All posts filed under: Reviews

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Mandarin-Oriental-Hong-Kong-Hotel-Harbour-View-Room - the Spa Man

Review: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

One of the world’s greatest hotels, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is the flagship property for Mandarin Oriental and commands a prime position on Victoria Harbour. Situated in the heart of Central district on Hong Kong Island, it really does live to its reputation, combining elegance with refined warm and friendly service. Reception is always buzzing with activity, but our check in was swift and efficient and in an instant we were escorted to our room. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is big hotel with 434 rooms and 67 suites. Our luxury room with harbour view was offered picture perfect views. It’s definitely worth the upgrade on the room rate. The rooms are decorated to embrace the hotel’s oriental heritage and it was very spacious, and I loved the double vanity unit in the bathroom, there’s a large bath (big enough for two). The comfy beds are perfect to sleep off any jet lag. Dining delights Dining is a delight at Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. The breakfast buffet may add a few inches to your waistline (check …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

8 of the best spas for Mum on Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day fast approaching the Spa Man suggests 8 of the best spas for Mum on Mother’s Day from across the UK. Rockliffe Hall, Durham In the heart of County Durham, the award-winning Rockliffe Hall is a five-star hotel, golf and spa retreat specialising in health and wellness and is the perfect weekend retreat for Mum. The spa is huge and at 50,000 square feet, it guarantees the luxury of space to relax, unwind and indulge without feeling cramped or overcrowded.  It’s a real spa experience that takes you on a journey. There’s a 20-metre pool, thermal bathing pools, tepidarium, caldarium, roman and heat saunas, tropicarium, hydropool and ice fountain. The Spa garden is impressive too. With Caudalie, Neom and Comfort Zone on the treatment menu, you will be spoiled for choice. Try: Caudalie Wine Makers Massage – £90 for 60 minutes Read The Spa Man’s review of Rockliffe Hall HERE www.rockliffehall.com Ragdale Hall, Melton Mowbray Ragdale Hall is one of the UK’s best-loved spas. It’s recently added a rooftop infinity pool and is …

Four Seasons Seychelles - The Spa Man

Four Seasons Seychelles

Four Seasons Seychelles is a picture of paradise personified. Occupying one of the most beautiful beaches in the Seychelles, the villas (most with private pools) are discreetly built into the surrounding hillside and seamlessly blend into the trees offering an air of exclusivity and privacy for guests. From one room villas to four bedroom residences, the villas are designed with dark wood and modern fixtures and make the most of the views. A highlight is the outdoor shower, terrace and decking area. The beach is where the main action happens with sun loungers set amongst the palms along the shore. There’s guided snorkelling with Wise Oceans marine conservation which has a partnership with the resort and is working to restore the reef. Sipping cocktails on the beach, a spot of lunch by the pool or lazy walks along the shore, it’s a heavenly location and most definitely Instagram ready. There’s a large gym on site, just below the lobby and breakfast is served at Zen which also doubles as a great evening restaurant. There’s a …

Cliveden House Spa - The Spa Man

Review: The Cliveden Spa at Cliveden House, UK

The Cliveden Spa at Cliveden House offers a quintessential spa experience in the English country side. Situated in the grounds of the renowned Cliveden House estate, the spa has created a unique proposition with its newly renovated spa. Partnering with truly British brands that aren’t the usual names you would find in a spa setting, it’s reaching out to a new audience, whilst catering perfectly to its current clientele. Cliveden House really is one of the great names when it comes to English country estates. And with this comes much expectation. A five-star luxury hotel; the building is owned by the National Trust and operated under a long lease arrangement by the owners of Chewton Glen, Iconic Luxury Hotels. Sumptuous interiors, dark wood panelling throughout and the use of rich textures and warm colours including red and purples creates a cosy, welcoming environment. The staff are exceptional, greeting you by name and the food is impressive – especially the tasting menu at the André Garrett Restaurant. For more relaxed dining, head to the Astor Grill. …