All posts filed under: Inspiration

Father’s Day deal at Spa Intercontinental

Here’s a really great spa deal for your Dad this Father’s Day. Spa Intercontinental is a fuss-free modern spa in the centre of London with an expert spa menu designed by Lee Kynaston, one of the UK’s leading male grooming experts, each treatment is focused on rapid results and attention to detail. The treatments use Elemis skincare products for men which have been designed to meet the specific needs of male skin. So for Father’s Day 2014, book your Dad in for a Deep Tissue Massage, and as a special treat, your Dad will also receive a complimentary Flotation Bed treatment (worth £22.50). Simply quote ‘Father’s Day offer’ when booking directly or purchasing a Gift Voucher. And that’s all for £90. A pretty fine deal! The Deep Tissue Muscle Massage targets stress and eases aching muscles with a powerful, targeted massage. Choose between the following options for the ultimate relaxing experience: Stress Away – Wind Down and release tension Spirit Reviver – A powerful surge to invigorate and recharge Muscle Melt – Relax and renergise a …

Life through the lense: join Spa Man on instagram

In today’s digital world of social media which is dominated by selfies, we are living our life for the camera. This can result in images of true brilliance that make you stop, think and dream. Others however are less inspiring and totally self-obsessed. Whether you like it or not – our lives are lived online and we share, retweet and like images, photos and icons all day long. As a writer and spa explorer, the camera and resulting image is an instant way of capturing a moment forever. It can be shared with the world in a matter of seconds, filtered, adapted and captioned. Images are so important to the travel and spa industry. I share lots on facebook and twitter and of course, here on The Spa Man. But for instagram, which I have only just joined, it’s all about the image. Join me now at my instagram profile: markthespaman

Condé Nast Traveller Spa Awards 2014

Condé Nast Traveller has announced the winners of The Spa Awards 2014, in association with Healing Holidays. Imagine, you could soon be visiting Six Senses, Zighy Bay (above). Drum roll!  And the winners are: Most Avant-Garde Clinic – Lonhea, Switzerland Best Value For Weight Loss – Absolute Sanctuary, Thailand Most Consistent High Perfomer – IN:SPA Best Healthy Hideaway – Vamizi Island, Mozambique Most Effective Reboot – Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman Most Soulful Spa – Song Saa, Cambodia Best New Destination Spa – Vana, India

Dreaming of…Costa Rica

I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica and one day I will. In the interim, I am left to dream about it, and what better way than to dream of a spa in a tropical treehouse – I mean, seriously. Get me there now. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo is situated on the north pacific coast of Costa Rica and has launched  the new ONDA SPA, elevated into the trees of Costa Rica’s lush tropical forest. The new ONDA SPA features nine treatment rooms – six indoor and three outdoor with sweeping vistas of forest and sea. Two of the three dual ONDA Suites, which are ideal for couples treatments, come complete with a luxurious soaking tub and private relaxation area. The spa menu comprises a wide array of therapeutic treatments and for the more active, there is also a 24 hour fitness centre with steam and shower rooms too. Treatments at the ONDA SPA are individually tailored for each guest, but all use the healing power of water, natural local ingredients and Costa Rica ancestral …

Spa before you fly

Before any long haul flight I recommend a little pre-flight pampering. You might not be a member of an exclusive executive club with an airline, but No.1 Traveller now gives you the chance to travel in style (and escape the crowds in the terminal). Pre-flight to Phuket which was a travel time of almost 20 hours (including transfer at Bangkok) I popped into the No.1 Traveller lounge and spa in Heathrow’s Terminal 3. A bite to eat, a cup of coffee and a treatment – Pre-flight relief for Head – which is a head and neck massage using the wonderful oils of Dermalogica. It was fragrant, uplifting and helped me to chill just enough so that once boarding the flight, I was relaxed and ready to go. No.1 Travel Spa uses Dermalogica, Aromatherapy Associates and OPI products. The treatment I had was just £15 and is money well spent. There are lounges right across the UK and partnership arrangements around the world. I love the free WIFI, views across the runway and the great selection …

