Author: Mark Smith

St Michaels Falmouth - The Spa Man

Review: St Michaels Falmouth, Cornwall

St Michaels Falmouth is a one of a kind get away. It’s a 4-star deluxe resort combining a welcoming and relaxed vibe hotel, two great restaurants and a fabulous spa – it’s a place to feel good again. That’s the strap line they use in the marketing and I can definitely say after a two-night break I did feel good again. Situated opposite the blue flag Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth, Cornwall, St Michaels has 84 bedrooms that feature contemporary coastal chic, and manage to pull it off without being cliched. There are great rooms in the main house with sea view suites and spa garden rooms (to name a few) but your best bet is to book the Beach House. Recently renovated, its rooms offer are comfy, spacious and sparsely decorated with white walls, the odd splash of colour with coastal prints and chic fabrics. Expects a kettle, Nespresso machine, Cornish tea, shortbread, the comfiest bed and Elemis amenities. Oh and did I mention the terrace – yes when its warm (or a touch cooler) …

Best news spas of 2019 - LUX North Male Atoll

The best new spas of 2019

There’s plenty of choice from this hot list of the best new spas of 2019. The spa and wellness industry continues to grow as the spend on luxury hotels, resorts and destination spas sky rockets. In the UK there continues to be huge investment in country house hotels and a few delayed projects are slated to open in Spring this year including The Langley in Buckinghamshire and South Lodge in Sussex (which I have had a sneak peak at and its stunning). You are already spoiled for choice, now there’s even more on offer as properties look to raise the bar for spa in the UK and abroad. LUX* North Male Atoll in The Maldives is one I am most excited about as it brings a total new look to the atolls. So here’s where to spa in 2019. The Spa Man’s annual guide to the best new spas of 2019 including: UK, Europe, North America, Asia and the Indian Ocean. Best new spas of 2019: United Kingdom Monkey Island Estate, UK Monkey Island Estate lies on …

Song Saa outdoor-massage-koh-bon

Review: Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

You arrive at Song Saa Private Island by speed boat and from the instant you step off the boat, you know you are somewhere very special. Situated 45 minutes from the south coast of Cambodia, the resort occupies two small islands and has created an exclusive environment with a laid-back feel.  Guests and staff walk around barefoot which makes you feel a castaway, but with the benefits of cutting-edge luxury at your fingertips. You feel like Robinson Crusoe most of the time and you can be as engaged or disconnected as you like. Many guests retreat to the privacy of their villas and stay put. You can indulge in spa and fitness or embrace your spiritual side with a monk blessing by the sea. It’s even possible to renew your vows in a commitment ceremony. This resort packs the punch of any resort in the Maldives, but gives it an Asian twist with a difference. Eco-chic sustainability at Song Saa Sustainability is at the heart of Song Saa Private Island, the buildings have been crafted …

Best sleep products that really work

Everyone wants a good night’s sleep so here it is the round-up of the best sleep products that really work. There’s a selection of oils, candles, teas and bath products to help sooth the soul, calm the nerves and help you rest and relax before bed. I’ve even included an eye mask. If you, like me, are troubled by the light of dawn, then this is for you. The Spa Man has researched the best spa, beauty and aromatherapy aids for sleep – and here it is the best sleep products that really work. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil Take a warm bath in this relaxing blend of Vetivert, Chamomile and Sandalwood oils to instantly calm the mind, body and soul for a peaceful night’s sleep. £49 www.aromatherapyassociates.com Neom Scent to Sleep Tranquillity Candle Burn this for an hour or two before bed. English Lavender, Sweet Basil and Jasmine plus 16 other essential oils will ensure you drift off to sleep with ease. This is one of my favourite of the best …

Kohler Waters Spa at Old Course hotel St Andrews - Beach - the Spa Man

Review: Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel, Scotland

With its unique location on the world’s most famous golf course, Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews is iconic. A mecca for golf fans, the hotel borders the renowned 17thRoad Hole of the Old Course and is situated in a prime location overlooking the famous links courses. Just metres away from the Scottish coastline, the hotel has commanding views across West Sands Beach, the renowned location for the film Chariots of Fire. Built in 1968, The Old Course Hotel features 144 rooms including 35 suites. The hotel has recently undergone a complete refurbishment of its bedrooms which feature Kohler bathrooms suites and picture-postcard views of The Old Course and the university town of St. Andrews. New facilities for a healing spa journey   The Kohler Waters Spa has created a whole new spa journey, adding new treatment rooms, a fitness and health centre, spa café, reception area, lounge, relaxation space and beauty studio. The renovation work has also added a large extension featuring a new 20 m lap pool as …

