Author: Mark Smith

Les Prés d'Eugénie

Review: Les Prés d’Eugènie, France

Les Prés d’Eugénie is a classy country house hotel in the south west corner of France that mixes old world charm, a warm and friendly welcome with world class cuisine and a thermal spa that is authentic and most memorable. Part of the Relais & Chateau group, the hotel is unequivocally French, decorated with furniture and art from the owner’s personal collection that dates from the 18th to 20th centuries. The rooms are warm and cosy and breakfast is served in the privacy of your own room each morning. The large drawing rooms in the oldest part of the building are perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif. Large sofas and intimate spaces are punctuated by period pieces and rich colours. And the main event is the three Michelin star restaurant. Holding this accolade for over 40 years, the food is outstanding, innovative and one of life’s great experiences. Aside from this haute cuisine, spa guests can enjoy a programme that includes the Eugenie Slimming Cuisine, prepared by world renowned Michel Guerard. He developed the programme in …

Take 10 minutes for mindfulness on World Meditation Day

If meditation and mindfulness aren’t part of your life, then World Meditation Day (Tuesday 15th May 2018) could be the time to explore the options. It takes just 10 minutes a day and the rewards (I promise you) can be life-changing. Mindfulness appears to be everywhere and, in some instances promises to solve pretty much every problem there is. Its growth continues and everywhere you look, a spa, health expert or mind guru is offering tips, techniques, sessions, course and online apps to help you on your way. I have written about it before and you can read “What is mindfulness medition” here The Huffington Post has it’s own dedicated channel to mindfulness and it’s well worth taking a look for the latest reseach, tips, advice and comment. I’m a big fan and it’s helped me resolve a variety stress and anxiety issues. It also helps to calm the mind when its racing at a hundred miles and hour. Mindful in May The whole month of May is devoted to the project – Mindful in …

massage can help with depression during Mental Health Awareness Week

How massage can help depression during Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

It’s not surprising that massage can help with depression. Massage, used correctly is a profound tool and often underestimated and undervalued. Often seen only as a way to relax or soothe the muscle, its deeper benefits are lost. It’s timely to discuss this as its Mental Health Awareness Week and we need to open up more and sinus problems we face. talking is a key method, but connecting on the human level is also truly beneficial. I spoke to Beata Aleksandrowicz, Co-Founder of Pure Massage Spa Training Method, who is an advocate of the power of touch. She explains why massage is important and how massage can help with depression. She said: “We now live in a world where it’s ok to talk about issues relating to our mental health and wellness.  I firmly believe that massage and the power of touch can make real and significant changes to people’s mental health and especially depression. So it’s timely that Mental Health Awareness Week is just around the corner, running from 14 – 20 May 2018. This year …

How to Treat pigmentation - The Spa Man

How to treat pigmentation, dark spots and uneven skin tone

When someone asks: “How to treat pigmentation”, the number one message is all about prevention and protection and that is absolutely vital when it comes to pigmentation. It’s easier to prevent than to treat it. Having said that, there are some great ways that skincare boffins have discovered to help reduce dark spots, uneven skin tone and pigmentation using the latest skincare technology. We talk to some of the world’s leading skincare experts to discover what pigmentation actually is and how to treat pigmentation and dark spots too. What is pigmentation? Dr Murad explains: “Hyperpigmentation, age spots and freckles are all signs of melanin coming to the surface of damaged skin. Sun damage is a major, although not sole, cause of pigmentation and results in a less even skin tone which can make people look older. Sun damage not only causes hyperpigmentation but also results in a rougher, drier texture, dark circles around the eyes and wrinkles – all which add to an older-looking skin.” Dr Nicholas Perricone elaborates further saying: “Hyperpigmentation is one of …

Glow - Kate O'Brien - The Spa Man

GLOW: Your Complete Four-Week Guide to Healthy, Radiant Skin

Kate O’Brien’s new book GLOW: Your Complete Four-Week Guide to Healthy, Radiant Skin with 60 skin nourishing recipes is one of those books you read and then keep coming back to. It’s jam packed with great tips and advice that is both practical and accessible. It contains a healthy dose of science but won’t bamboozle you. The design is clear and fresh. The recipes are easy to follow and include a range of ingredients that are easy to find and great for your skin and inner health too. Kate O’Brien is an expert in both nutrition and cosmetic science, with a particular interest in skincare. I first met Kate on a spa press trip to the launch of Mandarin Oriental Marrakech and we had an instant connection. We’ve been friends since. She has written this comprehensive guide called GLOW to cut through the crap really. There’s loads of misinformation surrounding best practice when it comes to skin. She offers scientifically grounded facts about how skin really works at a cellular level to help you create strong …

Therme Bath Spa in Bath , people relaxing and enjoying the experience, steam rising off the water with Bath Abbey in the distance

