017.


Redensified skin in 7 days


Autumn/Winter 2017 | issue 7

CONTENTS Editorial Editor-at-large

Daphne Metland (Sybaritic Spy) Editor

Caitlin Dalton (Summer Spy) Deputy Editor

Lucy Etherington (Savant Spy) Contributors

Jo Gardner (Stylish Spy) Shelley Hazlewood (Scarlet Spy) Anna Ramsay (Supreme Spy) Design

Lucy Reid

Published by Good Spa Guide Rouen House Rouen Road Norwich, NR1 1RB +44 (0)1603 692296

Follow Good Spa Guide online The Good Spa Guide


Come Home Radiant




Dive In


About Face


Health in Your Hands


Peak Performance


Some Like it Hot


10 ways to shine

From ocean cruises to sacred pools, spa treatments are diving deep

Beneath the Mask

Choose your facial with confidence

Spotlight on: France

The Spa Spies cross the channel to visit four très chic spas

The Treatment Bible

Good Spa Guide

The definitive A-Z guide of your favourite treatments


Chateau du Spa

For advertising enquiries email:

Cover image C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds

Where wine and spa meet

20 28 44

Take control with preventative health Can a week really change your life?

The Debate: Pro-ageing 75 Are you pro- or anti-age?


Party Season Nutrition


The World of Spa


Balancing out festive feast and famine Spa traditions from Japan to Sweden


Spa trends


Spa Signs


Be Kind to Yourself


The Recipe


The Bubble Ratings


New openings, launches and products

It’s time to tell you inner critic to get lost

Confessions of a Spa Spy 19

Using astrology to predict spa habits Pesto and pistachio mushrooms The crème de la crème of UK spas


Jewel of the Lake


Caribbean Queen

Skincare in the air


What Your Therapist 112 Won’t Tell You

Swiss city-breaking in Lausanne Products put to the test at 30,000 feet


Make-up trends for this season

Heat rituals are more than just a sauna

Not the Good Spa Guide Awards

2 | Wellness |

Uses of the wonder plant

Jamaica Inn's wellness retreat

How your therapist handles treatment requests


'Easy to get to, fashionable, cultural and with vineyards aplenty, there's a lot to love about France. But do the spas cut the Dijon? We sent our Spa Spies to test the waters.' p28



An A-Z of all things spa










The Spa Spies

WINTER HOT LIST The conversation at GSG HQ isn’t all about spas. Well, perhaps only 99 per cent of the time. Here’s the spa inspiration the Spa Spies have been obsessing over this autumn/winter. WHAT'S HOT... QUINTEASSENTIAL

These beautiful teas created by the serendipitously named Bernadine Tay are positively haute couteaure. Bernadine has created bespoke tea blends for Wedgewood, Forest Gin and fashion designer Amanda Wakeley. We have such fun at GSG HQ, creating individual bespoke tea bags with our Quinteassnetial kits. A favourite is White Elixir, with white tea, jasmine and spirulina.


‘Tis the season of staying in and binge-watching box sets. Already into the second series of both Stranger Things and Riverdale, we are thrilled to hear a fourth season of Grace and Frankie is set to return in 2018. The Spa Spies have decided G&F stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin would be our ideal celeb spa mates. Friends’ legend Lisa Kudrow will co-star in the new series as Grace’s long-term manicurist. There’s no need to leave our sofas ever again…


The Spa Spies can barely sleep because we’re so worried about not sleeping! Headlines about how insomnia can cause obesity and worse are giving us nightmares. Bedtime yoga – or yoga nidra if you want to get fancy – could be the answer. It’s a series of not-too-difficult poses to make you sleepy: and it stops you using your blue-light emitting devices, which are supposed to inhibit the production of sleep hormones. Yoga in your bed, in your pyjamas… what’s not to love? We like Legs Up the Wall (any day of the week) and Child’s Pose.


Visiting Verbena Spa in Italy, we loved the shelves of brilliant books in the relaxation room. However, realistically, you are unlikely to read an entire novel during a spa day. Musing on a poem by the pool could take your spa-ing up an intellectual notch or two. Or what about the oft ignored short story, celebrated far more in the US than here. The Spa Spies love The Refugees by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thahn Nguyen.


Our dreams have been answered – somewhere safe to place our little angels while we head for the spa. Retallack Resort has The Den, a large crèche with an outdoor play area, where kids of all ages can play, eat lunch and get some fresh air. Aqua Sana’s babysitters will come to your lodge so that you can go and enjoy a twilight spa session. Can we request more of these, please?


As seen in Rowhill Grange and Swinton Country Club. In grey or mustard, please! (Or try:

4 | Wellness |


'Our dreams have been answered – somewhere safe to place our little angels while we head for the spa.'



No human has ever used this word to me in ordinary conversation. If they did, I would probably crown them with a lavender-filled heart-shaped pillow. Some things are too twee to survive the harsh climate of reality.


Glitter masks that look “interesting” in a selfie? We can’t even go there. Talking of which…


The kind of trend that needs deconstructing before the world goes mad. Where to begin? Proof of the existence of waterproof mascara, perhaps.


We love cheese, we love advent calendars. But together? Bad, bad idea. Especially during a season when our fridges are already full to bursting, which would mean the stink of centrally heated, ripening cheese greeting us every morning. We will stick to our beauty versions, thank you very much.


I’m sorry, but why would you want to look like a hobbit in flip-flops? Sometimes, in fashion, the joke is most definitely on us…


For over 10 years, VOYA has set the bar for results-driven, certified organic skincare, worldwide. VOYA is the original seaweed skincare brand that specialises uniquely in using hand-picked wild Irish seaweed to improve your health, skin and beauty. The wild Atlantic way is from one of the cleanest coastlines in the world. Available exclusively at luxury spas & stockists worldwide. To become a VOYA partner or for more information: Call: +353 (0)71 916 1872 Email:

W H AT W E O F F E R : • • • • •

Outstanding On-Site Training Flexible and Bespoke Treatment Menus Marketing and PR Support Business Development Courses Hotel Amenities


SPAtrends The latest launches in the world of spa


An £8 million luxury Country Club and Spa has opened on North Yorkshire’s Swinton Estate near the town of Rippon. Set over an impressive 2,000 square metres, facilities include nine treatment rooms, a health and wellbeing consultation area, an 18-metre indoor pool, a hydrotherapy pool, two steam rooms and a Finnish sauna. The pièce de résistance is the pretty spa garden where spa-goers can swim in a 10-metre natural water pool before warming up in the herbal sauna or cedar hot tub. The Beauty Cottage next door offers a menu of finishing treatments including manicures/pedicures and hair styling.


Champneys expansion plans continue apace this year with the acquisition of Eastwell Manor, a grand country manor set in 3,000 acres of Kent countryside. Inside the historic building, guests will find 62 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, two restaurants and a modern spa. The spa has 15 treatment rooms, a 20-metre pool, a handful of thermal facilities (think sauna, steam room, hydro pool), a relaxation room and an exercise studio. Elemis and Champneys products dominate the treatment menu, which offers massages, facials, manicures/pedicures and treatments for men and mums-to-be.


' The scent of lavender fills the air at the newly refurbished spa at Cliveden House' 6 | Wellness |


The scent of lavender fills the air at the newly refurbished spa at Cliveden House, which has re-opened with a stunning outdoor pool in the flowerfilled walled garden. Seven treatment rooms, an indoor pool, hot tubs, a Jacuzzi and a beauty parlour make up the spa, while the more energetic can use the fitness studio, the well-equipped gym and the tennis courts. Treatments are performed on waterbeds using Oskia, Sarah Chapman and Cliveden products.


'Sardinia is one of five regions in the world known for longevity.'


Sardinia’s first medical spa, Aquaforte, opened on the 1st of October in The Forte Village Hotel. Set in 120 acres of gardens on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, the facility offers four tailor-made programmes on ageing, thalasso, detox and weight loss, each lasting between four and seven days. The spa is managed in association with Milan’s Thalasso Research Centre – alongside a Sardinian diet (the country is one of five regions in the world known for longevity), a team of doctors will be on hand for medical diagnoses.


In September, luxe-brand Bulgari Hotels opened a hotel and 1,500 square metre spa in Beijing’s Embassy District. The main hotel incorporates traditional Italian design flair with Murano glass chandeliers, distinctive art and a private park created by landscape designer Enzo Enea. The spa has a glam 25-metre pool with private cabanas, a sauna, steam room, refreshment bar and pre- and post- treatment relaxation lounges. Treatments are blended with traditional Chinese techniques for a more authentic experience.


After 15 months of renovation work and a €6 million investment, The Villa at The Relais Bernard Loiseau in Burgundy has opened with 1,500 square metres of space over four floors. Spa goers will find 10 treatment cabins (including a duo room), a rejuvenation area and a brand new restaurant, Loiseau de Sens, where cuisine is all about ‘health and pleasure’. The spa has also designed its own product range called Secrets de Cassis, using Burgundy blackberries.


With its oceanfront setting, sun-bleached wood panelling and white wooden shutters, the theme at The Surf Club’s newly-refurbished Spa and Wellness Center is beachchic. With 1,400 square metres of space, the refreshed spa includes a comprehensive fitness centre, pools with oceanfront views and immaculate lawns – perfect for yoga or meditation. Eight treatment rooms, a Tea Lounge and a relaxation room complete the offering.

'Spa goers will find 10 treatment cabins, a rejuvenation area and a brand new spa restaurant.' AUTUMN/SPRING 2017



SPA-INSPIRED PRODUCT LAUNCHES MARINE DREAM Ocean-inspired beauty brand Thalgo has re-launched its range of 3D Anti-Ageing Architecture products with marine silicium. Designed to slow the progression of skin ageing from the age of 40, products are packed with high-performance actives to target the signs of ageing, restore the skin’s natural firmness and visibly smooth wrinkles. The range includes a day cream, night cream, lifting serum and correcting eye cream.

We say: The Silicium night cream is rapidly

becoming one of Sybaritic Spy’s favourites; the scent, texture and fragrance all suit her dry skin. The day cream is lighter and needed a coat of serum or oil to boost the hydration.

A STROKE OF GENIUS Temple Spa describes its new serum-based mascara as a ‘little black dress for the lashes’. Their first mascara, A Stroke of Genius comes in a sleek silver tube and contains conditioners to help separate, lift, coat and lengthen each lash. What’s more, coat after coat increases volume. Temple Spa promises no smudging, no running, no flaking and no clumping.

We say: We are fussy about our mascaras,

IN HIGH DEFINITION Barcelona-based beauty hero Natura Bissé has launched a series of resultsdriven products designed to inhibit facial contractions and, therefore, wrinkles. The Inhibit range includes a High Definition Serum and High Definition Patches designed to treat specific areas of the face. Painless micro-needles containing powerful rejuvenating ingredients penetrate the skin before dissolving.

We say: While the talk of micro-needles

may sound painful, the serum and patches look and feel beautiful. Give yourself five minutes to slow down each night and apply the products – your skin will look and feel younger.

and will happily pay £30 for a Dior or Lancôme variety. This performs just as well in terms of even, clump-free coverage and volume, while lashes look less plastic.

WINTER COMFORT Italian brand Comfort Zone has added two new products to their Sublime Skin range. The hyaluronic-based Skin Lift Mask appeals to the lazier of the Spa Spies, as the plumping mask will leave your skin looking younger without the need to wash it off. The Hydromemory Essence is a base layer of hydration that you use preserum and moisturiser; perfect for the colder winter weather.

We say: Great for

8 | Wellness |


OH LA LA Much-loved vinothérapie brand Caudalie has the answer to plump lips that last throughout the winter. The recently launched French Kiss lip balms with aloe vera, beeswax and grape extracts hydrate and protect your lips in one step. The balms come in three shades: Innocence (natural), Séduction (soft pink) and Addiction (dark red).

We say: Who doesn’t aspire to natural French

beauty? The balms have a smooth texture which applies easily and gives a subtle hint of colour. We loved the scents too; Innocence is citrus-y, Séduction has hints of vanilla and Addiction is all about the red berries.

BRIGHT EYES Ever wondered why you can’t replicate your favourite spa facial at home? Professional strength products sometimes don’t make it out of the spa, but Katherine Daniels have launched their Instant Effect Eye Mask, which gives you spa results at home. The individually-wrapped eye masks are rich in sea kelp and hyaluronic acid to give you bright and hydrated eyes.

We say: Katherine Daniels is

those in their 40s, these products are all about getting hydration into your skin without the slick feeling of more intense anti-ageing products. After using the mask we saw almost instant effects around the jawline.

one of Savant Spy’s favourites with quirky British branding and effective products. The eye patches are simple to use and have instant plumping effect. It looked like we had a full eight hours of sleep despite burning the candle at both ends – well, party season is upon us.

3 506-8 FILM NB




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COME HOME... radiant

Come home

radiant 10 | Wellness |


COME HOME... radiant


As the nights draw in, now is the time to gain a little party season sparkle. We find out which spa tricks and treatments will make you glow, inside and out. ou may have had a Radiance Facial, been on a Radiance Spa Day or read a review that talks about the reviewer’s skin looking 'radiant'. But what does radiance mean? According to the Collins Dictionary, radiance is “great happiness which shows in someone’s face and makes them look very attractive,” as well as a “glowing light shining from something”. Think Renaissance religious paintings, although maybe without the beatific expression and halo. In terms of beauty, light and happiness are key elements in creating radiance. So how do you emerge from your spa day radiating light and joy, people? Form an orderly queue for our top ten ways to get radiant.




A facial scrub or exfoliation is a marvellous way to get an instant flush of colour in your cheeks. The treatment also removes the top dead layer of skin and stimulates collagen production to leave your skin looking plump, firm and hydrated. You don’t have to use scrubs with rough textures – plant enzymes or hyaluronic acid do the same in a smoother, creamy form. Splash out on a facial that will give your face a super cleanse with a boost of hydrating nutrients. You can, of course, continue this at home. Try to exfoliate once or twice a week, either with a scrub or mask; any more and you may over-stimulate your skin and cause a break outs. Don’t forget to think below the neck, scrubwise. You might not be lying fully exposed on a beach any time soon, but a body exfoliation will make your skin so zingy you’ll feel more vibrant inside. Follow with your favourite moisturiser for an inner (and outer) gleam.



Optimal diffusing is the beauty phrase du jour. Products often use ingredients like mica, iron oxides or titanium dioxide that sit on the skin

and reflect light away from shadowy lines and imperfections. It’s the beauty industry version of smoke and mirrors. Finely crushed diamonds can provide luminosity, although no one will know they’re the real thing – just you. Still, being aware that your skin is sprinkled with diamonds will make you glow a little inside, no? If diamonds aren’t your best friend but you still want to glimmer, why not go for gold? La Sultane de Saba à L’Or products have gold flecks that create a lovely luminous effect.





You can put a flush in your cheeks and a sparkle in your eye with one glass of fizz in the hot tub. However, the effect wears off after a while and you don’t want to come home sozzled. Heat treatments are great for boosting circulation and blood flow, but be aware that too much can make you ruddy and flushed rather than glowing. A good way to get blood flow to your cheeks as well as some hydrated plumpness is with a facial massage; they feel divine too, especially if you tend to hold tension in your jaw. Or just pinch your cheeks like they did in the olden days. If you plunge yourself in some icy water after a hot sauna, your heart rate will increase and blood will flow to the skin’s surface – zing, instant glow. You’re basically in fight-or-flight mode, which is a good look radiance-wise; bright skin and black pupils are the same as falling in love, albeit with crazy pool hair. Haven’t yet braved a plunge pool or ice fountain? One Harvard Business School study discovered that excitement and anxiety produce the same physiological effects, getting your body ready to produce enough energy to run, fight or dance the night away. Telling yourself you feel alive rather than shocked out of your senses will do the trick. Fire and ice treatments also wake up your immune system to tackle winter nasties. Go on, take the plunge.


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COME HOME... radiant



you want to achieve the effect: you can then layer up the tan depth slowly. We recently saw a gang of supermodels on a flight to the Maldives (as you do) rocking the thick winter jumper and ski-tan look. They could just as easily have been to a yoga retreat in Bali as had a tanning treatment at a spa. And that's entirely the point.

Serotonin is the happy hormone, and it’s a must if you want to glow with inner joy. One sure way to do this is have a massage; in studies carried out on depressed mothers, a twice-weekly massage increased serotonin levels by up to 34 per cent. Touch also produces oxytocin, a hormone produced by bonding that encourages a slightly loved-up vibe. Often, we stagger out of massages and pass out on a relaxation bed, waking up 30 minutes later with a line of dribble on our chin. That may be a certain kind of happy, but it’s not radiance. Ask your therapist to strike the right balance between bliss and bounce or tick ‘energised’ rather than ‘relaxed’ on your consultation form.


Having said that, if you really are shattered, go for a nap. Sleep deprivation leads to poor circulation, which is why you look pale, washed out and sometimes a little grey around the gills if you haven’t had some quality sleep. Some people (including Spa Spies, ahem) find they fall asleep during a treatment, particularly if it is a long, deep aromatherapy massage. Others find it pleasant to drift away on a poolside lounger, lulled away by the warmth and gentle sounds of splashing water. Recent

studies have shown that an afternoon nap makes the brain perform as if it were five years’ younger. For glowing skin, however, you need a proper night’s sleep, as this is when the skin regenerates. You can book treatments, facials or even spa sleep retreats that are designed to help if the holy grail of eight hours proves elusive. If it’s worry that’s keeping you awake, book a meditation session at one of the more wellness-themed spas, and learn how to focus and calm your mind.



At this time of year, you may think you can get away with pale and pasty from the neck down. But what if you are suddenly called to a spa, or a romantic liaison? Maybe you just want to look like you’ve actually been outside instead of chained to your desk. If Donald Trump has taught us anything useful, it is how not to do fake tan. But don’t reach for the nearest bottle and definitely do not book a sun bed as these give off just as much harmful radiation as sunlight. We prefer self-tan lotions which will give you a much more natural look rather than pasting on layers of orange. Apply your first dose three days before

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One theory as to why exercise reduces depression, anxiety and stress is that physical activity can cause the brain to release ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin and endorphins. Even a light workout will improve circulation. Too exhausted to do anything? Studies at the University of Georgia concluded that the best way to beat fatigue and boost energy is through exercise, but you can also get the same effect doing more peaceful exercise such as yoga. Book into a destination spa that offers free, or very low-price, classes as part of your deal. Or make time during your spa day to get outside and explore the grounds.

'Recent studies have shown that an afternoon nap makes the brain perform as if it were five years' younger.' 6


Sun rays can be harmful, but UV rays absorbed through your skin also produce Vitamin D. One of the roles of Vitamin D is to promote serotonin production; 15 minutes in an outdoor hot tub in the Swiss Alps should produce the perfect inner and outer glow. The same in the drizzly Midlands might produce less joy, but is still better than nothing. Bright light filtering through your eyes also increases serotonin, so you might be able to get happy from a facial that uses an intense LED lamp, too. Research has shown that even 15 minutes of relaxation almost halves the production of the stress-hormone cortisol. High cortisol prompts the skin to produce more sebum (oil), clogging the pores and leading to all manner of skin complaints. Cortisol can also reduce levels of happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. In the interests of putting a smile on your face, we suggest booking a mindfulness facial or massage. Or find a relaxation space with views over treetops for a spot of cortisollowering forest bathing. A spa is the perfect place to relax, reboot and recharge your energy, so you emerge glowing, radiant and ready for the party season. WM





£33 WORTH £51

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Want to find out more about sleep? Ask us about our sleep guide and wellbeing events. For all enquiries call us: +44 (0)20 8569 7030 or email:



to yourself Do you hate compliments, or worse, think you are unlovable? Have you been told you are your own worst enemy? Time to meet your inner critic and tell it (politely) where to go.

omedienne Ruby Wax, who has an Master’s degree in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, says the cause of our stress and unhappiness is – surprise, surprise – in our own heads. We are not straightforward creatures, we have many conflicting needs and wants, which, on a good day, keeps us as balanced as a hung parliament. But there’s a part of us that is at the root of our anxiety and depression: Wax calls it the Critical Voice. “No other species is as cruel as we are to ourselves,” Wax writes in her book Sane New World. “We’d never dream of treating our pets the way we treat ourselves.” A certain amount of self-criticism can be a good thing; we can pinpoint areas that could be improved, or accept our limitations and focus on our strengths.

C 14 | Wellness |


In a secure individual, it acts like a coach, giving useful feedback rather than passing judgement. But when that voice becomes bullying and abusive, you’re heading for trouble.

Meet your inner critic

Those of us with low self-esteem will have a judgemental, critical voice, constantly telling us how wrong, bad or unattractive we are. But if you stop and listen to the way you criticise yourself, you might be shocked. Mental health charity Mind says that it can be helpful to ask yourself: "Would I talk to, or think about, a loved one in such a negative way?" Were we to meet our inner critic socially, writes psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, they “would just be boring and cruel. We might think that something terrible had happened to them. That they were living


"We find p can nev oute eace in er we fi r world u the nd pe nti ourse ace wit l lves." h

in the aftermath, in the fallout of some catastrophe. And we would be right.”

Where does it come from?

Think about your own inner critic for a moment. Does it remind you of anyone? Wax refers to it as “a nagging parent implanted in our head.” Indeed, research has found that negative ideas about ourselves often stem from early childhood. This isn’t about blaming anyone, rather understanding why we are the way we are, and how it doesn’t have to be this way. Either because they want you to do well and keep you safe or because they’re passing on their own insecurities, your influencers may have instilled in you the idea that you ‘must’ do better, to focus on what you ‘should’ be. Teachers, siblings, lovers, toxic friends, bullies and abusers can add to our low self-esteem. But their criticism wouldn’t stick so badly if we felt okay about ourselves, or understood that people who are cruel probably have a much nastier inner critic than our own.

Reality check

and, if you make a mistake, the world will not end. Not unless you are a lunatic with your finger on a nuclear button. Are you?

Why compassion?

Compassion is the latest buzzword in mental health, drawing from Buddhism the way mindfulness does. Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, who created Compassion Focused Therapy, says compassion is more than simple kindness. “People can be frightened of compassion because they think it is a weakness or an indulgence,” he says. “This is largely because they don't understand it. Put simply, the way we are is not our fault. How we choose to understand and work with our brains – for the wellbeing of ourselves and others – is, however, very much our responsibility.” To cultivate compassionate wisdom takes courage, he says. But there are benefits to our own wellbeing, as well as to society. Gilbert’s work with the Compassionate Mind Foundation (see compassionatemind. suggests that practising compassion not only relieves stress, but can liberate us from inherited behaviours. “There is a lot of neurophysiological evidence that kindness and affection does help us calm our threat systems,” he says. “All over the world, academic researchers are revealing that by cultivating compassion, we stimulate many physiological systems that are excellent for our health and happiness.”

'Some of us are so used to this negative little voice harping on in our ear, we don't even stop to question it.'

Some of us are so used to this negative little voice harping on in our ear, we don’t even stop to question it. Of course, our bum is the hugest on the planet and, obviously, we are so greedy/useless/ scatty that everything we attempt to do is doomed from the outset. Wait. Really? People with self-esteem problems tend to believe that the voice is right and therefore all other opinions about themselves are wrong. If you analyse the comments, they usually prove unfounded and exaggerated. They are not words of wisdom, but of fundamentalism: the world isn’t black and white, you are not all bad or good, but both

Create a compassionate voice

Just as we have an inner critic, we also have a compassionate self, or at least the makings of it. Whenever we care about others, from our nearest and dearest to a whale stranded on a beach, we are being

compassionate. All we need to do it turn some of that kindness inwards. “We can never find peace in the outer world until we find peace with ourselves,” said the Dalai Lama.

Compassion is kindness

When you make yourself soup when you’re ill, have a candle-lit bath when stressed or take a deep breath and say to yourself “you can do this”, you’re being compassionate. Next time you stand before a mirror and hear the inner critic piping up with a list of faults, turn down the volume and be your own best friend instead. What would you say to someone you loved as opposed to someone you apparently loath?

Compassion is understanding

You know how great it feels to be understood by someone, and how miserable to be misunderstood or written off? If someone tells you that you’re clumsy, you’re more likely to trip up. Such is the power of suggestion. If you ask yourself why you dropped that cup instead of beating yourself up, you might work out that you’re tired, stressed or ill and need a break. The solution to any problem is not to shout and scream at it, but to understand why it arose and deal with the deeper issue.

Compassion is infectious

Okay we’re not going to get all Californian and bang on about self-love, but know this: liking and loving yourself is not the same as being self-obsessed or selfish, words that your inner critic will almost certainly fling at you if you show yourself kindness. Practising self-compassion not only stops the self-abuse, it’ll improve your relationships as you become more compassionate to others. A random act of kindness can restore our faith in humanity. In a world torn apart by hate and mistrust, it is essential to work on our compassion. WM


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dive in hether it’s sacred pools and rivers, lava-heated waterfalls or treatments dangling over lagoons and oceans, there are so many glorious ways to indulge our love of H2O. Water covers 71 per cent of the world’s surface, and human beings have drunk, swum, sailed, worshipped, bathed and healed in this remarkable natural substance for millennia. It's little wonder that we’re obsessed with the stuff. The Spa Spies floated around the globe to dip into watery spas that are worth splashing out on.

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Unleash your inner mermaid and dive into these aquatic spas.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA Scubaspa, Maldives

You can literally dive in from one of these spectacular floating spas in the Maldives. Scubaspa’s ( Yin and Yang are two luxury yachts that sleep 45 scuba spa-istas. As well as all the diving, there’s a 300m² Asian-themed spa onboard with an outdoor spa lounge and a bathing platform, so you can swim or snorkel off the boat – who needs a pool when you have the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean? There’s a secluded deck for Thai massages and a yoga pavilion where guests can enjoy morning classes delivered by the resident yoga master. The five treatment rooms, including a double with bathtub, have doors opening onto the ocean, so you can keep your connection to the water while blissing out with a Balinese massage.


Main image: The Datai, Langkawi Left: Chablé Resort and Spa Below centre: Chablé Resort and Spa Below: The Datai, Langkawi Bottom centre: Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort


Chablé Resort and Spa, Mexico Chablé ( is a stupendously chic five-star resort deep in the Mayan forest. Think striking white cube buildings, rectangular blue clear pools amid lush palms and crumbling ruins: mysticism meets modernism. Its vast and elegant spa has seven pools built upon a huge underground cenote – a natural swimming hole formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, and the centrepiece of the spa’s healing journeys. The Mayans believed cenotes were entrances to the Mayan underworld, portals to the subconscious and afterlife. The website warns: ‘Never insult the waters’. You don’t want angered Mayan gods to ruin your me-time.

ENDLESS HORIZONS Regent Seven Seas, Europe

Health and cruise ships don’t always go together – who honestly has the willpower to resist a mountain of profiteroles? However, Regent Seven Seas ( has just launched the Seven Seas Wellness programme. Not only will you adhere to a healthy Canyon Ranch diet and fitness

'The Mayans believed cenotes were entrances to the Mayan underworld, portals to the subconscious and afterlife." options while on the cruise, you will also be able to jump ship and sample some of the most wonderful spa experiences around the world. In Athens, for example, you can swim, snorkel and delight in the brackish hydrothermal, mineral-rich waters of the Vouliagemi Lake. In Sorrento, you can immerse yourself in the restorative hydrothermal pools and caves of the Stufe di Nerone baths.

you can experience Full Moon Yoga at the Dharma Shanti River Terrace perched over the flowing waters of the sacred Ayung River. You can dangle above the river in meditation pods or anti-gravity yoga harnesses, or catch the morning sun in the riverside infinity pool.


Elitist water nymphs can now enjoy their own private slice of Iceland’s legendary, albeit touristy, Blue Lagoon. From 2018, you can check into the exclusive The Retreat (, built into a moss-covered lava flow dating from 1226 and surrounded by the geothermal waters of the lagoon. Relax in the subterranean spa which moves you along a lava flow through heat experiences, pools, waterfalls, and panoramic relaxation spaces to your Blue Lagoon Ritual. The hotel’s private suites also open onto the lagoon’s warm, healing waters and jawdropping geological surrounds.

Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Indonesia The treatment rooms of the Sacred River Spa open out onto a peaceful lake, deep in the lush forest. Spa rituals, ceremonies and treatments embrace local and spiritual practises; try a warm river stone massage or book to have your chakra cleansed by a traditional Balinese healer. The High Priestess herself offers a water-purification ritual at her personal temple, while a former Buddhist nun also hosts meditation sessions and Life Talks. Time your visit to the Four Seasons ( perfectly, and


The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland


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Left: The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland Below: The Blue Lagoon Iceland Below centre: 7132

features indigenous Malay rituals using medicinal jungle plants blended to recipes that have been used by local shamans for thousands of years.


Tabacon, Costa Rica This luxury rainforest resort is built on Costa Rica’s largest network of naturally-flowing thermal mineral springs, heated underground by Arena Volcano’s magma – as pure as pure can be. Experience totally natural and mineral-rich hydrotherapy in the cascading warm waterfalls, soaking in dozens of river pools where temperatures range from 2240°C. Spa treatments at Tabacon (tabacon. com) take place in outdoor bungalows tucked away in the forest and each treatment begins with a dip in the hot natural spring waters.


Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa, Bora Bora Enjoy a relaxing back massage while gazing through a glass floor at colourful fish darting across the ocean. This is what makes The Deep Ocean Spa in the Intercontinental Bora Bora (thalasso.intercontinental. com) so special. The thatched treatment rooms dangle above the turquoise lagoon, surrounded by lush jungle. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors offer panoramic views of the lagoon and the South Pacific Ocean. Treatments are also ocean-themed, from the Tahitian Wave back scrub, to the Bora Bora Deep Blue massage.


7132, Switzerland If 007 were a Spa Spy, he’d head for this absurdly stylish spa hideaway rising from the mountains and lakes in Vals. The thermal baths of 7132 ( are fashioned from 60,000 slabs of Vals quartzite and were classified as a listed building shortly after completion. The highly-mineralised water comes out of St Peter’s spring and heats the indoor and outdoor pools, including a fire pool, ice pool, blossom pool, melodic pool in a grotto and a steam bath with ‘sweating stones’.


Mӧvenpick Resort and Spa, Jordan Aristotle was moved to write about its remarkable waters, while quintessential beauty influencer Cleopatra liked to bathe in the mineral-rich Dead Sea. It’s not just the water that’s healing: the area is pollen- and 18 | Wellness |



Vilalara Thalassa Resort, Portugal pollution-free. Zara Spa is in the Mӧvenpick Resort and Spa ( on the shores of the Dead Sea, so you can float on the high concentration of salt from the private beach, lounge half submerged in a hammock or try the rooftop floatation pool, whirlpool and stylish Kneipp pool amid the palm trees. In the medical centre, you can try a mud wrap with black sea mud or natural health therapies that target skin and breathing complaints.


The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia Imagine lying on a treatment bed in the middle of a Malaysian rainforest with a creek running below your feet. The Datai ( is set in the heart of an ancient rainforest on the edge of the Andaman Sea and a UNESCO Global Geopark, a maze of 550-million-yearold cliffs and dramatic waterways. The Datai Spa's four villas are all open-air so your treatment will be accompanied by the sound of bird and cicadas; you may even catch Dusty Leaf monkeys peeking from a nearby bush. The treatment menu

The Longevity Medical Spa at the Vilalara Thalassa Resort ( has won many prestigious awards for its watery ‘cures’ for anti-ageing, weight loss, osteopathy, detoxing, stress-management and preventative medicine. It has, it says, one of the best thalassotherapy programmes in the world. Stretched along a clifftop, the fivestar resort has seaside gardens leading down to a private golden beach, three sea water treatment pools and six swimming pools. You can enrol in stress management, detox, fitness and wellness programmes, or enjoy five days of gentler rebalance.


Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Spa, Bermuda Although Grotto Bay ( is three-star, the Natura Spa is extraordinary. It is set in a 500,000-year-old grotto called Prospero’s Cave; think crystal blue underground lake surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites. Have your treatments on one of the white cabanas floating above with ocean-fed underwater lagoon. People have found the experience so moving, they have left weeping ‘tears of joy’. WM


Confessions of a


Each year Good Spa Guide holds an awards ceremony with statuettes going to the best UK spas. But what about the little touches? Who has the best spa music or the comfiest robes? The Spa Spy shares her nominations.


as you read this, we Spa Spies will have just put away our flip-flops and dusted off our tiaras in time for the annual Good Spa Guide Award ceremony. At the time of writing, I have no idea which fabulous spas walked away with our lovely glass statuettes on November 14 – perhaps there is one displayed in your spa right now? Most of the winning spas get nearly everything right and thus score highly when we do our Bubble Ratings. But what about the little things that are often overlooked? The scrummy touches that make your day? I’ve come up with a further five award categories to celebrate a few of my favourite spa things. Perhaps you have some of your own happy spa moments? If you do, please tweet them to us @GoodSpaSpy

BEST FOR MUSIC: Yes, I have the most relaxing job in the world. But there are some days when listening to birdsong or whale music on a loop for an hour makes me want to hurl my flip flops at the stereo system. “Doesn’t this drive you INSANE?” I want to ask my poor therapist, who has probably learned to switch off and think about her shopping or the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Why don’t spas care about music? Surely all our senses should be engaged in a spa, not insulted with blandness. Rhythm and ambience can enhance or ruin a treatment. Tweeting birds can be irritating, as can tribal wind instruments, waterfalls or Generic Asian Tunes. The best spa soundtracks I have heard were at the Agua Spas at Sanderson and Mondrian in London, who prove that you can have a relaxing spa playlist that could also double as a cool dinner party soundtrack. Some spas ask you what kind of music you prefer on your consultation form. Why not have a facial to the tune of Death Metal if that’s your thing?

'The Spa at Dolphin Square in London offers a delicious Moroccan tea with succulent Medjool dates after a treatment.' BEST SNACKS: Another highly important

part of a spa day: being able to nibble something sweet with a delicious tea after a treatment. Too many spas now only offer water or apples (who wants to crunch an apple in a sleepy relaxation room?). The Spa at Dolphin Square in London offers a delicious Moroccan tea with succulent Medjool dates after a treatment. Bailiffscourt Spa charmed us with post-treatment truffles, while Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest won our hearts with chocolate-covered strawberries.


Another important part of your spa day, so often overlooked, is the quality of outerwear provided. You want to feel enfolded in softness. You want to love that robe so much you’re already thinking about whether you could naughtily sneak it into your case. We have all been to spas where the flimsy robes barely cover the more curvaceous among us. The usual white cotton-waffle fare that makes you feel like you’re heading to a toga party, not a spa, and does not keep you cosy outdoors or at luncheon.

The most beautiful robe I ever wore was in the Maldives, sadly. Yes, sorry about that. It was cashmere and cotton, a lovely pale grey-beige with flowing sleeves and (somehow) a flattering bias cut. Frankly, it was so beautiful I would have worn it to dinner. My colleague actually paid for a robe from Weaver’s House Spa in Suffolk (her conscience wouldn't let her stuff it in her suitcase). Flip-flops and slippers are usually uninspiring. My favourite steals were from Bamford Haybarn, trendy little white slip-on mules with a cute embroidered B.


go to a beautiful spa, you want to instabrag about it, right? At least, I do – but then I am quite unashamedly on the narcissistic spectrum. Outdoor hot tubs with astonishing views are a must, and while a mountain or Maldivian lagoon make the best backdrops, you can get spectacular views in the UK (with a little creative filtering). Personal UK faves include The Coniston Spa in Yorkshire, and The Scarlet Spa in Cornwall. In all seasons, you can’t go wrong with The Bulgari in London with its cabanas and gold-leaf hydro pool #spaspylife


of my pet hates is pool loungers without cushions – I know they get damp, but so am I when lying upon them, and I’d rather that than bars digging in my spine. For me, the perfect spa day involves loungers so snug and lovely, you don’t want to ever leave. The brand new Swinton Country Club and Spa has chic day beds around its marble-tiled pool, and outside, loungers with sheepskin rugs, duvets and herringbone blankets to snuggle up in. Utterly gorgeous. We are also rather partial to an Aqua Sana Spa water bed, especially out on the balcony high in the trees, drifting off to sounds of real birdsong and rain… WM


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Beneath the


Treatment menus are fraught with facials that promise younger, brighter and smoother skin. Will a radiance facial leave you feeling dry and dehydrated? Will an anti-ageing facial overload your combination skin? The Spa Spies have decoded facialese to help you choose your facial with confidence.

acials use a variety of products, massage techniques and equipment to give you cleaner, healthier, more radiant-looking skin. Whichever type you choose, you can expect all facials to include the basics of cleansing, toning and moisturising, achieved via cleansers, toners, creams, masks, serums, spritzers, tonics and oils. Often the difference between facials is the process and how many products are used. The aim of most facials remain the same, though:

to clean and smooth: sloughing away dead skin cells with an exfoliator and deep-cleaning pores helps prevent blemishes and dullness, and leaves skin feeling smoother and softer to balance and moisturise: hydrating skin with the right facial oil, serum and/or moisturiser for your skin type will nourish and balance dry and oily patches to target specific skin concerns: healing and brightening products and toning techniques can be used to make your skin look clearer, firmer, fresher and lovelier.

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Pretty much all facials will cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise your skin. A good facial will leave your skin looking and feeling better, but should also leave you feeling both relaxed and refreshed. A full facial will usually take between 60 and 90 minutes. A taster or express facial normally lasts about 30 minutes, and includes the usual cleanse/exfoliate/tone/treat/moisturise routine, but is unlikely to feature any additional specialist equipment or techniques. Some facial treatments require a little extra aftercare, which should be made clear to you. For example, facials that include a gentle skin peel will make your skin more sensitive immediately after the treatment. If you've had a peel, your therapist is likely to advise you not to use any heat facilities afterwards, and to use sunscreen before you head outside. A good facial should leave you glowing, but you may also look a bit unkempt (for one thing, your fringe will be sticking up having been swept back during the treatment). Enjoy that confidence in your appearance, but do have a quick check in the mirror before you leave.



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Before you go If you have any skin allergies or conditions, make sure you tell your therapist about them, not just the receptionist when you book. If you are, or think you might be, pregnant you should always tell the therapist as some products may not be suitable for you.

What to expect from a facial The aim of a facial, and the skin type it is suited to, should be described in the spa treatment menu. If you’re in any doubt about which one to book, speak to a therapist at the spa and ask for their advice. Step one is preparation. The therapist will take off your make-up as part of the treatment, so you can arrive as you are. Generally speaking, you will receive your facial while seated in a reclining chair, or lying down on a massage table. Although you don’t

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really need to undress for a facial, a loose robe can be more comfortable, and it will stop you from getting any oily spa products on your clothes. Your therapist may also ask you to slide down the straps of your bra or swimsuit, and will normally cover your hairline with a protective band.

'Most facials will feature some form of facial massage, often extending to your neck and shoulders, your head, and sometimes even your arms and hands.' When you are comfortable and ready, your facial will begin. First, the application of the skincare products, the benefits of which your therapist should explain to you as they go. (If not, ask.) They may use a brush or spatula to apply products such as masks, while they are more likely to use their hands to massage on cleansing creams and

facial oils. They will gently remove the skincare products using damp cloths or towels, which are usually warmed up first. The steam opens up the pores and feels incredibly refreshing and comforting. Most facials will feature some form of facial massage, often extending to your neck and shoulders, your head, and sometimes even your arms and hands – a beautiful addition to the treatment. Facial massage is usually a form of acupressure and/or lymphatic drainage. Acupressure, a light pressurepoint massage, can help tone skin by stimulating facial muscles, while lymphatic drainage massage helps to decrease puffiness. Some facials rely on more than just potions and lotions, and the massage skills of a therapist. For example, microdermabrasion facials use a machine that blasts tiny crystals onto your skin; microcurrent or galvanic facials use a low electrical current to boost circulation and muscle tone, while oxygen facials use high-pressure jets to push serums (or oxygen itself) into your skin.


Types of facials AMERICAN FACIAL

An American facial is results-focused and usually features ‘manual extraction’; where blackheads and other impurities are removed by hand or ‘implement’. At best, this is uncomfortable, at worst, painful. The American facial can feel more like a procedure than a treat(ment). But the results can be quite dramatic. Good for: really clearing out your pores and ensuring you leave with healthier skin.


Aims to improve the look and feel of skin that has visible signs of ageing. Depending on the brand, these facials may include specialist equipment such as oxygen jets or massage techniques to stimulate the facial muscles and lift and firm the skin. They may also include a gentle peel or deep exfoliation, followed by hydrating serums and creams to help the skin look plumper and smoother. Good for: firming and diminishing fine lines or wrinkles.


This will invariably include a thorough exfoliation and specialist serum or cream to boost radiance and even out skin tone. Recommended for dull skin, or skin with uneven pigmentation, brightening facials will usually include a thorough exfoliation to buff away dead cells, and an application of a specialist serum or cream to encourage that gorgeous post-facial glow. Good for: unloved skin or a prequel to a special occasion.

the ingredients. Normally, cosmeceuticals have more active ingredients and come in the shape of peels, creams or masks. If you have sensitive skin you may find that active products irritate your skin – be prepared to ask your therapist to remove the product if you can feel your skin reacting in any unpleasant way. Good for: a more powerful facial, thoroughly cleansing and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.


Most often recommended for combination, oily or blemishprone skin, the aim will be to intensively cleanse the face, unblock pores and balance over-oily patches. This cleansing treatment might also be referred to as a detox, revitalising or oxygen facial, and should include steam to open the pores pre-cleanse. Good for: minimising breakouts and oily t-zones.


Some spas offer more advanced skincare treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and dermal fillers. If you are thinking about having a more substantial skincare treatment, make sure you go to a qualified professional – you need to feel confident that they really know what they’re doing. Good for: microdermabrasion and chemical peels: sun damage or skin resurfacing; dermal fillers: instant results to specific areas of the face.


Great for dry skin, but can also be recommended if your skin is temporarily dehydrated. A nourishing or hydrating facial should boost the moisture in your skin making it feel soft, smooth and glowing. This type of facial is most likely to include facial oils, rich moisturisers and deeply moisturising masks. Good for: winter dryness, over-tanning or post-illness.


Tailored to your skin type, a prescription facial should include a consultation before the treatment begins. The therapist will have a close look at your skin and choose the skincare products that meet your needs. Good for: skin maintenance or reassessing your needs over time.


A facial for sensitive skin will include gentle, calming skincare products. If your skin is very reactive, your therapist should be able to give you a patch test to check your skin doesn’t react to the skincare ingredients. Facials for sensitive skin are unlikely to include abrasive exfoliators, harsh chemicals or steaming. Good for: easily irritable or delicate skin. WM Read more at:


A skin treatment that uses a very mild galvanic and high frequency electrotherapy to help boost circulation and cleanse your pores deep down. A ‘hands off’ treatment, the therapist will run two mini rollers over your skin. It isn’t usually painful, though you might feel a gentle tingling. Some people report experiencing a metallic taste, although that soon disappears. Good for: longer lasting deep cleansing and rejuvenation. COSMECEUTICALS Cosmeceuticals refers to products that mix cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, although there is no medical regulation of


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Jewel lake of the

As a dazzling new spa opens on the banks of Lake Geneva, Savant Spy discovers a taste for clean air and sublime views in the Swiss city of Lausanne. icture a stylish city perched on the shores of a vast, glimmering lake surrounded by slender Parisian-style buildings, cobbled streets and Medieval old town spires. Welcome to Lausanne, Switzerland’s fourth largest city, home to the Olympic Committee and the famous Collection de l’Art Brut. Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn were former residents, while T.S Elliot composed his masterpiece The Wasteland here. Chic bars, boutiques and galleries sit against a backdrop of mountain peaks and vineyard slopes; an urban jewel amid stunning Swiss scenery – and clean, clean air. With just one short flight from London followed by a dazzling 40-minute train ride along Lake Geneva, it’s astonishing this city isn’t a more popular destination


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for weekend spa breaks. The opening of The Royal Savoy’s glam new 1,500 square foot city spa, however, could well change the scene…


The Royal Savoy, an iconic Art Deco hotel with Gothic turrets peering down toward the lake, has just had a £75 million refurbishment to restore its former splendour. The lobby is a thing of beauty with a fabulously groovy glass-panelled chandelier, elegantly hand-stencilled walls and original stained-glass windows. The Sky Lounge restaurant – with a breathtaking panorama of the lake and spectacular Jura Mountains – is something else. At the rear of the hotel, a glass walkway dangling over manicured Japanese gardens takes you to the new modern spa wing. Bedrooms are above, while the spa itself is on ground level. Inside, the spa

is gorgeously designed, an urban oasis with dramatic grey striped marble floors and walls of dappled mosaics. Vivid pink chairs and Smarties-style wall art provide splashes of bold colour. The spacious reception and dark corridors are atmospherically illuminated, like entering a classy nightclub. Ladies changing rooms are dark walled and uber-stylish, with their own square silver hydro pool, glass-fronted sauna, steam room, and a relaxation booth with four cosy beds. Mini fridges are dotted around filled with refreshing bottles of cold water. There’s also a mixed sauna, steam room and hammam; a hair salon and gym; plus a luxuriant couple’s suite and exclusive rooms for the most chi-chi private spa party imaginable. The centrepiece of the spa is a gleaming metallic indoor-outdoor pool glimpsed through cut-out windows from the boutique. Swim lengths in beams of sunlight flooding through the floorto-ceiling windows, then drift through sensor-operated glass doors to the hydro pool outside. Massage your limbs on jet beds, bubble stations and fierce swan pipes. Emerge onto the decked garden and, after a swift outdoor warm shower, arrange yourself on the soft cream mattresses and sofas for a spot of seriously stylish sunbathing.


The treatment rooms are to the rear of the spa: head back out of the changing rooms and wait on one of the sofas or chaise longues in the spa lounge, admiring the abstract artwork on the walls or flicking through hefty coffee table books and magazines. My treatment room was cavernous; here I enjoyed an Aromatherapy Associates


Top left: The spa pool Top right: The Sky Lounge cocktail bar Below left: Hotel lobby Below right: Hotel rear view and Japanese Gardens Bottom: View of Lake Geneva

'The Royal Savoy, an iconic Art Deco hotel with Gothic turrets, has just had a £75 million refurbishment to restore its former splendour.' Experience (50 minutes) which combined Swedish, neuromuscular and lymphatic drainage techniques to leave me feeling utterly relaxed after my journey, but invigorated enough for the evening ahead. The next day, I had a Moisturising Uniqueness Facial (60 minutes) using products by Swiss skincare company La Vallee. The facial was deeply hydrating and my skin felt as fresh as if I’d been climbing mountains and bathing in freshwater lakes, rather than swanning about in a five-star hotel. La Vallee uses natural active ingredients such as lavender and thyme with Swiss glacier and Henniez spring waters, famous for their rich minerals. While there are plenty of natural and holistic therapies on the spa menu, Clinic Lémanic offers laser therapies and

plastic surgery, as well as non-invasive, result-driven treatments. The tradition of popping to Switzerland for a face lift is alive and well here. And why not: you want to look your best for your rooftop selfie as the sun sets over the lake.


Food is as pretty and scrumptious as the views. Try modern-traditional fare in the Brasserie du Royal from a menu designed by signature chef Marc Haeberlin, who

has three Michelin stars. In summer, head to the Sky Lounge to sample gourmet tapas from around the world while drinking in the beautiful views (and the odd glass of something cold and bubbly). And don’t leave without trying the Swiss wines on the menu, especially the local Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, which taste as crisp and clean as the air. WM Find out more at:


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The Good Spa Guide Good Spa Guide @GoodSpaGuide

SPA DIRECTORY Find the right spa in the right location. Spas with the GSG recommended stamp have all been road-tested by the Spa Spies®; our in-depth spa reviews tell you why they’re all thoroughly deserving of that status.

OFFERS We love getting the most out of our spa pound, but we're not willing to compromise on quality. Our offers include spa days and spa breaks at the best spas in Britain, and they're worth every penny.

FEATURES Confused about spa etiquette? Want to know more about Ayurveda? Our articles cover the A-Z of spa.

COMPETITIONS Enter our free prize draws to win luxury spa days and stays, or gorgeous skincare goodies.

AWARDS Our annual Good Spa Awards shine a light on the best spas in Britain. Nominees and winners are selected by our expert panel of Spa Spies, and by our readers.

FIND US ONLINE If you want to find out more about what the Spa Spies get up to, you can also read our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.   If you’ve got a question, or you’d like to chat to us about all things spa, get in touch at:


France Easy to get to, fashionable, cultural and with vineyards aplenty, there’s a lot to love about France. But do the spas cut the Dijon? We sent our Spa Spies to test the waters.

rom our enduring love affair with Paris to the lure of the glitzy French Riviera, Brits return to France time and time again to experience its beaches, mountains, Medieval villages and vineyards. With frequent links via low-cost carriers, the speedy Eurostar and regular ferry crossings, France is an easy hop away. Recent atrocities haven’t diluted our passion for the capital, with its iconic architecture, high-end fashion houses and designer hotels. When it comes to gastronomy, Paris is hard to beat with 10 restaurants earning not one, not two but three Michelin stars – second only to Tokyo which leads the way with 12. Want to go skiing? You’ll find several famous ski resorts in The Alps including Val d’Isère, Chamonix and Courchevel,

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each with runs for varying abilities, great après ski and quaint chocolatebox chalets to rest your weary head (and legs). A summer must-see is Provence’s annual display of lavender, when the fields take on a purple hue and a light fragrance fills the air. Stay in a chateau in the middle of the countryside and spend your days cycling through lavender fields or visiting distilleries producing lavender honey, perfume or soap. And don’t knock lavender cake until you’ve tried it. A little further south, the well-heeled French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur as it is locally known) is where Cannes, Marseille, Nice, Saint Tropez and the petit principality of Monaco bask in the sunshine. During the 60s, this area was a playground for the rich and famous; aristocracy and film stars would host parties on salubrious yachts and stay in grand houses nestled in craggy cliffs


'Whether you're hitting the slopes or sipping red wine, it seems Louis Armstrong was right: life in France is, indeed, rosy.'

overlooking the sea. Today, you’ll still find beautiful beaches, beautiful hotels and beautiful people. Vineyards cover the length and breadth of the country, too, thanks to its warm, dry climate. Favourite tipples such as Beaujolais, Côte du Rhone and Champagne are all produced in towns of the same name. But less talk of food and drink – what are the spas like? Thalassotherapy is a grand French tradition. France’s thermal waters go back centuries, when spa-goers would flock to Evian-les-Baines (of bottled water fame) and Aix-les-Baines to soak in thermal springs thought to contain healing properties. Power house brands such as Caudalie and Crème de la Mer use the anti-ageing properties of grapes and the sea respectively to create products that are used (and loved) the world over. So whether you’re hitting the white slopes, sipping red wine before noon or slathering anti-ageing cream on your skin, it seems Louis Armstrong was right: life in France is, indeed, rosy.


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'The spa building at Les Sources reflects its vineyard origins: high ceilings have wooden vents to let the breeze in; a large hydrotherapy pool bubbles gently in the centre.'


First impressions

I’m happy to admit that I like the good things in life (my Spa Spy name is, after all, Sybaritic Spa) so my ideal spa offers good food, good wine and, of course, good treatments. Les Sources de Caudalie in Bordeaux fits the bill perfectly: it sits in the middle of a vineyard, has a wonderful restaurant with not one, but two, Michelin stars and offers an extremely impressive spa. When the owner’s daughter discovered that grape seeds contain PCOs (procyanidolic oligomers), which have anti-ageing properties, she used the by-products of her parents’ vineyard to create a beauty product range free from nasties such as parabens, phthalates and animal ingredients. The first dedicated Caudalie spa opened in 1999, with branches now open in Spain, France, Portugal, Istanbul, New York and Toronto.

What’s on offer

Les Sources is a French manor house with vineyard views and several wooden buildings dotted around large grounds. The rural chic of the outside contrasts nicely with the elegant rooms – think oak wood floors, chandeliers and antiques. Our room

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had its own sun terrace overlooking an outdoor pool lined with bull-rushes. Here, we watched a pair of nesting moorhens take turns to sit on their eggs, and enjoyed endless cups of French coffee and freshlybaked croissants. The spa building at Les Sources reflects its vineyard origins: high ceilings have wooden vents to let the breeze in and a large hydrotherapy pool bubbles gently in the centre. There’s a good-sized steam room and an infinity pool with floor-toceiling windows overlooking the vineyards, too. Huge wooden doors open onto a sun terrace where several loungers offer spa guests a dose of Vitamin D. The Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard (which surrounds Les Sources) adopts an intriguing mix of traditional techniques and modern technology to produce its wine. They make their own wine barrels and use horses to work the land, yet rely on drones and satellites to determine when grapes are ready to harvest.

Tell us about the treatments

Unsurprisingly, the treatment menu centres on wine, with a Crushed Cabernet Scrub and a spa-style bath enriched with red grape pomace on offer. My spa partner and I were both booked in for the Beauty Elixir Ritual (110 minutes,

SPA SPOTLIGHT ON... Main image: The chateau among the vineyards Far left: A spa barrel bath Below left:The outdoor pool Below right: The spa entrance Bottom centre: The indoor pool

£230) using products made from grape skins. I half expected to smell like a wine bar, but the products are light and fresh, with a hint of ‘green’; more walking through a garden after a rain shower than a glass of red. The treatment began with a shiatsustyle massage which involves firm holding, stretching and the use of pressure points. Laetitia, my therapist, used her forearms and weight to gently stretch my spine. The next step was some deep work on pressure points over my tense muscles. I know my shoulders are tight, but I was surprised to learn just how tight my calf muscles were. Caudalie's Beauty Elixir was then painted on my skin and lightly massaged in. While oils often sit on the skin, these lotions were absorbed quickly and easily. The facial began with a foaming cleanser followed by a scrub. Laetitia then applied a rich mask, wrapping my skin in a muslin cloth which felt a bit like a shroud;

'Les Sources grows its own herbs and vegetables in the garden; chefs select items as they cook – you can’t get much fresher.'

Laetitia’s arm and hand massage kept me from feeling claustrophobic. The treatment finished with some very lovely rich cream on my face which I later realised is much-loved Premier Cru The Elixir. I left feeling more like a vintage wine rather than an exhausted, much travelled Spa Spy! My spa partner had the same massage and facial which can be challenging as he is bearded and moustachioed. His usual ‘outdoor’ face (code for rough and ready) appeared out of the treatment room looking smooth, evenly toned and quite smart.

Food facts

Les Sources grows its own vegetables, fruits and herbs in the pottager garden; chefs in their whites often coming out to select items as they cook – you can’t get much fresher than that. Come evening, we opted for La Grand’Vigne restaurant’s five course menu which began with appetizers of oysters smothered in crème fraiche and

cucumber. We devoured this while sipping a glass of Champagne. The meal began with Nasturtium flowers stuffed with langoustines, followed by sea bass with tiny mushrooms and then pigeon. The grand finale of strawberries with mint consisted of semi frozen strawberry cream hidden inside a fine eggshell of spun sugar. Tap it with your spoon and let the luscious creamy filling ooze out. All meals can be paired with wines from the Haut Smith Lafitte vineyard. We tried a light white made from three grapes: Sauvignon, Semillon and Semillon Gris, and a fruity red made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, all, of course, grown within a few hundred feet of where we were sitting. In the morning, ask to take breakfast beside the pretty lake and watch pristine white swans float by. The good life? Absolutely.

Who would like it?

• Food and wine lovers will feel right at home here. Les Sources’ well revered cookery school is worth signing up for, too. • Fans of natural beauty – all Caudalie products are free from parabens and aren’t tested on animals.

Don’t miss

• Looking at the stars with the local astronomy club as your guides. • The estate offers several wine tours with tasting sessions at the end, or why not have a nose around the estate next door? • Active types can do yoga, play tennis or hire bikes and cycle around dedicated wine trails. Find out more at:


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'Lay on a chaise longue and daydream of 1920s Chanel.' SPA EVIAN SOURCE AT THE HOTEL ROYAL Lake Geneva

First impressions

Found among the grand hotels of Lake Geneva, The Hotel Royal and Spa Evian Source sit high above the lake. Opened in 1909, with extensive renovations in 2015, the hotel has played host to golden age Hollywood stars, sultans, queens and even the literary character Victor Frankenstein on his honeymoon. Evian-les-Bains – and its hotels – became fashionable in the Belle Époque with architectural motifs dotted around the spa town. Although the exterior of The Hotel Royal is grand alpine complete with a heavy wooden roof, pale exterior and pretty balconies, inside is a blend of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Neo-Baroque frescos in soft pinks, greens, yellows and blues line domed ceilings in the public spaces, long light corridors with intricate floors give space to promenade – perhaps more useful during a winter visit when temperatures plummet into the negative.

What’s on offer

The fan-shaped hotel sits in acres of green grounds; a large kitchen garden boxed in by fruit trees and the outside infinity pool, which looks as though it falls into Lake Geneva, will tempt you outside during the hot summers. Or join the locals and take a boat out on the lake.

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In the winter, sport becomes about ice and snow. The lake may not freeze over, but the Alps and Jura mountains are nearby. Chamonix, Gstaad and Verbier are about 90 minutes’ drive, or try Les Gets and Morzine which are under an hour from the resort. The hotel can also organise dog sledding and snow shoe walking. The spa has indoor and outdoor facilities so you’re covered whatever the season. Inside, the bright indoor pool with Jacuzzistyle seating has large windows either side affording views of the grounds and lake. Loungers line the pool. The thermal facilities are just a few steps away; the traditional wooden sauna and large white steam room are well-maintained and peaceful. Step outside to the warm ‘hydro-circuit’ – a large hydro pool with seven stations where jets will massage your feet, legs, back and shoulders – or just enjoy laying on the bubbly air beds, soaking up the fresh air. The outdoor infinity pool, which has another Jacuzzi to one side, is open during the summer but closes as the season turns. Spa Evian Source is bright and white with splashes of colour through soft pink cushions and textiles. The 30 treatment rooms are broken into sections; beauty treatments take place downstairs, and the rooms upstairs are set up for massage and relaxation. There’s a hair salon too, should you wish to preen pre-dinner. The Aga Khan relaxation room was the private apartment of Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, and the décor has been maintained with beautifully intricate panelling, cornicing and frescos. Lay on a chaise longue and daydream of 1920s Chanel.

