All posts tagged: spa holidays

The Spa at Ramside opens its doors

A new spa has just opened its doors following a £8m investment which promises to be one of the most luxurious spas in the North East of England. Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham has created a new spa, The Spa at Ramside (which opened on the 15 August) and now provides guests the opportunity to take a dip in one of its five pools – including a 25 metre swimming pool, outdoor vitality pool, balcony infinity pool and hydrotherapy pool. The spa also has a thermal suite offering a range of facilities and a specialised Sleep Sanctuary retreat with soundwave therapy beds. The thermal suite includes an Herbal Infusion Sauna, Himalayan Salt Steam, Aroma Steam, Caldarium and a Sunken Amphitheatre Sauna with the spa also home to a state-of-the-art Fitness Suite which will offer a programme of more than 40 classes every week. Other facilities include 14 treatment rooms, a Rasul mud chamber and a beauty snug which can also be booked exclusively for special occasions with use of the pedicure thrones, nail bar and …

Postcard from Madeira

An emerald-green dot in the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is a nature lovers dream. Mountainous and picturesque, the island offers walks through the levadas, swimming in the ocean, diving, whale and dolphin watching, adventure activities and much more besides. It’s sub tropical climate and mild winters ensure that it’s gardens thrive so a visit to the botanic gardens or one of the various Quinta gardens is a must. There really are some spectacular plants to be seen. Just three and a half hours from the UK, served by many direct flights from TAP, easyjet, BA and Monarch, it’s possible to have a long weekend in the capital of Funchal, but a week or more will give you a real perspective on the magical moments the island has to offer. Marking it’s territory as a wellness destination, you can opt for an Ayurvedic retreat, yoga break or just indulge in some chill out time at one of the spa. In fact here are so many hotels with spas it’s hard to list them …

The Spa Man’s favourite spas – 2014

This year its been a privilege to visit some incredible spas around Europe and a little further afield. From banana body wraps to mango body scrubs and some pretty intensive facial massage – I’ve been poked, prodded, refined and renewed. It’s been one incredible year of spa. Here’s a snap shot of my favourite spas of 2014. The Dolder Grand – Zurich The Dolder Grand certainly lives up to its name and reputation. Positioned high on the hill with commanding views across Zurich.  It combines modern five-star luxury, with old world charm and was magical. The spa is modern, spacious and covers an area of 4,000 sqm with room to move . It  offers a grandeur that few spas achieve, combining wellness with world class luxury. I honestly didn’t want to leave. Read the review here www.thedoldergrand.com Sri panwa – Phuket Sri panwa is in a class of its own. Effortlessly cool, it is a mix of private residences and pool villas perched at the tip of Cape Panwa in Phuket. Set in lush tropical …

To swim with a view

Everyone loves a pool with a view, especially if it’s an infinity pool. Here is a collection of inspiring images that will make you want to book a holiday right away. It’s not the definitive list of the very best, by any means. But spa lovers note, these hotels and resorts all have a spa. Overlooking the sea, the jungle, the desert or a river below, don’t delay, soak in the scenery and book a spa break right now. ALILA UBUD, BALI The infinity pool is suspended over the jungle high above the Ayung river below. The views stretch endlessly into Bali’s lush, tropical rainforest – with only the wildlife (including regular visits from the monkeys) for company. Alila Ubud is an enchanting hillside retreat located only minutes away from the ecentre of Ubud, Bali’s artistic cultural centre. Try: the Balinese Massage Rooms from £140 per night. www.alilahotels.com/ubud BAY OF ISLANDS –  RAHIMOANA, EAGLES NEST, NEW ZEALAND Eagles Nest offers five world-class luxury villas which have been awarded as one of the World’s10 Best Cliff Edge …

Life through the lense: join Spa Man on instagram

In today’s digital world of social media which is dominated by selfies, we are living our life for the camera. This can result in images of true brilliance that make you stop, think and dream. Others however are less inspiring and totally self-obsessed. Whether you like it or not – our lives are lived online and we share, retweet and like images, photos and icons all day long. As a writer and spa explorer, the camera and resulting image is an instant way of capturing a moment forever. It can be shared with the world in a matter of seconds, filtered, adapted and captioned. Images are so important to the travel and spa industry. I share lots on facebook and twitter and of course, here on The Spa Man. But for instagram, which I have only just joined, it’s all about the image. Join me now at my instagram profile: markthespaman

Plus size spas?