The best places to spa outside on a bank holiday weekend

It’s a bank holiday and the weather looks set to be sunny and rather glorious. The Spa Man has picked the best places to spa outside. What better way to enjoy an extended bank holiday weekend than to enjoy relaxing spa treatments and the great outdoors. The UK has some brilliant spas and what’s more – lots of them have an outdoor pool or patio. Book it now. The Scarlet The Scarlet in Cornwall is renowned for its fabulous green credentials. Modern design touches and sustainability are evident throughout the hotel and spa. But what captured my attention is the clifftop outdoor swimming pool filtered by reeds and the clifftop hot tubs that look out across the ocean. I have not been to The Scarlet as yet, but friends who have give it glowing reviews. www.scarlethotel.co.uk Rudding Park Rudding Park has one of the most impressive landscaped spa gardens in the UK. Complete with outdoor hot tub and sauna cabin, the infinity pool looks out across the woods – and there’s places to sit and …

Shinta Mani Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia - The Spa Man

Review: Shinta Mani Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Shinta Mani Angkor in the bustling tourist town of Siem Reap in Cambodia is the perfect spot for temple touring when visiting Angkor Wat. The heritage site at Angkor Wat covers an area roughly the size of Birmingham and the temples are jaw-dropping. Shinta Mani Angkor is just 15 minutes away from the temples.  The hotel is a modern, slightly quirky boutique offering with a great little spa on the side. It’s situated in a smart part of town, on one of the best kept streets in the French Quarter and is an Instagrammers dream. Bill Bensley Design at Shinta Mani Angkor Designed by acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, there are 39 contemporary rooms in the hotel which draw on elements of Khmer inspired design. The eye catching monochrome colour scheme is punctuated with splashes of colour, which makes for a refreshing change from hotels that follow the teak-heavy style of many South East Asian hotels. We were greeted with a glass of fizz on arrival which was a nice touch. Check-in was seamless and we were …

Best Bath Oils - The Spa Man

8 best bath oils to create a spa-like experience at home

Compiling a list of the best bath oils is like a dream job for The Spa Man. Bathing is one of life’s great pleasures and it’s a simple way to recreate the spa environment in your own home. Deeply relaxing or revitalising and re-energising. It’s up to you. Soothe aches and pains in your neck, shoulders and muscles, or let your troubles subside as you practice a little self-care. Tried and tested, these are the best bath oils on the market today. Elemental Herbology Earth Balance Bath and Body Oil Sometimes we need a little balance in our lives and a Elemental Herbology really helps here. This oil blend helps to calm and balance the mind and body. Formulated with the scents of mandarin, cedarwood and lime, it helps to restore energy and refresh the mind making it perfect for use after a long day. £28 www.elementalherbology.com ESPA Fitness Bath Oil I can’t recommend this highly enough post-workout when you have been moving your body I a new way. Whether it’s increasing weights or hitting a …

Elemis Superfood Skincare range - The Spa Man

Elemis Superfood Skincare launches 

Building on the success of its award-winning Superfood Facial Oil, Elemis has developed the cutting-edge Elemis Superfood Skincare range. The theory is that what’s good for your body is good for your skin – indeed! Nutrient-rich and vegan-friendly, the collection includes Superfood Facial Wash, Superfood Day Cream and Superfood Night Cream. Designed to support the healthy microflora on the skin’s surface, a pre-biotic complex protects the skin’s delicate microbiome. The new Supergreen Complex of kale extract and avocado oil plus Supergrain Complex with quinoa, black seed, and barley nourish the skin with anti-oxidants and omega oils for a healthy radiant glow.  These are power-packed with anti-oxidants, omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to feed the skin with exactly what it needs. The Pre-biotic is designed to help support the healthy microflora on the skin’s surface, helping to balance and maintain the skin’s eco=system. Elemis Superfood Facial Wash The Superfood Facial Wash is a pre-biotic oil-gel product that removes make-up and cleanses the skin. It contains Supergreen Complex plus wheatgrass, broccoli and pumpkin seed oils, nettle …

Mandarin Oriental Guest room wellness - the Spa Man

Mandarin Oriental launches guest room wellness

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has partnered with leading global health and fitness platform Grokker to launch a guest room wellness concept. Mandarin Oriental’s world-class spa facilities and award-winning programmes cater to discerning wellness-oriented travellers, and this new initiative, which offers guests complimentary access to a custom selection of Grokker health and fitness videos to practice in-room, is designed to provide added flexibility when it comes to staying fit on the road. Videos include a five-minute meditation to ease stress, a twenty-minute workout to achieve fitness goals plus Pilates and yoga practice sessions, including a soothing bedtime yoga practice to encourage sleep. This guest room wellness concept makes it easy to be healthy and well on-the-go when travelling “It can be difficult to maintain a wellness routine while travelling,” said Jeremy McCarthy, Group Director of Spa and Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. “Thanks to our collaboration with Grokker, we can now deliver extended wellness expertise and activities that our guests can easily access from the comfort of their room or suite.” A selection of Grokker’s …