'Breakfast on our balcony fulfilled every archetype: beautiful croissant, rich coffee and a yacht sailing across Lake Geneva.' Tell us about the treatments

Treatments are in four different streams: re-energise, relaxation, facial revelation and body revelation. The signature treatment is all about La Prairie with just over four hours of Caviar-range face, body and hair therapies. As well as La Prairie treatments you can try Comfort Zone treats, pregnancy and new mum treatments, and some unusual massages. We tried the Mother-to-be massage (50 minutes, £115) and the La Prairie Anti-ageing Ultimate Cellular Facial (80 minutes, £185). I lay on my side for the divine pregnancy massage. Gina worked


Main: The view from The Hotel Royal Far left: The outdoor infinity pool Bottom left: The grand hotel staircase Left inset: A massage treatment Left: Les Fresques restaurant

but our à la carte offering was creative, full of flavours and rather filling. Both Les Fresque and La Veranda open onto the lake view which feels very special.

Who would like it?

her way along my spine and legs before asking me to lay flat on my back to massage my arms, hands and feet. She used gentle pressure to relax my muscles and coax me into just letting go… The La Prairie facial was a mix of relaxation and some results-driven touches. Veronique, my therapist, cleansed, exfoliated, steamed and scrubbed my combination skin without over-drying or clogging up difficult patches. She cleansed again and massaged my face to stimulate my circulation. Veronique painted on a thick cool mask and massaged my hands, arms and feet. She removed the mask, cleansed and applied finishing moisturisers.

The treatment ended with a blissful scalp massage. My skin was the perfect blend of clear and hydrated; idéal.

Food facts

There are three restaurants at The Hotel Royal: fine dining in Les Fresques, relaxed dining in La Veranda and, in the summer, outside dining at L’Oliveraie. La Veranda serves a good range of very French cuisine from croque-monsieur to caviar and fish fresh from the lake. Les Fresque is much grander with à la carte and gastronomic menus including a six-course set menu with wine pairing. Post-spa we weren’t quite up to the full six courses

• Romantics – the lake, the décor, the sense of history; this is one to enjoy with a beloved. • Foodies – this is France, we expect the food to be good, but during our entire stay everything we tried was fresh, interesting and delicious. • La Prairie fans – the iconic brand isn’t available in many UK spas, so it’s a treat to try it.

Don’t miss

• Breakfast on your balcony – it fulfilled every archetype: beautiful croissant, rich coffee and a yacht sailing across Lake Geneva. • The hydro-circuit on a sunny day – the pool is in a very sheltered spot, out of the wind but open to the sunshine. Find out more at:


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First impressions

Ten minutes away from the highly-strung glamour of Cannes, five-star hotel Le Mas Candille is a charming renovated olive farm high on a hill. It’s wow factor – other than a Michelin-starred restaurant – is that pretty much every room and pool relishes the spectacular views over the valley to the dramatic foothills of the Alps. Large gates open onto lawns with ancient olive, pine and Cyprus trees rolling down to the peach coloured 18th Century farmhouse (Le Mas), with white shutters and terracotta-tiled roofs. The lobby is homely rather than grand, a Provençal hall with a Romanesque tiled floor, an enormous brushed grey velvet chaise longue and shabby-chic French antiques. Don’t underestimate its simple charms Brad and Angelina have stayed here, as have Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp.

What's on offer

Owners Mark and Tina Silver restored Le Mas Candille in 2001, enhancing original features and adding contemporary comforts, as well as vibrant local sculptures, paintings and objets d’art. There are 39 bedrooms, ranging from cosy and traditional in the main house to larger doubles in the newer part of the hotel. There are also six modern luxury suites. Lavender-lined paths wind up tiered lawns past a smaller private pool for

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hotel guests and children, to a huge oval infinity-edge pool that juts over the valley. Swim long lengths in its silky cool water and gaze at the pre-Alps and skies before flopping on a funky pink chair or lounger and ordering drinks and snacks from La Pergola restaurant. Head down steps to a bubbly Jacuzzi set in a panoramic terrace with a gently trickling waterfall. In 2005, the Silvers bought a neighbour’s house and transformed it into Spa Candille. The single-storey, honeycoloured building peers above grasses and flowering shrubs over the valley. Décor is Med-Zen – think white walls, sliding wooden screen doors and pale pebbles edging dark wooden floors. Changing rooms are petit, all dark wood and pale marble with creamy rustic tiles – try the ESPA products on the dressing table or in the showers.

The rectangular relaxation room has floor-to-ceiling windows so you can bathe in mountain and sky views from your lounger. Doors lead to a small terrace which overlooks the blue oval hydro pool in the spa garden below. This quiet, secluded area is the perfect place to unwind on a poolside lounger. Claim the hammock beneath the willow tree and watch the odd private jet etch across the clear blue sky. Or head over a little Japanese bridge to the intimate Jacuzzi, cloistered in a Cyprus hedge. There’s an outdoor gym where you can enjoy the

'Swim lengths in its silky cool water and gaze at the preAlps and skies before flopping on a funky pink lounger and ordering drinks and snacks.'


Main: Main outdoor pool and La Pergola Below left: Hydrotherapy in the pool Left: The private hotel pool Right: Gates to Le Mas Candille Below: View of the valley and Grasse

'Order a gourmet picnic hamper, or simply take a bottle of rosé to the lawns high up by the front gates and watch the sun set over the valley.'

seafood, grills and club sandwiches as well as tempting desserts. In the evening, we dined on the terrace at Le Candille, watching the sky blush pink then darken as the twinkling lights of Grasse appeared in the valley. Even more captivating was the four-course gastronomic menu created by Michelin starred chef David Chauvac. We kicked off with a colourful and refreshing vodka carrot soufflé, then I had meltingly tender poached seabream, while my partner had a rich beef slow-braised in Chateau Lagraula wine. Amazingly, we found room for a cheese plate and strawberry cheesecake, as well as lashings of fine wine. Well, when in France…

Who would like it?

scenery and mountain breezes while working out, and – if you can stand the heat – an outdoor sauna cabin.

Tell us about the treatments

We tried the ESPA Age-Defying Facial (90 minutes, £127). My therapist, Jade, invited me to inhale a choice of oils and I plumped for the heavenly Restorative option. Jade began by thoroughly examining my skin under a lamp, then dimmed the lights before exfoliating and cleansing my face. An intense facial massage is at the heart of the treatment and is performed in three stages. First Jade briskly massaged in warm oils to loosen up the muscles, then she focused on points around my eyes, mouth and jaw, before finally using firm sweeping strokes as though ironing out creases.

Jade then brushed on a refreshingly icy mask, and as it set, massaged ESPA’s wondrous Pink Hair and Scalp Mud into my scalp. She ended the treatment with serum, moisturiser and eye cream. I took before and after pics and was pleased with the results. My eyes looked wide awake minus the usual baggage, and my skin was gleaming. There was a definite lift around the forehead, eyelids and jawline, and my sun-frazzled hair was grateful for the mud. Even better, the healthy Riviera glow remained long after I’d landed home in rainy Blighty.

Food facts

La Pergola bar and café is next to the spa, and overlooks the spectacular main pool and scenery. Enjoy fresh salads, hot meals,

• Celebs needing to escape the flashbulbs of Cannes. • Foodies and artists – we loved the way the hotel and village co-exist, sharing a passion for gastronomy and art.

Don't miss

• Mougins, the absurdly pretty village where Picasso spent the last decade of his life, is a few steps further up the winding hill road. In the renowned Museum of Classical Art, paintings and sculptures by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and Damien Hirst lurk among the Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities. • Order a gourmet picnic hamper, or simply take a bottle of rosé to the lawns high up by the front gates and watch the sun set over the valley. Find out more at:


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First impressions

If the speedy Eurostar is the invention du jour (London to Paris in just two hours), walking through Paris’ Shangri-La Hotel is like taking a fashionable stroll through history. Built in 1896 as the home of Prince Bonaparte, the same year as The Eiffel Tower (which, incidentally, is visible in all its glory from most rooms), this listed building has authentic features aplenty – original parquet floors, marble pillars, stained glass windows and wrought iron/gold winding staircases. Look up and marvel at the huge, ornate chandeliers which adorn each and every room. It took four years to respectfully renovate this property which opened in 2010 as a 100-room hotel with three lounges, three restaurants – one with two Michelin stars; the other with one – a fantastic bar offering killer cocktails and a stylish spa. It’s little wonder that an average of three proposals a week take place here.

What’s on offer

In contrast to the rest of the ornate, elegant hotel, Chi Spa is unfussy and fresh, with a palette of creams, whites and pale greens. Stark white orchids fill the air with a lovely scent reminiscent of Shangri-La’s Asian roots. Push -1 on the ornate lift (even the lifts here are worthy of a snapshot) and zoom down to the Chi Spa which, despite being on the lower level, is still above ground.

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Products from The Organic Pharmacy are on display in white and glass cabinets in the reception area, and there are four beautiful treatment rooms, one specifically for Thai massage. While putting on your fluffy branded robe in the stylish changing rooms, hop into the petit steam room with its cream mosaic curved bench seating and let the scent of eucalyptus engulf you. On a sunny day, you can see the sun dancing across the clear blue water of the 15-metre pool, which is housed in the old stables. Let the water settle and admire the tiled pattern at the bottom before looking up at the ‘sky’ painted on the ceiling. As pools go, it’s très chic. After a swim, grab a towel, a tiny bottle of Evian and a magazine, and settle on one of several lie-flat loungers with green cushions. Or head outside to the sunken, decked terrace with its rattan tables and chairs, and enjoy more of those glorious Parisian views.

Tell us about the treatments

While admiring the quaint bird-print wallpaper in pastel shades, I was warmly greeted by my therapist, Camille, who showed me to the changing rooms and asked me to slip into a fluffy robe and complete a consultation form. I was then led to an extremely spacious treatment room in cool whites and greens, with a large shower in the corner. Camille began my Signature Rose Crystal Facial (80 minutes, £220) with a relaxing back and shoulder massage, expertly finding the tension I carry on my left shoulder and using her forearms to work it out. She then turned her attention to my face with a fresh carrot and butter cleanser, which she wiped off with a hot cloth. The flower petal scrub that followed


Main: The swimming pool Bottom left: Ornate staircase Left inset: L'Abeille restaurant Below: The entrance to Shangri-La Paris Right: Breakfast with a view

'Couples will adore the views, foodies will love the Michelin-stars, and historians will fall in love with the story of the Shangri-La, Paris.' smelt sweet and felt sticky; Camille applied it using a patting motion to encourage my cheeks to flush with health. Moving on to the more indulgent elements of the facial, Camille massaged a rose diamond cleansing milk into my skin, followed by a refreshing rose diamond toner which immediately tightened my skin – and smelt divine. Camille applied a peel and massaged my arms and hands while it tingled away. She moved onto my feet with a foot massage that was so relaxing I found myself on the brink of sleep… To finish, Camille dotted diamond serum around my eyes, and a rose night cream on my neck and face. My skin was visibly tauter and softer – this resultsdriven treatment is worth every penny.

Food facts

You can’t eat in The Chi Spa itself, but the hotel has plenty of options for a pre- or post-treatment dining. Opt for afternoon

tea in one of the lounges, with open fires, parquet floors and huge chandeliers to marvel at, or try the lunch menu at one of three restaurants. Make a beeline for L’Abeille (meaning bee), the hotel’s classic French restaurant with two Michelin stars, or head to Shang Palace, the only Chinese restaurant in France with a Michelin star. We dined that evening in the third option: La Bauhinia, a French/South East Asian fusion restaurant with a modern green light centrepiece and a grand piano. Our starter of Tomatoes from The Farm was a fresh, colourful delight, with tangy cheese and a Bloody Mary sauce; a piece of art on a plate. We followed this with a shrimp Pad Thai which was one of the best we’ve tried outside of Thailand. In the morning, shun the cooked breakfast and petit déjeuner the way the French do: with pots of hot coffee, glasses of freshly-squeezed juice and baskets full of hot, crunchy croissants and pain au chocolat.

Who would like it?

• Who wouldn’t? Couples will adore the romantic views, foodies will love the restaurants and their Michelin-stars, and historians will fall in love with the story of the Shangri-La Paris.

Don’t miss

• An early evening swim – the pool is less busy around 6pm when the early evening sun makes beautiful patterns on the water. • The spa treatments – this may be a small spa but it’s gorgeously peaceful. Our facial was one of the best we’ve had with visible results guaranteed. • A drink in Le Bar Botaniste – in contrast to the rest of the hotel, this space is a botanist’s dream, with hanging plants and sofas adorned with zebra-print cushions. WM Find out more at:


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Spas are our passion and we love to share our excitement with our customers and with over 700 venues to choose from throughout the UK, Ireland and Overseas you will be spoilt for choice. Whether you’re looking for some mid-week me-time, a romantic retreat or a group getaway, our team of 75 spa gurus are at your beck and call, 7 days a week.

CALL US ON 0800 043 6600


From Cape Verde to Mauritius, we sent our Spa Spies armed with products to see if you can, in fact, combat the dry skin, restless sleep and swollen legs that are part and parcel of flying long-haul.

Skincare in the

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5ML | £8


The spray: lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood essential oils. The rollerball: grapefruit, lemon and rosemary essential oils.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I could probably spend a fortune on NEOM’s travel range, since they each promise the impossible: de-stress, sleep, happiness and energy. The products come in cream boxes splashed with pretty colours and would make perfect gifts for travellers. The boxes open up to contain tiny little portable phials – perfectly sized for hold luggage for a weekend break. I need something to cope with security stress... WHAT'S IT LIKE? The De-stress

Mist is rather clever. The instructions tell you to spray it above your head, inhale and count to seven, exhale and count to

eleven. I do this before entering security at Gatwick. It smells lovely, both florally enchanting and earthy. The Energy Burst Pulse Point is a rollerball: you roll it onto your temples, wrists and behind the ears to activate.

DOES IT WORK? De-stress Mist: because it smelt so nice, we breathed it in deeply and duly slowed down. So yes, it does work. Energy Burst: I can’t say I noticed an instant hit with this one. It’s a bit fiddly and I ended up dropping it in the airport car park. It smashed and created a lovely grapefruit-y waft for all to enjoy. VERDICT: I love the scents and packaging, they make great gifts for travellers. I would get the De-stress Mist again, as it works for me, but am not so convinced by the rollerball.

'...because it smelt so nice, we breathed it in deeply and duly slowed down. So yes, it does work.' LINDA MEREDITH OXYGEN MASK SET OF THREE | £119

KEY INGREDIENTS: Oxygen, hyaluronic acid, beta-glucan, Vitamin B and green tea. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The Linda Meredith Oxygen Masks come in a stylish box with a foiled silver logo on the front. Inside, the sheet masks are individually packaged in white and silver sachets, with clear instructions on the back.

'... works wonders on long flights, and is the answer if you want to look good strolling through arrivals or have an event to get to.'

WHAT'S IT LIKE? The mask is really easy to apply, even when you’re on a flight without a decent mirror. They are drenched in a hydrating serum which can be quite wet; protect your clothes with a tissue if needs be. I massaged the extra product into my neck before settling down with a book for fifteen minutes. The cotton felt soft against my skin, it was cooling and refreshing and the serum absorbed

quickly. I have to admit I did feel a little self-conscious wearing this on the flight, and I did turn a couple of heads.

DOES IT WORK? The oxygen mask promises to have firming, hydrating and anti-ageing properties. After one use my skin felt plump, firm and hydrated, instead of the usual tight, dry feeling you get mid-flight. When I examined my skin on landing, I noticed that my complexion looked brighter, radiant and smoother than usual. VERDICT: Feeling a little selfconscious mid-flight was worth the results. Yes, they’re a rather indulgent purchase, but it works wonders on long flights, and is the answer if you want to look good strolling through arrivals or have an event to get to.


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Essence of grape, rose and rosemary, potassium alum (to tighten), glycerine (to hydrate).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Celebrating 20 years with the help of English model and actress Rose Huntingdon-Whitley and a limited edition gold bottle, the Caudalie Beauty Elixir is a classic handbag favourite loved by celebrities and make-up artists the world over. Caudalie’s iconic green logo is smartly emblazoned across the frosted glass bottle, which has a silver pull-off cap with Caudalie stamped on the top. WHAT'S IT LIKE? Push the spray top for a

measured spritz of facial freshness said to give you a glowing complexion, reduce fine lines

and set make-up: that’s a lot of jobs for a diddy product. The spritz is so light that you can barely feel it sitting on your skin; the scent is light and fragrant, with a subtle hint of rose.

DOES IT WORK? I took the Beauty Elixir on an early morning flight and used it to hydrate my skin at high altitude. Not only did it give me an instant lift (excuse the pun) after a silly-o-clock alarm call, but it stopped my face from feeling dry on arrival. Take that, cabin pressure... VERDICT: It’s the perfect size for cabin baggage, easy to use, smells great and, more importantly, does the job. It’s a winner in my book.

'I took the Beauty Elixir on an early morning flight and used it to hydrate my skin at high altitude.'



Peppermint, cloves, lavender, black pepper and dandelion extracts, menthol, coconut oil extract.

'... A good value flight-essential that really works.'

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: This product comes in a striking

emerald green box and is housed in a tall, clear plastic bottle. The gel-balm is a creamy pale green-blue shade; you’ll find a little goes a long way. Remove the lid to expose the easy-touse pump which provides a measured amount each time.

WHAT'S IT LIKE? The gel is instantly cooling on the skin, light in texture and easily absorbed (as long as you don’t use too much, then it will feel sticky). The feeling of ‘cool’ turns ‘warm’ after a few minutes and lasts for a good half an hour, so you know its working. The peppermint smell is instantly refreshing DOES IT WORK? Absolutely. It’s great on flights where legs are cramped up and in need of a stretch. The dandelion extract works hard to prevent fluid retention and puffiness, while the peppermint gives an instant fresh smell, great for travel-tired feet that have been stuck in boots or trainers all day. Use before, during and after flying for maximum results. VERDICT: This is a good value flight-essential that really works. The petit 30ml size is perfect for taking through security in your hand luggage, while the nonsticky formula absorbs quickly and easily on your skin, ensuring no mess.

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KEY INGREDIENTS: Oat kernel extract, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), marine plant extracts and yeast. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The hyaluronic eye patches come in a white and purple box with eight individually-wrapped sachets, which makes them really handy for flights: only pack what you need. Inside each is a shallow plastic tray that has the two clear eye patches. WHAT'S IT LIKE? The eye patches sit just underneath the bottom eye line and are well fitted, they aren’t fiddly or sticky and once on… I’m not sure about ‘almost invisible’ but I wasn’t embarrassed to wear them on a flight. The patches are instantly cooling, hydrating and they feel flexible on the skin. After 10 minutes simply remove the patches and pat the rest of the product around the eye area. There’s no greasy residue and the product sinks in quickly – no-one will know your suddenly-awake eyes aren’t entirely natural. DOES IT WORK? Because of the hyaluronic acid and moisturising properties the eyes are instantly (albeit temporarily) plumped, the yeast ingredient reduces the appearance of dark circles and the coolness feels delightful when you have dry airplane eyes. VERDICT: The patches are easy to use, feel lovely on the skin and have instant results – what more could we ask for? WM

'I’m not sure about ‘almost invisible’ but I wasn’t embarrassed to wear them on a flight.'


focus on CAMOMILE

We all know that a cup of camomile tea before bed can help you drift off to sleep, but what else can it be used for? Let’s get to know our favourite Asteraceae…


ood things do, it seems, come in petit packages. Camomile may be small, but it can treat a staggering list of ailments depending on how it’s used. Here’s a quick introduction.


Camomile is the common name for a group of plants from the Asteraceae family. With a green stem, yellow head and white leaves, it looks very similar to a daisy and grows in southern areas of England, including Cornwall and Sussex. Used in herb infusions, teas or added to products, it can be drunk, inhaled or absorbed into the skin via creams or oils. There aren’t many large-scale studies of the benefits of camomile, but it is rich in two extracts – terpenoids and flavonoids – which are thought to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.


Camomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, and Greek physician, Pedanius Dioscorides, used the herb to ward off headaches and lessen inflammation of the liver and kidney. The ancient Egyptians, who associated camomile with the sun god Ra, used camomile as a cosmetic. Camomile comes in two common varieties: Roman and German. Roman is thought to be more soothing, while German camomile has well-known calming attributes. As a botanical, the flower head contains most of the healing properties.


Camomile is used to help an extremely wide range of symptoms, from hayfever and muscle spasms to haemorrhoids, insomnia, irregular periods and ulcers. Its

anti-inflammatory properties mean it is often added to make-up to soothe redness and irritation, and inhaling the vaporised essential oil can be used to relieve some types of anxiety. In Western medicine, camomile is applied topically as an anti-inflammatory. Recently, small scale and laboratory studies have hit the headlines, with new research suggesting that drinking a daily cup of tea made from the dried flowers can ward off cancer (it can act as an inhibitor). While this advice should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, it won’t do any harm. A word of warning if you are pregnant: camomile has been known to cause uterine contractions – great if you are overdue but not so good if you are early into your nine-month term. WM


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The A to Z of all things spa Do you know your algotherapy from your balneotherapy? What is champissage? Would you enjoy Tui Na? The Spa Spies have pooled their knowledge to create The Treatment Bible.

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A ABHYANGA A herbal oil massage. The oil is created for each client’s dosha type. See also Ayurveda; Dosha

ACUPRESSURE This ancient Chinese holistic treatment works on the ‘meridians’ or energy paths that form an invisible map across the body. The Qi (say ‘chee’) or life energy flows along these meridians. Acupressure applies fingertip pressure at strategic points along the meridians to remove blockages and improve the flow of energy around the body, which is said to promote self-healing. Proponants say if your Qi flows free, the happier and healthier you will be. GOOD FOR Migraine; muscular and joint pain; overcoming addictions; weight loss See also Reflexology; Reiki; Qi; Meridians; Thai massage; Tui Na

ALGOTHERAPY A general term for spa treatments that involve algae, seaweed or other marine ingredients. These might be slathered onto or around your face and body, or added to a bath or pool. It’s not a medical treatment but the algae, when activated and absorbed by the skin, is said to have healing properties. The most common type of treatment involves wraps and scrubs followed by a massage. It doesn’t necessarily smell all that great. GOOD FOR Sweating out toxins; improving the tone of skin; refreshing; relaxation See also Wraps; Seaweed

AROMATHERAPY Aromatherapy uses warm essential oils. The oils are massaged into your skin, dropped into water for you to bathe in, or

blended with other oils or steam for you to inhale. The powerful oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from plants, shrubs, flowers, bark, peel, resin, grasses, fruits, roots, trees, petals, stems or seeds. GOOD FOR Stress; anxiety; sleeplessness; mood swings See also Baths; Massage; Phytotherapy; Relaxation massage

AYURVEDA An ancient Hindu practice based on the idea that the body, mind and spirit must be treated together. The treatment is personalised to suit your ‘dosha’ or body type. Every human being has a unique blend of energies and therefore a different dosha. The dosha is made up of three elements: • vata – blood, circulation and healing • pitta – heat and metabolism • kapha – your spiritual and philosophical make-up GOOD FOR Detoxing; cleansing; boosting the immune system; making changes to lifestyle See also Indian head massage; Marma; Reflexology; Acupressure; Chakra; Qi; Shiroabhyanga; Pizzichili

B BALINESE MASSAGE Balinese massage uses a combination of gentle stretches, acupressure and aromatherapy oils to stimulate the flow of blood, oxygen and Qi around your body. GOOD FOR Strained muscles and joint pain; boosting circulation; sleep problems

'Ayurveda is based on the idea that the body, mind and spirit must be treated together.' BANYA A Russian bath house which traditionally encompasses a steam room, a washing room and entrance room. Banya temperatures will often exceed 90 degrees Celsius and special felt hats are worn to protect the head from such intense heat. If you are having a banya bathing ritual you’ll enter the very hot steam room, lay down and your ‘banschik’, bath attendant, will lightly whip you with ‘banny venik’ (bunches of twigs), often eucalyptus, birch or oak, dipped in water. In Russian outdoor banyas, you would roll around in the snow or dive into the river to cool down, but in traditional indoor banyas, you may have a plunge pool or ice bucket to drastically reduce your body heat. GOOD FOR Circulation; boosting immune system and metabolism; releasing serotonin or happy hormones See also Sauna; Steam room


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natural waxes, oils and butters. The candle wax melts quickly, turning into a warm, aromatic massage oil.

CATHIODERMIE A skin treatment that uses a very low electrical current to help boost circulation and cleanse your pores. GOOD FOR Deep cleansing See also Ionithermie


BODY TREATMENT A blanket term for a whole range of holistic procedures aimed at helping you achieve something specific for your body. You might be: · massaged or scrubbed with a specific oil, cream or mineral · wrapped or enveloped in mud, seaweed or even plastic · immersed or soaked in liquid, from algae to water · stroked, treated with or exposed to materials such as stones, brushes, magnets or electric current or lights GOOD FOR Soothing muscles; relieving stress; detoxing; boosting circulation See also Wraps; Scrub; Hydrotherapy; Massage

BALNEOTHERAPY A fancy term for a warm mineral bath. The body is massaged by strong jets of hot and cold water. GOOD FOR Boosting circulation; cleansing the skin; soothing tired limbs

BOTOX Botox is an artificial substance, and a brand name for a laboratory-produced chemical called botulinum toxin. It relaxes and ‘freezes’ facial and other muscles. Botox is used to get rid of lines and wrinkles. Its effects last a few months and develop slowly over a week or so after it is first injected.

GOOD FOR Relieving tension; bringing emotional and physical relief

GOOD FOR Reducing lines and wrinkles but remember: your face should still move...

Usually part of a facial treatment, a chemical peel is an exfoliation using a chemical solution to remove dead skin. It's often applied as a face mask containing mild alpha or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs or BHAs) such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid. Facial peels in a spa should be gentle, and should not cause much discomfort, redness or irritation, although you might feel a bit of a tingle. Peels reveal sensitive new skin, so skin should not be exposed to the sun or any harsh skincare products immediately afterwards.

BOWEN TECHNIQUE This is a gentle massage-and-release technique that intermittently uses light, rolling pressure and then rest. No oils are used and you wear loose-fitting clothing. GOOD FOR Improving circulation; posture; recovery from injury

C CANDLE MASSAGE A massage using the warm, melted wax of a specialist massage candle as a lubricant. Massage candles are made of a blend of

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A Sanskrit word referring to the energy system in the body. Many forms of massage focus on the chakras by applying pressure to the chakra points.

See also Acupressure; Ayurveda; Dosha; Marma; Shiroabhyanga; Qi


GOOD FOR Ageing skin; acne; reducing sun damage and hyper-pigmentation

CHROMOTHERAPY Another term for colour therapy, this holistic therapy claims to harness the energy in coloured light or objects in order to rebalance your Qi. GOOD FOR Some people believe that it promotes healing or improves mood


D DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE Uses slow, firm strokes and pressure. GOOD FOR Unknotting and loosening muscles


CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY A gentle and non-invasive massage that uses light touches to ‘listen’ to your body’s discomforts and help release pent-up tension and fear. GOOD FOR Headaches; back pain; long standing physical or emotional problems; traumatic or difficult births for newborns

CRYSTAL THERAPY A healing practice dating back to ancient civilisations such as the Incas and Mayans. Quartz crystals and other stones are placed at strategic points on your body and around the surrounding room to stimulate vibrations and release energy blockages. GOOD FOR Releasing tension; facilitating healing See also Acupressure

CUPPING This traditional Chinese medical practice temporarily leaves raised, red ‘wheals’ on your skin, as nobly exhibited by several celebrities. A heated cup is placed on your body and a vacuum created, sucking up your skin. The immediate effects are a bit alarming (see Gwyneth Paltrow) but it is a deeply relaxing treatment. GOOD FOR Draining excess fluids; stimulating the nervous system; increasing blood flow

Your dosha, or body type, is a unique mix of energies known as 'vata', 'pitta and 'kapha'. According to Ayurvedic practitioners, a person’s dosha determines the kind of lifestyle that is balancing and healthy for them. See also Ayurveda

E EXFOLIATION The removal of the top layer of dead or tired skin cells to reveal your lovely fresh peachy layer underneath. Often a scrub, or achieved with special gloves or brushes. GOOD FOR Improving your skin tone and texture; deep cleansing See also Hammam; Scrub

F FACIALS Facials use a mix of products, massage techniques and equipment to give you cleaner, healthier, more radiant-looking skin. Whichever type you choose, you can expect all facials to include the basics of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Often the difference between facials is the process and how many products are used.

