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Spa Secrets

Get a sneak peek at the latest issue of Spa Secrets

21
December
2011
Get a sneak peek at the latest issue of Spa Secrets

Psst, spa lovers – did you know that you can now preview the Winter 2011 issue of Spa Secrets magazine online? A 22 page teaser of this packed instalment is available for your perusal at www.spasecretsmagazine.com/winter11. You can say goodbye to getting any more work done this afternoon...

Ready to try some new trends? It’s out with the old and in with the new at Spa Secrets, with the winter issue focussing on the latest spa innovations, new beauty looks and even advice from supermodel Erin ‘O Connor. Perhaps one of the most fascinating pieces is a feature on age-appropriate skincare, which asks when you last overhauled your skincare routine. If it was a long time ago, you might want to heed editor Katie Reich-Storer’s advice:

‘It’s time to act your age – if you’re still using the same...

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Tell us your spa secrets

21
October
2010
Tell us your spa secrets

We review the best spas to make your autumn escape in the UK and beyond.

Bishopstrow House & Spa, Wiltshire, UKby Nicóla Brookes

If you like country houses with a stylish modern sheen, Bishopstrow may be for you. This luxury 18th-century hotel has retained its traditional country house furnishings — open fireplaces, roll-top bathtubs, antiques, cosy couches — and recently added a new spa and contemporary restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and sleek modern furnishings.

I stayed in an spacious two-storey suite in converted stables adjacent to the Halcyon Spa, with easy access to the indoor pool, whirlpool, rasul, sauna, steam room and rain-mood shower. My Elemis deep tissue massage was good, the therapist asking the right questions and finding all the tight spots.

There’s a nice...

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Earth zone

14
October
2010
Earth zone

Charmaine Yabsley looks at treatments inspired by Mother Nature, from crystal therapy to salt caves.

Ever since the Greeks first slathered themselves in mud and the Japanese discovered the soothing qualities of hot natural springs, people have turned to the earth's natural resources to pamper and cure themselves. Today, natural treatments are becoming more popular than ever — and not without good reason.

While many drugs have side affects, a recent report by the educational charity Women's Environmental Network revealed many beauty products may contain ingredients that can impair fertility, increase the effects of ageing and have links to cancer, allergies and other distressing health problems. However, most of these ingredients — including parabens — can be avoided if you opt for...

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Far & away: spas in paradise locations

13
October
2010
Far & away: spas in paradise locations

Poorna Shetty visits spas in Mexico, Antigua, St Lucia, the Turks and Caicos islands, and Grenada.

MexicoA country so vast it has its own micro-climate, Mexico has it all. From the snowy Sierra mountains, jungles in the south-east, desert in the north-west and powdery beaches along the western peninsula, it shares it borders with the US, Belize and Guatemala, with an equally eclectic bag of cultural influences. Mayan ruins, crumbling haciendas and 6,000 miles of shoreline make for great exploration, while the water holds pristine coral reefs for snorkelling and diving.

The place to be: Riviera MayaClose to Cancun, but in a world of its own and protected by the world's second-largest barrier reef, the Riviera Maya sits on the Yucatan Peninsula. The biggest draw is the 80-mile coastline...

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Close to home: stellar UK spas

24
September
2010
Close to home: stellar UK spas

As the summer nights draw in, Piers Morgan Ede discovers it is the ideal time to visit spas in England, Ireland and Wales.

IrelandNamed after the town of the same name, Country Cork can be found in the south of Ireland and is famed for its spectacular scenery, rugged coastline and numerous cultural and historic attractions. It’s home to one of the best-known rituals in all of Ireland, kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, as well as the coastal town of Kinsale, famous for its annual food festival in October. Don’t miss the Gougane Barra Forest Park, filled with Lodgepole Pine, Sitka Spruce and Japanese Larch trees.

The place to beTwenty-five minutes east of Cork city, Castlemartyr is a tranquil village said to date back to the Bronze Age. With its striking Carmelite monastery,...

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Eastern promise

23
July
2010
Eastern promise

For many a spa aficionado, the great 'east versus west' debate can spark fireworks at a dinner party.

The two practises couldn't be more different. Speaking generally, western styles such as Swedish massage are more mechanical, treating the body as a complex machine made up from lots of different parts working together by cause and effect. Conversely, the eastern view is based on energy: to eastern practitioners, the body is an expression of various patterns of energy channels at work.

While western massage focuses on stroking and kneading the skin and muscles to facilitate relaxation and pain relief, eastern massage — for example Thai, Indian, Balinese and Malaysian — uses the pressing of specific acupressure points to unlock shortages of energy and rebalance the body and mind. Also...

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Nails SOS

22
July
2010
Nails SOS

They may not be at the top of your beauty regime, but nails get noticed more than you think — and a nicely manicured hand tends to indicate the rest is well-groomed, too. But after a cold winter of harsh winds and relentless rain and snow, nails can be easily neglected — particularly if they've spent months being shoved in gloves.