Best spas for Mother’s Day

Giving your mother a spa break as a gift is (for me) the perfect present. No doubt she has a whole range of perfumes, candles and skin creams in the cupboard. Pass on the cook books and kitchenware – even the clothes. What mum needs most is a little time to herself, to chill, to sip a glass of champagne and indulge herself. Now. To spa can be expensive, so I have provided a little round up with some top end options and some that are more affordable, but still just as enjoyable and indulgent. I am only listing spas below that I have actually tried, so they have The Spa Man stamp of approval. Spa London Starting with the wallet friendly Spa London, it’s a new-ish brand with six locations around London that extends to Epsom. I’ve visited the Wimbledon branch and can confirm it’s professional, smart and a great way to spend an afternoon. There are a whole range of Mother’s Day packages available. Check out the website for more ideas. In Soho, …

Postcard from Phuket

After 18 years I have finally returned to Thailand, to the island of Phuket. It’s my first visit to this part of Thailand and it has reaffirmed my love of the country and its people. The Thai people are so kind, gentle and humble. I don’t think that there’s another country on earth like it. This trip has mostly been about spas – and the very best that Phuket has to offer: Banyan Tree Phuket, Amanpuri, Sri panwa and Point Yamu by Como. If you want the bucket and spade brigade, and by that I mean buckets of alcohol, head to the resort of Patong. If that’s not your scene the northern beaches of the West coast are quieter and more refined. We have been at the Laguna complex (Banyan Tree), Pansea Beach (Aman) and on Surin Beach and now the East Coast which is completely different. Cape Panwa is fabulous. It’s a big island and takes a while to get around and as public transport is pretty poor you will rely on taxis and …

The most exclusive Valentine’s ever

Book a spa – the whole thing! There are so many Valentine’s packages around, some good, some bad and some are just re-hashed packages from the standard treatment menu. I thought I would find one of the most exclusive and offer that up as a suggestion. This is expensive, so if cost is an issue, look away now. But what you do get – is the spa, for your own personal use! The Dolder Grand, Zurich has launched a two night Meet Me at Midnight package. You get exclusive use of the Dolder Grand Spa, as well as a Michelin Starred meal – perfect for that relaxing romantic retreat. You will enjoy a two-night stay in this most stylish hotel, together with a sensuous 90-minute couple’s massage and a five-course dinner at the two Michelin starredThe Restaurant. It’s a total upgrade as you also get Limousine transfers to and from Zurich Airport, ensures that the exclusive experience lasts for their entire stay. This is total luxury. Most importantly, the Meet Me At Midnight package includes …

Where are you going?

 Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show returns to London this weekend (it’s already been in Manchester) and is a one stop show for anyone who loves to travel (well obviously). There are 500 specialist travel brands displaying their wares and offering lots of advice and on the spot discounts for booking. Use it as a research resource or head along with your credit card ready to book. I’m heading to the MASTA Travel Health Zone for some travel health info and advice (and possibly a few inoculations). Learn photography, hear celebs talk about their travels, there’s food and wine to taste from around the world and generally, it looks like a good day out. According to the organisers here are Ten Reasons You Can’t Afford to Miss The Times Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, Earls Court, London, 6-9th February 2014: 1.    Discover the biggest choice of independent and specialist travel companies with over 500 brands waiting to create your perfect trip. 25% MORE EXHIBITORS FOR 2014      2.    The MASTA Travel Health Zone is …

Hilton Istanbul Bomonti opens

It’s being touted as Istanbul’s largest hotel and I’m sure it is, as the stats speak for themselves:  34 Floors 829 guest rooms and suites 12,000 square meters of event space 6,350 guests at any one time in the largest pillar free ballroom in the city But it’s the spa that really interests me and the cools brands in the eforea spa. Opening as part of the hotel is Turkey’s first eforea: spa at Hilton, offering more than 3,300 square meters of wellbeing space with 14 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and 500 square metre gym with studio. eforea: spa at Hilton Istanbul Bomonti features globally renowned products (which I have reviewed on the pages of The Spa Man too) such as Kerstin Florian, Vitaman and Alessandro. Guests will be able to enjoy signature treatments such as the eforea Signature Correcting Facial and eforea Signature Full Body Repair, as well as VIP treatments suites featuring Sweet Memory and Bomonti Hammam Dream rituals for couples. The hotel is big, hosts a huge conference centre …