Types of facials: · American facial Results-focused and usually features ‘manual extraction’. The American facial can feel more like a procedure than a treat(ment) but the results can be quite dramatic. · Anti-ageing facial Aims to improve the look and feel of skin that has visible signs of ageing. Depending on the brand, these facials may include specialist equipment, a peel, or massage techniques to stimulate the facial muscles, and lift and firm skin. · Brightening facial Recommended for dull skin or skin with uneven pigmentation, brightening facials will usually include a thorough exfoliation and an application of a specialist serum or cream to reduce redness and encourage that gorgeous post-facial glow. · Cathiodermie A skin treatment that uses a very gentle electrotherapy to help boost circulation and cleanse your pores deep down. A ‘hands off’ treatment, the therapist will run two mini rollers over your skin. · Deep cleanse or balancing facial Most often recommended for combination, oily or spot-prone skin, the aim will be to intensively cleanse the face, unblock pores and balance over-oily patches. · Nourishing or hydrating facial Great for dry skin, but can also be recommended if your skin is temporarily dehydrated. A nourishing or hydrating facial should boost the moisture in your skin making it feel soft and smooth. · Prescription facial Tailored to your skin type, a prescription facial should include a consultation before the treatment begins so the therapist can have a look at your skin and choose the skincare products that meet your needs.

'Facials use a mix of products, massage techniques and equipment to give you cleaner, healthier, more radiant-looking skin.' AUTUMN/WINTER 2017

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'Floatation is a deeply relaxing body treatment that allows you to experience some degree of weightlessness, and is often described as returning to a womb-like state.' · Sensitive skin facial A facial for sensitive skin will include gentle, calming skincare products. If your skin is very reactive, your therapist should be able to give you a patch test to check your skin doesn’t react to the skincare ingredients.

FACIAL OR DERMAL FILLER This refers to cosmetic or spa treatments and beauty products that literally fill in the wrinkles and lines in your skin. The term covers creams and injections, and is described as a ‘non-surgical procedure’ (although injecting chemicals into your skin sounds pretty surgical to us). GOOD FOR Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and even quite deep lines See also Botox; Chemical peel; Facial; Medispa; Microdermabrasion

FANGOTHERAPY ‘Fango’ is Italian for ‘mud’ and fangotherapy is a common treatment in Italy, often used in baths or heat packs. The mud is rich and

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thick, sometimes mixed with other minerals and essential oils. It’s slathered on and left for 10 or 15 minutes, after which you’ll be hosed down and usually led to a mineral bath. GOOD FOR Soft skin; soothed muscles See also Hammam; Mud; Parafango; Rasul

FLOATATION Floatation is a deeply relaxing body treatment that allows you to experience some degree of weightlessness. Floatation tanks or beds allow privacy and quiet, which is why this treatment is often described as returning to a womb-like state. GOOD FOR Deep relaxation; relieving stress on joints and muscles

FRIGI-THALGO A cold wrap designed to eliminate excess water from body tissues. GOOD FOR Activates circulation; relieves aches and pains; promotes skin suppleness See also Wraps

g GOMMAGE An unusual spa treatment that uses a mixture of clay, oils and herbs to exfoliate your body. Smoothed onto your skin in long, stroking movements, the gommage cream, gel or paste is then allowed to dry for a few minutes like a face mask. The therapist removes it with a gentle rubbing motion and, as it rolls up off your skin, it takes the skin’s outermost dead skin cells with it. The word gommage comes from the French verb ‘to erase’. GOOD FOR Depending on the ingredients of the gommage, it can be used to exfoliate; draw out toxins; smooth skin See also Exfoliation; Wraps


h HAMMAM In the Middle East and Morocco, a hammam can be either a single, tiled steam room or a suite of steam rooms and pools for communal use. In UK spa terms, a hammam treatment usually includes a ‘tellak’, or hammam attendant, washing your skin with traditional black soap, rinsing you off with cool water, rigorously exfoliating from top to bottom as you lie in a hot room and then giving you a final douse. Your skin will be left super smooth, soft and zingy. It’s worth noting that you normally have a hammam in the nude, but you can opt to keep your swimsuit on if you are feeling modest. GOOD FOR Chilling out in a deeply sensuous environment; deep cleansing; invigorating See also Serail; Rasul

HOT HERB POULTICE A tightly-packed mixture of herbs, covered with muslin, which is heated and used to massage along pulse points on your body during a treatment. It feels similar to hot stones, as it is pressed and rolled along your skin. This is a deeply relaxing and unusual treatment that smells soothing and feels very comforting, particularly when padded onto the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands.

'A hot herb poultice is a deeply relaxing and unusual treatment that smells soothing and feels very comforting, particularly when padded onto the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands.'

GOOD FOR Relaxation; coping with jet lag See also Aromatherapy; Phytotherapy; Pressure points; Reflexology

HOT STONE MASSAGE Also known as thermotherapy, hot stone massage uses heated basalt stones laid or rolled onto areas of your skin. GOOD FOR Relaxing muscles; warming up on a cold day See also Lava Shell massage; Massage

HYDRO MASSAGE Hydro massage is a water-based spa treatment which uses high pressure jets of water to massage your skin and

stimulate your circulation. A hydro massage is much more powerful than a Jacuzzi or a whirlpool bath, and the water used will be hotter. GOOD FOR Cleansing; relaxing See also Vichy Shower

HYDROTHERM MASSAGE Hydrotherm is a massage system which places warm water-filled pads on top of a regular therapy couch. Your entire massage is carried out while you are faceup, on your back. Your therapist will slide their hands between you and the pads to give you your massage. GOOD FOR People with limited mobility

I IONITHERMIE A spa treatment that uses mild electrical currents to stimulate the nerves in your body. Using pen-like instruments, the therapist applies very short bursts of current, which tingle a little. It’s odd, but not painful. Often a feature in algotherapy, slimming, detoxing and shaping spa treatments. GOOD FOR Reducing cellulite; tightening up muscles in ‘problem’ areas See also Cathiodermie


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'Also known as the ‘loving hands’ or Hawaiian massage, ‘lomi lomi’ translates to ‘rub rub’ in Hawaiian, and reflects the broad, flowing strokes made with the therapist’s fingers, thumbs, palms, arms and elbows.'




Herbal and mineral baths of different temperatures. The Kneipp system combines these with a purifying diet, exercise and spiritual practices.

Tiger clam shells (found in the Philippines) are filled with a sachet of minerals and activated – or heated – using a saline solution. The hot shells are then used for massage and generate heat for an hour and a half after activation. The shells have two edges; the rounder edge where the shells join together is used for general massage strokes, and the sharper edge is used to penetrate the muscles. Used with oil to help the shells glide across the skin.

GOOD FOR Improving general health, fitness and moods; detoxification; stimulating circulation

KO BI DO A Japanese facial massage technique using acupressure along the facial meridians. GOOD FOR Preventing wrinkles See also Acupressure; Ayurveda; Facial; Meridians; Qi

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GOOD FOR Boosting circulation; soothing aches and pains

LIGHT STIMULATION Light therapy, or photodynamic therapy, uses different colours and strengths of LED lights to stimulate the skin. It comes in lots of different forms including masks, handheld lights and a canopy that’s placed above the face. Proponents say that blue light is cleansing, red is anti-ageing and yellow reduces redness and inflammation.

LOMI LOMI MASSAGE Also known as ‘loving hands’ or Hawaiian massage, ‘lomi lomi’ translates to ‘rub rub’ in Hawaiian, and reflects the broad, flowing strokes made with the therapist’s fingers, thumbs, palms, arms and elbows. Macadamia, palm and coconut oils are usually used to keep the strokes smooth, and to moisturise and nourish the skin. The long, continuous strokes of the massage are designed to help the body let go of its old patterns and behaviours,


m MANICURE A beauty treatment for your hands and nails that often includes the application of nail polish. Tools, creams, oils, waxes and massage techniques are used to clean and shape your nails and care for your hands. Types of manicure:

healthcare system uses marma massage as a preventitive medicine. GOOD FOR Maintaining healthy balance; improving digestion; pain; arthritis See also Ayurveda, Acupressure; Chakra; Dosha; Meridian; Qi; Reflexology

· American A very natural looking manicure that shapes the nails to your finger tips · French This classic manicure uses clear or ivory-coloured polish on the body of the nail, and whitens the tip. The nail is cut more or less square · Reverse French ('moon manicure') the tips of the fingernails are coloured, while the moon-shaped area of the cuticle is painted white · Gel manicure A manicure with a special gel polish applied. This is then dried under a UV light. It lasts much longer than ordinary polish · Hot stone manicure Includes a hand massage and uses hot stones to soothe muscles · Japanese manicure Artificial nails are applied, then painted with polish and decorated with gems which can cause stresses and strains in the muscles. A traditional massage will begin with a prayer.

· Paraffin wax Warm wax is rubbed into your nails, hands and wrists to moisturise and soften your skin

GOOD FOR Releasing muscular and emotional tension; assisting lymph flow; eliminating toxins

· Luxury Usually includes a hand massage, softening with paraffin wax and heated mittens

LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE A therapeutic massage treatment that uses gentle pulsing motions to encourage the flow of lymph, a clear fluid that carries white blood cells around your body. Lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure, as well as long, gentle, rhythmic strokes and soft pumping movements in the direction of the lymph nodes. Your therapist will probably work her way up from your feet to your face. GOOD FOR Puffiness and water retention; energising; relaxing; balancing

GOOD FOR Improving the texture of nails and skin; leaving nails polished and perfect; special occasions See also Hot stone massage; Pedicure

MARMA Marma points are similar to pressure points in acupressure, acupuncture and shiatsu. In ancient Vedic times they were called bindu (meaning ‘secret dot’ or ‘mystic point’) and are thought to be pockets of life force energy. Each of the 107 marma points also correspond to specific organs. The therapist will focus on unblocking marmas with gentle massage, usually using essential oils. The Hindu

MASSAGE Massage is a treatment that uses different kinds of physical contact to relax, revive and heal the body. It may involve stroking, kneading, warming, rolling and pressing of skin and muscles depending on the aim of the treatment. Some focus on soothing muscle pain, others on increasing energy levels. Some aim to improve a specific physical condition; others simply help you to relax. See also Deep tissue massage; Hot stone massage; Lymphatic drainage massage; Relaxation massage; Swedish massage; Thai massage

MEDI-SPA Medi-spa covers the more results-driven treatments that border on the medical, but can be booked at your spa instead of a cosmetic clinic. You might also hear them referred to as non-surgical procedures, ie, not plastic/cosmetic surgery. The term covers cosmetic injections and chemical peels. Some, such as Botox can only be administered by a doctor, even in a spa, while microdermabrasion can be carried out by specially trained and certified therapists as well as doctors. Not all medi-spas are qualified or have an in-house doctor. If you are going for cosmetic injections or a chemical peel that goes deeper than glycolic acid, check your practitioner is on the Treatments You Can Trust Register (treatmentsyoucantrust., which is supported by the Department of Health. It is also wise to ask about your practitioner's qualifications and experience. See also Botox; Chemical peels; Dermal fillers; Microdermabrasion


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MEDITATION Meditation is a personal practice of selfinduced quiet contemplation. Meditation is believed to promote calmness, heighten self-awareness and develop and maintain focus. Some studies have suggested that meditation can also reduce stress and deliver positive changes to your metabolism, blood pressure and other bodily processes. Many spas offer meditation classes designed to help you learn how to access the quiet spaces in between your thoughts. GOOD FOR Relaxation; de-stressing; gaining focus See also Mindfulness; Yoga

MICRODERMABRASION Exfoliation using a device that blasts fine crystals onto the skin and vacuums them up, together with any dead skin and dirt. Microdermabrasion is often a feature of an exfoliating or radiance facial. GOOD FOR Really fresh, radiant skin in a short amount of time See also Exfoliation; Facial

During oxygen therapy your skin will be blasted with high pressure oxygen; the jets might feel a little cold. The theory is that it can drive vitamins and nutrients into the skin and increase the absorption of moisture. Oxygen therapy often has an instantaneous, albeit temporary, plumping effect.

harden in the sun before rinsing off in the springs or rivers. The best known are Dead Sea Mud and mineral clay from the Atlas Mountains used in Moroccan rasuls, but these days spas are getting more creative with the slimy stuff. Muds used in modern spas usually contain minerals, essential oils and other goodies, such as algae. The mud can be applied like a mask or massaged into the face, body, or scalp. Sometimes applying a wrap or using steam from a steam room will intensify the mud’s beneficial properties. GOOD FOR Arthritis; slimming; detoxifying; skin problems such as eczema; improves circulation; soothes aching and tired muscles; smooths wrinkles; exfoliates skin See also Fangotherapy; Rasul; Serail; Hammam; Parafango; Wraps

p PARAFANGO The word ‘parafango’ is a portmanteau of paraffin (as in wax) and fango (mineral-rich mud), which are the two main ingredients of this body wrap treatment. The paraffin is there to maintain heat and intensify the detoxifying effects of the sea mud. Most popularly used to target specific areas of cellulite, fat cells, fluid retention, and to sculpt the body. GOOD FOR Fighting cellulite; inch loss; toning; circulation See also Wraps



Mindfulness is a philosophy based on the Buddhist idea of being awake, and the existential belief that the present moment is the only reality. The basic aim of mindfulness is to develop an awareness and non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment, to live in the now rather than worry obsessively about the past or the future.

Meaning ‘plant’ therapy, this is a term for healing treatments using botanical products (plants, herbs, seaweeds and essential oils). Commonly used for baths, massage, wraps, inhalation and even tea.

See also Meditation; Yoga

MUD Mud and spas have a long history. Ancient bathers would slather themselves with mineral-rich muds or clays, letting them

O ONSEN A Japanese hot spring used to bathe. Onsens are traditionally used for public bathing, but some may have private amenities. Some are relatively plain and indoors, others have glorious views over mountain ranges. You will be expected to thoroughly clean yourself in the public showers before entering the very hot water, entirely nude. Not one for the fainthearted!

'Many spas offer meditation classes designed to help you learn how to access the quiet spaces in between your thoughts.'

GOOD FOR General health; soothing and detoxifying the skin See also Aromatherapy; Ayurveda; Hot herb poultice

PILATES Pilates is a body-conditioning technique that strengthens muscles and improves balance and posture. Like yoga, Pilates involves you learning a series of poses and stretches and helps tone and strengthen your muscles; unlike yoga, Pilates does not usually involve meditation and is not an aerobic exercise. Devised by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates aims to teach you how to use your muscles properly to protect and support you, preventing injury and strain. See also Yoga

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'Muds used in modern spas usually contain minerals, essential oils and other goodies, such as algae.'

Photo: © Galgorm Resort and Spa


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PIZZICHILI A two-therapist massage using warm herbal oils. See also Ayurveda

PRE-NATAL MASSAGE A specialist pregnancy massage which helps ease aches and pains, and boost your mood. Carried out by an expert practitioner, you may find that you are massaged on a treatment bed with a gap for your bump, a large cushion or on a treatment mat on the floor. Your therapist is likely to use Swedish massage techniques, as this form of massage employs gliding strokes and gentle kneading designed to improve your blood and lymphatic circulation, soothe your muscles and make you feel more relaxed.

PRESSURE POINTS Pressure point manipulation is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Your therapist will apply pressure to a range of particular points around your body which correspond with all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles. This helps improve circulation of blood, oxygen and 'Qi' around the body, relieving stress and healing pain in other parts of the body. See also Acupressure; Reflexology; Traditional Chinese Medicine; QI


q QI Qi (say ‘chee’) is believed to be an energy force which flows along the meridians that map the body. When Qi is flowing properly, you are balanced, well and healthy in mind, body and spirit. Get a blockage and you’ll feel unbalanced, emotionally and physically. Massage can help the Qi flow by putting pressure on key points – a bit like joining-the-dots of your body’s energy paths. GOOD FOR Unlocking pain and knots in the muscles; relieving tension in the spirit! See also Acupressure; Ko bi do; Reflexology; Shiatsu; Thai massage

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RASUL A traditional Arabian body treatment involving steam and mud. Mineral-rich muds of various colours are applied to the skin. You sit in a tiled steam room for around 15 minutes, then the mud is washed off with cool water. You will sweat out toxins and be left feeling both relaxed and wide awake. This is an unusual and deeply sensual treatment. GOOD FOR Warming and soothing muscles; softening the skin See also Fangotherapy; Hammam; Serail; Steam room

REFLEXOLOGY This alternative therapy works on the principle that certain points on your feet (and hands) correspond to all the organs, glands, tissues and muscles in the rest of your body. By applying informed pressure to these points, practitioners claim to be able to treat and heal medical conditions from migraines to breathing difficulties, and unblock Qi. GOOD FOR Back and muscle strain; sports injuries; stress; anxiety; depression See also Acupressure; Qi; Reiki; Shiatsu; Thai massage

RELAXATION MASSAGE A long, luxurious full body treatment, involving soft music, subtle lighting and aromatherapy oils. Your therapist will use all kinds of techniques, including long


strokes, gentle kneading and rolling and rhythmic rocking. GOOD FOR Indulging; relaxing; encouraging blood flow

REIKI Meaning ‘universal life-force/spiritual energy’, Reiki is a gentle, holistic form of healing therapy based on the idea of balance and Qi. It is done in normal clothing. The practitioner channels their own Reiki into your body by laying their hands on or near you. GOOD FOR Believers consider that it helps with stress

ROLFING Named after its creator, Ida Rolf, this bodywork technique aims to improve balance and flexibility. Uses assisted stretches and other gentle manipulations of muscles, with treatment usually mapped out over ten sessions. GOOD FOR Balance and posture See also Massage


GOOD FOR Hayfever; bronchitis; asthma; eczema See also Steam room; Sanarium

SANARIUM A sanarium is somewhere between a sauna and a steam room, with temperatures somewhere between 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, and around 50 per cent humidity: it should feel like a nice day on a beach. Aromatherapy oils may be added for a more pleasant scent. GOOD FOR Boosting circulation and metabolism; cleansing and toning; boosting the immune system See also Sauna

SALT THERAPY Also known as halotherapy ('halo' is the Greek word for salt), salt therapy involves simply breathing in salty air. You can experience this natural treatment in a spa in a salt-steam room or salt cave, where the steam is infused with salt, and sometimes essential oils. At some spas in the UK you might also find yourself swimming in a salt-water pool. Salt water is gentler on your skin than bathing in a chlorine-regulated pool, and it doesn't sting your eyes.

SAUNA A sauna uses dry heat to trigger a low grade fever response, boosting your circulation and immune system which provides faster relief from muscular tensions, aches and pains. They offer a more extreme, dry heat than steam rooms – temperatures are usually between 85 to 95 degrees Celsius – using hot rocks either in an exposed grate or ‘oven’. You can usually regulate the temperature by scooping water from a bucket over

the hot rocks using a ladle. Saunas are traditionally associated with mountainous regions and you would complete your sauna treatment by rolling around in the snow to return your body to its normal temperature. Most spas offer experience showers, plunge pools or ice fountains instead. Different types of sauna include Tyrolean, Finnish/Swedish, rock, infra-red, plus banya and laconium. GOOD FOR Boosting circulation, relaxing muscles See also Banya; Sanarium

SCRUB Also known as a body polish, a scrub is a whole-body exfoliation treatment. Abrasive products – usually salts, sugars, ground rice or seeds – are massaged into or brushed over the body, often mixed in warm oils. The scrub is showered off at stages throughout the treatment. A body scrub may be used in other treatments, perhaps to prepare the skin for an even tan or to open the pores ready for a hydrating wrap. GOOD FOR Moisturising skin; boosting circulation; improving skin tone See also Body treatment; Exfoliation; Phytotherapy; Wraps


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SEAWEED Seaweed is a traditional ‘sailor’s cure’ for cuts, aches and pains dating back to ancient Polynesia, while seaweed baths have been a part of French thalassotherapy (aka marine treatments) since the 19th Century. Seaweed may look slimy and unappealing, but it is rich with minerals drawn from the sea, and reacts to protein to form a gel emollient. GOOD FOR Dry skin; cuts and abrasions; aching muscles See also Thalassotherapy; Wraps

Steam rooms are normally heated to around 45 degrees Celsius, but it can feel more intense because of the moisture in the air. In some steam rooms you’ll find a pipe or tap; use this water to cool yourself off. Some steam rooms are infused with aromatherapy oils, or are lined with bricks of salt, which is said to be good for your sinuses and conditions such as asthma. Some also have crystals or rocks, as the minerals within them could be beneficial to health. GOOD FOR Muscle relaxing; clearing sinuses; drawing out toxins; cleansing See also Hammam; Rasul; Salt therapy; Serail

SHIROABHYANGA An Ayurvedic massage focusing on the shoulders, neck, head and face. Using a warm herbal oil, your therapist will gently massage your skin, unblocking marma points or pockets of life force energy. GOOD FOR Calming and relaxing; nourishing the scalp and hair

SWEDISH MASSAGE A Swedish massage involves stroking, kneading, rubbing, tapping and vibration. GOOD FOR Improving circulation; soothing your muscles

See also Ayurveda; Marma

SPORTS MASSAGE A strong and deep massage that can be quite physically challenging. Designed to release tension, prevent or treat injury, and enhance sporting performance, it’s not for the faint-hearted. GOOD FOR Relaxing your muscles; relieving any swelling around joints

'Some steam rooms are infused with aromatherapy oils, or are lined with bricks of salt, which is said to be good for your sinuses and conditions such as asthma.'




A steam room is exactly that – a room full of steam – but they also vary a great deal. Smaller steam rooms are usually tiled with seating running around the edge of the room. Most will automatically fill with steam on a timer, but you may have to press a button outside to initiate the steam in some smaller spas. Larger dedicated steam areas can be huge and have lots of rooms of different temperatures for you to move through on your journey: this is typical of big spas in Morocco or Turkey.

A tanning treatment will turn your skin golden brown in a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it naturally. It is a much healthier way to tan than using a sunbed or sitting in the sun. Also, spray tans look much more even when applied by a professional.

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GOOD FOR Making you look like you’ve been on holiday; preparing for a holiday or event


'From the Greek word for ‘sea’, thalassotherapy refers to a variety of treatments that use seawater, seaweed and other marine derivatives such as algae, mud and sand.'

technique and adjust the rhythm to suit the client. A typical Thai massage also involves pulling ears, fingers and toes, cracking knuckles, walking on the client’s back, and moving the body into stretching positions.

showers, hydro massage, and seawater pools) and algotherapy (seaweed, mud and algae baths and wraps), all of which aim to restore your body to a state of serenity fit for a mermaid.

GOOD FOR Full body relaxation – a real zone-out treatment

GOOD FOR Releasing muscular tension; improving joint mobility; easing emotional and physical stress

GOOD FOR Toning muscles; cleansing skin; reducing the appearance of cellulite



THAI HERBAL HEAT TREATMENT Relaxing and aromatic, this treatment features a massage using essential oils and hot poultices of sweet-smelling herbs placed on pressure points around the body.

Thai massage works with sen energy lines within the body, and uses a combination of pressure point compression and rhythmic muscle stretching to encourage energy flow. It is traditionally performed on a mat on the floor, loosely clothed. Thai therapists will use their hands, feet, elbows, forearms and knees to administer the

From the Greek word for ‘sea’, thalassotherapy refers to a variety of treatments that use seawater, seaweed and other marine derivatives such as algae, mud and sand. Available as single spa treatments in the UK, or devoted thalassotherapy resorts abroad, the term encompasses hydrotherapy (mineral rich

See also Algotherapy; Hydrotherapy; Mud; Seaweed; Wraps

THERMO-AURICULAR Also known as ear candling or Hopi ear candling, this involves the insertion of a rolled cotton therapy tube filled with beeswax, honey and herb extracts into your auditory canal while you lie on your side. The therapist lights the candle and allows it to burn down over the course of


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'Yoga is a Sanskrit word essentially meaning 'union', which describes its holistic approach to balancing and bringing strength to your mind and body through a series of physical exercises.'

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10-15 minutes, during which it allegedly sucks impurities out of the ear canal. The warm smoke gently vibrates and gives a pleasant massage effect to the ear drum. Many medical experts consider this procedure to be of little or no benefit, and potentially dangerous if carelessly applied. GOOD FOR Said to reduce excess earwax and build-up of catarrh during colds and flu; tinnitus; sinusitis

TOK SEN An unusual massage technique from northern Thailand. The therapist will use two wooden tools: the first a long flat piece of wood curved on one end, the second is weighted. Your therapist will use the gently curved tool to work along your back and shoulder blades, tapping as she goes along – almost like a chisel and hammer! GOOD FOR Athletes or people with a lot of tension

u UDVARTANA An Ayurvedic slimming treatment involving deep massage with herbal powders. See also Ayurveda

See also Thai massage

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a series of beliefs dating back more than 2,500 years. It is a holistic medical system encompassing herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and dietary regulation. TCM works on the principle that the body has vital energy, or QI, that runs through the body by channels, or meridians. Branches of meridians connect to organs, muscles, tissues and glands, so by manipulating points on the meridian, you can affect the corresponding point on the body. Not many UK spas offer traditional TCM treatments, such as acupuncture or cupping, but many offer TCM-inspired treatments including acupressure and Tui Na massage. See also Reflexology; Qi; Shiatsu; Reiki; Acupressure; Tui Na

TUI NA Chinese medical massage, Tui Na aims to exchange energies between the client and therapist to bring balance and wellbeing. 'Tui Na' means 'push pull' and the therapist uses a combination of massage techniques, including acupressure, manipulations and assisted stretches. See also Traditional Chinese Medicine; Acupressure; Qi

ULTRASOUND In spas, ultrasound is used to exfoliate the skin. The theory is that sound waves vibrate at a very high speed, thoroughly cleansing your skin. Ultrasound in a spa facial can feel tingly but shouldn’t be painful.

v VICHY SHOWER Also known as an affusion shower, this is a light, warm, mineral-rich shower that is sprayed or sprinkled over your body. GOOD FOR Relaxing; cleansing

w WATSU Shiatsu in warm water. The massage takes place in a pool and uses deep acupressure techniques and long slow rhythmic strokes. GOOD FOR Rehabilitation after injury; coping with arthritis; relaxation

WRAPS A wrap is a spa treatment designed to slim and tone the body, hydrate or firm the skin, relax and soothe the muscles, or draw out toxins and cleanse the skin. Whether you are looking to shape, bake or sweat, wraps come in varied packages, although some people get a bit apprehensive about the idea of being wrapped up. Think of a body wrap as a nourishing cocoon to warm, cleanse and moisturise. GOOD FOR Detoxifying; relaxing and revitalising; temporary inch loss See also Algotherapy; Body treatments; Frigithalgo; Parafango

Y YOGA Yoga is an ancient exercise system involving deep breathing, intense movements and stretches, and some meditation to bring physical strength and emotional calm. Yoga is a Sanskrit word essentially meaning 'union', which describes its holistic approach to balancing and bringing strength to your mind and body through a series of physical exercises. A beginners' class should introduce you to the basic theory of yoga, and guide you gently through some basic positions and circular breathing techniques. GOOD FOR Flexibility; relaxation; can improve posture and muscle tone See also Meditation; Pilates WM

A gentle remember: spa treatments are not ‘miracle cures’ and few have any medical evidence to support them. But that does not mean that you won’t enjoy the experience, or find them relaxing and rewarding.


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face About

When there's a chill in the air, there's no better place to boost your energy than at a spa. Tag on a makeover and you’ll look as good as you feel. Scarlet Spy rounds up this season’s make-up trends.

t’s the season of two halves, with glitz and glamour sitting alongside comfort and hibernation. If you’re heading out after a spa day, a makeover to end your treatment is a great idea. Use the experience to try out new products and learn new skills (have you mastered the retro eye flick yet?). And if you’re looking to be en vogue this season, news from the catwalk is also in two halves: embrace the natural look, or go bold – which will you choose?

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When you’ve got a gorgeous glow, you don’t need much else. This season’s paired back make-up trend aims to enhance your best features, and if it’s good enough for Lanvin, it’s good enough for us. Add a touch of pink to give a healthy flush to the cheeks. Jane Iredale’s In Touch cream blush (£24) is great; it doubles up as a lip stain, too. If you aren’t sure what your best features are, ask an expert. Your therapist should be able to point out your assets and give you hints and tips on how to subtly emphasise them. It could be as simple as adding an extra layer of mascara – we love Temple Spa’s new A Stroke Of Genius (£20) – or a hint of bronzer to lift your complexion.

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It’s about trying to emulate that postfacial glow this winter, and while regular facials will improve your skin over time, make-up can provide a quick fix or a boost between appointments. Opt for a natural, lightweight base such as Mii Cosmetics’ Illuminating Face Base (£25.50) and blend carefully into your skin. To discover your perfect colour match, apply the product to your jawline then check the shade in natural light. Your therapist should be able to help with this, too. For those pesky under eye bags, use a light reflecting concealer and then sweep a naturallooking highlighter on your cheek bones. Try Mii Cosmetics’ Light Loving Illumination range (£18.95); balance out the shine with a setting powder on your t-zone.


Put down the tweezers everybody, it looks like eyebrows are here to stay. This season they’re taking on a natural, well-groomed look. Regular waxing or threading appointments will keep them looking in tip top condition, but remember you will need to leave it 24 hours after your spa day, as thermal rooms can make your skin a little fragile. If you were sensible and decided not to pluck your eyebrows into oblivion in the nineties or early noughties, simply run a little bit of Delilah’s Brow Shape Defining Brow Gel (£18) through them in the morning. If you were a little tweezer happy, opt for their Retractable Eyebrow Pencil (£20) and draw in little hairs to bulk your brows up. Worried you’ll end up looking like two slugs have taken up residence on your forehead? Book in for a brow lesson and learn some tricks from the experts. And remember, eyebrows are sisters, not twins – a little irregularity is OK.