ilapothecary London, Notting Hill - the Spa Man

Review: ilapothecary, London

ilapothecary is a delightful little store in London’s Notting Hill that promotes health, wellness and happiness.  A haven of peace, calm and tranquillity, you will find the full range of ilapothecary products, developed by the inspirational Denise Leicester as well as a concise menu of therapies for the mind, body and soul. The shop is a little townhouse with retail area in the front and centre. Up a few steps and you enter the lounge space which is both the pre and post treatment area and doubles as a wellness workshop space. There are some enlightened workshops on offer throughout the week including: 432 Sound Healing Breathing Class and Inner Relaxation Wellness Workshop (which often includes sleep talks) Yoga Nidra and Gong Bathing These are £15 – Redeemable against products in store. The treatment at ilapothecary Whilst drinking tea I completed the consultation questionnaire which is distinct. It doesn’t follow the traditional format you would find in a spa and focuses on energy, mood and draws on the concepts of the five elements to work …

Mindful Massage launches at ESPA Life at Corinthia - The Spa Man

Mindful Massage ESPA Life at Corinthia, London

Mindfulness really has been having a moment and has become a go-to for all things wellness-related so it was only time that a Mindful Massage would be introduced to a spa menu. Mindfulness been used (and abused) as a term for calming the mind and living in the present moment. At its core, it is a simple method of paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment. Studies confirm its benefits for health, improving sleep and mood whilst reducing blood pressure and anxiety. I discovered this meditative practice in 2011 when I was suffering from stress and anxiety. And it worked. You have probably heard of the App from Andy Puddicome called Headspace. If you don’t have it on your phone, download it now. It might just change your life. It will certainly help you gain some headspace. Fast forward to 2017, the visionary spa brand ESPA brought mindfulness to the spa treatment menu. At its flagship spa in Central London the team has introduced a series of mindfulness treatments to the menu at …

Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay - The Spa Man

Review: Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Ibiza

The Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay has firmly established itself as the right place to stay in Talamanca, Ibiza.  It’s perfectly positioned to make the most of views across the sea on one side and towards a protected nature reserve on the other. This open plan style is bright and breezy and lends itself perfectly to island life and instantly creates a sense of place. The view to Ibiza Bay on a sunny day is hard to beat and from reception you look across the main pool, sun loungers and then the azure blue sea beyond. It’s the beating heart of the hotel with lots of guests who want to see and be seen. It’s also the site of the Nobu restaurant. It really comes alive at night. Near the entrance is Celicioso – a cool cafe serving great coffee and gluten free cakes and light bites. The banana cake is a must. Throughout the hotel you will find simple lines with white walls and exposed timber punctuated with comfy sofas layered with coastal blue cushions. …

Sleep Massage tips - The Spa Man

Is massage the key to a good night’s sleep?

Quality sleep is essential for mind, body and spirit and affects how we deal with ageing, stress and happiness. Beata Aleksandrowicz, a massage expert and the creator of the Pure Massage Spa Training Method,  explains why sleep is so vital to health and how massage can help. She goes into detail on how to get a good night’s sleep saying: “Sleep is vital for life, health and happiness. In today’s digitally driven world, we rarely get enough. Hormones plays a vital role in our sleep patterns and massage is an excellent way to positively influence these whilst helping to soothe the soul and calm the nerves, ensuring you get a peaceful night’s rest.” It’s not just the external factors that affect our sleep patterns. there’s a lot going on inside and its our hormones that have a huge effect. She adds: “Levels of the hormone cortisol are often elevated in people who are stressed (yes – that’s most of us) which can lead to insomnia. Massage helps to balance the hormonal system and it’s proven that massage …

Best muscle rubs - The Spa Man

Five of the best muscle rubs

The Spa Man picks his five of the best muscle rubs for soothing tired and aching muscles. Tried and tested, I know that these all work a treat with some classics and some fo the best from the world of spa and men’s grooming. Use pre and post exercise, these will help to warm the muscle and relieve any pain from working out. They are also great post running – indeed for any exercise. Grab one of the best muscle rubs today. Elemental Herbology Muscle Melt Melting into the skin like a beautiful balm, this is warming and soothing. Ginger and ho wood to warm and relax the muscles, whilst turmeric stimulates circulation and soothes aches and pains. Use this melting balm before and after exercise. £25 www.elementalherbology.com Aromatherapy Associates Destress Muscle Gel This is a heady blend of aromatherapy and I apply this to my calf muscles and biceps. Packed with Rosemary, Black Pepper, Lavender and Ginger essential oils, this light, easily absorbed gel is a treat. It instantly cools, then warms muscles. £28 …