I’m not quite sure whether this is something to celebrate or if it’s revealing my prejudices. UK Spa bookings specialist SpaSeekers, which represents over 500 spas nationwide, has introduced a Plus Size Spas category to its website to help visitors identify the UK spas which provide size friendly amenities and facilities. Whilst on the one hand, this is obviously responding to a need, on the other hand I find this really depressing that we need it at all. Yes, the nation is getting larger. Amenities include the provision of larger sized robes, bigger towels, wider treatment couches and a policy of making sure each guest is made to feel comfortable in the spa environment. In addition, some of the spas offer spacious individual changing rooms, larger shower cubicles and wider dining chairs without arm rests. Spas that have signed up to the feature include: Clarice House, Macdonald Hotels which has 22 spa hotels nationwide, Q Hotels with 17 spa hotels, Sopwell House Hotel in St Albans, St David’s Spa in Cardiff, Academy Spa in Harrogate, …

Best spas of 2013

Whether you’re planning the trip of a lifetime or a short spa break, you need to read this. I’ve handpicked the best spas of 2013, which means, naturally, they have The Spa Man stamp of approval. The Spa at Terre Blanche, Provence The Spa at Terre Blanche, part of the Leading Hotels of the World is set in the picturesque countryside of Provence. Boasting sauna, steam, laconium and experience showers for men and women and also next to the 20 metre indoor pool, you are spoilt for choice. The pool is connected to an outdoor vitality pool and relaxation garden with sun loungers, where you can enjoy the warmth and scent of the spacious herb gardens. 12 treatment rooms, two couples treatment rooms (with private terrace) hair salon, boutique, gym and yoga studio – ensure you can easily spend a day here with plenty to do. Terre Blanche is a 5 star Resort and one of Europe’s premier golfing destinations with two 18 hole golf courses. The food alone is worth a visit as there …

COMO opens resort in Phuket

Phuket continues to go upmarket with the soft launch of COMO Hotels & Resorts’ Point Yamu by COMO.   A 106-room resort on Phuket, Point Yamu’s which includes a COMO Shambhala wellness retreat, a 100m infinity pool and two world-class restaurants (Thai and Italian) overlooking the turquoise Phang Nga Bay, which offers dramatic, dreamy views – you could stay forever. The hotel has been designed by Paola Navone, the famous Italian furniture designer, making it a truly contemporary launch on the Thai island.  The collaboration sees COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back, contemporary style united with the Italian designer’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials. Expect a dazzling palette of bright aquamarines and hot oranges, with Thai artisanal techniques such as traditional wood tiling and woven rattan adding texture. The ocean-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows in each room, offers spectacular views of the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. Uniquely situated on the island’s eastern side providing a much more peaceful retreat (most resorts are on the Western side of Phuket).  The seas are also more tranquil …

Postcard from Frankfurt

Home to the European Central Bank, lots of skyscrapers and a cosmopolitan city, I have to admit, that Frankfurt was never top of my list to visit. That was until I got an invitation from the Steigenberger Frankurter Hof hotel and spa. Situated in the heart of the financial district, it’s a historical hotel that recently had a major makeover. More of that to come in my review. Frankfurt is a compact city that’s easy to navigate, almost everything can be done on foot. Famously positioned on the River Main – take a walk by the river or do as I did and hop on a 50 minute boat trip for a different perspective. The food is great, the people friendly and it’s a nice weekend city break. Everything is easy. The shopping’s good too. Stay: Steigenberger Frankurter Hof hotel and spa Visit: Main Tower – for views across the city Eat: Frankfurt Green Sauce – a combination of seven herbs served over eggs or braised meat Go now. It’s fun.

2013 Readers Choice Awards – Conde Nast Traveller

Readers’ Choice Awards are always interesting to read as they say as much about the readers as they do about the magazine. This is particularly true of the overseas hotel and desination spas. The October issue of Conde Nast Traveller includes three spa categories in its Readers’ Choice Awards for 2013. COMO Shambhala, Parrot Cay by COMO comes out tops in the overseas hotel spa category, just nudging ahead of The Spa Four Seasons Resort, Seychelles and The Spa, The Nam Hotel, Vietnam. The list goes on to include 20  overseas spa hotels in total. Destination spas are equally illustrious and top of the list is the Parkhotel Iglis in Austria, followed very closely by COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali and then Brenner’s Park-Hotel & Spa in Germany. Criss-crossing the world, the list of destination spas includes in the top one of my favourites – Grayshott Spa in Surrey. But it’s the list of UK Hotel Spas that I thought I would list the top 10 – these are easier to reach for my readers in …