'Go bold with a thick line or creative design... the simple retro flick never goes out of style.'


Eyeliner has taken a graphic twist this season with the return of bold colours. Check out the Clarins Graphiq collection of thick, chunky felt tip style liners (£21) – they make child’s play of eye doodling. Feeling brave? Go bold with a thick line or creative design. If not, you’ll be pleased to hear that the simple retro flick never goes out of style. Eyeshadow fans will love Clarins Four Shadow Forest Palette (£34), perfect for a modern take on smoky eyes. Deep, rich green shades are complemented by a pale pink and a dark grey – it’s a great way to add a dash of colour into your makeup without emulating Madonna circa 1985.


With focus on eyes this season, lips have taken a back seat with pale pinks and nudes all the rage. Let your therapist colour match the perfect pink to complement your skin tone. If you’re a gloss girl, the Delilah Ultimate Shine Lip range of glosses (£22) covers all your rosy needs: try Ghost for a hint of pale pink and Jewel for pink with brown undertones. Plump it up with Jane Iredale’s Just Kissed lip plumping range (£23) which adds subtle colour with a hint of shine. Lipstick lovers should go for a moisturising range this winter, like Mii Cosmetics’ range of moisturising lipsticks (£14.95). Pink may be having its moment but, come Christmas, we can’t resist a bold red lipstick: Mii Cosmetics’ Fearless is just the ticket.

It’s my party With Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day and possibly even a birthday on the agenda, November, December, January and February are party months. Here’s five ideas to be the belle of the ball this season:


Don’t let short lashes be your shortcoming this winter. Book in for a lash extension session and get natural-looking, longer lashes in just 60 minutes. Unlike the packs of false eyelashes, lash extensions won’t fall into your soup during dinner – each lash is individually glued in by your therapist. Plan ahead; you’ll need a patch test 24-hours beforehand.


If you don’t have time to get lash extensions, opt for a lash tint instead. This can be done in 10 minutes (after a patch test) with the effect lasting several weeks. If you want your lashes to be as dark as possible, opt for blue-black rather than black.


Red lips are really striking this time of year but often require regular re-application. To increase staying power, start by dusting your lips with face powder. Use a lip liner on the lips themselves, as well as around the outline, and paint a lipstick sealer on top.


Party make-up is often darker, heavier and bolder than you would wear during the day. If you’re unsure of how to apply it, or don’t know what looks good, book in for a make-up lesson and learn some tricks (and flicks) of the trade.


Are you a fan of glitter but not sure if you’re still allowed to wear it without looking like a child of the 90s? Our advice would be to go for it (if it’s good enough for Strictly…) – but limit it to your eyelids, and use sparingly. WM

Can I wear make-up to a spa? For many of us, heading out the door without a jot of make-up can feel as alien as leaving the house without a skirt on. If this is the case, don’t turn up at the spa feeling uncomfortable – after all the whole day is about rest, relaxation and feeling good. Try and keep the eye make-up to a minimum, especially if you’re due to spend a good amount of time in the thermal facilities (mascara sliding down your face is not a good look) or are booked in for a facial. The first element of a facial is always to clean your skin, so a bit of make-up won’t phase your therapist, but the heavier it is, the longer it will take to remove – cutting into your well-earned ‘me’ time. If you can’t bear to go make-up free, apply a talcfree mineral powder foundation like BareMinerals Original Foundation (£27). Mineral make-up is natural and light, and makes a great post-treatment addition if your face is a little red.


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In the last few years preventative health has become a buzzword. As the NHS tries to do more with less, taking your health into your own hands might sound appealing. But what can we, as lay people, do?

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n 2001, a paper in medical journal The Lancet found that poor diet, being overweight or obese and physical inactivity accounted for 7.3 million deaths around the world. If you add in diseases that can, in some cases, stem from lifestyle choices, it reaches 25.9 million. That’s nearly one in 200 people around the world dying from the lifestyle choices we make: skydiving, bungee jumping and boxing are all safer. But overall our health has been getting better, right? We have a modern NHS, people are no longer dying of diseases such as polio, chicken pox or whooping cough. In 2014, the NHS published a strategy paper which said: “if the nation fails to get serious about prevention […] our ability to fund beneficial new treatments will be crowded-out by the need to spend billions of pounds on wholly avoidable illness.” TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF Some areas of preventative health, including regular check-ups and screening for major illnesses and diseases, are tied to medical practitioners. But managing your lifestyle is something you can look after, and will help manage your risk of diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. The World Health Organization says: “people can remain healthy into their seventh, eighth and ninth decades, through a range of health-promoting behaviours, including healthy diets, and regular, adequate physical activity”. Healthy eating and exercise are the simplest actions you can take, although they are sometimes hard to put in practice, especially during the festive season. (Read our experts’ advice on healthy eating during the winter on page 76.) Making lifestyle changes may be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do, as you’ll be going against long-held behaviours and habits. A 2011 study published in the BMJ found that people who lost weight in groups (such as Weight Watchers and Slimming World) lost just over three times the amount of weight compared to those going it alone. Making the decision to take responsibility for your own health might just be easier if you seek a little help along the way. Technology and preventative healthcare have been closely linked since the pedometer became fashionable in the late 80s. There’s expensive hardware such as the Apple Watch which can (among other things) track your movement, but if your budget doesn’t quite run to hundreds of pounds, then an app might fill its place. Vida (, for example, connects you via your mobilephone to a health coach giving you support

to get fit, lose weight, manage pre-diabetes or overcome anxiety for as little as £35 a month. If you’re already diving into managing your own health, genetic testing could help you discover more about your body and tolerances, helping you create your optimal routine. DNA testing is currently en vogue, from the rather scary disease predisposition testing (would you want to know that you’re most likely to die from coronary artery disease?), to testing which will help your lifestyle decisions without the faint sounding of a death knell, such as iamyiam (iamyiam. com) and 23andme ( If talk of technology makes you want to lie down, spas can help with the more traditional means of preventative health.

'Learning more about what and how you eat has been part of the spa establishment for many years. ' WHAT CAN SPAS DO TO HELP? Spas are best placed to support and maybe even jump start your health plans. Cookery schools, mindful eating classes, walk-torun retreats, talking therapy and personal trainers can all give you the information you need to continue on your journey to

a healthy lifestyle. Just one caveat: health experts suggest talking to your doctor before you begin a new exercise programme if you have a major illness including heart disease, asthma, diabetes and kidney disease. NUTRITION AND DIET Learning more about what and how you eat has been part of the spa establishment for many years. Grayshott Medical Spa in Surrey runs a celebrated gut health programme where you spend seven days learning about food and nutrition. At Champneys’ resorts, food is designed by nutritionists and dieticians; even the plates show you what proportion of food should be carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc. Learning to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients can also be an important step toward eating well. Cookery schools at spa hotels including Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa in Wiltshire, Pennyhill Hotel and Spa in Surrey, and Chewton Glen in Hampshire all offer courses on cooking with local ingredients, allowing to make your own decision on what exactly goes in your meals. GET OUTDOORS From gorgeous grounds ripe for an afternoon wander to regimented fitness retreats, you can choose your level of exercise at spas. Stobo Castle in Peebleshire, Barnsley House Hotel in the Cotswolds and Lifehouse Spa in Essex all have gardens to get lost in, from a Japanese water garden to a horticultural masterpiece, and a summerhouse beloved of J.M Barrie. If you’re ready to step up your exercise regime, Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Spa in Leicestershire has fitness breaks, from running and dancercise to Nordic walking. Limewood in Hampshire offers fitness retreats with celeb personal trainer Matt Roberts, or attend a Fitter Stronger retreat at Chewton Glen or Brandshatch Place in Kent with Olympian James Cracknell. Yoga and Pilates classes are offered in a multitude of spas; sign up for longer retreats or one-to-one classes at Ockenden Manor in West Sussex, Gleneagles in Perthshire or The Bulgari Spa in London. HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE COACHING Much more prolific in the US, some UK spas are embracing health-verging-onmedical support. Champneys offer health retreats on the menopause, sleep and type 2 diabetes. As well as gut health, Grayshott also has recovery retreats post-cancer or illness or surgery, while Grace Belgravia in London has a medical clinic run by the Queen’s GP, Dr Tim Evans, offering everything from diagnostic testing to osteopathy and dermatology. WM


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Can a week at a spa retreat really change your life? When we asked who fancied a lifestyle overhaul in the Swiss Alps, Supreme Spy eagerly raised her hand – then worried about what she’d let herself in for. This is her story.


PEAK performance

ere’s the thing: as a Spa Spy, I like looking and feeling good, but only to a point. Hitting the gym at 5am or doing a juice cleanse is so not me. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball: I’d had a stressful couple of months and needed to take time out. When invited to try The Peak Health Retreat, I think I just heard the word ‘Switzerland’ (it’s beautiful there, right?). Then I read the itinerary. Yoga, yes; massages, perfect; alkaline diet, okaayy; mountain hiking, glacier walking, wait, what…? On the day of departure, I felt a little anxious as I headed to the airport, brand new waterproofs stuffed into my case. A swift one-and-a-half hour flight from London, and we landed in beautiful Geneva. Bathed in the blissful September sunshine, the natural landscape instantly calmed me.

What’s on offer

Saas-fee is a ski resort with a five-star boutique hotel, The Capra, a restaurant and shops. The hotel is a typical mountain lodge: cosy and natural, with lots of wood fires and comfy sofas. Quirky artwork adorns the walls. With just 24 rooms, all of the guests were on the same retreat as me which felt comforting.

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My room was on the third floor and had a lovely lounge with a Nespresso machine (which would become my best friend), and a huge comfy bed facing a balcony with jaw-dropping views of the Alps. You’ll find the resort’s spa on the lower ground level. This has a massage therapy room and, behind a hidden door, the thermal facilities. The hydrotherapy pool was perfectly warm with three types

'Hitting the gym at 5am or doing a juice cleanse is so not me. But sometimes life throws you a curve ball.' of power jets; I relished having it all to myself, particularly after a calf-tightening hike. There’s also a classic wooden sauna and an aromatic steam room. Head down one further floor for the lap pool, gym with cardio equipment and weights, and yoga studio. Despite being underground, plenty of high windows let the light in. So far, so pleasant. If I could just avoid eye contact with cheese and ham baguettes for a week, I’d be OK...


Each day begins at 7.30am with a fitness session followed by a buffet breakfast, then a morning hike in the mountains. I discovered that getting to know the person next to me was a great way to distract from the stitch soaring in my side. By the time we hit the 2,500 metre summit, I was so out of breath I could barely speak, and my face was as purple as my top. I was delighted to take the cable car back down and find the local Kneippe, a man-made foot ritual to soothe and restore your feet. Take a few steps down into the freezing water, walk round in a square, then walk over pebbles and chipped bark. It sounds a little hippy, but my feet definitely felt revitalised. Two massages are included in the week’s stay and I couldn’t have been more ready for a classic remedial Swedish massage to ease the tension in my back and shoulders, and release the heat from my legs. Would I like arnica mixed with the oil? Absolutely. It was a no frills treatment but the aches and pains were worked out beautifully. We ended our first day with a Strala yoga session which focuses on an overall concept of moving with ease, finding a pose and working around it. I found this style of yoga easier on my tired joints.



(2) (3)


'The beauty of the glacier was well worth it; I awarded myself a mental glass of fizz.'


(1) The Capra Hotel (2) A group hike in the mountains (3) The Capra's hydro pool (4) A hotel room lounge (5) Mountain scenery in Saas-fee

Daily schedule at Peak Health Retreat 7.30am: morning exercise session 8am: breakfast 9am: morning hike


If I felt day one had been a challenge, by day three I was struggling to walk downstairs thanks to a constant pinching in my glutes. It didn’t take long to warm my body up though and, with the sun streaming through the windows, I was dying to get outside. Today’s test was mental as well as physical. Glacier walking at the top of the mountains started at 4,000 metres up. With crampons attached to my boots and a rope tied around my waist, six of us headed off to walk around a world of ice. When we were expected to climb up and over large boulders, my nerves were well and truly tested. The beauty of the glacier was well worth it though; I awarded myself a mental glass of fizz to celebrate.


Now well and truly in my stride, I spent the next three days taking part in a variety of yoga classes, circuit training and one of the best personal training sessions I

have ever had led by expert trainer and mountaineer, Lindsay. Lifting weights far heavier than I thought I could manage was a real achievement.

Food facts

Peak Performance nutrition is based on a high alkaline diet which was a complete change for me. There’s no carbs, acidic foods or alcohol but plenty of protein, fish, vegetables and fruit, so I never went hungry. I loved the colourful presentation and creative dishes created by resident chef, Eric. Highlights included a spicy carrot, orange and ginger soup, and a dish of halibut with cabbage, apple and nuts. Salmon, scallops, chicken and prawns also featured heavily on the menu.

The verdict

Taking time out of my busy life for seven days felt rather indulgent, but if you truly want to change the way you exercise, eat, drink and think about food, then a week is what you need.

12pm: lunch 2pm-4pm: spa time, nap or one-toone sessions with the staff 4pm: circuit training 5pm: yoga 6pm: dinner 7pm: talks by health experts The alkaline diet was a revelation; fuelling my body with the right foods meant I never went hungry, and getting my five-a-day was a walk in the park. Yes I ached in places I didn’t know I could, but, I felt more energised and alert. In seven days I lost seven pounds which was amazing. The next challenge: to keep up the good work back at home. A week’s stay at Peak Health Retreat, Switzerland, starts at £4,296 per person and includes all activities and meals. WM Find out more at:


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Using heat to cleanse and relax your body has been around since the ancient Greeks. In today’s spas, Mark Smith discovers there is more than one way to get hot and steamy…

Some like it


etting hot and bothered may not be everyone’s idea of a good time. But cultures around the world have been using steam and dry heat for millennia, to cleanse and purge the body, keep warm and stay fighting fit. These days, Finnish saunas are so common in spas, gyms and leisure centres, we no longer think of them as exotic. Steam rooms are also de rigueur. If you want excitement and drama, there are plenty of rituals to make thermotherapy (as it’s known) more interesting. A cleansing hammam is rooted in Islam with regional variations in Morocco and Turkey. Banya treatments from Russia and Eastern Europe combine extreme sauna heat and a light whipping with birch branches. It may sound beyond the realms of sanity, but people report feeling high after – although some reckon it’s just relief at surviving the ritual. Fun aside, heat can improve your circulation, soothe muscle aches and pains, and improve joint movement. Steam baths can also help with breathing and respiration. It’s essentially good for you – that’s why we like it hot. Once you’ve heated up, it’s important to remember that you also need to cool down. Some take it to the extreme. In Scandinavia, this would involve rolling in the snow or jumping into an icy lake. After a banya, you may find yourself dunked in a tub of ice-cold water. But fear not; a cool shower, ice fountain or a dip in the plunge pool is a more bearable and accepted alternative in today’s spas.

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'The hammam treatment is vigorous, at times a touch rough, but certainly enlivening.' HOT STUFF IN THE HAMMAM

Steam baths have been around since the time of the Greeks and Romans who a) had the plumbing and b) knew the benefits of a bath house. The concept has travelled around the world, with both Turkey and Morocco laying claim to the authentic hammam culture (it’s worth noting that a hammam is both the name of the bath house and the name of a cleansing ritual). Part of the fabric of society, the hammam was a place to meet, bathe and socialise.

The hammam treatment is vigorous, at times a touch rough, but certainly enlivening. You will be washed, doused with water, and cleansed with traditional black soap, Savon Noir, made from eucalyptus and olive oil. Washed again, you will then be scrubbed to within an inch of your life with a rough exfoliating mitt and doused again. In the public bathhouse, this would all be done in a communal space, but in spas it’s a private ritual – thank goodness.


There’s nothing quite like a muddy rasul. Usually offered in a private steam room, you can have a rasul by yourself, with a partner or as a group – it rather depends on where your comfort levels are. Traditional rhassoul is a product made of natural mineral clay mined from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. It is combined with water to clean the body and has been used by North African women for centuries to care for their skin and hair. In the UK, a therapist will give you a tub of the clay-based mud and then usher you into a steam room where you apply it from head to toe. Your friend or partner could help by applying mud to the hard-to-reach areas (hence the different comfort levels). Once you’re coated in mud you can lay back and relax, or giggle about how funny everyone looks. Steam fills the room and cleanses the pores, while the clay leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft. Some rasuls are on a timer, so once your time is up, a shower in the ceiling will gently rain warm water to wash away the mud. You should emerge feeling refreshed, cleansed and totally renewed.

'Traditional rhassoul is a product made of natural mineral clay mined from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.'


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A dark room clad in pine and startlingly hot is the traditional view of a Finnish sauna. It’s a firm part of the culture in Finland, where it’s believed there are around two million saunas for a population of just 5.3 million people. Nobody does sauna like the Scandinavians and there has been a massive boom in public ones opening in Sweden and Finland over the past five years. The harbour of Gothenburg is home to an industrial-looking sauna which features a rusty steel exterior and a warm timberlined interior. It’s free, it’s public and it's a must-visit on any trip to the city. In Helskini, two new public waterside saunas – Löyly and Helsinki Allas – recently opened with cutting-edge Nordic architecture. Doubling as a tourist attraction, they are also hoping to encourage the younger generation of Finns to embrace the sauna tradition.

'Nobody does sauna like the Scandinavians.'


Less well known in the UK is the traditional Russian banya experience where temperatures will often exceed 93 degrees Celcius. Special felt hats are worn to protect the head from the intense heat. It’s not for the faint-hearted. You lay on the wooden bench in a warm sauna and your banya master will use birch branches to gather warm air from the ceiling and swoop it over your body. Just when you feel like you are about to pass out, you take a cold ice bucket shower and then plunge in a cold pool. Invigorating-slash-alarming, it also provides a natural high, hence you might find yourself addicted. Your options to experience banya in the UK are still limited: try Banya No. 1, or if you are chummy with someone posh, the South Kensington Club in London.


The humble sauna is undergoing a reinvention and becoming a destination in its own right, with iconic locations on lakes and in tree tops. According to the Global Wellness Summit, it’s one of the key trends for wellness, and spas around the world are introducing innovations such as sociable super-saunas and pop-up saunas. They’ve popped up at music festivals, by the coast, and there was even an outdoor wood fired barrel sauna at London's Kings Cross.

'The show-stopping Treetop Sauna is 10-metres off the ground.' The new Aqua Sana Spa at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest has taken heat treatments to a new height. The show-stopping Treetop Sauna (pictured above) is 10-metres off the ground with impressive views of the forest and river beyond. For other saunas with a view (and there are lots) you could check out The Four Seasons Park Lane in London, Moddershall Oaks in Staffordshire, The Spa at Mottram Hall in Chester or Y Spa at The Waterfront Hotel in Bedfordshire. 70 | Wellness |



If you haven’t already heard of Aufguss, you will soon. The origins of Aufguss are unclear, but it was the Germans who introduced the concept into spas. Aufguss involves pouring water mixed with natural essential oils onto the hot stones of the sauna stove. The water instantly vaporises, spreading the essential oils into the air. The Aufguss Meister uses a towel to direct the hot and scented steam towards the bathers using different rhythmical movements, often twirling the towel around his or her head like a helicopter. The practice is sometimes accompanied by music and creates an intensely hot, multi-sensory experience. Part theatre and part wellness ritual, it’s a group session – you may giggle to begin with as it’s SO different. But go with it, it’s worth it.

Rudding Park in Harrogate has introduced The Art of Aufguss in its panoramic sauna which has views overlooking the spa gardens outside. Members of the spa team trained with Art of Aufguss Champion, Lay Pang Ong, who is well-regarded as a pioneer of sauna reinvention. Heading over to Northern Ireland, it’s hard to beat the riverside location of the stand-alone sauna at Galgorm Resort and Spa which has views of the River Maine and forest beyond. Taking inspiration from the traditional Aufguss sauna experience, the Celtic Sauna Ritual combines Celtic music and aroma inhalation. The sauna master uses a towel to agitate the air and move heat around the sauna before handing out ice to rub on your body and drinks to keep you hydrated. Finish with some meditation in the River House next door for a new view on mindfulness.

Ending on a more sober note: don’t try heat rituals if you are under 16, pregnant, or have a medical condition that is likely to be made worse. Otherwise, go on... get hot and steamy. It’s what the Spa Spies ordered. WM

Stimulate, revitalise and moisturise your skin with our collection of organic seaweed bodycare.

An award winning skincare range blending hand-harvested Scottish seaweed along with pure Hebridean water, renowned for being one of the cleanest water sources in the world.


Chateau du Spa

With celebs now regularly taking antiageing red wine baths in a bid to turn back time, it seems spa and wine might just be the perfect combination. But where are the best places to uncork and unwind? We sent Stylish Spy on a tasting tour…


he idea of having a treatment to get rid of toxins, then topping up with a glass (or two) of fine wine may seem contradictory to some. Yet a fine wine can be relaxing and sensual; the perfect complement, therefore, to a spa experience. With so many beautiful spa hotels set in, or near, vineyards, we think wine plus spa could be a marriage made in Elysium.



A sprawling, whitewashed property with a bright terracotta roof, Patios de Cafayte ( is a traditional hotel set in front of the majestic Andes mountains, and within the El Esteco winery. Don’t miss the opportunity to travel along the 10km Cafayte winery circuit – by car, on foot or on horseback – stopping at the many wine cellars along the way to sample full-bodied Cabernet

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Sauvignon and Malbec varieties. Back at the ranch, take respite from the heat with a dip in the outdoor pool, or wander around the immaculate gardens where herbs, tomatoes, peas, fruit and flowers are grown for the restaurant’s kitchen. Massages, reflexology and Reiki are on the menu in the hotel spa. Come evening, take part in a wine tour or a blind tasting session, or have a go at making your own.

'The Injudup Spa Retreat is an eco-friendly, all-villa property set in 3,000 acres of national park.' INJUDUP SPA RETREAT


Margaret River may be a small town in Western Australia, but its vino production is well known in wine circles.

The region’s fertile soil is ripe for grape growing, and wine connoisseurs will find excellent Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in 150 wineries here. The Injudup Spa Retreat ( is an ecofriendly, all-villa property set in 3,000 acres of national park. Each of the 10 beachfront villas has its own plunge pool and offers stunning views of the ocean, where humpback whales can be spotted between June and September. The property’s neutral, tranquil spa has several treatment rooms for massages, Reiki, scrubs and reflexology; choose the signature Injudup Spa Massage and


"Swim in the hotel’s outdoor pool alongside vines heavily-laden with Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc grapes."

Main: The vineyards at Delaire Graff Estate Above: The cellars at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

listen to the waves crashing while being massaged outside on the terrace.



Possibly the most celebrated vineyard spa resort, Les Sources de Caudalie ( is set in the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard in Bordeaux. The vineyard grows a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes to create about 18,000 cases of Grand vin, Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Les Hauts de Smith each year. Les Sources de Caudalie is made

up of a grand French manor house, quaint cottages, a two-Michelin star restaurant and, of course, the Vinothérapie spa. Bubble in the hydro pool, heat up in the steam room then retire to the rooftop infinity pool looking out over the vineyard. Caudalie treatments use grapes and grape extracts, from a Crushed Cabernet Scrub to a bath enriched with red grape pomace (read our full review on page 28).


You only have to read the list of winerelated treatments on the menu at this Sonoma wine country hotel and spa to

realise that wine isn’t just for drinking in California. We love Kenwood Inn’s ( take on a Vinotherapy Bath – choose from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Sparkling and soak away while sipping your glass of choice. As for the rest of this Mediterranean-inspired inn (think ivy-clad exterior), there’s a heated outdoor pool with a swan-neck fountain, two outdoor hot tubs, 29 elegantly-appointed bedrooms (some with freestanding baths), a comfortable lounge with an open fire – and an open bottle of Port – and a candlelit restaurant serving some of the best wines of the region, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.


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SPA + WINE Below: Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bottom: Hotel Marques de Riscal


Housed in an ancient 17th Century monastery, Relais San Maurizio’s ( three sprawling properties, with original ceilings, antiques and rich furnishings, have been sympathetically modernised. Dine in view of the monastery’s cloisters at Le Truffle Bistrot or wander around the property’s monastery park and organic garden, with its olive groves and strawberry plants harvested to produce fresh fruit for the hotel’s restaurant. You won’t be offered a glass of wine at the Health and Wellness Centre – which focuses on anti-ageing and preventative health through internal and biological medicine – but, come evening, you can sip a glass of white Muscat around the outdoor heated pool surrounded by Moscato vineyards.


If ever there was a hotel befitting a modern metropolis, its Spain’s Hotel Marques de Riscal ( Set in the hills of the Riojan wine country, this Frank Gehry-designed masterpiece (pictured right) will take your breath away: imagine a square concrete building wrapped in oversized sheets of curved silver and purple metal that resemble a giant bow. It’s as unusual as it is daring. Marques de Riscal wine is produced on the same estate, while treatments at the spa include Red Wine Baths, grapeseed oil Caudalie Grand Facials and a permanent Vinotherapy pool surrounded by pillar-box red walls. Enjoy a tipple in the rooftop lounge afterwards and muse

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over whether the unusual, striking design is something that you love or hate (it’s love for us).


South Africa

Less than an hour from Cape Town, the Delaire Vineyard was bought in 2008 by diamond mogul Laurence Graff and converted into an estate celebrating wine, art, dining and spa. Between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the 20 hectares of vineyards are planted with Bordeaux reds and Chardonnay grapes creating awardwinning wines. Accommodation is in fashionably pared-back lodges each with their own sundeck and heated plunge pool. The Delaire Graff Estate Spa (delaire. has a 22-metre infinity pool, Jacuzzi and sundeck which has sunset views over Stellenbosch and Table Mountain. Treatments are from Aromatherapy Associates, Swiss Perfection and South African brand, Terre D’Afriques. Finish your day with a walk around the botanic gardens with 350 indigenous and imported plants or a browse of the Graff diamond boutique, budget dependent.



A world away from the traditional Austrian wooden chalet, the Steve Holl-designed Loisium Hotel ( stands out with its glass cubes set one on top of the other like building blocks. The Langenlois resort has a hotel, 1,200-metre wellness spa, wine school and wine experience centre. The Loisium Langenlois vineyards,

just in front of the hotel, have heritage from two wine growing regions: Kamptal and Southern Styria. Swim in the hotel’s outdoor pool alongside vines heavilyladen with Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. At the spa, choose from a Grape Elixir massage or facial, or a Riesling Wine treatment – a massage using oil made with grape skins, followed by a glass of chilled Riesling which you can sip from the comfort of a pool lounger. WM



Anti-Ageing v Pro Age Do you trust anti-ageing products, or think they’re part of a wider problem our society has with age? We ask two wise Spa Spies what they think of the anti-ageing label.



These days it’s all about prevention, so if you’re in your twenties when you start tackling skincare, you’re laughing. According to dermatologists the world over, all you need to do to defy premature ageing is slather on the sun protection, stay out of strong sunshine and don’t smoke. If you lived in the era of sunbeds and ashtrays, you may now be reaching for the anti-ageing products, hoping to repair the damage already done. Sadly, that’s my camp, but I thank science that there are so many great anti-ageing products on the market nowadays. Some see this as cynical exploitation, but I think it’s honest: it does what it says on the tin. I know if a product is anti-ageing it will contain extra nutrients and more stimulating ingredients. Everything gets sluggish and slows down as you age, so you need an extra boost. I know that no cream can perform miracles, but I don’t want to look young; I just want to look the best I can. I’m aiming to reduce fine lines, pigmentation and rosacea, and make my skin firm and full. If I reached a point where I wanted more dramatic improvements, I would save for noninvasive treatments, such as CACI facials. For this to work, you need to book a course of sessions so it can be expensive. I haven’t yet arrived at the stage where I am prepared to go under the knife, but I haven’t totally written it off either. You don’t have to go full-on Bride of Wildenstein, just do a bit of scaffolding when things start to collapse. Yes, we’d all like to live in a society that celebrates ageing, where women can get away with a lived-in face, but we don’t. I will happily fight those battles, but in the meantime, I want to look good. Some think anti-ageing isn’t the most positive term, but I see it as fighting the ageing process, not being against ‘older people’.

My ideal Older Me will celebrate ageing. What’s attractive in old age isn’t wrinkle-free skin, but joie de vivre. I look after my skin and hair, more so since I hit 45 and saw they needed a bit of extra TLC. But I would not buy a product that says anti-ageing, nor would I have an anti-ageing facial. I believe that a combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle decides the way you age. Anti-ageing creams are at best a placebo, at worst exploiting yet another female insecurity. The problem is there is very little unbiased scientific evidence or research to back up the claims, and the skincare industry is unregulated. Anti-ageing ingredients like retinol and alpha hydroxy acids can thin the skin if you don’t use the right (ie, tiny) amount. But my objection to ‘anti-ageing’ isn’t just that it’s misleading. It’s the word ‘anti’. It feeds into the whole negative attitude our society has towards ageing. Imagine it in reverse: anti-youth cream. We live in a society that segregates unfairly on looks, and age is seen as just another negative. In 2016, Cameron Diaz posted make-up free selfies to ‘promote a conversation about ageing’. Film actresses over 30 are having to fight their corner in a deeply ageist and sexist industry. It’s happening almost everywhere. I prefer the term pro-age, but it has been hijacked by the skincare brand Dove. ‘Age appropriate’ makes me think of Daily Mail columnists who judge women over 50 for wearing… anything. A few brands have started using ‘age well’, which I like. The art of ageing, like anything, is the cultivation of a deeper understanding of what’s happening to you as an individual. It doesn’t come from the outside. It’s a private experience and, like love, living or creating, it’s totally your journey. Don’t let other people tell you that there is a right or wrong way to age: respect and love yourself and you will mature beautifully. WM



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'TIS THE SEASON TO BE SAVVY Can you have your Christmas cake and eat it without feeling like a stuffed turkey? Karen Hockney asks the experts how to be fit and festive.

