All posts tagged: travel

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 …

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa - The Spa Man

Review: Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, France

The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa has set a new standard for contemporary luxury spa and wellness in the Champagne region of Northern France. Set on a hill overlooking the town of Epernay and the small villages of Champillon and Hautvillers, the hotel is within easy reach of Paris (around an hour) and a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It offers a real retreat, a destination in itself. Yes it’s a great place to explore the region, but you could easily stay for a few days without leaving and feel totally and thoroughly at peace. Opened in mid 2018, the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa has just 47 rooms set over two floors with two dining delights sited on the top floor. You are in for a gastronomic treat over seen by two Michelin star executive chef Jean-Denis Rieubland. For fine dining reserve a table at the Michelin star Le Royal, and for a more casual, all-day restaurant, Le Bellevue is the pace to be. Champagne is the order of …

best new spas of 2020 - Six Senses New York

The best new spas of 2020

Looking for inspiration for where to spa this year? The Spa Man has compiled his annual list of the very best new spas of 2020. The new year (and new decade) will continue to see growth in spas and wellness destinations across the globe. In the UK there is a steady stream of investment in country house hotels and a very exciting project is due to open in January (Carden Park I’m heading your way soon). Already spoiled for choice, now there’s even more on offer as properties look to raise the bar for spa in the UK and abroad. It’s interesting to see two new One and Only properties debut the Chenot spa concept. So here’s where to spa in 2020. The Spa Man’s annual guide to the best new spas of 2020 including: UK, Europe, North America, Asia and the Indian Ocean. If I have missed any do drop me a line! BEST NEW SPAS OF 2020: UNITED KINGDOM Carden Park, Cheshire Carden Park, set within a 1,000 acre Cheshire country estate, will …

Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall

Review: Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall, Devon, UK

Gaia Spa is a luxury spa set within the grounds of Boringdon Hall, Devon; a Grade I listed 16th century country manor on the edge of Dartmoor, Plymouth. Modern, welcoming and expertly designed, the Gaia Spa has it all. The spa makes the most of its setting offering beautiful views to the gardens, field and moorland on the horizon. From the warm welcome at reception, you can indulge in a manicure, pedicure or make-over. However, step through the spa doors to find where the magic really happens. The large pool is perfect for swimming laps and there’s a hydrotherapy pool with lots of massaging jets which leads to a small, but perfectly formed outdoor jacuzzi. Lining the pool are a series of relaxation loungers and two heater loungers. On wet days – this area can get quite busy. But during balmy sunny days from spring to early autumn you can escape outside and really commune with nature. The thermal suite at Gaia Spa is very well designed, ensuring a seamless spa journey with two saunas, …

The Cottonmill Club at Sopwell House

Review: The Club at Cottonmill, Sopwell House, Hertfordshire

The Club at Cottonmill is the brand-new offering at Sopwell House and is a triumph of design. The beautifully constructed spa effortlessly combines contemporary design with a natural colour palette and rich textures to make this one of the UK’s most beautiful spa locations. The synergy between indoor and outdoor has been captured perfectly and is a testament to the vision of the Bejerano Family and the skill of spa designers Sparcstudio. Large panoramic windows offer guests great views of the estate. At almost every turn you can see the trees, look up to the wide open sky, and look down over the excellent spa garden created by award winning Anne Marie Powell. Set over three floors, The Club at Cottonmill is huge. What I loved is that there is space, plenty of space to simply be, to relax and chill and there are enough loungers, day beds and sun loungers to accommodate all guests with some to spare. On the top floor, the Whisper Room has large loungers in neutral tones, a fireplace and …