Brighton Harbour Hotel - The Spa Man

Review: Brighton Harbour Hotel, Brighton, UK

The Brighton Harbour Hotel brings some much-needed coastal chic to the hotel scene in Brighton. The rooms are light, bright and breezy with white walls and modern fabrics giving a splash of colour to each room, with a nod to the coastal vibe of this buzzing seaside resort. Artwork adorns the walls and many rooms are sea facing with freestanding baths. It’s all very impressive, but be warned, Brighton is a busy town and Friday and Saturday night on the seafront can get a bit raucous. Bring earplugs and you will sleep soundly. Free gin and sherry in the rooms is a nice touch – what’s not to like? Oh and rooms also have tea and coffee making facilities which includes a Nespresso machine. Didn’t try dinner during the stay, but breakfast was an easy going affair with healthy buffet and on-trend breakfast choices including lots of avocado (tick). Vibrant fabrics and modern furniture with sea views. It’s brilliant fun. The Sunday Times Travel section listed it as the No.1 Seaside hotel and I have …

Toskana Therme Bad Salza - the Spa Man

Review: Toskana Therme Bad Sulza, Germany

Toskana Therme Bad Sulza is part of Toskana World, a unique collection of wellness resorts based in the former East Germany. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, wellness has been at the core of its offering. Under the direction of Marion Schneider and her husband, the operation began at Bad Sulza offering rehabilitation treatments to workers and patients under a public health scheme. This continues today, but is just one of the wellness offerings. Bad Sulza has been famous for years for inhalation of the salt vapours and bathing in the thermal waters. This spurned the development of a hotel on site and in 1999, Thermae Toskana opened to great fanfare. With multiple pools which allow guests to bathe in the mineral rich water, it’s a popular attraction. A wellness centre opened within the building offering a wide range of traditional spa and massage treatments. The futuristic design is memorable and a great experience for guests. Add in  some incredible spa and water therapy treatments, it makes for a wholesome wellness retreat. Liquid Sound …

Best spa treatments for sleep - Espa Life at Corinthia

Three best spa treatments for sleep

To celebrate World Sleep Day, The Spa Man has curated a list of the best spa treatments for sleep. These have all been expertly designed to help promote a good night’s sleep so you feel rested and refreshed by morning. It takes more than a good massage (although that does certainly help) you should add in some aromatherapy and mindfulness, plus some specific breathing techniques to soothe the mind, body and soul. With a quiet mind and a relaxed body, you are sure to get a good night’s sleep. So here’s three of the best spa treatments for sleep. Three best spa treatments for sleep  Voya Mindful Dreams 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 treatment uses the therapeutic Tranquil treatment range of products and combines this with a heavenly full Voya body massage. It blends both Balinese and Hawaiian techniques (two of my favourites) and …

ivea Men Anti-irritation Body Shaving Range

Nivea Men Anti-irritation Body Shaving range launches

Nivea Men has responding to public demand by launching a new range of products specifically for body shaving. Simply called – Nivea Men Anti-irritation Body Shaving range – it does what it says on the tin. According to the experts, men are swayed by the buff bodies of Love Island, and some 64 % of men now shaving some part of their body (research by Nivea). It also appears that, until now they have been using facial shaving gels, shampoo and shower gels to try and get a smooth body shave. This can (again according to the survey) cause irritation amounts those asked. I hold my hands up and declare I only clipper body hair (shoulders and back), I proudly maintain my chest hair and legs – they don’t bother me. But whether its for sport, fitness or the latest celebrity look for Instagram, smooth shaved bodies for guys appears to be here to stay. And let’s be honest, Nivea wouldn’t develop a range if it didn’t thin it would sell.   Nivea Men Anti-Irritation Body …

The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland - The Spa Man

Review: The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland launches slimming retreats

The Chedi Andermatt is one of the most exclusive addresses in the Swiss Alps. Situated in the Urseren Valley in central Switzerland, it dominates the quaint and quiet town of Andermatt and brought about a mini-revival for the small town renowned for summer hiking and biking and of course, winter skiing. The hotel effortlessly blends Alpine chic with understated Asian design. It’s high ceilings and sense of space are perfectly balanced with cosy corners to ensure that the warm welcome is not lost and that the main lobby, bar and reception areas have a cocooned, chic feel. The five-star property is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and was designed by international star architect Jean-Michel Gathy. From the outside the hotel mirrors a traditional wooden chalet and the interior combines alpine chic with modern Asian design touches which extend throughout the hotel, spa and its 123 rooms and suites. Wood dominates the design with slate and some Swiss Granite. It’s all very stylish and there are a few jaw-dropping moments. The reception …