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hristmas is the time of year we all love the most – a hedonistic social whirl of festive partying, fizz, mince pies and mulled wine. But this annual feasting frenzy can also lead to piling on unwanted pounds, low energy levels and feeling sluggish. So how exactly can you balance the canapés, indulgent Christmas lunch and Champagnefuelled New Year’s Eve celebrations while also maintaining your health and fitness during this most enjoyable, yet often stressful, season? The good news is that it can be handled with a little planning and a smidgeon of extra willpower. After all, hitting January 1st feeling like something the cat dragged in is not the best way to start the year. The first point to remember, and accept, is that even with the best intentions, inevitably, you will eat more for a few days over the Christmas period – so lose the guilt. "Calorie intake is likely to be excessive from Christmas Eve through Boxing Day, possibly double the usual amount of 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men,’ explains leading dietician Dr Sarah Schenker, who specialises in obesity, sports and childhood nutrition. "To counteract this, reduce your daily intake by 300-500 calories from the beginning of December before the party season starts, making those early days quite frugal by having a bowl of vegetable soup for lunch along with a sensible breakfast and dinner." Anticipating potentially overindulgent situations in advance can


also give you more control according to Dr Schenker. "If there are endless office parties on the horizon, where there will be mountains of canapés and alcohol, plan ahead and don’t arrive on an empty stomach ready to glug glass after glass of Champagne," she counsels. "Think also about the canapés, which are usually bread or carb based. If you’ve already eaten, you’re less likely to demolish them or hang around the crisp bowl." Letting your hair down over Christmas and New Year can be positively good for you. "There’s nothing worse than being a misery on a diet over Christmas and New Year," says clinical nutritionist and co-founder of welleco, Dr Simone Laubscher. "If you don’t let your hair down a little, it’s highly likely that you will binge your way through January. You need to plan for four mad days over Christmas and the same over New Year, [better] an eight-day landslide rather than an eight-week who cares." Dr Laubscher advises caution on over-compensating in early December. "Many people detox and diet hard at the beginning of the month so they can wear that kick ass dress to the office Christmas party. Effectively, it’s a detox before the retox. "I’d advise a kinder approach. If your weekends are full on, it’s wise to keep the weekdays clear. You can also invert the 5:2 diet and go vegan for five days and be less controlled for two days, if that works for you." Planning ahead in the lead up to Christmas is key for your health according to fitness expert Christine Kjeldbjerg. Christine recommends incorporating 10 minutes of HIIT exercise into each day, "to boost metabolism and hopefully prevent unwanted pounds. My advice is to enjoy the excess but retain the balance."

'Hitting January 1st feeling like something the cat dragged in is not the best way to start the year.'


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The really good news is that the biological impact of Christmas and New Year excess is minimal if you are in general good health. "All healthy bodies can take a day of excessive food and alcohol," adds Dr Schenker. "Many people don’t sit down to their Christmas meal until mid-afternoon, so you are more likely to have just one main meal rather than two. "Making Christmas Day your Cheat Day can work really well for people who need that permission. And after Christmas, start thinking about food nutritionally and what it’s doing for you once again rather than as a guilty indulgence. "Then use Boxing Day to relax and recover by drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep. The Christmas Day leftover veggies can be blitzed into a nourishing soup for Boxing Day too."


It’s easy to forget about the calories we drink, but a Cancer Research UK study found that younger people can drink up to 4,000 extra calories at Christmas parties. Dr Schenker says: "Excessive alcohol is potentially harmful, but you can adopt little tricks to reduce its impact on your system. Alternate each glass of wine or Champagne with a glass of water as hangovers are caused chiefly by dehydration. Always finish your glass before it’s topped up and push wine o’clock back to 5pm if possible rather than starting at midday." Dr Laubscher also advises avoiding high GI drinks like sugary cocktails and beer, which are more likely to spike your blood sugar levels, sticking instead to red or rosé wine, vodka or Champagne, which is also less calorific.


So, you’ve made it through Christmas Day, you may feel tempted to return to a strict diet as the sense of guilt settles. Dr Laubscher says: "Psychologically, fasting straight after Christmas is not healthy. This time of year brings a lot of emotional baggage – you may have

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THE MORNING AFTER... "I probably enjoy Christmas more than I should and my favourite hangover cure is a large glass of fresh orange juice and some scrambled eggs. The juice provides you with natural sugar and the eggs are a nice easy option for digesting protein. A pleasant way to rehydrate is mixing sparkling water with frozen berries or citrus fruits like lemon and lime or cranberries." Dr Sarah Schenker

"The best hangover breakfast is scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and avocado. The fat in the eggs forces the liver to process alcohol out of the body. Some good old-fashioned butter on rye, spelt or grainy brown toast rounds it off nicely." Dr Simone Laubscher

"A pinch of sea salt and a teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder in a glass of coconut water is a simple but effective way of rehydrating. The coco water contains electrolytes, while the caffeine and antioxidants in Matcha help rebalance the body and reduce headaches." Christine Kjeldbjerg

to spend time with people who rub you up the wrong way – so there will be emotional triggers which will affect your eating habits. "If you find yourself in the kitchen with a plate of mince pies because someone is stressing you out, breathe and take a step back, but also allow yourself a little leeway. Christmas is supposed to be fun after all." Kjeldbjerg agrees that a post-Christmas fast can be more harmful than helpful, adding: "You have to replenish your body with the nutrients you have used up while partying. In order for the natural detoxification process to work efficiently, you have to stock up on protein and B vitamins." A final word of advice: you might be relieved to hear that it’s best to leave the detox until spring when it will be more effective. "Winter is a time for conserving energy and nourishing the body," says Christine Kjeldbjerg, "whereas spring is the time when the organs responsible for cleansing – the liver and gall bladder – are working their hardest, so it makes sense to wait." WM

"If your weekends are full-on, it's wise to keep the weekdays clear. You can also invert the 5:2 diet and go vegan for five days and be less controlled for two days."


Developed with the scientific support of Dr. Caludia Aguirre, Neuroscientist and Brain-Skin Expert, an innovative de-stressing ritual combining sound, touch and essential oils for optimal rest and jet lag recovery.


+44 203 3010496



From Ayurveda to thalassotherapy, many of the treatments used in UK spas originate from exotic locations around the world. Stylish Spy dusts off her passport and hops across the pond to discover some ancient spa traditions.



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'...thalassotherapy uses a combination of aerated baths and high pressure hose showers to blast the body with clean, fresh seawater.' FRANCE Thalassotherapy

Head to… For…

Developed from the Greek words for sea, ‘thalassa’, and healing, ‘therapeia’, thalassotherapy is actually a French treatment using the healing properties of sea water. Created in the mid-1800s by a professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier, thalassotherapy uses a combination of aerated baths and high pressure hose showers to blast the body with clean, fresh seawater, rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, sulphates and sodium. Used primarily as a detox, thalassotherapy is also beneficial for the skin, proponents say it can improve conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Administered by qualified professionals, some thalassotherapy treatments (or ‘cures’ as they are sometimes known) can last up to six days to ensure benefits are optimised. Marine-based products, rich in trace elements and antioxidants, will likely form part of the process.

'Thai massage is based on the belief that good health and freedom from pain is the result of unhindered flow of vital energies through the body’s tissue.'

THAILAND Thai massage

Head to… For…

Developed by Dr Jivaka Kumar Bhacca more than 2,500 years ago, Thai massage is based on the belief that good health and freedom from pain is the result of unhindered flow of vital energies through the body’s tissue. Therapists pummel, press and sometimes walk or clamber up and down your back in an effort to release blockages. Moving onto the hands and feet, therapists will then use long strokes to pull and stretch joints. Some will even crack fingers, toes and your neck – be sure to speak up if it’s too much. Unlike most massages, the Thai version doesn’t rely on oils or lotions, with the recipient remaining clothed throughout, so it’s a good option if you feel uncomfortable stripping off. The massage should leave you feeling relaxed, energised and, after all that stretching, positively bendy.


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Head to… For…

Popularised by the Ottoman Turks, hammams are dedicated buildings containing a series of pools and rooms heated to varying degrees of warmth. Décor is typically Mediterranean, with mosaic-tiled walls and marble floors. Men and women head into different sections, where male (tellak) and female (natir) therapists will ask you remove your clothes (or swimsuit), put on a pair of disposable underwear and invite you to lie on a raised, warm slab of marble. They will then get to work washing, scrubbing and massaging your body and scalp – each stage using warmer water than the last. Quite often the ritual finishes with Turkish tea in a cool room to allow your body temperature to settle back down. A word of warning: if you don’t like having water poured over your face, this treatment may not be for you.

'Don’t be alarmed if you hear a low humming sound or even witness your therapist dancing around the table, both acts are believed to release energy blockages.'

HAWAII Lomi Lomi massage

Head to… For…

Performed with the spirit of ‘aloha’, the Hawaiian word for love, lomi lomi (also known as ‘the loving hands’ massage) is a family ritual traditionally passed down from generation to generation – each treatment begins with a prayer asking for healing. Using a technique that is as free form as it is instinctive, the practitioner will pay particular attention to whatever is perceived to be out of kilter. Gentle, continuous, flowing strokes encourage the recipient to relax so that the therapist may work deep into the muscles, easing knots and releasing tension. In Hawaii, the massage is used to treat children with upset stomachs and also soothe women that are in labour. Don’t be alarmed if you hear a low humming sound or even witness your therapist dancing around the table, both acts are believed to release energy blockages.

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'A word of warning: if you don’t like having water poured over your face, this treatment may not be for you.'


'Kampo is considered so effective in Japan that it has recently been integrated into the national healthcare system.' CHINA Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Head to… For…

Originating in ancient China thousands of years ago, TCM is based on the belief that the body’s vital energy circulates through channels called meridians (or Qi). These meridians have branches connected to bodily organs and functions; in order for good health to prevail, yin/yang and Qi must be aligned. TCM treatments are becoming more widely available in Europe, and range from needle-based acupuncture to cupping (made famous by Gwyneth Paltrow), where warmed glass or bamboo cups are sucked onto the skin to open up stagnant points in the body. Practitioners may also combine acupuncture with moxibustion, the process of burning herbs next to the skin to warm up acupuncture points. Herbal remedies, taken either in pill form or used to make teas, also form a large part of TCM.


Head to… For…

Adopting a very similar approach to TCM, Kampo was first introduced to Japan via Korea during the 6th Century. Like TCM, Kampo (or TJM as it is often referred), uses treatments like acupuncture, moxibustion and cupping in tandem with herbal remedies to treat irregularities in the body. Unlike TCM, Kampo is more concerned with the study of herbs to standardise the practice for wider, and safer, use. The ultimate aim remains the same: to ease pain and promote good health through increased blood flow. Kampo is considered so effective in Japan that it has recently been integrated into the national health care system.

'TCM treatments are becoming more widely available in Europe, and range from needle-based acupuncture to cupping where warmed glass or bamboo cups are sucked onto the skin to open up stagnant points in the body.'

INDIA Ayurveda

Head to… For…

Literally translated to ‘the science of life’, Ayurveda is an ancient healing ritual originating in India over 3,000 years ago. According to its principles, all life forms have a specific body type or dosha, a mix of energies that need rebalancing from time-totime. A trained Ayurvedic therapist will assess your dosha based on a detailed questionnaire and tailor your treatment accordingly. The three dosha types include vata: slim and athletic, pitta: medium build and driven, or kapha: heavier build and calm/ grounded. Most of us are a mixture, but with one dominant type. Your dosha will then be balanced using a combination of diet, breathing exercises and massage. Things thought to disrupt your dosha range from simple habits like staying up too late, to more complex physical attributes caused by fear or grief.


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'Therapists will cover the skin with oil before using slow gentle pressure to massage in the direction of the heart to warm up the back and relax the client.'

SWEDEN Swedish massage

Head to… For…

'A rungu is a small African baton said to be an important emblem of warrior status in young Maasai men.'

AFRICA Rungu massage

Head to… For…

Relax to the beat of a drum… A rungu is a small African baton said to be an important emblem of warrior status in young Maasai men. While the baton used during a massage may not come from Maasai, the structure of the baton is the same: a long, narrow handle with two rounded ends – one large, one small – allowing the practitioner to use different parts of the baton for different massage movements. The long handle will generally be used over larger areas of the body (like a rolling pin) such as the back, the rounded ends are normally used on bigger individual muscles such as at the front of thighs. The whole experience is said to be energising, leaving you feeling clear and focused.

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The most common massage performed in Western Europe, the Swedish version forms the basis of other varieties, such as aromatherapy and deep tissue. Developed by Per Henrik Ling of the University of Stockholm, it’s based on the concept of ‘medical gymnastics,’ and is regularly used by sports therapy practitioners on footballers, tennis players and runners to ease tension and improve flexibility. Therapists will cover the skin with oil before using slow gentle pressure to massage in the direction of the heart, warm up the back and relax the client. Once this has been achieved, a deeper massage will be delivered, concentrating on areas of tension using a combination of kneading, bending, stretching and percussionlike tapping. The pressure can range from mild to eye-watering, depending on your tolerance.



Psychic Spy answers your spa concerns according to your astrological star sign, ignoring the recently announced 13th sign, Ophiuchus, because it confuses everything and makes her cross. LIBRA (23 Sept to 23 Oct)

SAGITTARIUS (23 Nov to 21 Dec)

Wonderfully harmonious as you lovely Libras may be, events in your love and career are not so strong and stable this winter. Blame pesky Uranus transitioning in your 7th solar house. There’s a suggestion that lots of large personalities are entering your sphere, including a charismatic new love interest. Your indecisiveness may leave you vulnerable to suggestibility, and your ruling planet Venus can let your passions rule. Restore inner balance with yoga, Reiki or a shirodhara massage before the scales tip.

Sagittarians are restless adventurers with huge personalities, so need to find a spa big enough to entertain, and contain, them. Destination spas have more experience rooms and outdoor spaces. We can’t imagine you being asked to lie still on a massage bed for more than twenty minutes. Instead try a hammam, rasul or maybe a feisty Thai massage, all of which will, at the very least, satisfy your travel bug and give you a few dinner party anecdotes.


CAPRICORN (22 Dec to 19 Jan)

Water-loving and passionate, Scorpios are one of the most sensuous signs of the Zodiac. You are also prone to a little control freakery, which is when the sting in the tail comes in. Scorpios need to command their space so should avoid busy, chaotically run spas, and try to block out irritations. Find the best-appointed lounger beside the pool, or the top shelf in a hot sauna, and stake your claim. Thalassotherapy pools might be more relaxing for you than a massage, as you can be in charge.

Ambitious and driven, Capricorns tend to like their own company: we can see you booking into a retreat to recharge your batteries and plot your eventual world takeover. The retreat would have to be extremely well run with a clear schedule, no compulsory group activities but also fashionable among high fliers. The Mayr Clinic or Lanserhof in Austria would suit, as you would be able to network in austere, clinical surroundings. Just try to leave your laptop and phone in your room…

Oct to 22 Nov)

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(20 Jan to 18 Feb) Cool, intellectual and spiritual-slash-bonkers, you water carriers generally like drifting around spas on your lonesome. You are also more likely to pick the bizarre Spa Woo treatments than a common or garden variety facial or massage. Yet this year the stars are telling us that you need to a) go beyond your comfort zone and b) focus on relationships that are important to you. How does a romantic or social spa break sound to you? Do it. You can thank us later.


(19 Feb to 20 March) Ah, gentle, romantic water-loving Pisces – I bet there’s nothing you love more than floating in a hydro pool in a gorgeously scented spa garden. Find a spa with a huge array of pools, ideally by the sea or near a river, preferably set in an Austen or Byron-era mansion. Book yourself a Watsu treatment – shiatsu in water – or a Vichy shower. Make sure you take two bikini bottoms or swimsuits with you: as much as you love water, you don’t want to be sitting in a damp pool while eating lunch.


'Sagittarians are restless adventurers with huge personalities, so need to find a spa that is big enough to entertain, and contain, them.'


(21 March to 19 April) All is fair in love and war with Aries, and usually, if you are at a spa, you’re probably either preening by the pool or getting yourself battle ready. You’re all about freedom and personal growth. Yay! Just remember, even though you have been hurt, you can’t do it all alone. A rebalancing yoga retreat in Ibiza with a bezzie might be what you need. Or if funds can’t stretch that far, try reflexology – good for balance, energy and unleashing some tears in a safe space.


(20 April to 20 May)

The kind, sanguine Taurus makes a great cook, gardener, lover and artist. Thus, they may be drawn to foodie spas with gardens, ideally those that grow their own fresh herbs to use in the spa lunch and treatments. As you are sensible with cash, hunt for deals and make the most of your time by arriving as early as possible. See it as an investment in your health and happiness. We can also see you getting creative with mud in a rasul with your loved one.


(21 May to 21 June) You Geminis are fascinating butterflies, flitting from one thing to the next. Easily bored and fidgety, I imagine the very word ‘relaxation’ would make you run a mile. You are the kind of person (or people: you are twins) who will talk to everyone in the spa, or interact with the world via your smartphone. Have a brightly coloured manicure (you can chat to the therapist), flit around a bubbly pool and then flick through mags in the relaxation room.

CANCER (22 June to 22 July) This year, Cancers need to look after their inner child as life takes a few twists and turns (blame Jupiter’s bumpy transit in the 4th house), so treat your spa day as time for nurturing and setting health goals. Remember, change isn’t all bad: it creates the conditions for the unexpected that a tenacious crab would ordinarily avoid. Now is the time to go off menu, try something different: a cocooning and detoxing wrap, rich in algae and sea minerals would be perfect for stressed crustaceans.

LEO (23 July to 23 Aug) Queens of the jungle and no doubt of spas too, you are bold, arrogant and fun to be with. All of which makes you popular at parties, less so in places where people go to relax and find peace and quiet. Social or romantic spa-ing would suit, ideally in a private suite where you can hold court without bothering other spa guests. Treatmentwise, we can see you happily perched on a pedicure throne or having your mane tickled with an Indian head massage.

VIRGO (24 Aug to 22 Sept)

Virgos, you are the most intelligent sign of the zodiac, hard-working but also worriers. You need to give that overworking brain a rest, so try giving it some focus in a yoga class. A massage will also help your mind reconnect with your body. Don’t be shy: your therapist will not expect you to be naked, but keep exposure to a minimum with a clever arrangement of towels. A private soul, you will probably benefit from picking a quiet time to visit your spa: if you can’t go in the day, find a twilight package away from the crowds. WM


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P E S TO A N D P I S TAC H I O M U S H RO O M S From Raw & Cured at Herb House Spa

With colder weather comes our tendency to choose home-inspired classics – try Raw & Cured’s pesto and pistachio mushrooms for a dose of healthy comfort food. INGREDIENTS Serves 2

METHOD 1. Remove stalks from mushrooms

4-5 large Portobello mushrooms

2. Lightly coat the mushrooms in olive oil and put aside

2 cups extra virgin olive oil for glazing mushrooms

3. Blitz the filling ingredients in a blender until thick and creamy

5. Place in oven at low heat for 20 minutes. Alternatively, to keep mushrooms in their ‘raw’ state, place in dehydrator or place in oven under 42ºC for 4-5 hours 6. Garnish with dill and tomatoes

4. Use to fill the mushrooms

Filling 2 cups pistachios (soaked in cold water for half an hour) 1 large handful of basil 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove ½ tbsp flaked sea salt 2 tbsp of lemon juice

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Sheila Hulme is Creative Chef of Raw & Cured, Herb House’s healthy raw food bar at Lime Wood Hotel ( Raw & Cured is about focusing on the natural taste of quality ingredients; Tatler even awarded it ‘Best Cafe' in its 2013 awards.


From jaw-droppingly fabulous VIP treatments and facilities, to good value spas that are perfect for groups, here are the best UK spas as rated by the Spa Spies®. We award Bubbles rather than Stars, with Five Bubble Luxury being extra special, Five Bubble being the peak of spa sophistication, Four Bubble is excellent but with perhaps a break in the spa journey and Three Bubble is perfectly nice with good treatments, just perhaps not a den of decadence. FIVE BUBBLE LUXURY

Chewton Glen Spa

Dormy House Hotel and Spa Worcestershire

ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel London

Chewton Glen is a fabulous five-star countryhouse hotel in the New Forest. The spa is a beautiful, bright area with a luxurious 17-metre ozone-treated swimming pool, an impressive hydro pool and outdoor hot tub. You'll find a sauna and steam room in the male and female changing rooms, a well-equipped gym, plus yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi one-to-ones. Linda Meredith facials or Natura Bissé and ila treatments are delivered in the spa or your very own treehouse. Don’t expect to come back looking thinner though – the food is that good.

Dormy House is a beautifully renovated Cotswold farmhouse that aims to be your ‘home-from-home’. The modern spa contrasts clean Scandinavian design with cosy Cotswold stone, while facilities include a 16-metre infinity pool, thermal experiences, a Champagne nail parlour and a fully-equipped gym. A variety of treatments are on offer using Temple Spa and Natura Bissé, with Pure Massage trained therapists. Take lunch afterwards in the stylish glass-walled spa lounge or bask in the sunny outdoor hydrotherapy pool.

ESPA Life is an extremely classy spa set in the eponymous five-star Corinthia Hotel, a short walk from London’s Covent Garden. The design is dazzling – from the stark white relaxation area to the black marble pool – while the wellness and mindfulness credentials are impressive. Book in for a session with a naturopath, an acupuncturist, a nutritionist or a personal trainer and combine it with an ESPA treatment. The changing rooms are larger and better equipped than some entire spas.

01425 275 341

01386 852 711

020 7321 3050




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Galgorm Resort and Spa

ESPA at Lucknam Park Wiltshire

Pennyhill Park an Exclusive Hotel and Spa

Galgorm Resort and Spa is a grand estate set in 163 acres of Northern Ireland parkland, with the River Maine meandering through it. The Spa at Galgorm uses the four basic elements of nature, earth, water and fire to bring harmony to your spa journey, while the newly-created Thermal Village consists of an outdoor Beltane hot tub and open fire, riverside hot tubs and a Celtic sauna – all set in pretty landscaped gardens. The customer service and attention to detail are second to none.

Lucknam Park is an elegant country mansion set in 500 acres of Wiltshire countryside, behind black wrought iron gates. Travel up a long, tree-lined driveway to an impressive host of facilities, including stunning indoor and outdoor pools, a beautiful spa with luxurious treatments, an equestrian centre, tennis courts and Michelin-starred Park restaurant. Wet and thermal facilities include a Japanese salt room, aromatherapy room, salt-water pool and hydrotherapy pool.

With fantastic facilities – think five-star hotel, Michelin-starred restaurant – and a spa with a tremendous range of well thought-out treatments and exceptional customer service, Pennyhill really does deserve its place on the spa pedestal. It's jaw-droppingly vast with eight pools, the most impressive being a 25-metre ballroom pool with underwater music. If you’re staying long enough (you can come just for the day), dinner is a must.

028 2588 2550

01225 742 777

01276 471 774

Sequoia Spa at The Grove

Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall

The Bulgari Spa

A grand spa and health club within 300 acres of country house estate, with a championship golf course and tennis courts. The impressive multi-storey spa and health club is set in a former stable block with a stunning 22-metre indoor swimming pool tiled in black, and a 25-metre outdoor pool for summer. The 18 therapy rooms offer some delicious body, face, beauty and results-driven treatments with ESPA and Natura Bissé products. The female changing rooms have their own thermal area and some mesmerising art.

The setting for Seaham Hall is as expansive as it is exhilarating: the north-east coast (County Durham to be exact), meaning you’re already onto a winner. The spa building and facilities are impressive; the treatments good quality. The spa journey begins at the fabulous underground walkway that connects the spa to the hotel – walk past pebbles and running water until you reach a huge carved elephant. Inside, there’s an ozone-treated swimming pool, a hydro pool, thermal rooms and outdoor hot tubs. Outside are two steamy hot tubs and a sun terrace.

The Bulgari Spa is a beautiful blend of European spa and Asian touches right in the heart of London’s affluent Knightsbridge. Descend beneath the five-star hotel and you’ll find a stunning 25-metre swimming pool, golden vitality pool, thermal facilities and divine treatments. The Bulgari Spa focuses on overall wellbeing, with programmes designed to harmonise and balance from the outside in. Escape to one of the wooden poolside cabanas for absolute serenity.

01923 294 294

0191 516 1400

County Antrim


90 | Wellness |


County Durham



020 7151 1055



The Spa at Gleneagles by ESPA

The Scarlet is an eco-luxe hotel on a stunning cliff-top location in Cornwall. Their adult-only holistic spa has a 13-metre indoor pool, freshwater outdoor pool filtered by reeds, and heated cliff-top baths that look out across the bay. There’s a small steam room, sauna and a dramatic relaxation room, too. Whether you're on your own or with a loved one, this stylish spa is perfect for those who need balance in their life, care about the environment and want something a bit different.

Gleneagles has a reputation for excellent Scottish hospitality, dramatic scenery and impeccable design – and it absolutely lives up to its name. Play a round of golf at The King’s or Queen’s golf course before lunching in the Michelin-starred restaurant. The spa is sublime, with gold and bronze wet facilities separated into journeys for men and women – explore the steam room, sauna and ice fountains before re-uniting in the unisex vitality pool.

The Vineyard is a luxury hotel with an air of exclusivity – the perfect place for celebrating in style. The spa is compact but elegant; the pool area is relaxing, and the treatments using Elemental Herbology and Darphin products are unusual, interesting and well-delivered. From the spa facilities to the customer service, and from the towelling robes to the products, standards are high. The hotel’s 49 rooms won’t disappoint either. Food and wine is taken very seriously here, so be sure to check out the restaurant.

01637 861 800

01764 694 332

01635 528 770

Agua at Mondrian London

Agua at Sanderson

Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest

Agua Bathhouse and Spa at Mondrian London embraces Hollywood glamour with bold statement art and quirky design. While it doesn't have a huge amount in terms of spa facilities, what there is will produce the same inner bliss as a pool. There’s a large Art Deco steam room, Glamour Room for beautifying and a futuristic spa lounge with soft, pale seating. The urban glamour and laid-back, fun atmosphere are perfectly complemented by some seriously special treatments and delicious sorbet sundaes.

The Sanderson is an über-stylish hotel with a sense of fun, just off Oxford Street. The all-white Agua Spa is a celestial retreat from the nearby hustle and bustle. Although small, the serene atmosphere invokes the feeling of a much larger space. Try the eucalyptus steam room and a tailored treatment before curling up in your private relaxation pod. Food in the spa is ultra-healthy and delicious, delivered on trolleys under silver serving platters. Or head downstairs for the famous Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea.

020 3747 1000

020 7300 1414

As part of the popular Center Parcs holiday village in Sherwood Forest, The Forest Spa combines the best of Aqua Sana and a series of quirky, quality facilities drawing on the treetop location. Six new zones and 25 experiences rooms include the volcanic and Nordic forest steam and sauna rooms, outdoor hot springs, a heated courtyard pool and the star of the show: a Treetop Escape, with its treetop glass-fronted sauna and terraced forest balcony. Expect friendly staff and excellent customer service.

The Scarlet Spa


The Vineyard Spa Berkshire





0344 826 6205


| 91


Aquarias Spa at Whatley Manor

Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa

Tucked away at the bottom of a long driveway, the peaceful Aquarias Spa at Whatley Manor oozes charm and exclusivity. The cool, calm spa feels intimate and personal with a wide range of treatments delivered by capable therapists. It also has a Natura Bissé Bubble Suite. Drift in the large hydro pool, heat up in the thermal experiences including a tepidarium, calidarium, steam grotto and sauna, or swim outside to the bubbly outdoor pool and watch the wildlife.

Armathwaite Hall is a grand country house hotel with a sympathetically designed modern spa extension. The spa makes the most of the stunning Lake District surroundings, with views onto Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw Mountain from the indoor pool, outdoor hydro pool and even the sauna. We love the post-treatment Hush Room and views over the woodland. With excellent spa facilities, lovely accommodation and good food, it's a perfect romantic getaway.

0344 826 6205

01666 827 070

01768 776 551

Ayush Wellness Spa at the Hotel de France

Bailiffscourt Spa

Bamford Haybarn

Ayush Wellness Spa has been created with nature in mind: beautiful stone and wood combine with open glass walkways. Dip in and out of the four pools, steam room and sauna before heading to the relaxation room. Spa treatments are based on 5,000-year-old Indian teachings of Ayurveda. Ayush is the perfect combination of authentic therapies and luxurious spa-ing; an extensive 1,600-square metre haven of tranquillity set within magnificent landscaped gardens.

Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa sits in a rural part of the Sussex countryside. The spa is built in the style of a Sussex barn, but with huge windows that allow you to gaze out from the indoor pool to the heated outdoor pool and gardens. The spa offers well-priced and excellent treatments from Temple Spa, and a raised spa lounge with a terrace over the pool. The 30 acres of grounds not only have a coastal view (give or take the odd hedge), but an ostentation of peacocks – which you might catch a glimpse of while bubbling away in the outdoor hot tub.

The rustic-chic Bamford Haybarn is a charming day spa that is part of Daylesford Organic Farm shops and cafes: an eco-luxe community. The Haybarn Spa has no water or thermal facilities – think more of a wellness retreat that cleverly creates the spa effect without any need to get wet. Treatments use products from the Bamford Body Collection, a line of botanical skincare all made in England. As well as indulgent treatments, the spa also offers a range of wellbeing activities including yoga, Pilates and meditation, to nurture your inner peace.

01903 723 511

01608 731 700

Aqua Sana Woburn Forest Bedfordshire


Aqua Sana Woburn Forest is a day spa in the heart of a Center Parcs holiday village. The modern glass and timber building takes up 7,600 square metres of space: that’s a lot of spa! The World of Spa has six spas for you to journey through: explore the fire and ice, blossom, herbal, sensory, mineral and gemstone, and salt spa areas. For chilling out, there's a Zen garden, plenty of double waterbeds with blankets and a fire relaxation room with loungers facing flickering flames.


01534 614 171

92 | Wellness |


West Sussex




Barnsley Spa and Skincare Centre

Brimstone Spa

Calcot Spa

Barnsley Spa and Skincare Centre is within the grounds of Barnsley House, a stylish Cotswolds hotel packed with character and countryside charm. The very private and petit spa has indoor thermal facilities, a heated outside hydrotherapy pool and a gorgeous relaxation room designed to bring the tranquillity of the Rosemary Verey gardens inside. There's a good range of spa treatments on the menu and a clinic which offers non-surgical cosmetic treatments, if you're looking for more dramatic results.

Natural materials combine with modern design in this newly-opened spa, which makes the most of its idyllic Lake District surrounds. Think burnished grey metallic tiles juxtaposed with reclaimed bricks and glimmering mosaics. Long windows in the al fresco sauna bring the woodland in, while the large modern outdoor pool with treetop views has a wood burning stove. Swim to an indoor pool with hydro jet beds. Couples can book a private treatment room and thermal suite – The Bubble – and experience a Venik treatment.

The beautifully-designed Calcot Spa is situated in a quiet corner of Calcot Manor's grounds in the Cotswolds. The highlight is the indoor pool flooded with natural light, while the neutral artwork and furnishings reflect the surrounding countryside. The outdoor courtyard is a special place to be: take a dip in the outdoor hot tub or lounge around the crackling open fire. Spa delights include Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates treatments and CACI facials. Calcot is an indulgent place to unwind.


01285 740 000

Carbis Bay Hotel and Spa

Lake District

01539 438 062


01666 890 391



Champneys Forest Mere

Champneys Tring

On the picturesque Cornish coastline, Carbis Bay Hotel has a dramatic spa setting. With pebble-lined walls, white-wash woods and cool furnishings, C-Bay Spa is a serene place for a seaside spa escape. The spa is set over two levels, each with views over the Atlantic Ocean. There's an outdoor pool and hot tub, sauna pod, relaxation lounge and a VIP treatment suite on the beach. The treatment menu uses Voya and Aromatherapy Associates products to deliver a range of holistic and beauty-based spa therapies.

Set within enchanting grounds, Champneys Forest Mere is a large destination spa with good quality facilities, including a swimming pool and whirlpool, and an alternative health clinic where you can experience healing therapies such as Reiki. The spa menu has over 90 treatments featuring Elemis, Decléor and Champneys products. Don't miss bathing in the thalassotherapy pool, rejuvenating mud treatments in the rasul, or stepping outside for a bubble in the Cedarwood hot tub.

01736 792 810

01428 726 000

Tring is Champney's flagship spa, a combination of glamorous stately home and holistic wellbeing. The extensive spa facilities are complemented by The Marine and Wellness Spa, which offers guests a range of water-based treatments using the recuperative qualities of seawater, algae and marine minerals. The spa menu has over 100 different types of treatments, from the traditional to the exotic, such as Reiki and Indian head massage. Champneys Tring also offers interesting and unusual treatments, retreats and boot camps.


01442 291 000


| 93


Cliveden Spa Berkshire

C-Side at Cowley Manor Gloucestershire

Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa Berkshire

Neoclassical mansion Cliveden House, once notorious for its celeb parties, is now a luxurious hotel. The beautifully refurbished spa is set in a walled garden brimming with roses and lavender. Treatments are performed on waterbeds using Oskia and Cliveden products. Book private yoga, Tai Chi or tennis sessions, or drape decadently around the hot tubs, pools, sauna and steam room. The heated outdoor pool, where Minister John Profumo first glimpsed actress Christine Keeler in 1961, is now listed – you can bathe in its infamy, however virtuous you may have been in the spa.

Cowley Manor is an impressive, quirky hotel in the rural Cotswolds. The glass-fronted C-Side Spa is an inspired piece of modern design, sunk into the hill to one side of the hotel. The slate-lined indoor pool and outdoor heated pool are a real treat, as are the relaxing treatments with Green and Spring products, created using the spring waters and herbs from the grounds of the hotel. Highlights include the pamper picnics, poolside bar and, if you're staying, fabulous bedrooms. Make time to check out the art work scattered around the grounds.

01628 668 561

01242 870 900

01635 551 188

Eastwell Manor a Champneys Spa Hotel

Eden Hall Day Spa

Eforea Spa at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Liverpool


This 450-year-old Neo-Elizabethan manor set in acres of verdant parkland is now a Champneys Spa Hotel. The Old Pavilion has been transformed into a modern spa, with a 20-metre indoor pool, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and 20 treatment rooms. Enjoy locally-sourced, healthy meals in the spa restaurant then curl up in the relaxation room with views of the North Downs. Feeling active? Champneys offer a range of exercise classes, or try tennis, croquet and falconry in the topiary gardens.

0843 224 1700 94 | Wellness |



Eden Hall is a grand mansion set within acres of luscious lawns and lavender-filled gardens. Once crammed with plants from the farthest corners of the empire, the huge conservatory is now a bright relaxation area. The large day spa has facilities inside and out: heat up in the thermal rooms, try the salt-water pool or watch the sunset from the outdoor hot tubs. Eden Hall does what it sets out to do very well – it's an accessible spa with keen pricing, quality treatments and good facilities.

01636 525 555

Donnington Valley is a large, modern hotel just near the M4. The surrounding Berkshire countryside makes it a quiet but accessible retreat. There's an 18-metre pool, steam room, sauna and aroma room downstairs, where the modern white design complements the bold artwork on the walls. Upstairs is a much more relaxed spa area decked out in cool, earthy tones. The good service, decadent treatments, peaceful upstairs area, and lovely terrace make for a very enjoyable spa day.


Eforea Spa is part of the Liverpool Doubletree Hilton Hotel in the heart of the vibrant city. The spa is small but, through some ingenuity and careful design, they've packed a lot in. Try the 10-metre relaxation pool, the bubbly vitality pool, red-coloured sauna and the glowing, berryscented steam room. We love the ‘transition’ room, a calm, cocooning space with subdued lighting and muted colours.

0151 556 1222


Elan Spa at Mallory Court Warwickshire

Hale Country Club and Spa Cheshire

K Spa at K West Hotel and Spa London

Just a few miles from Royal Leamington Spa, the secluded Elan Spa is next to the rose garden at Mallory Court Hotel. The spa, which opened in summer 2017, has a thermal retreat including a salt sauna and aromatherapy steam room, an indoor hydro pool, an outdoor vitality pool and an outdoor sauna. Preen in the nail boutique or exercise in the glamorous fitness suite. The spa, restaurant and bedrooms are in one selfcontained building so you can eat, sleep and live spa without having to step outside.

Hale Country Club and Spa is very chic with good facilities and excellent treatments – our Purva Karma was hypnotically good. The day spa has a thermal suite with a hemlock wood sauna, salt cave, Zen steam room, and fire and ice room. Lower yourself elegantly into the main indoor pool, then drift outside to the outdoor wellness pool overlooking the green lawns and Cheshire landscape. Treatments and experiences use ESPA, Babor and Jessica nails. This spa is a gem and well worth a visit.

01926 330 214

0161 904 5930

Lifehouse Spa and Hotel

Moddershall Oaks

Mottram Hall

Moddershall Oaks is a spa delight behind a surprisingly ordinary exterior. The facilities include two swimming pools (one indoor, one outdoor), saunas, a steam room, a deli and a cosy relaxation lounge with an open fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens. In the summer, the outdoors is delightful: lounge around the pool and order drinks from the spa butlers, before heading to the restaurant for dinner. You can also explore 70 acres of woodland and parkland on foot.

Mottram Hall is an attractive 18th Century country house hotel, set in 270 acres of Cheshire countryside. There’s a traditional indoor pool area with a sauna and steam, but head outside to the UK’s first Alfresco ThermoSpace with a mineral stonebath and a Brechelbath – quirky takes on thermal experience rooms. The Scandinavian-style spa garden is just right for catching some summer sun. It’s a lovely place to visit in the evening; sit in the warm bubbly whirlpool and gaze up at the stars.

01782 399 000

01625 828 135


Lifehouse is a contemporary spa set in English Heritage-Listed Thorpe Hall Gardens close to the pretty Essex town of Frinton-on-Sea. The spa has a large, dramatic pool area with grey, almost industrial pillars and huge twisted ropes decorating the walls. If you’re looking for cocooning quiet, try The Hidden Sanctuary for a more private experience. As well as traditional spa treatments, Lifehouse offers health and wellbeing consultations from resident specialists including fitness, life coaching, nutrition, weight loss and holistic therapies.

01255 860 050


The super-cool K Spa is set in a trendy hotel just off Shepherd’s Bush Green. It offers imaginative, exciting treatments and stylish, modern facilities. Have a great time exploring the thermal facilities with a group of friends, from the warmth of the sauna to the icicles in the Snow Paradise cabin. Bubble in the hydro pool, then kick back and relax in the private Relaks Room, or snooze on a sunken bed in the Sun Meadow. Musicians and media types flock here for its laid-back, funky atmosphere.

020 8008 6600



| 95


Norton House Hotel and Spa

Ockenden Manor Spa

PH₂O at Park House

Norton House Hotel and Spa is an elegant Georgian country house hotel just outside central Edinburgh. The spa itself is part of a modern cluster of buildings separate from the hotel. The facilities are perfect for a restful spa day; swim in the pool, brave the bucket shower and then bubble away in the hot tub. The customer journey is well thought out, and the treatments are excellent. The spa offers very good value-for-money and, on a sunny day, the Zen garden is a lovely suntrap.

The Elizabethan Ockenden Manor sits among nine acres of parklands and gardens in the West Sussex countryside. The dramatic, cubist spa structure contrasts and complements the historic hotel. The spa has a wealth of facilities including an indoor/outdoor pool, steam room, sauna and outdoor hot tub, and spa suites with serene views of the High Weald. Treatments are courtesy of British brand Elemental Herbology, with naturally effective and organic therapies to soothe, smooth and balance.

Park House is a smart country house surrounded by ten acres of peaceful grounds. PH₂O is a small but opulent spa in the most tranquil setting. Try the 15-metre mother-of-pearl lined indoor pool, sauna and steam room before drifting outside to the pool with lots of loungers. You can order food from the quirky poolside café, which serves drinks and light bites. A spa escape combines great treatments and luxurious facilities with the hotel’s impeccable customer service, peaceful accommodation and good food.

0131 333 6444

01444 449 191

01730 819 020

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

Rockliffe Hall

Rookery Hall Hotel and Spa

The original dedicated spa retreat, Ragdale Hall is a large, comfortable country house set in attractive gardens and grounds. The spa has quite a cult following. You’ll find good quality, well-priced treatments delivered by people who really know their stuff. The huge array of facilities on offer will have you visiting your favourites time and again. Gloriously, at Ragdale you can be as pampered or healthy as you like; enjoy a healthy meal or opt for cake and Champagne.

A red-brick five-star hotel with a huge, luxurious spa and staff on hand to tend to your every whim (within reason, of course). Indulge yourself in the thermal bathing suite – with its tepidarium, caldarium, sauna, tropicarium, hydro pool and ice fountain – or relax on the sound-wave therapy beds. Treatment rooms are lavish and offer a range of Neom, Caudalie and Comfort Zone treatments. The modern Spa Garden has an infinity edged outdoor pool, a concierge and an indoor relaxation space with fabulous views.



01664 434 831

96 | Wellness |


West Sussex

County Durham

01325 729 999

West Sussex


Rookery Hall is an elegant hotel set in picturesque Cheshire parkland. The wellequipped spa has a glass-roofed heated pool – perfect for enjoying the elements while swimming – heat facilities, a rasul, and two dedicated relaxation rooms. Elemis treatments are expertly delivered by well-trained staff. Make sure you try manicures and pedicures in the nail salon; floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the gardens. You might even catch a glimpse of happy rabbits bouncing around the grounds.

01270 615 604


Rudding Park

SenSpa at Careys Manor

Sofitel So SPA

Rudding Park is a Regency country house hotel close to the spa town of Harrogate. The spa, which opened in summer 2017, is split over three levels with glass walls to show off the beauty of the surrounding gardens. Inside, the spa has an indoor pool, juniper log sauna, rasul, and four ‘mind and sense zones’. Take time to visit the Roof Top Spa and Garden complete with a hydrotherapy infinity edge pool, a range of thermal experiences and a sun deck.

Why fly off to Thailand when you can enjoy authentic Thai flavours at the New Forest’s SenSpa? The Zen gardens, Thai food, therapists trained in Thailand and Thai décor create an authentic experience. The pools and thermal experiences are extensive: there’s a huge spa pool, whirlpool, herbal sauna, crystal steam room, ice room, laconium, tepidarium… we could go on! There are gentle nods to the spa in the attractive red-brick hotel which has two Thai Buddhas guarding the entrance.

Sofitel So SPA is a stylish hotel spa located in St James’ Park, London. Set over three floors, the spa is a little haven of French pampering set in the former banking hall of Cox’s and King’s. Décor is French chic – think sumptuous deep pinks and purples, silk drapes, candles, velvet upholstery and dark wood. Treatments are by Carita and Cinq Mondes, while facilities include a private hammam, Jacuzzi, hydro pool and chromotherapy bath. Stay for the delectable patisserie during afternoon tea.

01590 624 467

020 7747 2200

St Pierre Park Hotel Spa and Golf Resort

Stanley House Hotel and Spa

The newly-refurbished St Pierre Park Spa, set in 35 acres of manicured gardens on the picturesque island of Guernsey, is as modern as they come with a large and lovely outside space. Swim a couple of lengths in the indoor pool, soak up the award-winning gardens from the hot tub or eat lunch on the spa terrace. Inside, there’s a marbled steam room and volcanic sauna. Staying overnight? Check out the restaurant with its fine dining menu.

Located deep in the heart of Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, The Spa at Stanley House offers peaceful views of the area’s undulating hills from every aspect. The décor is cosy yet contemporary and the welcome is warm. The well-designed and cared-for facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, salt steam room and tepidarium beds – the majority with beautiful viewpoints. Stanley House is the only spa in the North West to offer treatments from brands Natura Bissé and ila.

North Yorkshire

01423 844 840

St Brides Spa Hotel Pembrokeshire

St Brides Spa Hotel is a stylish property with spectacular views over Carmarthen Bay. The hotel has been designed around its clifftop location with floor-to-ceiling windows in the restaurant, some hotel rooms and the spa. There are relaxation rooms, thermal facilities and marine-themed treatments, but the jewel in St Brides' crown is the infinity hydro pool where you can enjoy the warm water looking out over the beach and sea below; as stunning in the winter as it is in the summer.

01834 812 304



01642 706 634



01254 769 229


| 97


Stobo Castle Health Spa Peeblesshire

Stoke Park Spa Buckinghamshire

Swinton Country Club and Spa North Yorkshire

Set in the low hills of the Scottish borders, Stobo Castle is Scotland’s only destination spa. Guests sleep and eat in an historic crenelated castle, while a bright, modern extension at the back provides the setting for a luxurious, eco-friendly spa. The vast pool has a glass wall which overlooks the nearby hills. Try the thermal rooms (a large part is for ladies only) or head upstairs to the fitness facilities. Take a moment to relax in the outdoor hot tubs or the many relaxation spaces around the spa.

Where King Henry VIII honeymooned with Anne Boleyn, Stoke Park Spa is no ordinary affair. A stunning Palladian mansion set in an immaculate 300-acre estate, Stoke Park encompasses a five-star hotel with a 27-hole championship golf course, 13 tennis courts, a three AA rosette restaurant and a blissful spa. The spa lounge looking through a tropical fishtank to the swimming pool is the star of the spa. Outdoors in the pretty spa garden you will find a hydro pool and sauna. There’s also a 4,000 square foot gym.

01721 725 300

01753 717 172

01765 680 950

The Belfry Spa

The Coniston Spa

The Headland Spa

The Belfry is a luxurious golf resort set in over 500 acres of countryside, not far from Birmingham city centre. The stylish spa offers a range of ESPA treatments, a truly decadent relaxation room, and a finishing studio for nails and beauty. Head downstairs for the fire and ice experience: a spiral journey through a caldarium, igloo, two aroma steam rooms, a sanarium, a sauna and a hydrotherapy pool. The leisure club has a large, swimming pool, two whirlpools plus a diner-style café with an outdoor terrace.

The Coniston Hotel forms part of the Coniston Estate, near Skipton. The countryside setting makes this spa stand out: it overlooks rolling hills with a dramatic lake. The spa was purpose-built and opened in 2015 so the facilities are fresh and modern. There are three pools – a main swimming pool, whirlpool and outdoor infinity pool with lake views – as well as a sauna, steam room and salt room. Healthy eating is on the cards with a menu designed by celeb naturopath Elizabeth Peyton Jones.

This impressive red-bricked hotel with stunning views of Fistral Bay was the star of the film The Witches. The spa is below the first-floor reception, the pretty café lined with silver birch trees virtually spilling out onto the beach. There is an attractive thermal space with a heated pool, hot tub, spacious sauna and steam room with striped deck chairs for relaxing. You can enjoy Elemis, Natura Bissé and Natural Spa Factory treatments after a day by the seaside, or get muddy in the lovely rasul.

0800 043 6600 the

01756 748 080

01637 872 211

West Midlands

98 | Wellness |


North Yorkshire

A stylish new spa in a glorious location: 200 acres of landscaped parkland within a 20,000 acre estate in the Yorkshire Dales. The Country Club and Spa opened in July 2017 and offers Elemis and Bamford treatments. There’s an 18-metre indoor pool with windows overlooking the spa garden, a hydrotherapy pool, an aroma steam room and a Finnish sauna. Outside you’ll find a 10-metre pool with eco-friendly bio-filter waters. Try yoga, Pilates and mindful walks.



North Wales

The Mere Golf Resort and Spa The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel Cheshire

Kinspa, a few steps away from the hotel and set in acres of parkland, has a petit swimming pool, a large hydro pool with a swim-through waterfall overlooking a water garden, plus an aromatherapy sauna and steam room. Treatments use Elemis, NEOM and Willow Organic products, and food served in the Zen Lounge is Thai-themed. Post-treatment, head to the relaxation room with its stunning panoramic views for a delicious sorbet. There are even adult colouring books to calm your mind.

This elegant hotel and spa is a beautiful mix of old and new, with exposed brickwork and bright, modern design. At the heart of the spa facilities is a 25-metre pool and a vitality pool to massage your limbs with swan pipes and bubble jets. There is also a large hammam, aroma steam room, caldarium, salt-inhalation room and sauna. After a Carita or Aromatherapy Associates treatment, relax on the tepidarium beds, on the sun-drenched terrace, or snuggle up in the deep or light relaxation rooms.

01745 832 014

01565 830 155

01638 676 130

The Spa at Ramside

The Spa @ Suites Hotel

The Spa at the Midland

This bright and modern spa has a thermal suite with two saunas, two steam rooms, a caldarium and mud rasul. Embrace your inner mermaid and dip in and out of the five different pools: a 25-metre swimming pool, a balcony infinity pool, a hydro pool, and indoor and outdoor whirlpools. The 14 treatment rooms offer ESPA facials and body rituals, while groups can hire the Beauty Snug. Post-treatment, curl up in the soundwave therapy pods in the sleep sanctuary or relax in the spa garden.

The hotel and spacious spa are named after the design concept – suites instead of rooms. The Thermal Suite has a heat and ice journey featuring a double rasul chamber, sinann foot spa, rainforest showers and a crystal steam room. The Grand Relaxation Suite, decorated in gentle greys and lilacs, has vast beds with duvets where you can enjoy cakes and chocolatedipped strawberries. The spa offers Decléor and Carita treatments as well as packages for mums and daughters, and small groups of friends.

Escape the bustle of city life in this elegant spa with shimmering décor and gorgeous lighting. The highlight of The Spa at The Midland is the sumptuous relaxation room with four hanging pods, soft cocooning chairs, armchairs and three beds with duvets and pillows – perfect after your soothing ESPA treatment or more dramatic 3D Skintech facial. The wet facilities include a nine-metre relaxation pool, hot tub, alderwood sauna and steam room. Great for couples, friends and lucky locals.

0191 375 3088

0151 549 5400

0845 074 0064

The Kinmel and Kinspa

County Durham



Set in the grounds of a Georgian hotel, this tasteful spa is part of a dramatic glass structure housing the lovely hydrotherapy pool, so you can lie among the various bubble jets and gaze at the sky. There is also a glass-fronted sauna and steam room with hammam table, a rasul, an ice fountain and a decked roof terrace with a hot tub. Have an ESPA treatment, cocoon in the relaxation room and lunch in robes in the stylish Spa Lounge.



| 99


The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village

The Spa in Dolphin Square

The Woodland Spa

Ribby Hall Village is a five-star holiday village with a glamorous Spa Hotel. The thermal space is stunning: a vast glass structure overlooking the decked spa garden with its outdoor hot tub and sauna. At the centre is the large bubbling hydrotherapy pool surrounded by loungers and seven heat experiences, including an aroma steam room, herbal sauna, tepidarium, sanarium and Balinese salt inhalation room. The spa menu has Elemis, NEOM and ishga treatments.

A small but beautifully-formed and sumptuously luxurious day spa with Moroccan themed décor and treatments using La Sultane de Saba products. The heat facilities are booked as part of your programme or paid for separately, and include a hammam, rasul and a salt steam room. Relax on one of the mosaic-tiled tepidarium beds, head outside to the pretty courtyard in summer, or recline on luxurious day beds in the quiet relaxation area, nibbling dates and sipping Moroccan tea. Treatments are divine.

Just a few miles outside of Burnley, The Woodland Spa is a contemporary day spa backing on to 100 acres of Lancashire countryside. The Thermal Experience Journey includes a range of heat rooms, plus a hydrotherapy pool, outdoor infinity pool, and a tranquil serenity pool in a low-lit relaxation room. Décor is sleek but natural with glass, wood and natural hues giving a sense of space and light. There are three bedrooms and an apartment next to the spa if you want to extend your stay.

0207 798 6767

01282 471 913

Utopia Spa at Alexander House Hotel

Utopia Spa at Rowhill Grange

Verbena Spa

Set in 120 acres of gardens, woodland and Sussex parkland, the five-star Alexander House provides the setting for a tranquil countryside spa break. Utopia Spa has a calming, Grecianinspired interior, with a deep-blue swimming pool surrounded by temple-like pillars. Fittingly, treatments are from Mediterranean-inspired Temple Spa and natural and organics brand ila, with therapies on offer to soothe both your mind and body.

Rowhill Grange is an traditional country manor house with a spacious, classically-styled spa. The house dates back to 1868, and is set in acres of gardens and picturesque countryside. Utopia Spa has a Romanesque interior, with temple-like pillars and frescos of Italian landscapes around the therapeutic pool and upstairs swimming pool. Try the steam room or sauna before cooling off in the experience shower. Treatments are with Temple Spa, ila and facials-brand CACI, focussing on both inner and outer wellbeing.

The Feversham Arms is a former coaching inn, turned boutique hotel full of rustic charm. Its spa runs along one side of the courtyard dominated by an Italianate heated outdoor pool. The spa offers a wide range of Temple Spa treatments, has a stylish café, plus a vast, homely lounge with plump sofas, cosy blankets and bookshelves. Both areas have doors leading out onto a secluded decked terrace with a raised hot tub and pool. There’s also a small, hexagonal thermal area with five heat experiences.

01322 615 136

01439 772 930


01772 671 755

West Sussex

01342 714 914

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West Sussex


North Yorkshire


Weavers House Spa Suffolk

The historical Swan Hotel in the picturesque village of Lavenham is all oak-beams and huge open fires. Head along a path at the back and discover a beautiful modern spa in a delightful secret garden. Weaver’s House seems small, yet surprises with its use of space and light, managing to pack in a sauna, steam room, relaxing garden room and outdoor vitality pool on a pretty terrace. Treatments use Temple Spa and Jennifer Young products; afterwards, head to the cosy, dark relaxation room in the eaves.

01787 246 246

Y Spa at The Waterfront Hotel Bedfordshire

This stunning, modern spa is set in an otherwise unassuming leisure complex and is great value-for-money with an impressive treatment menu. The décor is all clean lines and contemporary colours. The many thermal facilities are spacious and quirky – the mirrors in the changing rooms are inscribed with ‘Forever Young’, the sauna is called Some Like it Hot, and there are fish tanks in the café walls. There’s something heavenly about the outdoor heated pool, especially on a cold day.

0333 7007 667

Spa at Ye Olde Bell Nottinghamshire

The 17th Century Ye Olde Bell hotel is steeped in history, a former coaching inn which once hosted Queen Victoria. The quirky spa, which opened in spring 2017, is split over two levels. The downstairs thermal facilities include a sauna, stonebath, laconium, steam bath, salt inhalation room, 10-metre indoor/outdoor pool, snowstorm experience and Sabbia Med light therapy room. The treatment and relaxation rooms are upstairs. Face and body treatments are by Spanish brand Germaine de Cappucini.

01777 705 121


Aqua Sana Elveden Forest

Aqua Sana Longleat Forest

Aqua Sana Whinfell Forest

This large Aqua Sana spa is deep within a Center Parcs complex in a beautiful Suffolk forest. Two floors offer a fabulous thermal journey set around a 15-metre hydro pool in the spa courtyard. There are a variety of themed steam rooms, saunas and meditation rooms, and a lovely Zen garden with a four-poster day bed. After your Decléor or Elemis treatment and lunch in the café, have a snooze on one of the waterbeds on a balcony high in the trees and drift away, listening to birdsong.

This Center Parcs spa is nestled in a valley in the lovely Longleat Estate in Wiltshire. The World of Spa is a huge array of thermal facilities and experience rooms from across the globe, including a Balinese multi-steam bath, Tyrolean and Finish saunas, and Turkish hammam. Treatments use Decléor and Elemis products. The post-treatment room has soothing views of the towering Redwood trees. Soak in the warm, circular outdoor spa pool at night, where twinkling stars peek out from the treetops.

Whinfell’s impressive Aqua Sana is set on one level within Lake District woodland, and offers Elemis and Decléor treatments. Outside is a small swimming pool, a large hydrotherapy pool with lots of bubble stations and a Zen garden. Inside, your spa journey takes you through a laconium, Greek herbal bath, Japanese salt steam bath, Balinese and Indian blossom steam room, Tyrolean sauna and Turkish hammam. The quiet zone with heated floor has waterbeds to relax on.

0344 826 6205

0344 826 6205

0344 826 6205





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Beau Monde Salon and Spa Northumberland

Bicester Hotel, Golf and Spa Oxfordshire

Brandshatch Place Hotel and Spa Kent

Opened in July 2016, Beau Monde is a stylish modern day spa and hair salon, part of the family-run Stablewood Leisure complex. The 11-metre pool, with its gleaming aquamarine mosaic tiles, is set in a double-storey barn complete with beamed ceilings and large windows. There’s a steam room and sauna, while the relaxation room has a faux fire and fake fur rugs. Enjoy a Temple Spa treatment and afternoon tea served in the Quiet Room overlooking the pool.

Set in 134 acres of countryside and surrounded by 11 lakes, The Forest of Wellbeing Spa is part of a larger health complex offering a range of Germaine de Capuccini face and body treatments. The main wet area features a 20-metre swimming pool with views onto the grounds, a large hydro pool, Jacuzzi and thermal facilities. The private spa garden, with its large hot tub and loungers, and the tranquil relaxation room provide soothing spaces to chill out in.