LUX* South Ari Atoll - The Spa Man

Review: LUX* South Ari Atoll, The Maldives

LUX* South Ari Atoll is the perfect tropical island getaway in the southern part of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Bringing the LUX* concept of a lighter, brighter holiday, the island’s stylish beach villas (just a few metres from the warm sea) and the over water villas (many with private pool) offer the ideal escape for honeymooners (naturally) couples and families alike. The resort is family friendly, but you can escape from the noise with ease. The island of Dhidhoofinolhu is one of the largest resorts in the Maldives at 2km long, and is surrounded by pristine white sandy beaches, even at capacity the resort appears virtually people-free. Arriving by seaplane at LUX* South Ari Atoll Arriving by seaplane at LUX* South Ari Atoll you glimpse the atoll and reefs, home to whale sharks and an abundance of tropical fish. Do take the trips on offer as the whale shark is a must-see. On land the accommodation is light and bright, with pristine white furnishings and the occasional piece of art to bring a splash …

Amansara, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Review: Amansara, Cambodia

Aman properties are as distinct as their destinations and Amansara is no exception. The personalised, warm welcome begins as you enter the gated residence and continues throughout your stay. The catch phrase from the staff is “welcome home” and they are right. You instantly feel at home as you relax into the chic vibe of the place. The mod sixties design of Amansara is a highlight and you may well feel like an extra in a James Bond film (from the Sean Connery days). Originally built in 1962 as the guest residence of King Sihanouk, by French architect Laurent Mondet, it accommodated visitors unable to stay at the royal residence nearby. Dignitaries such as former French President Charles de Gaulle, Jacqueline Kennedy and actor Peter O’Toole stayed here during its heyday, so it definitely has star appeal. Reimagined as a resort by Aman in 2002, the property celebrates its design with low slung chalets and has expanded to add more guest rooms which retain the retro-chic feel of the main buildings.  It’s a peaceful oasis in …

Amilla Fushi Maldives

3 of the best barbers in tropical spas

Barbering in the spa has hit the big time and the most recent trend is barbers in tropical spas. From the bright city lights of London and New York and now to far-flung destinations in the Maldives and Mauritius, barbering is becoming as essential on the spa menu as massage and manicure. Guys like to look good – we know that and they also like a bit of spa-time too. Not so much for the pampering and preening, but for rest and relaxation. It was only natural that barber services would be introduced into the spa environment. The Spa Man spotted this about five years ago in Frankfurt and it’s a trend that has grown and grown from Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong to The Bulgari in London and even to country estates like Bovey Castle in Devon. A haircut and wet shave are essential grooming rituals for guys and accessing them on holidays in the tropics is now becoming as essential as a deep tissue or hot stone massage. Here are three of the best …

Banya No.1 London - The Spa Man

Win a Russian Spa Experience for Two at Banya No.1

The Spa Man has teamed up with Banya No.1 in London to offer readers the chance to win a Russian Spa Experience for Two. This includes a 3-hour Banya pass, Parenie for each person (see below for a description) and a pot of herbal tea. I have to say I love the Banya experience and Banya No.1 offers an authentic version right in the heart of London. It’s tucked away on a quiet little back street in Shoreditch and is a great way to relax using traditional Russian spa treatments built around the sauna. Entering is easy. See the link below in the competition box and follow it through to visit The Spa Man’s Facebook page or enter your email. Simples! Banya No.1 The Parenie treatment at Banya No.1 The Parenie treatment is specially designed sauna. You literally lay down on the sauna bench and get whipped with leaves until your body temperature rises.  It begins as a gentle therapy with light tapping of the leaves (mostly oak) across the body. The sauna master uses the leaves …

Best spa products - the Spa Man

The new spa products you need in your life right now

Every week there’s a new product or treatment launch in the spa market and I get to see most of them. These are the hot new spa products you need in your life right now from [comfort zone], Elemis, Natural Spa Factory, Sodashi, Voya, Dermalogica, Aromatherapy Associates, Murad and ila Apothecary. [comfort zone] introduces the revamped Skin Regimen [comfort zone] has relaunched its cutting-edge Skin Regimen range with a new focus: to meet the needs of modern multi-taskers and millennials. Clinically proven to reduce the effects of stress and lifestyle ageing on the skin and mind it works at the cellular level to improve the mind-skin stress-response. It addresses the common stress-related signs of urban life to improve dehydration, dullness, imperfections, fine lines and wrinkles. Formulated with highly concentrated botanicals, the products are enriched with the exclusive Longevity Complex, made from organic superfood extracts like anti-inflammatory wild indigo, modulating excess cortisol and boosting beta-endorphins. It also includes maqui berry, with powerful antioxidants anthocyanins and spinach for its anti-glycation effect. The collection comprises unisex products which …