All posts filed under: Inspiration

The best places to spa outside in the UK

It’s been a great couple of weeks for summer sunshine and with temperatures soaring there are lots of UK spas that you can visit that extend the experience outside. Some have outside relaxation areas and spectacular outdoor pools where you can swim, sit, sleep or simply chill enjoying fresh air, a gentle breeze and the warm sunshine. Summer is here, so let’s spa outside! Thermae Bath Spa Famous the world over, Thermae Bath Spa was re-opened in 2006 and is Britain’s only natural thermal spa. It combines both historic and contemporary spa facilities. The roof top pool has a view that looks across Bath. In the late evening sun – it’s hard to beat. www.thermaebathspa.com St Brides Spa Hotel Perched on top of a cliff overlooking Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, the infinity pool is something to savour. I visited one January a few years back and took a dip in the pool (it was heated) – the views across the sea and beach below are spectacular. Imagine blue skies, relaxing spa treatments and a soothing dip …

To swim with a view

Everyone loves a pool with a view, especially if it’s an infinity pool. Here is a collection of inspiring images that will make you want to book a holiday right away. It’s not the definitive list of the very best, by any means. But spa lovers note, these hotels and resorts all have a spa. Overlooking the sea, the jungle, the desert or a river below, don’t delay, soak in the scenery and book a spa break right now. ALILA UBUD, BALI The infinity pool is suspended over the jungle high above the Ayung river below. The views stretch endlessly into Bali’s lush, tropical rainforest – with only the wildlife (including regular visits from the monkeys) for company. Alila Ubud is an enchanting hillside retreat located only minutes away from the ecentre of Ubud, Bali’s artistic cultural centre. Try: the Balinese Massage Rooms from £140 per night. www.alilahotels.com/ubud BAY OF ISLANDS –  RAHIMOANA, EAGLES NEST, NEW ZEALAND Eagles Nest offers five world-class luxury villas which have been awarded as one of the World’s10 Best Cliff Edge …

Postcard from Zurich

Zurich regularly tops the list of best places to live and rightly so. It has a great feel, the people are friendly, the transport is excellent, well integrated and inexpensive. But what makes this places so fabulous is the access to lake, forest and mountains. There’s even beach areas beside the lake. Within minutes you can be swimming in the lake or hiking through the forest. Winter obviously offers the chance to go skiing. I was really impressed with the city and how it offers a real balance between cosmopolitan cool and outdoor adventure. I was lucky enough to visit and stay at the Dolder Grand – a grand historic hotel build high on the hills overlooking Zurich in 1899. Remodelled and reimagined with two new wings – the hotel now boasts a spa wing and golf wing both designed by architect, Norman Foster. The views are to die for, the spa is modern and well equipped (more to follow later) and in seconds you can be cycling through the forest. and aside from the …

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 …