All posts filed under: Destinations

Galgorm Resort and Spa - the Spa Man

Review: Galgorm Resort and Spa, Northern Ireland

Galgorm Resort and Spa is just over half an hour from Belfast and is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Situated by the gorgeous river Maine, and set within 163 acres of lush parkland it’s billed as Northern Ireland’s premier luxury hotel and spa. You will most certainly be greeted with a warm welcome and attentive service, it’s a big property with a big heart and passionate staff. It’s recent expansion and the launch of the Thermal Village has added an additional 48 guest rooms but at no point do you feel crowded or over run with people. Three restaurants and two bars (including a gin and champagne bar) means there are plenty of options for dining and drinking. The River Room offers a classy menu with refined service, Gillies has more hearty fare and Fratelli Restaurante has an Italian menu featuring pasta and pizza. Countryside walks or day trips to the north coast are within easy reach or you could simply lounge in the spa day in day out. …

Finca Cortesin - The Spa Man

Review: Finca Cortesin, Spain

THE HOTEL Opened in 2008, Finca Cortesin is an elegant, refined country house hotel that’s both relaxed and welcoming, offering five-star service in a subtle, personal style. A world away from the typical Costa del Sol hotel, it offers a modern mix of hacienda style retreat with a definite nod to its Andalusian roots. Boasting beautiful landscapes gardens, magnificent views to the mountains and sea and a causal air of exclusivity, it’s a perfect escape for a few days – or even longer. The hotel has 60 suites which are tastefully decorated with calming neutral palettes. The junior suites experiment a little more with splashes of colour and patterned wallpaper. Each with its own terrace, complete with table chairs and sun loungers. You could easily stay in the confines of your room, but with lots of activities (including golf) plus five pools and a beach club you will never be bored. The beach club had a great causal beach side dining restaurant. Pool and sun lounges it’s the best of both worlds and the shuttle …

Park Hotel Igls, Austria - The Spa Man

Review: Health Retreat Parkhotel Igls, Austria

Health Retreat Parkhotel Igls has a global reputation for delivering quality and excellence in the field of Modern Mayr medicine. Situated just outside of Innsbruck in the Austrian Tyrol, the medical retreat has adapted the traditional Mayr cure for the modern age, combining the best of western and complementary medicine. Cutting edge technology and medical expertise are complement more traditional therapies like massage, yoga and Kniepp treatments for the targeted regeneration of the digestive system. Blending detox, cure and escape, the team at Health Retreat Parkhotel Igls have developed a programme that balances diagnostic medicine, with a professional approach and caring attitude. Managing director, Andrea Gnägi explains the philosophy, “We are not a wellness centre or medical hospital, but are very specific medical health centre combining both quality and a commitment to find solutions to the problems that people have.  It’s a perfect combination between medical expertise and the comforts of a resort. We are the best at giving people friendliness whilst attending to their individual needs.” The medical team consists of a select group …

Casa Velha do Palheiro, Madeira

Review: Casa Velha do Palheiro, Madeira

THE HOTEL Set high on on the hills above the capital, Funchal, Casa Velha do Palheiro is a former summer residence of a local dignitary built in the early 1800’s. Set amongst the lush green trees and alongside the famous gardens of the same name, it’s a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of Madeira’s main city. The sound of birds and the trees is pretty much all that disturbs the silence. It’s an elegant hotel, country-house in style with antique and period furnishings and just a touch floral in its accent colours. It all works and makes for a peaceful retreat. Taking tea and breakfast on the terrace is a joy and the hotel’s award-winning restaurant is highly recommended, serving quality gourmet food with style and elegance. Gentle walks through the gardens or lazing by the pool, days are relaxed and restful on the Palheiro Estate. The food is impressive, the staff are helpful but not overbearing and it makes for a totally relaxing stay. THE SPA at CASA VELHA DO PALHEIRO Spa lovers …

LUX* Le Morne Le Brabant, Mauritius - The Spa Man

Review: LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius

LUX* Le Morne is a relaxing resort tucked away in a quiet corner of Mauritius. Hugging the coast with a stretch of private beach, it’s tranquil lagoon setting ensures a chilled vibe and relaxed atmosphere for spa fans and beach lovers. It has the most dramatic setting of any property on the island, backed by the dramatic peak of Le Morne Brabant, a breath taking UNESCO World Heritage site and makes for a picturesque stay in this magical corner of Mauritius. Landscaped gardens, four pools and 600 metres of white sandy beaches give LUX* Le Morne a true sense of a tropical escape. All rooms are sea facing with a mix of superior rooms and suites are just a few steps away from the beach. There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied. The boat house offers everything from paddle boarding to water skiing or you can head out to sea to go swimming with the Dolphins in the early morning sunshine. The food at all three restaurants is fabulous and in particular the Thai …

Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof - The Spa Man

Review: Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof, Austria

Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof is a very calm and tranquil resort in Austria just near the border with Germany. Set in a stunning position high in the Austrian Tyrol, Ayurveda Resort Sonnhof is a unique retreat offering holistic health, wellness and healing. Pioneering the concept of European Ayurveda, they blend the best of traditional practice with modern principles, in a manner and style that suits both its European location and clientele. Comprehensive detox and health programmes sit alongside meditation, yoga and treatments to help clients rest, recuperate and regenerate, whilst escaping the rigours of modern life, all without the need for long-haul travel that traditional Ayurvedic programmes require. A vibrant spiritual energy and a dedicated team of practitioners helps to distinguish the resort from its competition. Part of the Healing Hotels of the World and Niche Destinations groups, the design concept is Tyrol meets India where local and recycled timber blend seamlessly with vibrant colour schemes to create a calm and serene ambiance.   EUROPEAN AYURVEDA Recognising that the nature and flow of our seasons and diet …

Margaret Dabbs London The Spa Man review

Review: Margaret Dabbs London

THE CLINIC Margaret Dabbs is THE name in feet. For pedicures, podiatry and a little bit of preening, if you want fabulous feet, the Margaret Dabbs London Clinic is the name to look for. Internationally renowned for her results-driven hand and foot treatments, Margaret Dabbs provides cosmetic and medical pedicures from a growing network around the world. Carving out a niche in the beauty business, the spa world has recently woken up to the growing need for high quality, cosmetic and podiatry based feet treatments. Margaret has been involved in spa design and concepts in the past, working with some of the world’s leading luxury hotels. These include Sandy Lane Barbados, Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental London. You can find the range in retailers including The Urban Retreat in Harrods, Liberty’s and Space NK Westbourne Grove. The clinic in Marylebone is practical, functional and quite liberating. You stumble in off the street to be greeted by a flurry of activity. Opposite the reception desk are four pedicure chairs, all occupied with a variety of treatments taking place. …

Best spa in New Forest - SenSpa at Careys Manor - The Spa Man

Review: Senspa at Careys Manor in the New Forest

THE HOTEL REVIEW Careys Manor is home to one of the UK’s best loved and well-know spas – SenSpa. Reputed to be the best spa in the New Forest, its one of the best in the UK. Built around an historical property in the village of Brockenhurst in New Forest, Careys Manor has a number of specially built accommodation wings with good sized rooms that look out across the manicured gardens. Well appointed, with very comfy big beds, it’s a great base for walking in the forest or taking a weekend away for rest and relaxation. Cosy lounges and wood fires set the scene and the staff are welcoming and friendly. There are a number of places to eat at Carey’s Manor, I dined at the Zen Garden restaurant which is Thai through and through. Whilst it might seem a bit incongruous in the heart of the English countryside, when it’s paired with the Thai spa, it all works. Serving healthy breakfast and heartier options, plus lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, this is where guests …

Belmond Reids Palace Review in Madeira the Spa Man

Review: Belmond Reid’s Palace, Madeira

THE HOTEL: The grand dame of Madeira, Belmond Reid’s Palace embodies traditional luxury travel at its very best. Exuding a genteel elegance, the hotel has rooms decorated in a classic style with every room looking out across the sea or gardens, or both. Large bathrooms feature amenities by Penhaligon’s, there’s a touch of English hospitality running through the backbone of the service, which comes into it’s own at high tea on the terrace. It has a large spa, reported to be the best spa in Madeira. Situated on its own private promontory on the edge of Madeira’s capital, Funchal, it’s just a few minutes walk to the centre and has it’s own lush gardens, two outdoor pools, sea access and bathing loungers by the water plus a large modern spa. There are a couple of restaurants on site but none as impressive as the iconic Villa Cipriani, serving classic Italian food overlooking the sea and hotel. Breakfast is an event in itself with a fabulous buffet of fresh and local fruits, cheeses, meats, breads, pastries and …

South Kensington Club Bathhouse Review - the Spa Man

Review: South Kensington Club, London

THE CLUB: Situated at the rear of the new South Kensington Club, the new Clubhouse is part spa, part bathing house and features a host of fitness suites, studios and a gym. The bathhouse which features [comfort zone] treatments in the therapy rooms and a brand new Banya suite offers some pretty serious wellness treatments for mind body and soul. A private entrance on a small mews leads to a compact reception. From here you are guided to the changing rooms which are large, elegant and have plenty of locker space and great amenities for members. A few treatment rooms offer your typical array of spa therapies, but it is the banya rooms that’s the most unique. Wooden walls, fireplace, large sauna and hammam set the tone for some serious heat treatments. Based on the traditional rituals of the banya from Russia, expect to be invigorated and alive at the end of a session. There is also a private hammam room for body scrubs and a private banya sauna. Most of the banya treatments take …

