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Review: Ushvani Spa, London

THE SPA: Ushvani Spa is a hidden oasis of tranquillity in a listed terrace building in the heart of London’s Chelsea. Dark wood abounds throughout the spa which suits the South East Asian theme. Blending a holistic approach to clients with a mix of Asian inspired treatments, it had an authenticity that many “eastern” spas in the UK can’t match. The spa has a host of quality facilities including four treatment rooms – but guys – you can’t access most of them. You can have a treatment and use the tea relaxation room, but the water and thermal suite is out of bounds. For the ladies you can enjoy full access to these: spa pool, steam room and relaxation room. THE TREATMENT: The Ushvani Warming Herbal Ritual was created especially for winter, to warm and comfort the body and soul. And it certainly does. Fragrant (thanks to the oils and herbal compresses) this is truly Oriental and perfect on a cold winter’s day. Inspired by movements from traditional Nuad Bo-Rarn Thai massage, Thai reflexology and …

Escape to Bath for an early spa break

Bath is renowned for its spa history and has been a centre of well-being since Roman times.  The main attraction is the Thermae Bath Spa and of course a huge number of fabulous spa hotels to choose – it makes a perfect wellness break. There’s much excitement this year about the Spring opening of the GainsboroughBath Spa which will see that thermal waters pumped into the hotel’s spa. If you can’t wait that long, Bath Tourism Plus is launching a new series of detox spa packages which include four hours for the price of two at the world-famous Thermae Bath Spa. It’s a whole package where you can escape for a night in one of Bath’s top hotels, then relax and unwind in the Aroma steam rooms or the open-air rooftop swimming pool at the Thermae Bath Spa. David James, Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus, explains: “Home to Britain’s only natural thermal waters, Bath has been renowned for relaxation for almost 2000 years. From the Romans who built a bathhouse, to the Georgians who …

Six Senses launch singing bowl rituals

Taking a more holistic approach to spa treatments, Six Senses Spas has introduced a signature Singing Bowl Ritual to precede and conclude every treatment. Singing bowls have traditionally been used restore the flow of energy and enhance wellbeing and this new ritual is designed to enhance the guest experience and overall wellbeing. Following key chakra points and using gentle vibration techniques, the singing bowl is used to signify a sense of place and to mark the start and finish of the therapy. The use of sound and vibration has a powerful effect on the body and mind. Thought to have originated in the pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bon culture, singing bowls are presently used in Nepal, India, Japan, Korea and China. The new Singing Bowl Ritual will be introduced in Six Senses 27 award-winning spas in 18 countries around the world. www.sixsenses.com

The Spa Man’s favourite spas – 2014

This year its been a privilege to visit some incredible spas around Europe and a little further afield. From banana body wraps to mango body scrubs and some pretty intensive facial massage – I’ve been poked, prodded, refined and renewed. It’s been one incredible year of spa. Here’s a snap shot of my favourite spas of 2014. The Dolder Grand – Zurich The Dolder Grand certainly lives up to its name and reputation. Positioned high on the hill with commanding views across Zurich.  It combines modern five-star luxury, with old world charm and was magical. The spa is modern, spacious and covers an area of 4,000 sqm with room to move . It  offers a grandeur that few spas achieve, combining wellness with world class luxury. I honestly didn’t want to leave. Read the review here www.thedoldergrand.com Sri panwa – Phuket Sri panwa is in a class of its own. Effortlessly cool, it is a mix of private residences and pool villas perched at the tip of Cape Panwa in Phuket. Set in lush tropical …

Where to spa in 2015

The spa market never stands still and 2015 is already shaping up to be an exciting one with spa resorts opening across Europe and some impressive locations abroad, it’s time to get booking ahead for the best opening deals. Portugal – Six Senses Douro Valley Overlooking the vineyards of the Douro Valley, this is the first European spa property for Six Senses. Taking over a 19th century manor house, it’s given a 21st century make-up bringing it bang up to date ensuring its ready to deliver some top notch spa treatments. www.sixsenses.com Italy – JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Venice This has recently opened on Sacca Sessola, a private island in the Venice lagoon, this new 266 room resort is set in 40 acres of olive groves and has an eight-room spa. Promising views of St Marks Square – this is the place to spa in style in 2015. www.marriott.co.uk Maldives – Amilla Fushi Minimalist lines, sea views and daily spa treatments – what could be better. Modern villas and infitity pools set the …