Before rushing out and buying the latest summer colours, however, consider whether your nails need some serious TLC. Dry and cracked nails aren't a good base on which to start adding colour, with the result often looking 'bumpy' rather than sleek and sophisticated. Polish lasts longer on well-looked after nails, too. So if your nails are in need of some severe grooming, don't panic: Spa Secrets is here to lend a helping hand, solving three common problems both...

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Ibiza- a journey of balearic self-discovery

13
July
2010
Ibiza- a journey of balearic self-discovery

I've been to Ibiza more times than I can count — but this trip is different. I've come purposely to experience Ibiza's holistic side — the one without alcohol, dance culture and consumerism. My body will benefit. But will I have fun?

I'm pleasantly surprised when I throw open the shutters of my room — dew glistens on the grass and a layer of cloud and mist occasionally parts to give tantalising glimpses of the surprisingly lush, rolling countryside behind. Goats graze under olive trees and fig groves in the distance, and the only sound I can hear is the tinkle of china in the kitchen as the smell of freshly-baked croissants quickly tempts me out of bed and downstairs. This is a time of day I haven't appreciated on previous visits to the island. Normally at 7am, I'm scanning the...

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Hotel Hoffmeister, Prague

04
June
2010
Hotel Hoffmeister, Prague

The hotel's prime location in the lesser-known Mala Strana district of the Czech capital is only a few minutes' walk from the major historic sites of Prague Castle and the world famous Charles Bridge.

The hotel takes its name from the 20th-century artist Adolf Hoffmeister, who collected original art and sculptures. Many of his pieces are distributed elegantly throughout the property. My suite had a certain wow factor with a beautiful fourposter bed, large bathroom with double Jacuzzi and my own dressing room. It was the ideal haven after a full day of sightseeing.

The hotel's Lily Wellness Spa features an Elizabeth Arden beauty centre, a steam stone bath set in a 15th-century cave, an aromatherapy steam room using hot lava stones and a relaxation room with welcoming open fire.

After...

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Nicola Brookes seeks spring sunshine at Hotel Bahia del Duque, Tenerife,Spain

04
June
2010
Nicola Brookes seeks spring sunshine at Hotel Bahia del Duque, Tenerife,Spain

I decided to ditch the city and head to Tenerife with a friend for a weekend of relaxation, pampering, fine food and sunshine. Despite a lack of sun, the Hotel Bahia del Duque managed to put a smile on our faces.

Its position on the beach and 13 restaurants meant we didn't have to stray far for comfort. Beautifully designed by ESPA, with interiors by Pascua Ortega and Perico Mesa, the spa had an abundance of natural light, a saltwater pool, swimming pool, sauna, Scottish showers (hot and cold) and relaxation room, as well as 20 therapy rooms and two VIP suites complete with jacuzzi and steam room.

There are also separate men and women's spas and relaxation areas, each housing its own hamam, sea-water therapy circuit and saunas. Guests keen to work out during their stay can enjoy Pilates...

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Les Thermes Marins de Carthage Spa at The Residence Tunis, Tunisia

04
June
2010
Les Thermes Marins de Carthage Spa at The Residence Tunis, Tunisia

Dusk was a special time to arrive at Leading Hotels of the World's only Tunisian property. Thalassotherapy spas are big business in Tunisia, and having dipped my toe in a few, this one felt more luxurious than its more clinical rivals. Seamlessly blending medical know how with luxury pampering, the hotel's proximity to the beach, Romanesque thalasso pool and huge hamam added to the opulence.

Feeling braver than normal, I brushed my claustrophobia aside and let myself be coated in algae before being encased within a white-domed 'steam box'. I emerged 20 minutes later with skin softer than a kitten's ear, feeling desperately thirsty. Within moments of pouring myself a herbal tea in the pool's relaxation area, I'd dozed off. But a few minutes later, I was being led to a room for a knot...

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Return to glory- Caroline Phillips investigates pampering at home

04
June
2010
Return to glory- Caroline Phillips investigates pampering at home

Two of the sector's main growth areas are teenage spas and home spas. Putting the two together is a winning combination. Our daughter requested a pampering party for her 12th birthday, so we contacted Return to Glory, a 180-strong company of freelance therapists who provide anything from beauty treatments to personal fitness in homes, offices and hotels.

On the menu were manicures, pedicures, facials and Indian head massages for a party of 10 children. The professionals wore black and we created a minimalist treatment room (our family room). Instead of herbal tea, we served cupcakes.

Each child could choose one treatment. Mini-facials on the massage couch involved 30 minutes of cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturising, using Strictly Professional products. Head massages and...

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Karen Brost Whyte tries out The Four Seasons, Hampshire

04
June
2010
Karen Brost Whyte tries out The Four Seasons, Hampshire

There's nothing like an imposing Georgian manor in the middle of a park, complete with winding canals, sweeping driveways and an abundance of marble and chandeliers, to make you forget that London is only two hours away.