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa - The Spa Man

Review: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa, Switzerland

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa lives up to its name. It’s one of the grand dame hotels of Switzerland and an icon in the popular tourist town of Interlaken. The stop off for great hiking, sightseeing and some skiing, it’s an ideal base for a luxury weekend, a short wellness break or a more intense Better Aging programme from Swiss brand Nescens. The hotel has some great restaurants and you should definitely make time to eat at Sapori and La Terrasse. The spa at Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa itself is vast. Based over two floors and two wings, the art deco inspired design of the main indoor pool is stunning. There are three hot tubs in this space with sauna and steam room, plus an indoor/outdoor brine hot tub. This leads out to an impressive spa terrace which is wonderful in the summer months – you can look out to the mountains and breath the fresh alpine air. The spa features a hair salon, a large gym and a dedicated beauty spa …

Scarlet Hotel Natural rock pool - The Spa Man

The UK’s best spas with outdoor pools for a hot summer’s day

British spas have realised the appeal of bathing outside, and outdoor pools are becoming a standard fixture for new builds (where space and budget permit). The Spa Man loves to spa outside – the connection with nature while breathing fresh air is truly something special. Post-treatment, relaxing on a sun lounger (in any weather) is hard to beat. On a hot sunny, summer’s day – it’s even better. Here is the Spa Man’s pick of the UK’s best spas with outdoor pools for cooling off on a hot summer’s day. Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, Cumbria This Lake District hotel on the shores of Derwentwater in Borrowdale is a new addition to the UK spa-scene. The setting is stunning and the spa focusses on pampering and celebrations. The view from the pool of the lake. Jaw-dropping. https://www.lakedistrictspa.co.uk Aqua Sana Center Parcs Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire It’s always high on my list of spas I recommend. The infinity edge pool that looks to the forest is pure heaven. The spa is spiffy with lots of heat and …

Park House Hotel and Spa - the Spa Man

Review: Park House Hotel and Spa, Sussex

Park House Hotel and Spa is a secret hideaway at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. On a quite country lane, the small country house hotel really punches above its weight. It has modern, comfortable rooms, super comfy beds all set in green Sussex countryside with nothing but the sweet sound of birds to break the silence. Rooms are situated in the main building, and there’s a new annexe with additional large rooms that look across the kitchen garden and to the fields beyond. A stone’s throw from the historic market town of Midhurst, (where you might enjoy the polo at Cowdray Park) there are country gardens and historic sights a plenty. But wise people don’t venture beyond the gate. Choose from an array of country walks, lazing by the pool, or you can indulge in some refined English pursuits like lawn bowls, tennis, a round of golf on the six-hole course or croquet (ok that’s more French). The food is worth the drive too. …

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 …

Men's Wellness Retreats - SHA Wellness

Men’s wellness holiday bookings surge 42% Have you booked yours yet?

Now is the best time to book a men’s wellness retreat for your next holiday break, because it seems it’s on the rise. According to Health and Fitness travel, bookings have increased 42% since 2010. Paul Joseph, Founder of Health and Fitness Travel, says “Since 2010 we have seen a 42% increase in men booking wellness holidays. Men investing in their well-being and appearance is now so normal; many are living with extreme unprecedented stress due to growing work demands, and we have seen a growing interest from men towards self-care and health awareness. Most retreats and spas are gender neutral and cater equally to both sexes.” So with the help of Health and Fitness Travel I have compiled 8 of the best men’s wellness retreats for the health-conscious guy. It’s timely as in June it’s Men’s Health Week and Father’s Day. From pulse-raising boot camp fitness in Portugal to holistic weight loss in India, these healthy escapes are the perfect gift for men ready to make a positive change. Discover 8 of the best men’s wellness …

Euphoria Retreat Spa - Sphere Pool

Review: Euphoria Retreat, Greece

Euphoria Retreat offers something distinct, unique and a little bit magical. This healing hotel and spa is set on a hill, in a forest in the rustic town of Mystras in the Peloponnese. Between mountains and olive groves, the views are sublime. But it’s the energy of the land and the sense of history in the location that really add to the experience. Mystras is a UNESCO world heritage site and its just 5 minutes from the city of Sparta. Created by Marina Efraimoglou, the 45-room hotel at Euphoria Retreat is modern, yet calming with rooms looking across the valley or out to the forest. It is designed to look a little like a monastery and has a soothing calming effect. The rooms feature super comfy beds, walk in shower and lounge chair. The superior rooms and suites are larger with more features and benefit from commanding views of the valley. Divine dining Eating is a key priority on any retreat and the Gaia Restaurant at Euphoria Retreat serves fabulous Greek inspired food that is …