01668 212 250

01869 241 204

01642 706 634

Carden Park

Champneys Henlow

Champneys Springs

Carden Park is a golfers’ paradise in the Cheshire countryside. The light and spacious two-storey spa offers ESPA treatments alongside a pool, thermal facilities and two relaxation areas with tropical fish tanks. The 20-metre swimming pool is the hub of the spa with a sauna, steam room, monsoon showers and warm hydrotherapy pool with swan fountain. There are ESPA and Jennifer Young treatments, plus two relaxation rooms: one dark for snoozing, the other light for reading.

Champneys Henlow is set within a Georgian manor in Bedfordshire. The spa is surrounded by 150 acres of parkland next to a flowing river, running weir and romantic gardens – take the snowdrop walk and keep an eye out for deer, ducks and ducklings. Highlights include a huge range of fitness and wellness classes, the restaurant with its nutritious buffet and comfy outdoor terrace, a bright 25-metre main pool area, and delightful garden conservatory with board games and books.

This Champneys spa is surrounded by water walkways and open parkland. You can enjoy over 80 therapies using Decléor, Elemis and Champneys' own products, as well as more unusual treatments such as Reiki and bamboo massage. Facilities include a 25-metre indoor swimming pool with sauna and steam room, an equally-large seasonal outdoor pool, and warm whirlpool. You can book the thalassotherapy pool for up to 12 people, and after all your hard spa-ing, chill out in the quiet zone.

01829 731 000

01462 811 111

0843 316 2222


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An elegant red-brick mansion in the Garden of England, Brandshatch Place is a four-star hotel with a modern spa and health club near the race course of the same name. Brandshatch Place offers a satisfying mix of gym, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and heat rooms, professional treatments and comfortable chill-out areas. If you visit on a sunny day, head to the rooftop terrace and soak up the sun. Expect excellent customer service and good food.



ESYA Spa at Retallack Restort

Foxhills Club and Resort

Fawsley Hall

The EYSA Spa (Cornish for 'with ease') is part of this upscale family-friendly, self-catering holiday village in the Cornish countryside near Padstow. Deliver the kids to The Den crèche, then grab some much-needed rest on loungers around the 15-metre pool or in the dark gold and brown relaxation room. Guests can also enjoy a bubbly hydro pool, a eucalyptus-infused stream room and wooden sauna. Choose from a range of Elemis treatments and beauty finishing touches.

Set in 400 acres of leafy Surrey countryside, Foxhills resort centres on an ivy-clad 18th Century hotel, with cottages, outdoor pools and three golf courses. The spa is part of the more modern health club but has its own romantic walled garden with an outdoor sauna, Jacuzzi and natural freshwater pool. Escape the golfers with a luxurious Sultane de Saba or Elemis treatment, then lounge by the bright indoor pool with its striking mural and view of the garden.

Historic Fawsley Hall is tucked away in the rolling Northamptonshire countryside overlooking a peaceful lake. The spa is in a separate renovated coach house. Guests can enjoy a quiet relaxation room with lots of snuggly blankets, a 17-metre pool, steam room, sauna, an outdoor hot tub where you can soak up the fresh air. There’s a conservatory area and compact kitchenette with hot and cold drinks and sweet treats.

01637 882 430

01932 704 555

01327 892 020

Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa

Headlam Hall

Holm House Hotel Spa

The Grand Jersey is a classic hotel on the esplanade in St Helier, overlooking the bay and Elizabeth Castle. The spa is in the basement and offers Elemis treatments in an oasis of calm. The relaxation room has six sumptuous cream loungers with velvet throws – help yourself to home-made cakes. The 15-metre pool has underwater lights creating ripples on the ceiling. There is also a Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and two experience showers. Enjoy lunch in the Champagne Bar with sea views.

Standing in four acres of romantic walled gardens, Headlam Hall is a 17th Century grey stone house with a separate modern spa. There’s a 15-metre indoor pool, sauna and steam room, and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool which is steamy even during the coldest days. After your Elemental Herbology or Thalgo treatment, have lunch in the small, bright brasserie overlooking the gardens and golf course. You can also grab a hot drink in the spa lounge with its cosy log-burning stove.

Holm House Hotel is a former Arts-and-Craftsstyle mansion on a clifftop in Penarth, South Wales, with views over the Bristol Channel. The spa is small but pretty, with white walls and soft grey and teal furnishings. There is a 15-metre hydro pool, a hot steam room with soothing purple lights, and a relaxation lounge with French doors opening onto a sun terrace with garden views. We loved the customer service, treatments using Sultane de Saba products and the coastline setting.

01642 706 634

01325 730 238

02920 713 502




County Durham




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Inside Spa

L’Horizon Hotel and Spa

Lion Quays Hotel and Spa

This small day spa in a leisure centre is a hidden gem full of Eastern promise, offering Germaine de Capuccini and CACI treatments. The reception area doubles as a café and glitters with lanterns, Buddha statues and jewel-hued décor. Thermal facilities are softly lit and include a vitality hydro pool, four foot spas, a gentle herbal sauna, a vitality sauna and a hot aroma steam room. Cool off in the experience showers or ice fountain, have fun in the mud chamber then chill out in the Asian-inspired relaxation room.

Built in 1850, L’Horizon is right on St Brelade’s Bay, one of the most beautiful of Jersey’s beaches. The health club has a beachside 15-metre pool, Jacuzzi, small sauna and steam room. The large and buzzy spa brasserie is on the same floor, overlooking both the pool and beach. Head upstairs to the shiny Elemis spa with a chic little nail bar, treatment rooms and two stylish relaxation rooms: a dark post-treatment sleep room with headphones, and a large light chill out space.

Lion Quays is a modern resort on the Welsh border. The spa is in a huge red-brick building with a bright reception and metal lion sculpture. The thermal area has a wonderful pebble-edged hydro pool, emerald steam room, wooden sauna and a snow cave – great fun if you dare. Head through a door to a 25-metre pool and Jacuzzi. After a Decléor treatment, doze in the dark relaxation area or read in the brighter one. In summer, lunch outside and watch barges and ducks drift by.

01282 661 735

01642 706 634

01691 684 300

Lygon Arms Hotel

Mandara Spa at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge

New Hall Hotel and Spa

Find serenity in the heart of bustling tourist London in this subterranean spa with Asianinspired treatments. The star of the wet and thermal facilities is the perfectly heated 15-metre swimming pool. This gently-lit area is painted in soft greys with bamboo, orchids and poolside loungers. There’s a hot wooden sauna, darker steam room and a waterfall shower to cool off. The treatment area has an orange-lit bamboo and glass forest, and the relaxation room has Japanese Shoji screens.

New Hall is believed to be the oldest moated house in England, with a beautifully preserved Medieval tower and covered drawbridge. The red-bricked spa has a sauna, steam room and a 14-metre swimming pool with southwest facing latticed windows that look over the hotel’s pristine gardens. There is no relaxation room, but after a Comfort Zone treatment you can recline on loungers by the bubbling Jacuzzi with Greek-style columns. Enjoy lunch in the two AA Rosette restaurant, Bridge, or the casual Terrace Lounge and Bar.




Surrounded by idyllic Cotswold countryside, the Lygon Arms is a former coaching inn. The pretty spa is set in three acres of private gardens, its highlight being a decked roof terrace with wicker cushioned recliners and hanging cocoon chairs to snuggle up in. There’s a 13-metre indoor pool with a retractable roof for summer, a spa bath, male and female saunas, and a eucalyptus scented steam room. After an Oskia or Decléor treatment, enjoy lunch in the Spa Kitchen and Bar or cosy up around a roaring fire in the historic hotel.

01386 852 255

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020 7620 7300


Sutton Coldfield

01642 706 634


Nutfield Priory Hotel and Spa Surrey

A warm and friendly spa in the grounds of the grand Victorian Nutfield Priory Hotel. There’s a 14-metre pool, Jacuzzi and sauna, plus a spacious mosaic steam room. Sunny day? Head through attractive French doors and lie on a lounger in the pretty spa garden. The more active are well served with exercise classes, a gym, squash court and training zone. There are two relaxation rooms (one light, one dark), and a spa restaurant with views of the Surrey Downs.

01642 706 634

Salcombe Harbour Hotel and Spa

Santai Spa Resorts World

A stylish, cosy hotel with a basement spa. The striking 15-metre pool is tiled in blue and gold, with huge windows along one side that open onto a pretty garden – you can see the beautiful Kingsbridge Estuary as you swim. Alongside the pool are five cabana areas with sofa seating, divided by white curtains. There’s a sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool, too. After your ESPA treatment, relax in the Pebble Room, decorated in shades of soft pebble grey.

On the outskirts of Birmingham, you’ll find Santai Spa within the large, modern and chic Genting Hotel. Think atmospheric lighting, dark shimmering colours and floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing cityscape views. Float around the 15-metre pool, relax on a heated pool lounger, try the salt cave and sauna, then get some fresh air in the outdoor hot tub overlooking Pendigo Lake. Treatments are luxurious and pampering or targeted and medi-spa.


01548 844 444


0121 273 1050

Smallshaw Farm Cottages and Spa

Spa by Kasia at The Grosvenor Pulford Hotel

Spa Sirène

Perched high on the edge of the Peak District National Park is Smallshaw Farm, a cluster of 17th Century York stone barns with slate roofs transformed into neat and inviting cottages. Once a dairy farm, Smallshaw is now a sumptuous self-catering retreat with a day spa located in a lovingly-converted and extended cowshed. Resist the temptation to explore the 700 acres of grounds and head to the spa to sample the Himalayan, herbal and panoramic saunas, aroma steam room, rasul and foot baths.

Spa by Kasia is found within the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel's beautifully landscaped grounds, just outside Chester’s historic city centre, and a stone’s throw from the border of Wales. The spa is hushed and calm with a 15-metre indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. The spa has a stunning Asian Sensory Garden with a cosy summerhouse; perfect after Elemis treatments. Relax in either the Tranquillity Zone, The Penchant Snooze Room or The Waterfall Lounge.

The petit and stylish Spa Sirène can be found in the basement of The Royal Yacht, one of Jersey’s oldest and most sociable hotels. The pools and facilities, huge changing rooms stocked with Aromatherapy Associates products, and warm and friendly staff make it a popular place to recharge. Around the 12-metre swimming pool you’ll find a large hydrotherapy pool, a hot glass-fronted sauna, foot spas, two steam rooms and a cosy and quiet relaxation room with warm tepidarium beds.


01226 767 506


01244 572 199


01534 615 425


| 105


Spa Verta

Spread Eagle Spa

Thai Square Spa

Spa Verta is a stylish spa set within the super-chic Crowne Plaza Hotel in Battersea, just across the river from Chelsea Harbour. Changing rooms are roomy and spotless with ESPA products to try. Facilities include a sauna, steam room with twinkly ceiling lights and sanarium, as well as a large hydrotherapy pool to bubble away any post-work tension. The relaxation room is as sumptuous as the hotel, and you can enjoy a gastro-pub style lunch overlooking the Thames and hotel heliport.

The Spread Eagle is an historic property in the middle of a picturesque Sussex market town. The hotel has all the traditional touches – from oak-beams to lead-lined windows and an inglenook fireplace. The spa is a modern addition, offering Temple Spa treatments and a bright pool area, with a beamed ceiling and doors opening onto a pretty spa garden. Indoors, there’s a secluded whirlpool and small steam room and sauna. Enjoy lunch in robes in the bright and airy conservatory.

Thai Square Spa is a luxurious day spa that offers a genuine Thai experience in the heart of Westminster. You will find a fabulous range of exotic Thai treatments performed by attentive, expertly trained Thai therapists in ornate surroundings. There’s a sauna, Jacuzzi, Himalayan salt room, rasul and post-treatment relaxation area. Our Golden Maharani Facial was absolutely divine – we walked out of the treatment room with clear and glowing skin.

020 7801 3500

01730 819 829

The Clearing Spa at The Cornwall Hotel

The Club and Spa at Cadbury House

The Club and Spa at The Cube

The Clearing Spa is surrounded by 43 acres of woodland in the heart of a picturesque Cornwall estate. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the spa with light and showcase the walled garden. The infinity pool is the star of the show and is big enough to swim, or simply float about and nature watch. There is a steam room, sauna, a cosy relaxation room and five therapy rooms offering Aromatherapy Associates treatments. Lunch is nutritious and delicious.

Just 30 minutes from Bristol city centre, Cadbury House is set in acres of woodland with panoramic views overlooking the Bristol Channel. The purpose-built Club and Spa is glass-fronted with curved, cream brick walls and modern facilities inside and out. Set on three floors, there's an outdoor hot tub, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and relaxation zone with hanging pods and loungers. Try treatments from Elemis, Pevonia and Jessica nails.

In the Mailbox district of Birmingham, The Club and Spa is a prestigious health club and day spa set in a 25-storey city centre landmark known as The Cube. The spa offering has a sequence of wet and dry thermal rooms, a vitality pool with jets and waterfalls, a floatation tank, rasul, Himalayan salt room, steam room, two saunas – one traditional, one hot kelo – and a range of Elemis and Heaven by Deborah Mitchell treatments. Great for friends and city-breakers.

01726 807 576

01934 834 343

0121 643 2200

West Sussex



106 | Wellness |




020 7839 7990



The Day Spa at Whittlebury Hall

The Malvern View Spa at The Bank House

The runnymede-on-thames

If fun is what you’re looking for, Whittlebury Hall’s day spa is a great choice. This selfcontained day spa is in a separate wing from the popular hotel. The main attraction is the heat and ice experience with hydrotherapy pool, hot and cold thermal rooms and experience showers, but there’s also a sizeable swimming pool and classes available in the exercise studio. This is a very good-value spa, deservedly popular with locals and groups of friends.

Near Great Malvern, The Bank House is ideally located equidistance from Birmingham’s business heart and The Cotswold’s countryside; perfect for work and play. The Malvern View Spa offers Temple Spa treatments in rooms overlooking landscaped gardens and the Malvern Hills. Lounge by the indoor pool, relax in the thermal suite, sunbathe on the panoramic terrace or pamper in the Champagne nail bar and pedicure station.

01327 850 489

01886 834 834

Waterbabies will love this bright, contemporary spa attached to a modern hotel on the banks of the River Thames. Inside, there’s an 18-metre indoor pool and whirlpool; outside there’s a large pool, only open during the summer. The spa also has a huge eucalyptus-infused steam room and a hot traditional sauna to relax your limbs before enjoying Guinot or ESPA treatments. In the changing rooms, you will find a women’s only sauna with a plunge pool. Great for swimmers and spa-ing with friends.

The Spa at Cameron House

The Spa at Cotswold House Hotel

The Spa at The Kings Head Hotel

The charming spa at Cotswold House Hotel is set in a converted coach house at the end of a pretty hotel garden. The spa is petit, but the small size allows top notch customer service. Try the bright thermal space with its large, warm hydrotherapy pool and doors leading out to a secluded veranda. Relax on comfortable loungers where you can order poolside smoothies, coffees and even spa lunch. There is also a bright post-treatment relax room.

In the heart of historic Cirencester, this boutique hotel is very Cotswolds chic, with the spa set in a series of vaulted rooms that once made up the cellars. Modern twists adorn the Cotswold limestone paired with soft, muted textiles and ambient lighting. The spa has a good selection of treatments using Decléor and Leighton Denny products. There is a delightful wet zone with colour-changing Jacuzzi, infra-red sauna and emerald-hued steam room.

01386 840 330 bespokehotels/cotswoldhouse

01285 702 902



On the banks of Loch Lomond, a drive away from the hotel, this is a spa with a view. Relax in the caldarium and gaze at the Scottish hills, or watch birds fly past from the rooftop infinity pool. There is a main 20-metre pool and Jacuzzi on one level, but head upstairs for a variety of heat and ice experience rooms. We loved the big, circular hydro pool with bubbles, swanpipes and countryside views, and the spectacular rooftop infinity pool – a glorious suntrap in the height of summer.

01389 310 777




01784 220 964



| 107


The Spa at Roe Park

The Spa at Sopwell House

Thermae Bath Spa

Roe Park is a Georgian country house hotel with 18-hole golf course on the dramatic Inishowen Penisular. The spa and leisure club are in converted stables at the back of the hotel. Downstairs is a 20-metre pool with a steam room, sauna and raised Jacuzzi overlooking the gardens. Head upstairs to the cosy, welcoming spa offering a range of Elemis treatments. The luxurious relaxation room has private areas for cosying up with a magazine or loved one, and a meditation area with a water feature.

A whitewashed Georgian manor turned stylish country hotel popular with the St Albans set. The centrepiece of the spa is the almost Japanese pool area, with a 14.5 metre pool, whirlpool, kids’ pool and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the delightful grounds. Head up the steps to the thermal area, and after a sauna, steam and shower, relax on the heated tepidarium bench or grab some sun in the spa garden. The petit but chic spa offers ESPA and Clarins treatments.

Thermae Bath Spa, in the centre of historic Bath, is a tourist attraction in its own right. The New Royal Bath is an award-winning blend of modern glass and classic Bath stone. The spa and its two main pools are hugely popular; there’s also a floor dedicated to thermal experience rooms. If you can’t stand the crowds, book into the Cross Bath just across the street from the main spa, which offers a quiet and peaceful place to dip into Bath's thermal waters.

01727 750 427

01225 331 234

Wildmoor Spa and Health Club

Wynyard Hall


028 7776 2929

The St Davids Hotel and Spa Cardiff


The St Davids Hotel and Spa is a dramatic modern building right on the waterfront of Cardiff Bay. The Marine Spa is also very modern with clear, clean white space. There is a cosy relaxation space and The Wave Bar where you will have lunch. The light-filled wet experiences are the star of the show, with a 15-metre pool, a large hydrotherapy pool with views of the marina and a 'water corridor' to explore. One of the few spas in the UK where you can swim while watching yachts sail by...

02920 454 045

108 | Wellness |



Wildmoor is a vibrant, modern day spa in the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon, perfectly located for the Midlands, the Cotswolds, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. The rather swanky health club has great spa facilities, including a 20-metre pool, a bubbly hydrotherapy pool, herbal sauna, crystal steam room, caldarium and experience showers. Treatment rooms are serene and quiet: try Elemis facials and body treatments.

01789 299 666


Tees Valley

Wynyard Hall is a rather grand affair, set in acres of landscaped grounds. The spa is in a separate building, a converted boathouse on the shores of the lake, a short walk from the hotel. Unwind in the thermal suite including a herbal sauna and salt inhalation room, try a Temple Spa treatment then step outside to the spa terrace which has two bubbly hot tubs overlooking the serene lake. Book into one of the four cottages in the grounds with private hot tubs.

01740 644 811



Lamphey Court

Spa Experience Kensington

Spa Experience Wimbledon

Set in Pembrokeshire National Park, two miles from the wild and beautiful coast, Lamphey Court is an impressive Georgian hotel with a new spa and leisure club next door. Huge oval shaped windows let the light flood in. There is a hairdressing salon and gym, and a 14-metre swimming pool with views over the terrace, tennis courts and fields. Thermal experiences include a Jacuzzi, aromatic steam room and herbal sauna, while four therapy suites offer Elemis and unusual signature treatments.

An affordable day spa in Kensington Leisure Centre, Spa Experience by Better Wimbledon aims to be inclusive and friendly, with a funky Zen design. The thermal facilities include an aroma steam room, sauna, ice fountain, a hydrotherapy pool and monsoon shower. After, relax on day beds in the relaxation area with infused water and fresh fruit on hand. There’s an impressive range of treatments on offer from Sultane de Saba, Elemis, Murad, as well as nails with Essie and Fake Bake tans.

A bright and modern day spa in the red brick 1901 building of Wimbledon Leisure Centre, Spa Experience offers affordable luxury and a wide range of over 50 treatments. You can book traditional thermal therapies, beauty treatments, facials and massages or packages for couples and friends. The thermal area is set in the historic bath house, with high ceilings and windows letting in lots of light. There you will find a raised Jacuzzi, tepidarium bench, hammam, sauna, ice fountain and experience showers.

01646 673 108

020 3793 8220

020 8540 9419

The Goodwood Hotel

Ufford Park

Wood Hall Hotel and Spa

Set in the heart of the West Sussex countryside, ideally positioned for the racecourse of the same name, The Goodwood Hotel screams British luxury. The Waterbeach Treatment Rooms has a relaxation lounge, four treatment rooms and a tanning cubicle. The health club has a 14-metre pool, sauna and steam room, a Jacuzzi and lots of loungers where you can sit back and relax. We love the sociable mix of hotel pool, informal cafe and bright, calm relaxation lounge.

Ufford Park is a large purpose-built complex on 120 acres of parkland, just outside the pretty Suffolk town of Woodbridge. The health club facilities include a 15-metre pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub, but step through to the spa area for a more peaceful experience. The quieter facilities – only available for spa guests – include a white-mosaic hydro pool, sauna, mineral grotto, aroma steam room and an ice bowl for the brave. The spa also offers quality Babor treatments.

Wood Hall Hotel and Spa is a tranquil country house set on top of a hill with views of the West Yorkshire countryside. The compact spa with a pool, steam room and two treatment rooms is tucked away in a new wing to the side of the main house. Relax and stay overnight in modern rooms with traditional features, enjoy strolls through the 100 acre grounds and dine in the two AA rosette restaurant.

01243 520 156

01394 386 871


West Sussex





01642 706 634


| 109




uxury wellness retreats are as mandatory among celebrity health gurus and influencers as super greens. What could be more enjoyable (and Instagramable) than starting each morning with a sunrise yoga session overlooking the ocean, followed by a workout on a balmy beach? Jamaica Inn’s old school charm and discretion appeals to high achievers and burned out executives. Marilyn, Sir Winston, TS Eliot and Kate Moss have all stayed here. Bond creator Ian Fleming ordered a martini, shaken not stirred, at the bar.

Jamaica Inn has long played host to the rich and famous, from Marilyn to Kate Moss, Churchill to Branson. We sent Karen Hockney to try their new Wellness Retreat.

The Wellness Week Retreat has been running for the last five years, with plans for another next summer. Each day is First impressions You know Jamaica Inn is going to be luxurious bookended by yoga and meditation, spanning the disciplines of pranayama, from the moment you arrive. Located vinyasa, slow flow and Hatha yoga. This is on Jamaica’s north coast in Ocho Rios, a complemented by HIIT sessions, like Jonny’s 90-minute drive from Kingston, the hotel Bingo Wing Blast and Bikini Burn, and Em’s consistently features in the top 10 Caribbean resorts, winning Best Hotel in the Caribbean at Furey Fitness and Booty Burn, which were the 2016 World Spa Awards. It feels more like not for the fainthearted. The 30-40 minute sessions meant you staying at a friend’s grand beach house than a could give it your all and push yourself out of five-star hotel. your comfort zone. Beginners might struggle, Built in 1950 and run by the Morrow but by day three I was puffing less and could family for the last six decades, the low-rise feel my fitness levels and recovery rates blue and white suites run the circumference improving. After a decadent summer, this of Jamaica Inn's private beach Cutlass Bay, was just what my body needed. accessible only via the hotel or by boat. A small pool sits in front of the beach and the beautifully manicured grounds include a Tell us about the treatments croquet lawn where you can learn to play Small but beautifully situated in jungleunder the tutelage of resident expert Rupert. like vegetation on the cliffs, the rustic In keeping with the home from home vibe, the open-air Ocean Spa is crafted from dark hotel’s black labrador, Shadow IV, roams freely, wood, stone and bamboo. It offers three happily clambering onto your paddleboard or treatment rooms which are completely joining you in the waves for a swim. open on one side, facing the ocean. Ocean Spa uses Naniki Naturals products, locally made by Rina Smith, a What’s on offer Canadian who has lived in Jamaica for 32 We stayed in one of 48 colonial-influenced years. Her shea body butter and Jamaican beach house bedrooms, with thick wooden brown sugar and coffee body scrub smell, louvre slats instead of windows, and a and feel, divine. verandah the size of a Wandsworth back I chose a jet-lag busting Aroma Massage garden filled with fragrant jasmine. with tangerine from a wide choice of Antique Jamaican dark wood furniture locally-blended oils including eucalyptus, complements the light stone floors; original Art Deco lights and mosaic mirrors add flair to peppermint, rosemary, grapefruit, lavender and lemongrass. the bathrooms. If you want up-to-the-minute My charming therapist, Charlene, technology, don't come here – there are no TVs, radios or even kettles in the rooms. It’s all sprayed my hands and feet with a peppermint cleansing spray and rubbed part of switching off. 110 | Wellness |


them with a hot towel before applying oil, and the perfect amount of medium pressure to my legs, back, neck, arms, face and head. The sound of raindrops above me and lapping waves below was wonderfully soothing.

Food facts

Breakfast at the hotel's only restaurant, Shanti, is hearty and satisfying. Choices range from the national dish of salt fish and ackee – a type of tropical fruit – to scrambled eggs, porridge and eggs benedict. Fruits such as papaya, mango, watermelon and pineapple are carved into edible works of art. Order a coconut water and someone will shin up a tree, pick you a coconut, slice off the top and serve it with a straw. A light lunch menu of Greek dips, veggie and Caesar salads is available, while dinner tends towards typically Jamaican dishes like blackened jack fish with jerk sauce, grilled sea bass, spicy prawn jambalaya and goat curry. It's pretty easy to go dairy- and glutenfree here, although you will need cast iron willpower to resist the home-made banana bread straight out of the oven. Planters Punch is offered to all guests late morning on the beach, making it very tempting to start cocktail hour before lunch... not a great idea if you have a workout looming!

Who would like it?

High flyers and entrepreneurs in search of a switch off, as well as those who love a bit of old school glamour.

Don’t miss

• The baby turtles at Oracabessa beach, where game warden Mel digs out the newly hatched turtles and allows you to wash them before setting them free on the sand. • Lunch at Stush in the Bush, an amazing organic farm in the hills which specialises in farm-to-table vegan cuisine. WM Room rates at Jamaica Inn start from £245 per night for a Superior Balcony Suite, based on double occupancy and excluding breakfast. Dates and prices for the 2018 Wellness Week will be available at:



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W H AT Y O U R T H E R A P I S T WO N ’ T T E L L YO U Ever wondered what is really going on in the mind of your spa therapist? We convinced one to spill all…


ew therapists quickly realise that every client has different needs, and some are more demanding than others. Requests can range from extra blankets to being asked to massage in-between someone’s toes – and that’s not the strangest one I’ve had… One summer, I was working in a hotel spa. Everything was going smoothly and, at the end of a busy day, I went to collect my final client’s consultation card. She was booked in for a 60-minute massage, and I was expecting another plain-sailing treatment. I checked the medical conditions on the consultation card and saw there was nothing of concern. The guest also had the option to tick areas of the body they would like me to focus on: again, nothing out of the ordinary. She had ticked her glutes (aka bottom) but that’s quite common. When I checked to make sure that she signed the form, however, I saw at the bottom of the page she had scribbled PTO with an arrow. I turned over… The top of the page was titled REQUESTS and as my eyes scanned the A5 piece of paper I struggled to see a blank space. There were eight numbered instructions. As I made my way down the list the requests got more bizarre. I was determined to meet them all, so like a superhero therapist, I attached my invisible cape and began to read:



That’s fine, nothing an extra blanket can’t solve. 2 I WOULD LIKE WATER BEFORE


Where had she been before? That is standard practice.



We will see about that…



Something I pride myself on.



Scented oil… check.



No problem.



Yes, your majesty.


Wait, what?!


112 | Wellness |


Okay, I would like to think I am good at my job, but holding my breath for a 60-minute full body massage? I could only hope that she meant she didn’t want to hear me breathing, rather than stop breathing entirely. I took a deep breath (possibly my last one for 60 minutes), put on my biggest smile and made my way to the relaxation lounge to collect my guest for her treatment. I called her name, and a lady with sandy blonde hair held up with a clip, very tanned skin and a handful of rings stood up and made her way towards me. I shook her hand and handed her a glass of water. Request 2, done. We went through to the treatment room and she asked if I had seen her requests. I told her that I had, and not to worry; I had them all covered. I made sure I covered her with an extra blanket, I let her smell and pick a scented oil, then during the massage I applied firm pressure to her buttocks – and I wiped her large diamond rings after I performed the hand and arm massage. I’m afraid that I did breathe during my treatment, but I had a trick up my sleeve that muffled the sound: a mask. Not one with a funny face, but the kind surgeons use to prevent germs spreading. We used them for spray tans, so luckily, I had some to hand. I had no idea if it would work, but once on, I realised it was extremely effective. And of course, my client had her eyes closed so didn’t realise what I was wearing. I finished the treatment and, quickly removing the mask, went to fetch a glass of water for my client, mentally checking I had met all her requests. As far as she knew, I didn’t breathe once. Mission impossible accomplished. Best of all, she even broke her own rules and bought the body lotion I advised. WM Lauren Batchelor from Derbyshire won The Good Spa Guide writing competition – run in association with the Spa and Wellness Management Course at the University of Derby – in August 2017.

A UNIQUE ART of Enhancing Beauty


Inspired by the


Chosen by the World’s best Spas...

To find your nearest Thalgo Spa please visit or contact us on T: 020 7512 0872 Thalgo UK



Wellness Magazine Autumn/Winter 2017  

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Wellness magazine presenting an exciting range of features, news and expert articles on all things spa...

Wellness Magazine Autumn/Winter 2017  

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter issue of Wellness magazine presenting an exciting range of features, news and expert articles on all things spa...