A therapist talked to me at length prior to each of my four treatments, offering me a range of oils to smell and choose from.

First up: a lavender, rosemary and mint back treatment comprising an exfoliating scrub followed by a mud mask lathered and left to set. While the warm mixture hardened, the soles of my feet were stimulated with hot stones.

This blissful treatment was followed by a hot-stone massage, manicure and SuperActive Facial. The lymphatic drainage massage, using oils to increase circulation and rose quartz stones to even skin tone, left my skin looking...

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The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, Hong Kong

04
June
2010
The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, Hong Kong

Among Hong Kong's biggest selling points are spectacular city views, and those from the relaxation room in The Peninsula Spa by ESPA ranks among the best. Located on two floors of Hong Kong's oldest and arguably most prestigious hotel, the spa offers an attentive service, with 14 treatment rooms discreetly tucked away.

The separate male and female thermal areas were relatively small, although the atmosphere was grand. The crystal steam room's lighting and mosaic gave the aura of a far-away land, and the sauna's large windows looked out on to the city's Victoria harbour. Spacious rooms housed a rain-shower, while the Romanesque swimming pool boasted a stunning sun terrace overlooking the city.

The east-meets-west treatments used a combination of products from ESPA and the spa's own range,...

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Tried and tested: Champneys, Ashby de la Zouch, UK

04
June
2010
Tried and tested: Champneys, Ashby de la Zouch, UK

I was mentally and physically drained and hoped Champneys would prove to be the perfect antidote: not too far to drive, great rooms and a well-equipped gym with a power plate — a new obsession of mine.

I had pre-booked a weight-loss treatment, but wasn't able to do it because I was on medication. The therapist offered me hypnotherapy instead, followed by a manicure and pedicure; Champneys are renowned for putting treatments together and presenting them as taster sessions. I felt on such a high after the hypnotherapy session that I wished I lived closer, so I could have regular sessions.

The spa also had a lovely pool and great thalassotherapy area, while offering massages at affordable prices.

Reviewed by Nicola Brookes.

In the know...


On the menu: Ionithermie, weight-loss...

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Our spa guru checks out the coolest treatments, spas, hotels and gadgets

04
June
2010
Our spa guru checks out the coolest treatments, spas, hotels and gadgets

Rejoice, I see snowdrops… spring must have sprung! Any minute now the sun will be warming our frozen bones and whittling away those wretched winter blues. Just before the big freeze, I was invited to Paris by the Le Residence hotel group. Carita is their chosen spa skincare brand
and I experienced their signature facial. The scrub, made of sunflower seeds, was a little on the smelly side, but it made my skin feel incredibly clean and soft. Tiny electro currents were also applied to my face, yielding an odd taste, but my face looked toned and positively glowed afterwards.

www.theresidence.com www.carita.com

Better than Botox?

I'm 35 this year and partied like a rock star in my younger
days, so thought it was about time I did something about the
laughter lines deepening around my...

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Adam Smith finds the perfect spring getaway at Likuliku Island Resort & Spa, Fiji

04
June
2010
Adam Smith finds the perfect spring getaway at Likuliku Island Resort & Spa, Fiji

The only hotel on the island of Fiji to offer over-the-water bungalow accommodation, this
small but perfectly formed resort is a haven for honeymooners and couples looking for
something really special.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by a gathering of the hotel's staff singing the Fijian welcome
song, and offered a refreshing passion-fruit cocktail from a bar overlooking the lagoon.
A Likuliku necklace was then slipped around my neck and I was welcomed 'home'. OK, so
maybe this was a little on the cheesy side, but I couldn't help feeling a little bit special.

The lagoon is the perfect backdrop for The Tatadra Spa, which translates to 'house of
dreams'. With just two treatment rooms, it has a boutique feel, although the hotel does
have expansion plans. The consultants used products...

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The cool list

14
May
2010
The cool list

Jo Gardner seeks out the world's coolest cities, retreats, hotels and spas .

1. The airport: Jo Malone, Gatwick Airport
Jo Malone has opened a white-clad shop at Gatwick airport selling perfumes, candles and body creams in the signature cream box with black ribbon. www.jomalone.co.uk

2. The Luxury Boot Camp: New You, Portugal
Not keen on traditional boot camps with their bunk beds, 5am runs and instructors dressed in
army gear? Then try New You boot camps, which are getting a makeover with water activities and relaxation weaved into programmes. Guests staying at the camp in the Portuguese village of Carvoeiro will also be able to enjoy spa treatments at the end of the day. www.essentialescapes.com

3. The Taster: Grayshott Spa, Surrey, UK
If you're not sure whether you're cut out...

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Far and away: Hong Kong

10
May
2010
Far and away: Hong Kong

Hidden away in a non-descript building near the Lan Kwai Fong district, the sparse interior of Body Zen evokes a monastic tranquillity, accentuated by contemporary wooden furnishings supplied by eco-boutique Tree. Head to the Fours Seasons in Macau for the chi-clearing Diamond Magnetic Jewel treatment (£130 for 120 minutes). Crushed diamonds, jade and tiger's eye are dusted over your chakra points, then removed with magnets.

