Author: Mark Smith

Vair Spa at Borgo Egnazia - The Spa Man

Review: Vair Spa at Borgo Egnazia, Italy

Pioneering a psycho-emotional approach to spa, the team at Vair Spa at Borgo Egnazia has created an award-winning wellness offering that focusses on happiness, drawing on the culture and traditions of Puglia, Italy. Choosing to visit a wellness destination that bills itself as a psycho-emotional spa raises just as many questions as it does gives answers. I will guide you through my experiences. It was truly life-changing. Deeply rooted in the traditions of Puglia, the resort and hotel of Borgo Egnazia has been designed as a traditional local village constructed from tuff stone and is surrounded by millennia-old olive groves. It subtly blends old world charm with hidden contemporary touches that gives the property a true sense of place in the heart of the Italian countryside. You may have read about it in the press already. The hotel shot to fame in 2012 when Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel chose the property for their exclusive celebrity wedding. Beyond the notoriety of the celebrity press, the hotel and spa have received numerous international accolades. But its how it …

LUX* Belle Mare Pool - The Spa Man

Review: LUX* Belle Mare, Mauritius

Modern, light and airy, LUX* Belle Mare is a welcoming hotel, refurbished by designer Kelly Hoppen and is quite contemporary in its look, but remains comfortable and homely at the same time.  The taupe palette used throughout ensures that the decor has raised the bar for Mauritian hotels and will stand the test of time in the design stakes. The resort boasts the largest pool on the island which is at the heart of the hotel complex.  It has four stunning restaurants which not only offer plenty of choice for informal dining by the sea but they excel in more high cuisine at the Indian smart by Vincent or the fabulous modern Chinese Duck Laundry. The food was excellent. Staff are personable, friendly and efficient and always on hand to help. Highlights, like at any LUX* property include Café LUX*, ICI for delicious homemade ice creams in the afternoon and the Rolls Royce food cart in the gardens. It’s the unique touches that make LUX* resorts so special and truly memorable. The beach scene is more …

Caudalie Boutique Spa Northcote Road - The Spa Man

New Caudalie Boutique Spa opens in South London

Caudalie brings a taste of France to South London with the opening of its new Caudalie Boutique Spa. Situated on the well-healed shopping street of Northcote Road in Wandsworth, the store has two treatment rooms and extends the growing reputation of the brand in the UK. Last year I visited the home of Caudalie at Les Sources de Caudalie in the Bordeaux countryside. It was magical looking across the vineyard and experiencing authentic, vine-inspired therapies. This new boutique spa brings a taste of that with its unique version of vinotherapy to the streets of South London. You will find all of the brand hero products tastefully displayed in this modern, welcoming location. Naturally, Beauty Elixir, one of the best-selling products from the range takes pride of place and it is a must-try product for any beauty fan. For guys most of the skincare range will be suitable and the store is sign posted by concern, so it’s easy to navigate. The concise treatment menu has everything you will need for an hour or so of pure …

Nordic sauna Center Parcs Sherwood Forest

The best saunas with a view in the UK

Saunas have been popular for years and saunas with a view really are something special. Much more preferable than a closed, dark box room, now the trend in sauna design is to open them up, add windows and provide stunning views across the rest of the spa area and to the landscape beyond. Saunas with a view of natures, the forest, rivers or the seaside make the whole experience much more enjoyable. The Finnish discovered that pouring water over heated rocks in a small enclosed room created a very hot, dry heat – the sauna. An essential component of any good spa, saunas come with a variety of benefits for the guest.   Saunas can cleanse the skin, increase circulation, open up the airways and sinuses, ease muscle and rheumatic pain, strengthen the immune system, improve joint movement and act as a great stress release for tension. Sweating opens up the pores, lets out toxins and impurities and increases circulation. A sauna can also speed recovery time for injuries such as strains, sprains, arthritis and muscular pain. Here is The Spa …

Rites for Life - Anne Lewis

I experienced an energy session with Anne Lewis, facilitator of Rites for Life

When I was in Sydney earlier this year I was introduced to Anne Lewis, facilitator of Rites for Life. Anne is an unassuming woman with a gentle manner and calming presence. Her one-to-one sessions are renowned amongst those in the know and definitely something to seek out for those in need of balance and rejuvenation. Sessions combine energy work that focuses on the chakras and meridian lines. But each session is totally unique and I guess they would be different each time too, depending on your needs, state of mind and current physical, mental and spiritual situation. At the time, I had been travelling quite a bit, was a touch jet lagged and felt rather tired. My session included some vibrational energy work which focussed on the stomach, where I hold stress. She instantly identified this weak spot for me and spent much of her time releasing the energy flow in this area and spent some time focussing on the liver too. I felt an incredible release and an expansion of the whole torso. Combing some conversation and discussion with …