Review: Pennyhill Park Hotel and The Spa

THE HOTEL: Set in 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland, this elegant 19th century manor house features 123 luxury bedrooms, a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, a 9 hole golf course and of course – the spa. Dating from 1849, the vine covered main building is the centre piece of the property. Most of the rooms are in the newer wings and have free WiFi, four-poster beds, quality linens and even a pillow menu. They are cosy and have an olde world feel. It’s a nice country retreat around an hour or so from London. THE SPA: Renowned for its huge facilities, the Spa at Pennyhill Park scores highly in reviews online and with 45,000 sq. ft. of facilities – there’s lots of everyone. The water and thermal suite includes eight indoor and outdoor pools (one with underwater music), laconium, ice cave, plunge pools, hot tubs, experience showers, massage chairs, rasoul and 21 treatment rooms. This is spa on a grand scale. The reception is massive and includes a large retail space and spa café. …

Regal Gentleman

Online retail destinations for men are booming. It’s where most men shop for personal care and grooming products and Mintel found that some 3 in 4 men purchasing their grooming products online (USA). Recently I’ve come across a new site – Regal Gentleman, which has a great little story.  Formed in early 2014 by Josh Blackburn and Liam Jennings, both from London and just 21 years old. They got the idea from visiting a barber shop, and felt there was a gap in the market for an online grooming retailer. Well, there are a lot of men’s grooming retailers – so what makes them different? Placing an emphasis on personalised service with a great customer experience, each product is tested by the guys before being listed on the site, and for me it’s the diverse range of interesting brands that really gives Regal Gentleman a point of difference. Some nice, unique and really interesting products lines including two of my favourites: Sothys and Bodhi & Birch. The list continues with Jack Black, The Bluebeards Revenge, …

Spa retail therapy at Q Hotels

Christmas shopping can be a nightmare, so the clever people at QHotels have created a set of pampering spa offers for weary festive shoppers. The spas at The Park Royal and The Oxford Belfry, two of QHotels’ portfolio have created the Christmas Shopping Pamper package. Both hotels are close to popular Christmas shopping hotspots (Cheshire Oaks and Bicester Village) and will offer the package up until the 24th December for those who like to leave gift shopping until the last minute. The package includes: • An invigorating ESPA foot treatment to soothe and revitalise tired feet and heavy legs after walking from shop to shop, helping to reduce puffiness and soothe aches and pains • A Deluxe Manicure, which includes a relaxing hand massage to soothe hands weary from carrying shopping bags, and a manicure to repair any broken nails Charlie Thompson, Group Spa Support at QHotels, said “Christmas shopping is fun but can be really tiring too. This new package is a great way to relax and treat yourself after you’ve spent all day …

Charity shout-out for Decembeard

There’s no doubt you will have heard of Movember, and seen a host of men sporting Mo’s for charity. Less well known, but no less important is Decembeard. Since 2011, the charity, Beating Bowel Cancer has invited guys to take part in this fundraising challenge, helping to raise money for those affected by bowel cancer by getting sponsored to – you guessed it – grow a beard – in December. Beards are still on a high, so it’s very on-trend and with a great cause. This year L’Oreal Men Expert has joined in support of the campaign, which is hoping to raie £250,000. I liked the image that L’Oreal has created – shared below as it sums it all up nicely. Get donating now. for more information contact: www.decembeard.org Related articles across the web End of Movember: 9 supporters share their personal reasons for taking part

Christmas gift inspiration

Christmas gift shopping – you either love it or hate it. Grab your tablet or laptop and in a few cliks – its all done. This definitely takes most of the stress out of it. If you have someone who is hard to buy for – here are some gift ideas to give you a touch of inspiration. Naturally, they all have a spa influence. Aromatherapy Associates Bath Jewels Transform your bathing experience with these precious and multi award-winning 100% natural blends containing the purest essential oils that will Relax, De-Stress or Revive. £28 www.aromatherapyassociates.com Elemis 12 Days of Beauty Containing 12 beauty gifts – including many of the Elemis hero products – this is a beauty gift of excellence. £59.50 www.timetospa.co.uk Temple Spa Voyager For men and women, this set contains hero products for a long haul flight including my fav shower gel from Temple Spa La La Lagoon. £22 www.templespa.com Ila A beautiful spa range from ila. Seasonal Skin Saviour for Vital Energy includes an uplifting duo of: 1 x Body Oil for …