The place to be: Kowloon

Hong Kong is divided into four main areas: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the new territories and the outlying Islands. Kowloon — meaning nine Dragons — lies on the northern side of Victoria harbour and is a paradise of shops, bars and world-class hotels. At the peak of the peninsular is the shopping district of tsim tsa tsui. Further north are...

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Far and away: Philippines

26
April
2010
Far and away: Philippines

Set in the western Pacific, the Philippines are an archipelago of 7,000 islands with mesmerising landscapes, active volcanoes, coral-rich waters and lush jungle forests, which amply reward those who take the trouble to explore. A year-round temperate climate makes this a must for scuba fanatics, who come for some of the world's best wreck dives. As a result of its volatile post-independence governance, the Philippines have often received a bad press. But it's now a safe and comparatively cheap place to visit.

The place to be: Batangas

As one of the most popular tourist destinations near the capital city of Manila, Batangas is famous for its beaches and diving spots. Batangas is known by locals as the 'land of the rolling hills and wide shoreline'. Beautiful flora and fauna thrive there,...

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Far and away: India

20
April
2010
Far and away: India

From snow-dusted Himalayan peaks to dense Keralan jungle, ancient spirituality to Goan beaches, India is a place of inspiration. Home to a billion people, it offers bustling mega-cities such as Delhi and Mumbai; the colourful medley of Hinduism, world-class cuisine and unforgettable landscapes. See tigers in their natural habitat, smell fresh spices in a plantation or visit a breathtaking range of architectural wonders. And that's without mentioning the beaches. The best time to visit is between October and March, although the summer months, with their warm monsoon rains, are generally considered most suited to ayurvedic treatments.

The place to be: Agra

A city on the banks of the Yamuna river in the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh, visitors flock to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, the...

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Far and away: Vietnam

14
April
2010
Far and away: Vietnam

Vietnam is a surprisingly large tract of hills and densely forested mountains, shot through with exquisite biodiversity and friendly people: it's a land of vivid colours, striking landscapes and mouth-watering food.

To the east of Hanoi, Halong Bay comprises 3,000 tiny islands, forming a dramatic limestone seascape. Ho Chi Minh City is also a fascinating place in which to spend a couple of days before winding down on one of the islands.

The place to be: Hoi An

In ancient times, Hoi Hn had the largest harbour in South- East Asia, as a result of its importance in the spice trade. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, marking it as a perfectly preserved example of a South East Asian port. today, hoi an remains a small city, but it welcomes many tourists attracted by...

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Far & away: Piers Moore Ede selects the best of Asia

12
April
2010
Far & away: Piers Moore Ede selects the best of Asia

Thailand

From the bustling metropolis of Bangkok to tranquil white beaches, Thailand offers amazing variety.
Experience the devout Buddhist culture, friendly locals, fragrant but spicy cuisine and a geography that incorporates coast, dense jungle and cool mountains.

Despite its popularity with tourists in recent decades, Thailand retains a carefree and unspoilt vibe that belies its place as the most visited destination in south-east asia.
It's also remarkably good value-for-money, without sacrificing access to modern amenities.

Thais deservedly revere the word 'sanuk', meaning to derive pleasure from something, as a cornerstone of their culture.

The place to be: Ko Samui

Often listed among the world's most beautiful islands, Ko Samui, located in the Surat Thani province, is an...

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Health & Spa, Kings Lynn, Norfolk: spa review

01
December
2009
Health & Spa, Kings Lynn, Norfolk: spa review

I was impressed with the Imagine Spa from the outset. The reception area was softly lit and relaxing, with refreshments served on arrival. The therapist discussed with me at length what I was looking for from my day and talked through a variety of treatments. Heading into the spa, the atmosphere was incredibly tranquil, with water features that totally transformed the mood of the place (and me).

Initially I spent an hour relaxing on my own in the thermal suite, enjoying the benefits of the mineral grotto, aroma steam room, feature showers, ice mountain and foot spa
— unsurprisingly that hour just flew. On the treatment front, I first detoxed for 45 minutes in an Ocean Bath, a deep Jacuzzi bath with blue-green algae, minerals and vitamins. Next came the Norfolk Herbal Reviver, a 30...

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Le Meridien Limassol, Cyprus: spa review

01
December
2009
Le Meridien Limassol, Cyprus: spa review

If you want to trade Britain's unpredictable spring weather for sunnier climes – and enjoy a spot of pampering too – Le Meridien Resort & Spa in Cyprus is a real find. I was given an amazing room overlooking the hotel's pools and was feeling relaxed right from the start. But that was nothing compared to how I felt after a day in the resort's fantastic spa.

Making sure I had plenty of time to use the facilities was a good idea – there is a lovely relaxation room, steam, sauna and plenty of swimming pools.