Scentered scented candles - The Spa Man

Scented Candles will bring calm and serenity to your home

Scentered has launched a new range of therapeutic candles which are custom blended with natural waxes, pure essential oils and botanicals. Each of the four Scentered Candles aromas has been created specifically to enhance the mood and lift the spirit. Love has been crafted to ease grief and aid relaxation with rose ylang ylang and patchouli. De-Stress helps to alleviate stress with chamomile, neroli and mandarin. Escape works to boost motivation and creativity featuring oud, frankincense and sandalwood. Whilst Be Happy is a travel sized candle to uplift the mood with grapefruit, lemon myrtle and spearmint. Scentered’s totally portable, travel friendly, THERAPY GIFT SETS each contain an exotic treatment candle and balm to care for mind, body and soul. The Escape Travel Set candle and balm, fragranced with Oud, Frankincense and Sandalwood, will help recharge the batteries, stop the clock and indulge in precious moments of escapism. The Be Happy Travel Set is fragranced with a sunshine blend of invigorating Pink Grapefruit, relaxing Lemon Myrtle and stimulating Spearmint. Be Happy is the natural way to …

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Review: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The famous waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland are rich in minerals and algae that are excellent for time out, relaxation, healing and skin conditions. Famed for its blue-tinged geothermal seawater (which hovers around 37-39 degrees Celsius), you can bath outside, breathing in the pure fresh air of the Arctic Circle. It is a most incredible experience, and one which was made more amazing for me when combined with an in-water massage. Positioned on a floating mattress and covered with a blanket (yes, in the water), I was expertly manipulated and massaged until I drifted into a state of pure bliss. It was snowing and zero degrees, but I was completely unaware of the outside elements. This really did set itself apart from any other treatment I have ever had. It only lasted 30 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. Afterwards I was left to float around the lagoon, experience the steam cabin, sauna rooms and the exhilarating waterfall massage. Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater is a part of a unique system where Iceland’s …

Stoer Skincare for Men - The Spa Man

Stoer Skincare for Men is modern, no-fuss and really works

Stoer Skincare for Men is a bit of a revelation. A simple, effective, modern range of skincare for men that’s no-fuss, straight forward and really works. Born in the wilds of the North of Scotland, the range has been created by Marianne Morrison who has an interesting background, having worked in the oil industry and prior to that as a skin therapist. Combining her knowledge of skin and working closely with lots of blokes, she got to know the concerns and attitudes of men to skincare. So all-in-all she gained some very valuable insights. Many years later and after much research and development she launched Stoer to market, firstly in Harvey Nichols and soon to spread its wings to other retailers. Its key premise is to protect and defend skin against the elements. Stoer Skincare for Men has been developed with signature Clima5 Technology – a unique blend of five skin-saving plant actives from around the world, from four very challenging climates. Clima5 has been encapsulated in cutting-edge ‘cosmetic drone’ technology which is said to …

Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre

Reiki with Bernice Robinson

Bernice Robinson: Holistic Reiki Master & Crystal Healer There is a first time to experience everything in life and I headed to Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at Hotel Café Royal to try Reiki for the first time. It’s a therapy I know little about and was perhaps a touch skeptical. What is Reiki? In lay terms, Reiki is a healing technique based on the idea that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch. It’s in part designed to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. There is an element of healing, of being open to the energy of the earth and the universe. I met Bernice Robinson a year or so ago and felt an immediate connection with her. She is a trained therapist who practices elements of beauty and massage, but she prefers more holistic treatments and has been recognized for her skills with professional nominations and awards. Specialising in Reiki and crystal healing, Bernice harnesses her natural healing ability and intuitive expertise …

Jurlique Store London - The Spa Man

Review: Jurlique, London

Jurlique has opened a smart new concept store in the heart of London, right on Oxford Street. Walking through the door you are instantly transported to a place of calm and serenity. The heady scents of the natural products helps to lower the anxiety levels win an instant. For even greater calmness you can book in for a facial or spa treatment using Australia’s favourite natural brand – Jurlique. It should be high on your list of must-visit destinations. Especially as you traverse the crowds of Oxford Street. Treatment Review I booked in for a Best of Both Worlds Treatment which combines a back, neck and shoulder massage with a relaxing and revitalising facial. The treatment begins with a foot soak then a much-needed relaxing back and shoulder massage using Japanese Mint Oil. I was given a choice of three but this one really hit the spot. You then experience a thoroughly pampering facial using the natural products from the Jurlique range. Deep cleansing and light exfoliation prepare the skin for a fabulous mask and some …

