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The Spa Man

What I’ve learned about spas (from the man who visits over 30 a year)

I have been visiting spas for over a decade and am privileged to visit some of the world’s most incredible spa and wellness destinations. From medi-spas in Switzerland and holistic retreats in Thailand to the warm healing waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, it’s been an incredible journey. In my time as a spa writer I have visited over 300 spas and had well over 1000 treatments including countless massages, body scrubs, facials, reflexology, reiki, holistic healing, and trauma therapy. I’ve been scrubbed, soaked, stretched and starved, pampered, poked, prodded, and even pricked with an IV drip. I’ve had my chakras balanced in Greece, meditated on a mountain in the Seychelles, let go of guilt in Italy and had an out of body experience in Mauritius. But in all seriousness, I have come to learn that it’s possible to reboot and reset your mind, body and soul in the spa. Done correctly it can be truly lifechanging. I know, I have had a number of experiences that have brought me back from the brink …

Mountain Spa - The Alpina Gstaad

Review: The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad occupies a commanding position on a hill overlooking the small resort of Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. It’s an award-winning luxury property for the discerning wellness guest. Built into the side of a hill, the hotel façade presents the traditional look of a Swiss Alpine hotel. Inside it’s all a little different. Blending traditional alpine chic with modern art and contemporary design, the hotel is cosy, contemporary and a chic getaway for a few nights or more. During winter time the main draw is skiing, but many guests visit for the spa or to enjoy one of the two Michelin star restaurants: Sommet and Megu (more of those later). Arriving at the hotel you enter underground and it sets the tone for the journey which is cocooning, modern and had an understated energy. Contemporary artworks are perfectly positioned throughout the hotel which catch the eye, adding a unique touch to the design but it doesn’t have a gallery feel. The dark reclaimed timer is a dominating factor in the design …

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 …

Gentleman massage - Thai Square Spa

Six best spas for men in the UK

Suggesting a list of the best spas for men is courting trouble as I’m sure to miss out some very, very good ones. Apologies now! and email me if I have missed out a great spa that you think is perfect for guys. I visit lots of spas and most serve men fairly well. However, there is always room for improvement. I’ve made this selection based on a few things: range of treatment options on the spa menu, choice of fitness facilities and how welcome men feel. They are also spas that I have personally been to. I can recommend that they are great spas for men. Either alone or with a friend or partner. So here’s the best spas for men on National Men’s Grooming Day. Galgorm Resort and Spa Galgorm Resort and Spa is just over half an hour from Belfast and its a great place for guys, and excellent for couples (I’m thinking romantic weekend away). The new Thermal Village featuring indoor pool, sauna and snow cave plus cafe and relaxation room. This …

The Spa at Pennyhill Park, An Exculsive Hotel

The best places to spa outside in the UK

Summer has turned all “scorchio” on us, so it was timely to round-up the best places to spa outside. What better way to enjoy our fabulous summer, 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. Aqua Sana, Center Parcs, Woburn Forest A woodland setting and infinity edge outdoor pool, this is a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. Powerful water jets help sooth aches and pains and all looking straight out to the trees. It’s a pure forest experience. www.aquasana.co.uk Pennyhill Park There’s a new spa’s decking area with additional seating for up to 200 guests around the outdoor pools.  Luxurious loungers and new dining tables and chairs have been introduced to take advantage of the revamped pool bar which now includes a Pimms pump to complement The Spa’s summer barbeque menu. www.pennyhill.co.uk The best places to spa outside continued Bamford Haybarn Spa at the Berkeley Unique among London hotels, …