Best of all was the Thalasso experience with both indoor and outdoor mosaic-tiled seawater pools each with a different salinity content and temperature and soothing waterfalls to ease those aches and pains.

The luxury spa has 34 treatment rooms offering a wide range of Thalgo and...

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The Retreat at Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus: spa review

01
December
2009
The Retreat at Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus: spa review

With views of the golf course and the glittering sea, the InterContinental Aphrodite Hills is a gem of a resort in Cyprus. But it's the resort's spa, The Retreat, that was the real attraction for me and I headed there as soon as I could. I was given a warm welcome at reception with a signature drink and a professional, unhurried approach by the staff, making me feel relaxed from the outset.

The spa has 24 treatment rooms and is light, airy, cool and Romanesque in design, with a view from the entrance of the beautiful infinity pool at the back and the sea beyond, twinkling in the bright sunshine. I had opted for the Thermae Experience and the Royal Thai Massage – both of which were amazing. The therapists from both Cyprus and the Far East were polite, pleasant and gentle mannered, with an...

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Stoke Park Club: spa review

01
December
2009
Stoke Park Club: spa review

An old favourite of mine, I was interested to see the new bedrooms — and I wasn't disappointed. While most are now contemporary, with all the luxurious touches you'd expect, there are, however, some quintessential English rooms full of antique furniture and roaring log fires for those that prefer something more traditional.

The spa is one of the main attractions at the hotel and I've had some of my best treatments here over the years as the therapists are so well trained. There is a wide choice of different themed breaks, including a detox weekend for those who've overdone things. Or if you want to look the part, the hairdressers on site can transform even the most unruly locks into a gorgeous style.

I indulged in a scrub and massage using the spa's very own SPC range — fantastic. My...

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The Vineyard, Berkshire: spa review

01
December
2009
The Vineyard, Berkshire: spa review

The luxurious Vineyard Hotel in Berkshire is a wonderful place to spend a weekend close to London and great for a man who likes to be pampered. Having checked into my room, it was time to hit the spa where I was booked in for three treatments.

After a warm welcome, I was taken through to my first two treatments – a back, neck and shoulder massage and a manicure. Feeling fully pampered it was a bit disappointing to have to walk through the main hotel to get back to the main spa area, but it was worth the trek as I was rewarded with coffee and pastries in the lounge.

A swim and dip in the hot tub followed and then, after a very pleasant lunch, it was time for my afternoon treatments. This time I was having one of the spa's signature treatments, the Vineyard Hot Stone Ritual. Having not...

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Irufushi Beach & Spa, Maldives: spa review

01
December
2009
Irufushi Beach & Spa, Maldives: spa review

Sprawled over 52 acres of white powder beach, abundant tropical vegetation and surrounded by lapping azure water teeming with marine life, this five-star resort with 180 villas is one of the latest luxury properties to open in the Maldives.

The Sun Spa sanctuary is an oasis of tinkling water, dark tropical wood, slate, stone, subdued lighting and holistic therapies. Softly spoken and experienced therapists from the Indian sub-continent and Far East offer traditional Ayurveda and conventional treatments, and yoga is high on the agenda. The skincare products of the exclusive range Ligne St Barth are a delight. Honeymooners will enjoy the fact the 20 treatment rooms are all set up for couples massages.
My chronic lower backache was soothed by a wonderful Ayurvedic treatment called...

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Feversham Arms, Yorkshire: spa review

01
December
2009
Feversham Arms, Yorkshire: spa review

There is something very civilised about having a weekend away and letting the train take the strain. No traffic jams on the motorway, no arguing with your partner about directions and more importantly, you can relax as soon as you leave the station. Having enjoyed a smooth journey up to York from London and a 45-minute taxi to the village of Helmsley, I was already in the holiday spirit when I arrived.

This beautiful hotel on the edge of the stunning North York moors has recently been refurbished with the addition of the new Verbena Spa. As soon as you enter the spa, you are immersed in a cocoon of wellbeing. Huge comfy sofas and chairs are there to relax in while you await your treatment, or you can indulge in the heat experience including a saunarium, steam room, salt inhalation room,...

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Pezula Resort & Spa: spa review

01
December
2009
Pezula Resort & Spa: spa review

After a 5am start, a long flight and lunch in the sun, I was definitely ready for a lie down. The thought of a two-hour massage made me a little dubious, however – would I be snoring into the round, face-shaped hole within a minute of being horizontal? 'Probably,' my masseuse advised me. But that was more than OK apparently.

The two-pronged massage first involved being rubbed down with an exfoliating balm before washing the grainy substance off in the shower. So far.... so awake.

I then relaxed into a blissful sleep during a full-body massage with hot stones – the pressure was perfect for my sensitive body. The weirdest part was having so much attention paid to my hands, but as my masseuse pushed the hot stone into my palms for the fourth time the warm sensation again worked its way up...