Beast London male beauty store - The Spa Man

BEAST – the new retail store for male beauty in Covent Garden

BEAST, the new uber-cool store devoted to retailing male beauty products has opened its doors in the heart of Covent Garden. Stand alone male grooming shops have come and gone in the past. But maybe 2017 is the right time for a store like this to finally be a success. It has got the basics right – cool store design, great lighting, excellent location with high footfall. And what impressed me most was the curated range of interesting high-performance brands. You really need to check it out as you won’t find many of these male beauty brands in your typical high street department store. This is a good thing. The brands are eclectic and sourced from around the world from Vitaman in Australia to Verso in Sweden. There are 80 brands in total with newcomers and long-standing classic and cult items. Shopping has never been easier as the store is signposted by concern, skin condition or treatment type. It has the potential to shape up the men’s skincare market. Especially for retail. The products are displayed by category …

Four Seasons Park Lane - Mother's Day Spa - The Spa Man

10 of the best London spas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the most important woman in your world so why not send your Mum to one of the best London spas for Mother’s Day. Whether she is a spa novice or a spa savvy treatment fan, there’s no better way to say I love you Mum than by booking a spa treatment, half day package or even a whole day’s pampering. The spas I have selected for the Best London spas for Mother’s Day include locations where you can laze around all day or just pop in and out for a single treatment. Whether its champagne in hand for a pedicure or something more enlightening at ESPA Life at Corinthia. These are just a few ways of saying Happy Mother’s Day with The Spa Man’s pick of the best London spas for Mother’s Day.     Four Seasons Park Lane The gorgeous spa at Four Seasons Park Lane plays host to a pop up from Hungarian brand Omorovicza. The brand has teamed up with the Chelsea Physic Garden to offer a …

Best beard Oils - The Spa Man

Six of the Best Beard Oils

The Spa Man picks six of the best beard oils. Designed to smooth, nourish and condition the beard, this category in the men’s grooming market really is having a moment. Beards continue to be “on trend” and no, we haven’t reached peak beard yet. That’s just the shaving companies trying to create a story. Adding a fine sheen to the beard whilst conditioning the hair is an essential part of the beard grooming ritual. Oils give less shape and style (balms and much better for that) but they do also work to condition and hydrate the skin if you work them through the hair. With all of these oils you will need to wash your hands afterwards. Some are really stubborn and take a while to remove. So here’s The Spa Man’s tried and tested selection of the Best Beard Oils. Brisk Cedarwood Beard Oil Apparently one Brisk grooming product is sold every minute. This beard oil contains a blend of natural and essential oils harnessing the earthy properties of cedarwood for its spicy, woody notes. …

Banyan Tree Lang Co., Vietnam - The Spa Man

Review: Banyan Tree Lang Co, Vietnam

Banyan Tree Lang Co is situated in a quiet, remote stretch of coastline in central Vietnam about an hour north of Danang. Isolated and peaceful the all-pool villa resort is a tranquil retreat from the crazy daily life in Vietnam’s main cities and tourist hot spots. It provides the perfect getaway for a few days or even longer. There’s plenty to do for the active traveller, with watersports, cycling and day trips to the imperial city of Hue and the heritage town of Hoi an. For a more leisurely break you can laze by the main pool, sun bathe on the beach or retreat to your private pool villa for total harmony. Take a cooking class, yoga, archery or more, there are over 140 activities on site available, or take some time out in the spa. With the sister property, Angsana just next door, it increases the choices for food and daily activities. The service is friendly, warm and attentive and remains faithful to the Banyan Tree concept. The main buildings are modern and a little …

'Dermot O'Leary for M&S - men's skincare

You heard it right: 24.hr Grooming for Men by Dermot O’Leary launches

Dermot O’Leary, has created a skincare range exclusively for M&S launching in store and online in time for Father’s Day this June. It’s not the first time a TV celebrity has moved into the male grooming or men’s skincare market. It will be interesting to see how it’s received. the price point is affordable and appeals to the widest possible market. Prices for the 24.hr Grooming for Men by Dermot O’Leary for M&S start at £5 for a Body Wash, £6 for Face Wash up to £15 for a Moisturiser. I’m looking forward to trying the products to see if they live up to the hype. The press info tells me that Dermot has tested a huge variety of products and wanted to apply his learnings to create a hassle-free, affordable grooming collection of his own. Fair enough. 24.hr Grooming for Men by Dermot O’Leary has taken over a year to create and will launch with six products initially, fragrances and gifting packages will also be available pre Christmas. 24.hr Grooming for Men by Dermot O’Leary Dermot explains:“This …