Review: Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

THE BEST LUXURY RESORT IN TASMANIA Saffire Freycinet has raised the bar for luxury accommodation in Tasmania. The fully inclusive resort creates a relaxed air of exclusivity for guests with just 20 suites on site. Architecturally impressive, the main building has been crafted in the shape of a string ray and is the first space to welcome for guests. Concierge greet all guests on arrival to valet park the car, swapping car keys for a glass of champagne, whilst inviting you to enjoy the view. And what a view it is – of the Hazards, Coles Bay and Freycinet National Park. It has to the best luxury resort in Tasmania as it offers a luxury escape like no other – each suite has uninterrupted views of the bush, sea and Hazards. Everything is designed with the view in mind. Contemporary suites feature every mod con and more, including a fully stocked complimentary mini-bar, which showcases Tasmania’s best wine, beers and snacks. Dining is a joy, breakfast is an a la carte affair with a changing menu …

Neom Organics Wimbledon Village Store The Spa Man

Review: Neom Organics Treatment Rooms, Wimbledon

THE TREATMENT ROOMS: Neom Organics launched its flagship store (complete with treatment rooms) in Wimbledon Village last year. Bringing the brand to a wider audience and introducing the treatments, the store is light, bright, inviting and a sensorial adventure. From candles to room mists and oils to room diffusers, the range is vast and attends to the ills and troubles of mood, energy, sleep and stress. Neom has captured a unique place in the wellness market and specialises in scent, if you are looking to soothe or boost your mood, then this is the place. THE TREATMENT: A recent innovation, Neom has created a number of wellbeing treatments which take a different approach to therapy. Instead of choosing what treatment you are having, you experience the Science of Scent ritual combined with a therapist consultation to determine what your body needs, which, according the Neom is often different from what your mind tells you. After the scent test (you smell one of four candles for each ritual) I needed sleep as Tranquillity is the scent …

Review: Hotel URSO and Spa, Madrid

BEST HOTEL IN MADRID? Mixing contemporary style, decor and a warm welcome, hotel urso and spa, on the edge of edgy Chueca district is considered by many to be the best hotel in Madrid. The reception, bar and lounge areas evoke memories of the Firmdale group in London, think Soho Hotel or Charlotte Street Hotel. Warm colours, book cases, yellows mixed with gentle patterns make this a great place to relax. The rooms are more neutral with modern greys mixed with semi industrial furniture pieces and comfy sofas (in the junior suites). THE SPA: Subterranean but making use of filtered daylight from the pavement above, the spa is compact with just a few treatment rooms. Natura Bisse is the featured brand and all treatments and protocols are designed around the products and philosophy. The treatment rooms are small and functional. Throughout the spa there’s patterned wallpaper with orange print made from a textured seagrass matting making it very modern and chic. The star of the show is the pool which at first glance looks like …

Review: Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey

Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum has raised the bar for five-star luxury on the Turkish Riviera. Occupying an enviable position on a secluded stretch of coastline, the resort, a first for Mandarin Oriental in Europe is set amongst pine forests with two private beaches. The outstanding location and cutting edge design of this new resort ensures it’s a must-visit for the discerning traveller. With something for everyone, naturally there’s the beach, water sports, eight restaurants, jogging trails, kids club and a most impressive spa. The rooms are spacious and most have sea views. In fact space is the defining word of the property. There is room to move. High ceilings and a sense of light and openness define the sea facing monolith building. Sea views are captured at every turn, but that doesn’t detract from the exclusive feel and warmth of the hotel. Designed with signature dark wood panels, typical of many MO properties, marble is a key feature which is softened with splash of warm colour, yellow in particular help to add a comforting note to …

Review: Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa, Sussex

THE SPREAD EAGLE HOTEL & SPA: Set in the heart of the historic Sussex market town of Midhurst, the Spread Eagle Hotel is one of the oldest coaching inns still in existence in the UK, dating back to 1430. The Spread Eagle is proper “olde worlde”, charming and cosy, it is exactly what you would expect from a traditional old inn. Quirky, a bit crooked in places, which adds to the charm it’s built with low ceilings, exposed beams, in Tudor style – it is old England at its very best. It has a great little spa – arguably the best spa in Sussex. For all of its history it doesn’t lack creature comforts and modern spaces. The terrace area between the hotel and spa is perfect to enjoy tea or a snack. The Wifi was easy to log onto, a little slow to download really big files, but fine for general, browsing. And the staff were all welcoming and friendly creating a relaxed informal feel, ensuring I felt right at home. The rooms are very …