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The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath: tried and tested

30
November
2009
The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath: tried and tested

As this was my first stay at The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, an urban spa hotel part of the Von Essen collection, I was unsure of what to expect. But as we arrived at the crescent buildings overlooking Bath town below I knew instantly we were in for an amazing time.

With our bags whisked away by the concierge, we were left to take in the grandeur of the property .We were then shown to our suite, a lavish, manor-style room, featuring a huge king size bed and a private terrace.

After settling in, it was time to head to the Bath House Spa, a modest outbuilding behind the main hotel, but inside a haven of tranquillity with a gym, steam room, sauna, plunge pools, treatment rooms and a heated relaxation pool to test out. After indulging in the facilities it was time for our spa treatments: I...

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Ritz Carlton Istanbul: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Ritz Carlton Istanbul: tried and tested

Nothing epitomises the east meets west vibe of Istanbul better than the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Paying homage to Turkey's rich historical traditions, it still manages to offer all the creature comforts you'd expect from a five-star hotel. It's also in the perfect position from which to explore the hustle and bustle of the city ­— if you can tear yourself away from your room or the spa that is.

The hotel's Laveda Spa is the perfect antidote to a day's sightseeing. It's a traditional Turkish-inspired spa complete with a hamman, sauna and steam area that uses delicious Aromatherapy Associates products. In the summer months, the spa opens out on to the terraces overlooking the Bosphorus river — a stunning setting in which to relax. The open-air spa features two treatment rooms and...

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Calcot Spa, Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Calcot Spa, Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire: tried and tested

Set in the pretty Cotswold countryside, Calcot Manor is a cosy retreat with stylish rooms, great food and friendly staff. But it's the hotel's spa that's the real gem. Situated in a separate building ensuring peace and tranquillity, an indoor pool, sauna, steam room, exercise studio and seven treatment rooms await guests.

The spa menu uses Aromatherapy Associates products and includes a range of massages, wraps, scrubs, manicures and pedicures. I opted for the Citrus Detox Reviver, an aromatherapy massage, followed by a manicure; I was impressed with the professional touch of the therapists and the knowledge they had of the products. My husband was equally pleased to discover his deep tissue massage lived up to its name with all the knots in his back pummelled and kneaded away.

The...

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Chi, The Spa Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Chi, The Spa Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi: tried and tested

For a brand as unflinchingly decadent as the Shangri-La, my expectations for Chi, The Spa, were close to astronomical. Finding the spa wasn't easy on such a labyrinth resort but once inside, I knew some unadulterated indulgence was on the cards.

All signature treatments are based on Chi's theory of the five elements in which metal, water, food, fire and earth are balanced with yin and yang energy within the body. After some unhurried relaxation in the preparation room, complete with sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, rainforest shower and Turkish massage, my masseur helped explain the concept of Chi while washing my feet in rose-petal water.

Several glasses of hot date tea later, I opted for the Chi Vitality Facial, using aromatic herbs and oils to rehydrate the skin and awaken the mind's...

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Adamina Spa of Kensington: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Adamina Spa of Kensington: tried and tested

As I was ushered down the staircase into the softly lit spa, with its mood-relaxing music, I felt the day's stresses fade away — this was the perfect place to be pampered.

Once undressed and robed, I slumped into an armchair in the relaxation room to await my treatment — a new therapy by spa brand Yon-Ka, the Massage Oil Candle Treatmen. This involves a therapist burning a candle and trickling it over your body before massaging it into the skin.

Sounds painful? That's what I initially thought but this is no ordinary candle — it doesn't contain any wax meaning it soaks into your skin rather than hardening. The formula of 100% natural essential oils and plant butters help to soften and nourish your skin — don't worry if you've got sensitive skin, the andiroba seed oil is an anti-irritant....

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Constance Lemuria Resort, Praslin, Seychelles: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Constance Lemuria Resort, Praslin, Seychelles: tried and tested

With a private pool, al fresco dining area, sun beds, beach access and expansive bedroom, we could have spent the whole week lazing around our amazing villa, especially with a butler on hand.

But an appointment at Constance Lemuria's spa beckoned. I could have opted for a treatment in the villa or on the beach, but the spa experience is another treat in itself. The self-contained spa offers a haven of peace. Lemuria boasts the only championship golf course in the Seychelles, so the spa's also a fantastic facility for any golf widows and non-golfers.

Wooden walkways, surrounded by lush plants, lead to airy treatment rooms. I opted for an energising aromatherapy massage using Indian Ocean oils. The therapist took time in assessing my likes and dislikes regarding music, lighting and massage...

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Ayurvedic Village, Poovar Island Resort, Kerala, India: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Ayurvedic Village, Poovar Island Resort, Kerala, India: tried and tested

The newly opened Ayurvedic Village at the Poovar Island Resort is a centre dedicated to Ayurveda treatments and rejuvenation. Located on an unspoilt island and accessible only by boat, the facility comprises 10 beautifully designed cottages, each with a contemporary feel and a traditional open-air bathroom, and four Ayurvedic floating cottages.

