All posts filed under: Reviews

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 …

Review: Hammam al Andalus, Granada, Spain

THE STORY:Hammam al Andalus, Granada, Spain The tradition of the hammam is well documented in Moroccan history and played an integral part of daily life during the reign of the moors in Southern Spain. No where is this more prominent, than in Andalucia. In Granada, the magnificent Alhambra offers a glimpse of the public baths as they once were and makes it the best spa in Granada. Visitors can walk through the various bath house rooms with star light roofs, but it doesn’t give a sense of how the baths operated. Enter the Hammam Al Andalus chain of hammam bath houses across the region. With locations in Malaga,  Granada, Cordoba and Madrid, these hammam spas are faithful recreations of the traditional hammams from Moorish times. THE BEST SPA IN GRANADA: During a visit to Granada, I made some time to visit the local spa chain, situated in the shadow of the Alhambra. Said to be located on the site of a former historical hammam, although the evidence is a little sketchy, this labyrinth of bathing …

Review: Banyan Tree Bintan, Indonesia

THE RESORT AT BANYAN TREE BINTAN Banyan Tree Bintan is just 45 minutes from Singapore (by high speed catamaran) and is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Private villas make the most of terrific sea views looking across the South China Sea, many have private infinity pools and the resort has played host to luminaries such as Tony Blair and Kofi Annan. Bintan was the second resort in the Banyan Tree portfolio to open its doors and remains true to the company’s ethos – with the same high standard of personalised service and authentic Asian spa experience. Read about Banyan Tree Phuket Set amongst tropical gardens, you could hide away for a day or a week and not see anyone else. The resort has a beach, spa, fitness facilities and golf course on site. Whether it’s a wedding, honeymoon or a tropical spa escape, Banyan Tree has it all. With activities for nature lovers, the adventurous or lounge lizards, the resort caters to all tastes. The same can be said …

Review: Raffles Istanbul

THE HOTEL: Modern, elegant and refined, Raffles Istanbul presents a vision of the new modern, thriving city of Istanbul. It’s an imposing building which stands out on the skyline, towering above the Zorlu Center and has magnificent views of the European and Asian sides of the city. The vast reception and lounge areas of the hotel are impressive and bigger than some airports. The design touches reference old Istanbul and contrasts it with contemporary art works specially commissioned for the hotel opening. Fusing old and new the hotel retains the warmth and welcoming service renowned of the Raffles group. Excellent restaurants and the famous long bar ensure you will never go hungry (or thirsty) and that’s without stepping outside for the taste sensations of the city. I highly recommend that you book a Bosphorus view room. The mesmerising views change throughout the day with the ebb and flow of a city constantly on the move from morning to night. And the rooms – comfy big beds, huge bathrooms and the Horizon Suite has a bath …

Review: L’Horizon Hotel & Spa, Jersey

THE HOTEL: Situated on the wide sweeping bay of St Brelades in Jersey, L’Horizon Hotel & Spa is everything a British resort should be. Friendly and welcoming it offers picturesque views of the sea, sand and open skies at every opportunity. Most rooms have a terrace with chairs and sea view to sit and admire the breath taking views. Modern, light and airy, the hotel is one of the Hand Picked Hotel Group’s three hotels in the Channel Islands. With a relaxed, laid back feel, you instantly switch into holiday mode and are completely at home. Dining options include the terrace on the sea wall which makes the most of regional seafood and locally sourced produce fare on offer. It’s a large hotel but you never feel crowded and can escape to the beach in minutes. Book a sea view room, you won’t regret it, waking up in true morning to the sound of the sea is worth every penny. THE SPA: Newly refurbished, the spa has had a £800,000 investment to extend the health …

Review: The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath

THE HOTEL: Situated in one of the most iconic parts of Bath, the grand sweeping arc of the Royal Crescent leads you to the refined elegance of the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. A five-star, 45 room and suite Relais & Chateaux property, set within a Grade 1* listed Georgian townhouse the hotel underwent a major multi-million pound refurbishment in 2014. So I thought it was time to see what the hotel has to offer and what delights the spa has in store. Checking into one of the best addresses in Bath, The Royal Crescent Hotel combines elegance and old world English charm with a modern friendly approach. From the smooth, seamless arrival, to the welcoming fire burning in the drawing room, it’s a really friendly and relaxed hotel. Definitely make a reservation to dine in The Dower Restaurant – the tasting menu is impressive. THE ROOMS: Classic and elegant with modern luxury is how it’s described in the brochures and that’s pretty much spot on. With a refined colour palette, our suite featured muted …

Review: Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania

THE HOTEL: Set in the alpine forests in the highlands of Tasmania, Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge is surrounded by bush, native trees and crystal clear air. Private cabins set amongst the trees are homely with a few creature comforts, but not five-star, but this adds to their rustic charm. On entering the cabins you are met with a heady scent of pine wood and the embers of the wood fire. You could hide away for days and simple gaze at the surrounding trees and wild roaming animals; we were visited by wallabies, wombats and possums during our stay. There’s no TV (a good thing) iPod dock, but the best soundtrack is to open the door and let the sounds of the bird drift in. It’s magical. The bathroom was modern and recently renovated and you will love the large bedroom with sofa in front of the fire and a verandah/terrace to read or enjoy the scenery. Most people visit Cradle Mountain for bush walking and I highly recommend a walk to Marion’s lookout or Crater …

Review: Park House Hotel & Spa, West Sussex

THE HOTEL: In the heart of rural West Sussex, the Park House Hotel & Spa is a bit of an unsung hero. The family owned property is a small country house hotel with a warm heart. Just a stones’ throw from the South Downs, it’s an idyllic setting for a weekend spa escape. With 21 luxury en-suite bedrooms in the main hotel building and three adjacent cottages (where The Spa Man stayed) the décor is designed to reflect an English country home. I was worried it would be on the wrong side of chintzy – but was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are floral prints, but contrasted with modern fittings and a neutral palette, it really works. If you aren’t heading to the spa you could laze by the outdoor pool or try tennis, croquet, lawn bowls, or a quick round of golf on the six-hole par 3 golf course. And do make plans to dine in the restaurant. The tasting menu was top class. THE SPA AT PARK HOUSE HOTEL & SPA: The award-winning spa …