St Michaels Falmouth - The Spa Man

Review: St Michaels Falmouth, Cornwall

St Michaels Falmouth is a one of a kind get away. It’s a 4-star deluxe resort combining a welcoming and relaxed vibe hotel, two great restaurants and a fabulous spa – it’s a place to feel good again. That’s the strap line they use in the marketing and I can definitely say after a two-night break I did feel good again. Situated opposite the blue flag Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth, Cornwall, St Michaels has 84 bedrooms that feature contemporary coastal chic, and manage to pull it off without being cliched. There are great rooms in the main house with sea view suites and spa garden rooms (to name a few) but your best bet is to book the Beach House. Recently renovated, its rooms offer are comfy, spacious and sparsely decorated with white walls, the odd splash of colour with coastal prints and chic fabrics. Expects a kettle, Nespresso machine, Cornish tea, shortbread, the comfiest bed and Elemis amenities. Oh and did I mention the terrace – yes when its warm (or a touch cooler) …

Best news spas of 2019 - LUX North Male Atoll

The best new spas of 2019

There’s plenty of choice from this hot list of the best new spas of 2019. The spa and wellness industry continues to grow as the spend on luxury hotels, resorts and destination spas sky rockets. In the UK there continues to be huge investment in country house hotels and a few delayed projects are slated to open in Spring this year including The Langley in Buckinghamshire and South Lodge in Sussex (which I have had a sneak peak at and its stunning). You are already spoiled for choice, now there’s even more on offer as properties look to raise the bar for spa in the UK and abroad. LUX* North Male Atoll in The Maldives is one I am most excited about as it brings a total new look to the atolls. So here’s where to spa in 2019. The Spa Man’s annual guide to the best new spas of 2019 including: UK, Europe, North America, Asia and the Indian Ocean. Best new spas of 2019: United Kingdom Monkey Island Estate, UK Monkey Island Estate lies on …

Kohler Waters Spa at Old Course hotel St Andrews - Beach - the Spa Man

Review: Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel, Scotland

With its unique location on the world’s most famous golf course, Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel in St. Andrews is iconic. A mecca for golf fans, the hotel borders the renowned 17thRoad Hole of the Old Course and is situated in a prime location overlooking the famous links courses. Just metres away from the Scottish coastline, the hotel has commanding views across West Sands Beach, the renowned location for the film Chariots of Fire. Built in 1968, The Old Course Hotel features 144 rooms including 35 suites. The hotel has recently undergone a complete refurbishment of its bedrooms which feature Kohler bathrooms suites and picture-postcard views of The Old Course and the university town of St. Andrews. New facilities for a healing spa journey   The Kohler Waters Spa has created a whole new spa journey, adding new treatment rooms, a fitness and health centre, spa café, reception area, lounge, relaxation space and beauty studio. The renovation work has also added a large extension featuring a new 20 m lap pool as …

Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay - The Spa Man

Review: Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Ibiza

The Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay has firmly established itself as the right place to stay in Talamanca, Ibiza.  It’s perfectly positioned to make the most of views across the sea on one side and towards a protected nature reserve on the other. This open plan style is bright and breezy and lends itself perfectly to island life and instantly creates a sense of place. The view to Ibiza Bay on a sunny day is hard to beat and from reception you look across the main pool, sun loungers and then the azure blue sea beyond. It’s the beating heart of the hotel with lots of guests who want to see and be seen. It’s also the site of the Nobu restaurant. It really comes alive at night. Near the entrance is Celicioso – a cool cafe serving great coffee and gluten free cakes and light bites. The banana cake is a must. Throughout the hotel you will find simple lines with white walls and exposed timber punctuated with comfy sofas layered with coastal blue cushions. …