Visiting over 30 spas a year, I come across some of the best brands that the spa and wellness industry has to offer. Whilst you may be very familiar with the likes of ESPA and Elemis, travel a little further afield and there’s a whole world of smaller, niche, boutique spa brands delivering exceptional treatments and the most delightful products. I have selected some of my favourite brands in this story, some you may have heard of, others, I am sure will become very familiar over the next year or so as they spread their wings across Europe and broaden their footprint in the UK. A fair few of these are from Australia – which is renowned for excellence in beauty and spa. Join me on a journey of discovery – as these are the brands you really need to know about.
Created by Megan Larsen in 1991, Sodashi is one of my favourite brands. A personal friend, Megan is an inspiration. Her heart and soul comes to life through the products. Sodashi is a Sanskrit word which means wholeness, purity and radiance and the brand lives up to its name. Free from synthetic chemicals the line is formulated with purest therapeutic botanical extracts. Nurturing the skin and uplifting the spirit, the products are created with intention in Western Australia and delivered to some of the world’s leading spas including many Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons locations. The skincare line is extensive and contains a capsule collection of men’s products. I was lucky enough to experience the Arabian Oud Renewal Therapy at Four Seasons Seychelles. It was out of this world.
My favourite product: Sodashi Arabian Oud Body Oil
Where to experience Sodashi: Rosewood London
Founded by Farida Irani in 1993 in Sydney, Subtle Energies creates results-based aromatherapy, natural skincare and wellness solutions founded on authentic Ayurveda principles. The range features some fantastic products and treatments that work to empower physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The range has been certified by Cruelty-Free International and does not contain parabens, mineral oils, silicones or artificial fragrances. This family business has a global reach and includes Six Senses Spa Lamuu, Maldives, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo and Lanserhof Tenersee.
I first came to know the brand when I visited Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay and had a terrific body treatment. Since that time, I have come to know Nick Irani, Head of Operations and Development and fully discovered the range.
My favourite product: Rasayana Body Detox Scrub
Where to experience Subtle Energies: The Peninsula Spa Paris.
Drawing on the rich cultural and botanical history of Africa, Terres d’Afrique is an authentic range of inspiring products and treatments that bring to life the healing powers of African botanicals. Created by Dr Stephan Helary, Terres d’Afrique promotes youth, wellness and vitality through ancient traditional knowledge, which Dr Helary discovered when he connected with African women who have passed this knowledge on for generations. These women continue to be part of the story. I first discovered the range at Four Seasons Anahita in Mauritius. I remember the heady scents of the products, the rich textures and the unusual ingredients, rarely found in the West. Whilst we have never met, I follow Dr Helary’s adventures across the world via the wonders of Instagram. We will meet one day. But in the meantime, I urge you to find this fabulous range when you are travelling through Africa or the Indian Ocean.
My favourite product: Terres d’Afrique Myrrh Body Scrub
Where to experience Terres d’Afrique: Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
Moss of the Isles
Created by a seasoned group of spa experts including my dear friends Nigel Franklin (aka The Spa Whisperer) and Pegin Crowley, Moss of the Isles is a recent addition to the spa scene and brings together the very best ingredients from the islands of Britain and Ireland. Formulated with therapeutic ingredients like horse chestnut, dulse seaweed, Scottish heather and marigold, the products are delightful (whilst also being natural and vegan). I’m yet to try the treatments (but soon will at Douro41 Hotel and Spa in Portugal). I have thoroughly enjoyed the products and highly rate them. This is a brand to watch. Expect to see much more from Moss of the Isles in the coming years.
My favourite product: Quiet Body Oil – Marigold and Myrtle
Where to experience Moss of the Isles: Monkey Island Estate, Berkshire
I’ve known and loved Vitaman for quite a few years now and recommend it when spas ask me ‘What is the best range for men?’ Developed in Australia using an impressive range of native ingredients, the products really work. They are non-fussy, and very often dual functions. I love the textures, scent and results. I can’t remember where I first tried the brand in spa, but it was in the UK. If you look in the right places you can find Vitaman on the treatment menus at spas including: W Hotels, Four Seasons and Park Hyatt to name a few. I haven’t met the founder Clare Castles (who launched the brand in 1999) but we have chatted over email and I’m sure we will meet in the near future. Formulated without synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, or unnecessary colours, the line is free from sulphates, parabens, phthalates, glycols, mineral oil, DEA, TEA, ethanol, and lanolin
My favourite products: Vitaman Face and Body Cleanser
Where to experience Vitaman: Four Seasons Philadelphia