Author: Mark Smith

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 …

Jonathan Wards Candles - The Spa Man

Insider story: Jonathan Ward Candles

This is a story about candles, Jonathan Ward Candles to be precise. Everyone loves a candle and we all like to ensure that are houses smell divine. Call it hyggye, Scandi chic or simply adding home comforts. There’s nothing that beats the warm golden glow of a candle. It’s comforting, cocooning and creates a spa-at-home effect in an instant. But not all candles are created equal. Peruse any department store shelf and you will come across the good, the bad and the ugly.  Sickly, sweet and cheap fragrances abound. Yes there are some glorious exceptions, but few appeal to this nose. When buying a candle, I tend to stick with tried and tested brands that combine aromatherapy blends in a very spa-like scent. It’s where I feel most comfortable.  Then I had the chance to meet Jonathan Ward, master candle maker with a warm heart and a gentle manner. He’s making a comeback on the candle scene (read more about his story over at The Times here). It’s been a long (and sometimes challenging) journey …

Villa Stephanie - the Spa Man

Villa Stephanie at Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa, Germany

Villa Stephanie is a modern medi-spa with wellness at its core. Part of the Oetker Collection, and adjoining Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa, it has a rich history of wellness and has now positioning itself as a unique entity, a ‘House of Wellness’ for the stressed, tired and over indulged amongst us. It’s partnership with Brenner’s Medical Wellness under the direction of Dr Harry F. Konig ensures that the programmes draw on the latest scientific advances and not only deliver targeted, personalised programme; these combine the perfect balance of exercise, medical knowledge with spa and wellness treatments which cocoon and care for the mind, body and soul. Think of it not as a hotel with a spa, but as a wellness retreat with rooms. Detox and weight loss are the two main focuses for treatment programmes, but everything is tailored to the guest and the new programme developed by Dr König ‘The Kings Way’ takes this to a whole new level. The accommodation at Villa Stephanie comprises 16 rooms and suites in the main building …

Five of the best face soaps for men - the Spa Man

Five of the best face soaps for men

The Spa Man has gone green with a round-up of five of the best face soaps for men. Ditching the plastic packaging, soaps are an eco-friendly way to cut down on excess packaging, whilst keeping your skin clean, fresh and refreshed. We have all seen Blue Planet and are (hopefully) well aware of the amount of plastic we simply discard on a daily basis. The fact list below is enough to make anyone want to ditch plastic in favour of green and eco options like soaps! FACTS:   About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually. Of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics – tiny pieces of broken-down plastic smaller than your little fingernail   There are five massive patches of plastic in the oceans around the world. These huge concentrations of plastic debris cover large swaths of the ocean; the one between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of Texas.   Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans.   The amount of …

National Spa Week 2018 - The Spa Man

National Spa Week 2018 in partnership with SpaBreaks

National Spa Week 2018 kicks off in September with Spabreaks.com collaborating with the UK Spa Association’s annual celebration of the spa industry and the benefits it provides the public. The week commences on 10 September and is a celebration of all things ‘spa’ and aims to encourage more people into more spas, more often. And I would add to that more men in more spas more often. With a focus on inclusivity, the week will also highlight spas which welcome visitors undergoing cancer treatment, who are blind or with other disabilities, while also showcasing spa packages for men, couples, groups and more at venues across the UK. Throughout the week participating spas will be offering discounts from 20% on treatments and packages and special ‘friend goes free’ deals. Abi Wright, founder of Spabreaks.com, said: “We are delighted to have joined forces with the UK Spa Association to become the official booking partner for National Spa Week. It’s an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of the spa industry as a whole and remove perceptions that …

Bodhi & Birch Superfood Series - the Spa Man

Bodhi & Birch Superfood Series launches

Bodhi & Birch has launched the Bodhi & Birch Superfoods Series, a capsule collection of five multi-use, natural and organic skincare products. I am a fan of Bodhi & Birch because of its straight forward approach to the use of herbal ingredients that have a real effect of the body and skin – but also create the most stunning blends of aromatics. I’m talking in particular about Ginger Brew Massage and Body Oil and the Lime Blossom Protecting Hand Serum. Each product in the Superfood Series utilises a specially selected range of superfood ingredients which are designed to nourish and nurture the skin. The new collection is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins to feed skin. Bodhi & Birch Superfoods Series is made with 100% natural and cold pressed ingredients from seeds, berries, herbs, fruit, nuts and roots, along with natural earth minerals and certified organic content ranging from 60% to 98%. Expect to find: Ginseng, Astragalus, Wild Yam and Turmeric, Plum Kernel oil, the super berries Blueberry, Cranberry and Green Coffee, to the vibrant citrus bursts of …

Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra - The Spa Man

Review: Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

French elegance, colonial style and a warm Cambodian welcome ensures that any stay at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Phnom Penh will be a great one. It’s all rather glamorous arriving at the hotel and you feel like a celebrity as the staff rush to greet you from your car. You are instantly whisked inside and offered herbal tea or a cool glass of wine. It’s a great way to arrive and once oriented you can take in the surrounding view. The vast reception area captures the essence of the city’s colonial past with touches of carved wood, relaxing sofas, loungers and the most incredible chandelier as a centre piece. The front of house staff were fantastic and cocoon you in comfort during the check in process. It’s a big international hotel and the lobby is always buzzing with activity, with guests coming and going from their various sightseeing and shopping expeditions. The concierge team will expertly arrange a trip to discover the history of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, book a local speciality restaurant (crickets …

New spa treatments - The Spa Man

The hot new spa treatments you need to try right now

New spa treatments are launching every week and as trends and customer demands changes, so too does the nature and essence of the spa treatments on offer. In 2018 we are seeing a greater emphasis on spa treatments that enhances health, happiness and wellbeing. Sleep and mindfulness are two key themes running through new spa treatment launches this year as spas aim to improve our overall wellness. This is the Spa Man’s pick of the best new spa treatments. I can’t get no sleep: Voya Mindful Dreams We all need a bit of extra sleep and for many of us – it’s the most elusive thing in the world. So the clever people at Voya have developed Mindful Dreams, a spa treatment designed to promote a peaceful night’s sleep. Voya believes that good sleep is essential to wellbeing and the body’s inner balance (and I have to agree) and that the ability to relax both body and mind is essential to a healthy life (yep). The blissful sounding Mindful Dreams treatment combines a series of …

Phum Baitang - Siem Reap Cambodia - The Spa Man

Review: Phum Baitang, Cambodia

Designed to replicate a traditional Cambodian village, Phum Baitang is a luxury all-villa resort with traditional wooden houses built on stilts. Set in eight acres of lush tropical gardens, it’s a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap – the main tourist town for the temples of Angkor Wat. Complete with rice paddies (they harvest their own rice for their restaurants), swaying palm trees and resident water buffalo, all you can hear is the gentle sound of the breeze in the tree tops and the sweet sound of tropical birds. Apparently, Angelia Jolie is a regular guest, so it comes with the celebrity stamp of approval. The traditional private villas The 45 individual villas at Phum Baitang are modern, contemporary and chic with a rustic look and neutral colours throughout. It’s very chic, like something out of a designer magazine yet reminas understated, with bare wooden floors, crumpled linen, hand-picked antiques and polished walls. The bathrooms are worth the room rate alone with free standing baths, walk-in shower and double sinks. Each …

ANATOME Charlotte Road - The Spa Man

Anatomē launches new health and fitness concept in Shoreditch

Anatomē is hip, cool and casual new concept which embodies pretty much everything I love about wellness.  It’s a wellness concept built on the principle that nutritional and emotional balance is the pathway to a healthy, fulfilling life. Here, here! What is anatomē? Anatomē is the latest venture from Brendan Murdock (founder of Murdock London, the barbers) and is based on his personal quest to support his own health and wellbeing. Apparently, Brendan felt that many of the established health and fitness stores were short changing customers, offering too many unnecessary products without thought or care for the retail experience and failing to engage with the customer. The first anatomē store has an expertly highly curated edit of own-brand essential oil elixirs, vitamins and nutrients.  They tackle the major issues of our time – sleep, emotional balance, confidence, stress – you name it, the oils will help. The store also offers a range of sports wear (it’s the antithesis of Sports Direct) plus accessories alongside a health café, serving healthy freshly pressed juice blends, smoothies, …