National Spa Week 2013

It’s National Spa Week, 16-22 September 2013, which means that spas right across the country are vying for your attention and usually offering some pretty good deals to get you throught the door. Wahanda is a good place to check out some deals and offers and a great way to experience new spas. Check out the details here . Or over at Travel Zoo there are some substantial savings to be had by clicking here. I have taken some inspiration from Visit England which is highlighting some of the country’s very best spa locations. Historical The Twilight Package offered by Bath Thermae Spa is one of the country’s most romantic spa experiences.  As the sun sets over historic Bath, try out the whirlpools, the neck massage jets and the airbeds, soak in the mineral-rich waters and indulge in a delicious platter and a glass of wine. Once you’re revitalised, take a stroll through Bath’s honey-coloured Georgian streets before sitting down for an intimate dinner at historic The Pump Room Restaurant, with its sparkling chandeliers and …

The best places to spa outside

The British summer has well and truly arrived and with temperatures soaring there are lots of UK spas that have have outside relaxation areas and spectacular outdoor pools where you can swim, sit, sleep or simply chill enjoying fresh air, a gentle breeze and the warm sunshine. Summer is here, so let’s spa outside! Thermae Bath Spa Famous the world over, Thermae Bath Spa was re-opened in 2006 and is Britain’s only natural thermal spa. It combines both historic and contemporary spa facilities. The roof top pool has a view that looks across Bath. In the late evening sun – it’s hard to beat. www.thermaebathspa.com St Brides Spa Hotel Perched on top of a cliff overlooking Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, the infinity pool is something to savour. I visited one January a few years back and took a dip in the pool (it was heated) – the views across the sea and beach below are spectacular. Imagine blue skies, relaxing spa treatments and a soothing dip in the pool. www.stbridesspahotel.com     Grayshott Spa Focussing on …

Gift vouchers for men from SpaDays.com

“Spa Gift Vouchers for Men” are now available on the new website, SpaDays.com. Spa Days for Men are a great gift for men who have everything and especially if you know someone who really needs to relax, unwind and be treated to some much needed pampering. SpaDays.com offer men’s treatments and spa packages tailored specifically for guys. Any of the spa gift vouchers for men can be delivered by email or post directly to the recipient. It’s easy to use, the SpaDays.com filter search can find the right spa day package and there are hundreds available at spas across the UK with some amazing special offers. I found Champneys Back Massage for £32, Men’s MOT Spa Day at Bannatyne’s for £49 and an Elemis Day Spa for 2 including Rasul and free gift for £69. SpaDays.com is a website that brokers ‘spa day’ gift vouchers at various spas and spa hotels throughout the UK and is owned and run by Digital Sports Group whose flagship website Trackdays.co.uk sells many different experience vouchers to serve many …

How to…protect your skin on holiday

I don’t need to lecture about protecting the skin on holidays – it’s simple, it’s a fact and it will not only protect your skin from burning, but ageing and also from skin cancer. In 2010, around 100,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK. More than 12,000 of these cancers were malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Each year, around 2,200 people die from skin cancer. How to protect your skin… Sun damage doesn’t just happen when you’re on holiday in the sun. It can happen when you’re not expecting it, for example when you go for a walk or sit in your garden. Here are the SMART messages from the NHS.  GET SMART: Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Make sure you never burn. Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses. Remember to take extra care with children. Then use factor 15+ sunscreen. Report mole changes or unusual skin growths to your GP. Always take special care of children’s skin. The best way to do this is …

How to…pack for a spa holiday

A survey by Latedeals.co.uk has revealed some interesting differences in the way men and women pack for a holiday. Before we look at some of the best packing tips, did you know that: 65% of holidaymakers are last minute packers and fill their suitcase the night before they travel Most people FOLD: 68% fold clothes, 22% both fold and roll, 10% just roll clothes 12% of people write a packing list HALF of us cram extra items into our suitcase just before we leave for the airport The majority of women admit they over pack and 91% claim they never wear all of their clothes 53% went over personal baggage allowances last year How packing styles differ: Men use 98% of what they’ve packed while away on holiday while women only wear 62% of what they’ve packed …more than a quarter is unworn Men pack late – 90% of men pack the night before and women pack early – 50% start to pack 3+ days ahead The average British man packs 14 items of clothing for …