The Good Spa Guide Awards 2014

The Good Spa Guide has announced the results of its annual Good Spa Guide Awards.  The national and regional awards took place on Tuesday 18th November at a glittering gala dinner at the UK Spa industry’s leading event of the year, Spa Life, held at the new Center Parcs, Woburn Forest. There were seven regional award winners (which were voted by readers of the Good Spa Guide) and eight national winners. The Good Spa Guide National awards are decided by the specially appointed Good Spa Spies who review over 100 spas every year and complete a detailed audit sheet which covers all aspects of the spa from service and facilities to cleanliness and maintenance. Announcing the winners, founder of The Good Spa Guide, Daphne Metland says, “The competition for this year’s awards has been stronger than ever before as the standards are so high.  We have some incredible spas in the UK and our winners and finalists all deserve a special mention due to the amount of hard work, dedication and high level of service …

Postcard from Istanbul

Istanbul is many things to many people. And the cliches ring true.  In a city where East meets West, there is a convergence of cultures where two continents meet at the Bosphorus. Its a surprising city, steeped in history, yet vibrant, modern, hip and happening. And its busy. With over 14 million inhabitants and the heavy traffic that goes with it, you can find glimpses of old and new at almost every turn. The key tourist sights (of which they are many) are grouped around the old part of the city, notably the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar give a flavour of old. But its the new wave of restaurants, the flourishing art scene and growing coffee culture that demonstrates its confidence. It’s definitely going places. The luxury hotel market continues to grow each year, with Raffles making Istanbul its home in September 2014. It’s why I’m here – to review the spa (more of that to follow). For jaw-dropping views and magnificent memories. I heartily recommend you visit Istanbul.   Related …

Dominate your day at Four Seasons Canary Wharf

THE HOTEL: A definite cut above the average corporate hotel, Four Seasons Canary Wharf is a welcome retreat from the grey facades and steely austere front of London’s new city hub. On a grey, wet day, the warm reception from the staff was just what the doctor ordered. The big draw at this hotel is its prime river front location. Bag a room with a river view and you could sit and gaze at the ever changing London skyline all day. When you tire of that make use of the guest passes for Virgin Active – just next door. It modern health club with a huge pool that looks out across the river is spot on. The rooms are spacious, the beds comfy (and big) and the bathroom has a massive bath. Definitely make some time for a soak. DOMINATE YOUR DAY: Visiting the hotel to experience the new Dominate your Day Energy Programme, I didn’t get to have the renowned breakfast, feasting instead on porridge made with almond milk, topped with blueberries and chia …

Very special value from Elemis on QVC

Renowned for its QVC special events, Elemis has excelled itself with the new Love your skin Face and Body Collection. Excellent value (as always) this set includes the global launch of three new products. Brand new and a global exclusive is the Limited Edition Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser – 200ml It features a new fragrance of precious neroli, fresh bergamot and sensual cedarwood, inspired by the beautiful aromatics of the Mediterranean, of our luxurious award-winning cream cleanser. There are two additional exclusive product launches: Skin Nourishing Body Cream – 50ml Rich in nourishing camellia tea seed oils and starflower, this replenishes and softens dry skin. Jasmine & Rose Hand and Nail Cream -20ml Rich with nourishing oils and softening flower milks, to offer intensive and long-lasting moisture. And of course the collection wouldn’t be without these heroes:   Pro-Collagen Marine Cream – 30ml Skin Nourishing Shower Cream – 300ml Jasmine & Rose Milk Bath -125ml AND THE VALUE! Price will be under £40, but worth over £125! Launches at 8pm on Saturday 15th November and throughout …

SpaFinder Wellness Travel Awards

SpaFinder Wellness 365 has been busy judging its Wellness Travel Awards which honour spas, hotels, resorts and retreats around the globe on how they boost their guest health and wellness.  Awards are given to the top properties on six continents, in 41 countries/regions and in 18 special categories. A panel of Wellness Travel experts nominated 373 nominees for the awards and over 14,000 consumers voted for the winners. It’s a massive undertaking and you can see the full list of winners here: Spa Finder Wellness Travel Awards. I wanted to highlight a few outstanding spas which I have visited, and it shows, I have a long way to go before I get around all the winners. Crystal Award winner Europe: George V Paris Four Seasons, Paris, France Country Awards winners: Switzerland: The Dolder Grand, Zurich (read my review) Thailand: Banyan Tree Resort, Phuket (read my review) Nordic: Blue Lagoon, Iceland