Nestled within a large area of coconut groves, the Ayurvedic Village has its own restaurant serving only Ayurvedic food, recommended by specialist on-site doctors; a private pool area and a centre for treatments. I had the same well-trained therapist throughout my stay, which made me feel more comfortable, as all treatments require guests to be naked.

Poovar Island Resort is ideal for single travellers like myself as organised activities, such as...

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Andanda in the Himlayas: tried and tested

30
November
2009
Andanda in the Himlayas: tried and tested

Arriving at Ananda in the Himalayas after a hectic tour of India is one of the best ways of appreciating its understated luxury and royal history. Nestled high in the foothills above the sleepy town of Rishikesh, this destination spa houses 75 deluxe rooms and suites and three private villas.

Spa packages include the usual diet and detoxification, relaxation and weight and stress management, but both the spa (and cuisine) are built predominantly on Ayurveda and yoga philosophies. meditation classes, guest experts and one-to-one yoga sessions are readily available and everything is tailored to the individual.

I opted for the latest edition to the 79-long treatment menu, the Tibetan Massage, which includes a light lymphatic drainage and acupressure massage that's gentle enough to enable...

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Hotel Les Ottomans, Istanbul: tried and tested

10
September
2009
Hotel Les Ottomans, Istanbul: tried and tested

From the minute the grand doors to Hotel Les Ottomans opened, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. And with celebrities such as Kate Moss and Paris Hilton choosing to stay here, I couldn't go far wrong.

This beautifully designed hotel in traditional Turkish style was opulent without being too over the top complete with mosaic mirrors, rich fabrics, intricate woodwork and a splash of gold here and there. My bedroom was one of the most impressive rooms I've stayed in; I felt like a princess with the vast bed and luxurious fixtures and fittings making it difficult for me to leave the room and explore the rest of the hotel.

But I'm glad I did as the hotel's Caudalie Vinotherapie spa was equally impressive and had everything you could need for a great spa experience and more. I...

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Spa Secrets Magazine subscription offer

12
August
2009
Spa Secrets Magazine subscription offer

Subscribe to five issues of Spa Secrets magazine for the special price of just £15 and you could receive a free beauty gift.

In every issue of Spa Secrets you can enjoy:

The latest fashion, beauty and spa news
Inspirational spa break ideas
Real-life reviews
Expert advice
Tips on how to lead a stress-free lifestyle
Exclusive offers and a fabulous competition


To subscribe call 020 7253 9909 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              020 7253 9909      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email info@spasecretsmagazine.com

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Overseas subscription price vary; please speak to the subscriptions department for further information.
Product offer available while stocks last.
All subscribers will be automatically opted in to receive further offers and competitions...

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Kingdom of paradise - Thailand, part 2

24
July
2009
Kingdom of paradise - Thailand, part 2

Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai

Main attraction: Visitors shouldn't leave Thailand without making the journey up north to the city of Chiang Mai. Rich in history and heritage, Chiang Mai is still surrounded by a moat and has temples that are centuries-old. Spend time exploring the old town with its strong influence of indigenous cultures still visible today, with diverse dialects, cuisines, architecture and festivals all on show. There are also opportunities to take home many local handicrafts; visit the night bazaar for silk, silver and wood, as well as clothing and jewellery.

One of the biggest appeals of the city is that it's the springboard to trekking tours in the vast surrounding province. Many local operators organise two to seven-night treks taking you through...

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Kingdom of paradise - Thailand

20
July
2009
Kingdom of paradise - Thailand

Explore Thailand with the first in a series of reviews by Spa Secrets.

Thailand's recipe of luxury accommodation, soothing spas and golden sands makes for the holiday of a lifetime, says Kellie Smith.

The Land of Smiles, the endearing phrase often used to describe Thailand, is befitting of a country known for its friendly locals and first-class service. Despite the civil unrest at the end of 2008, Thailand's people are still part of its appeal as a holiday destination, with goodwill greeting visitors whenever they turn.

And it's an ideal destination for travellers looking for a luxurious and exotic winter-sun break away from colder climes. From the bustling metropolis of Bangkok to the beach resorts and islands, there are five-star properties, fine-dining restaurants and gorgeous spas...

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Au naturel

03
July
2009
Au naturel

Get back to basics this spring with our top choice of treatments using natural ingredients. Sarah Drew Jones visits mother nature.

Sometimes it seems as though you need a degree in biochemistry to keep up with the beauty world. The labels on our lotions and potions blind you with their science: pentapeptides, parabens, petrochemicals, the list goes on. Whatever happened to natural ingredients, time-honoured cures and the chemical-free, feel-good factor?

Luckily, they're all alive and well and waiting for you at the world's most fabulous spas. Our face creams may be rocket-science sharp, but it's the all-natural treatments that are in most demand at the top spas right now, and it's not difficult to see why. All-natural therapies, such as hot stone massage, vinotherapy, salt scrubs,...