Where to spa in 2014

Spa rises to new heights in 2014 with new city spas, luxury resorts and even festivals venturing into spa, it’s never been better to try a spa treatment or two. Bath – Gainsborough Bath Spa Opening Spring 2014, The Gainsborough Bath Spa exclusively offers three natural thermal pools and is set to become the only natural thermal spa within a hotel in the UK. Austria – Altitude Festival Combine comedy, ski and spa at Mayrhofen, late March and April 2014. Featuring John Bishop and Marcus Brigstocke in one of Europe’s most picturesque ski resorts, combine your ticket with a spa treat at Hotel Strass Wellness Spa – sauna steam, hammam, thalasso and salt water pool. Thailand – COMO Phuket Phuket continues to go upmarket with the launch of COMO Hotels & Resorts’ Point Yamu by COMO.   A 106-room resort on Phuket, Point Yamu’s which includes a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat, a 100m infinity pool and two world-class restaurants (Thai and Italian) overlooking the turquoise Phang Nga Bay. Germany – Villa Stephanie at Brenners Park Hotel and …

Banyan Tree goes local

Banyan Tree, a name synonymous with spa is going local in 2014 unveiling a range of exclusive spa treatments inspired by native traditions and local ingredients. This is something I really love. Spas should embrace their location, their region and the produce that abounds. As much as I love a Balinese massage – in rural England, there’s something about it that’s incongruous. Why not have a Celtic massage? But I digress. Launching at select Banyan Tree resorts, there’s a variety of new treatments incorporating unique materials and ingredients such as stones hand-carved by monks; and locally-sourced honey and coconuts, delivered with style and finese which you would expect from Banyan Tree Spas. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the really unique treatment launching. Get me on a plane. I want, I want. Himalayan Bliss in China Nestled within a secluded valley in southwestern China, Banyan Tree Ringha reflect local Tibetan culture.  Book yourself in for the exclusive 120-minute Himalayan Bliss. Begin with a Black Sesame Body Scrub, its warming qualities can help with weight …

Best spas of 2013

Whether you’re planning the trip of a lifetime or a short spa break, you need to read this. I’ve handpicked the best spas of 2013, which means, naturally, they have The Spa Man stamp of approval. The Spa at Terre Blanche, Provence The Spa at Terre Blanche, part of the Leading Hotels of the World is set in the picturesque countryside of Provence. Boasting sauna, steam, laconium and experience showers for men and women and also next to the 20 metre indoor pool, you are spoilt for choice. The pool is connected to an outdoor vitality pool and relaxation garden with sun loungers, where you can enjoy the warmth and scent of the spacious herb gardens. 12 treatment rooms, two couples treatment rooms (with private terrace) hair salon, boutique, gym and yoga studio – ensure you can easily spend a day here with plenty to do. Terre Blanche is a 5 star Resort and one of Europe’s premier golfing destinations with two 18 hole golf courses. The food alone is worth a visit as there …

Seaweed harvest in the Hebrides

It’s not everyday that someone invites you to visit the Hebrides, let alone to go harvesting seaweed. Jumping at the chance, I travelled North, courtesy of new spa brand ishga (which means water in Gaelic) to the remote island of Lewis. Landing in Stornoway, I knew I was somewhere very different. The landscape is a touch barren, wildly beautiful and captured my heart in an instant.   I was given a guided tour by Malcolm Macrae and Martin Macleod, directors of ishga and lifelong residents of the islands. Visiting key sites where the natural ingredients are sourced, we stopped by the natural mineral well where the healing waters are drawn – it’s a secret location and my lips are sealed. We then headed down to one of the vast lochs to try my hand on one of the mechanical harvesters. ishga has an exclusive licence to harvest seaweed in the Hebrides signed with the Crown Estate, and does so in a sustainable method. Hand harvesting is a major part of the business too. So on …

COMO opens resort in Phuket

Phuket continues to go upmarket with the soft launch of COMO Hotels & Resorts’ Point Yamu by COMO.   A 106-room resort on Phuket, Point Yamu’s which includes a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat, a 100m infinity pool and two world-class restaurants (Thai and Italian) overlooking the turquoise Phang Nga Bay, which offers dramatic, dreamy views – you could stay forever. The hotel has been designed by Paola Navone, the famous Italian furniture designer, making it a truly contemporary launch on the Thai island.  The collaboration sees COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back, contemporary style united with the Italian designer’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials. Expect a dazzling palette of bright aquamarines and hot oranges, with Thai artisanal techniques such as traditional wood tiling and woven rattan adding texture. The ocean-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows in each room, offers spectacular views of the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Uniquely situated on the island’s eastern side providing a much more peaceful retreat (most resorts are on the Western side of Phuket).  The seas are also more tranquil …