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Hotel Fortina, Malta: spa review

22
May
2009
Hotel Fortina, Malta: spa review

This luxury hotel – a celeb favourite – is famed for having not one, but four spa centres and over 200 treatments. But being pampered and detoxed here isn't just about the high-tech facilities in the spa.

The highlight for us was our 'therapeutic spa bedroom' with a gem of a bathroom containing an array of superb spa equipment. There was a single Jacuzzi with lots of different programmes to help you relax, a steam room big enough for two; and, the 'piece de resistance', a spa pod with infrared lights, steam infused with aromatherapy oils and a built-in massage facility. My friend Viv and I took it in turns to use all the facilities in our room, morning and night. Pod, Jacuzzi, steam – it became a daily ritual and was soon addictive.

Fortina also has some new wellness bedrooms that come...

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Tried and tested cleansers

14
April
2009
Tried and tested cleansers

The Spa Secrets team tries out the latest cleansers to hit the shops...


Biotherm — Biosource Clarifying Cleansing Milk


Application: Applying the product was easy using either your fingers or cotton wool and it gently removed all my make-up thoroughly without stinging my face or eyes. It was easy to rinse off with water or toner.

How did your skin feel? Clean, but not dry or greasy, so it's ideal for a dry/normal or combination skin. It contains pure thermal plankton which is 100% natural — a relief to know I wasn't applying any chemicals.

Results: Overall, I was pleased with the product, but I would prefer a user-friendly pump bottle.



Decléor — Cleansing Milk


Application: I had to apply this by rubbing it into my face and then removing with cotton pads and rinsing my face...

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Tried and tested: part 2

26
March
2009
Tried and tested: part 2

Bali Spa, Radisson SAS Hotel, Bucharest by Glen Mutel

Where is it? Located in the heart of the downtown area of Bucharest in Romania

About: The Bali Spa feels a bit hidden away, down a corridor, and is quite small, with a simple reception room and a series of petite treatment rooms with showers.
However, ultimately, the most important aspect of any spa is the quality of the treatment, and on this front, the Bali Spa scores extremely high.

Treatment tested: I opted for an hour-long Balinese massage. I always feel that the best masseuses are those who aren't afraid to deviate slightly from the script, and mine did this superbly, spending extra time on the areas that were in need of attention. She was also intuitive, working out without being told that certain parts of my back were more...

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Spas- tried and tested

18
March
2009
Spas- tried and tested

Hotel Les Ottomans, Istanbul by Nicola Brookes

From the minute the grand doors to Hotel Les Ottomans opened, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. And with celebrities such as Kate Moss and Paris Hilton choosing to stay here, I couldn't go far wrong.

This beautifully designed hotel in traditional Turkish style was opulent without being too over the top complete with mosaic mirrors, rich fabrics, intricate woodwork and a splash of gold here and there. My bedroom was one of the most impressive rooms I've stayed in; I felt like a princess with the vast bed and luxurious fixtures and fittings making it difficult for me to leave the room and explore the rest of the hotel.

But I'm glad I did as the hotel's Caudalie Vinotherapie spa was equally impressive and had everything you...

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Hands on

16
January
2009
Hands on

If you feel in need of more than a traditional massage, it could be time you tried a hands-on therapy to get to the route of your aches and pains. Sarah Drew-Jones finds out more...

Modern life was made for massage. Think about it for a moment: do you spend your week running around in high heels, carrying this season's huge bag, sleep-deprived, stressed, slumped in front of a steering-wheel or computer, wondering if your back, head and tired feet will ever be pain-free again?

If all this sounds horribly familiar, you could do with some hands-on healing. While regular massage will relax you for an hour or two, it's the specialist 'touch therapies' of reiki, reflexology, shiatsu and acupressure that will really get to the root of your aches, pains, anxiety and fatigue and do some deep...

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Tried and tested

05
January
2009
Tried and tested

The Spa Secrets team tries out the latest anti-ageing moisturisers to hit the shops...


Matis — Wrinkle Correcting Care
Application: A pump-action, hard, cylindrical bottle makes applying the cream quick and easy and means you waste less.
How did your skin feel? The non-greasy cream absorbed into my skin immediately leaving it smooth. However, I avoided adding it to my nose
and cheeks in favour of my forehead and around the eyes.
Results: My wrinkles did not appear reduced within an hour of application
as suggested they would be, but for combating further wrinkles, I'd be keen to continue using it. T:01322 290101 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              01322 290101      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. www.matis-uk.com
From £58. 8/10


Pevonia Botanica Myoxy-Caviar — Timeless...

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Spa Secrets magazine is a luxury lifestyle title created to captivate spa consumers and international travellers. Vibrant, elegant and above all, a great read; Spa Secrets appeals to the aspirations of its high-profile readers with insightful editorial, lively interviews, expert advice, real reviews and exclusive offers. Spa Secrets magazine is recognised as essential reading for a new generation of affluent spa consumers.

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