Oh dear, must I really look at all these photos of sensational spa hotels? Oh well, if you insist…
There are, of course, so many reasons to visit a spa hotel. But would you like to escape to the other side of the world? Or relax by the ocean? Or be revitalised in the pure air of the mountains? Or eat and drink healthily while you spend your days walking, enjoying a few treatments and yoga classes? They all sound tempting don’t they, so I’ll just start looking at all the recommendations now then, shall I? Ok. Great. Amazing, in fact.
The Armani Spa at the Armani Hotel in Dubai is sleek, stylish and offers a seemingly endless number of relaxing and revitalising treatments, including their signature vitamin C facial. And it has 12,000 square feet of space to do it in, plus a world class fitness centre and a couple of extremely elegantly designed pools – indoor and outdoor. And it cuts a Milanese dash on the Burj Khalifa, with stunning views, excellent restaurants and muted luxury all round. Rooms start from around £230 per night.
Practical Details Dubai International Airport is only 5kms from the centre of town, and it’s very well connected to the UK and other European hubs. As you might imagine, it’s very hot in summer…
Country House Hotel
The classic country house hotel spa break format is an oldie but a greatie. You get the peace, the views, the pampering and usually a beautiful afternoon tea too. And the Spa & Bath House in Bath’s Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa is a classic, with the usual host of opulent treatments and treatment rooms, plus a steam inhalation room, a vitality pool with massage jets, a beautiful heated indoor pool and a beautiful setting. The signature ‘Hero’ treatment includes a back exfoliation, hot stone massage, a Five Element facial and scalp massage.
And of course you’re in Bath! Known for its thermal waters. And in the Royal Crescent, the best address in town, with the World Heritage Site right on your doorstep. The 45 rooms have four-poster beds and marble baths, and the restaurant is excellent. Everything is just perfect. Starting from £345 per night.
Practical Details Bristol Airport is Bath’s closest, but you’re not far from Heathrow either, really. It’s also well connected by rail – about 90 minutes from London Paddington.
For the ultimate spa-based escape you need the Laucala Island Resort on a private island, Laucala, in Fiji. This is really the resort with it all. There’s a ratio of 300 staff to 50 guests, and a range of famed body scrubs using the island’s volcanic soil. There are four treatment villas, with their own relaxation rooms and outdoor tubs, and they offer a range of traditional Fijian therapies and a choice of oils in signature scents. But the hotel itself should help you relax as well: on an island off an island off mainland Fiji, this is a super luxurious destination where no detail has been overlooked and everything is beautiful. And there’s lots to do, from sailing to diving, plus a choice of bars and restaurants. Rooms do start from about £3000 per night, though.
Practical Details Fiji’s main airport is Nadi International Airport, and the distance from the UK means you’ll not get a direct flight. However there’s quite a nice range of stop-over options. Fiji is drier between May and September.
If you want to be entirely ensconced in a beautiful environment designed to help you relax and recharge, the Euphoria Retreat on the Peloponnese Peninsula is an excellent choice. Inspired by Byzantine design, this retreat has a rather beautiful system of pools and treatment rooms, graduating from the inside to a wooded outdoor pool and jacuzzi. The focus here is on bringing you balance, be that in your diet or in your body or mind – and preferably all together with a range of personalised treatments and activities. There are 45 rooms, all bright and decorated in soft colours, with luxurious bathrooms. They start from around £460 per night.
Practical Details The closest International Airport to the Peloponnese Peninsula is Athens, which has good UK connections. And from there you can travel onwards by car, bus or train.
By the Sea
The Bela Vista Hotel & Spa in the Algarve’s in Portimão, is an elegant hotel surrounded almost entirely by a smooth sandy beach. The cerulean walls of the 38 Art Deco inspired rooms and suites match the colour of the sea, when seen from their private balconies. The pool is lined with palms in a nod to the old fashioned luxury this hotel really reminds you of. Naturally the spa is excellent. And this small hotel is adults only.
Practical Details Faro Airport is closest, and there are regular bus and train services from Faro to Portimão. The Algarve is especially beautiful between June and September.
Almyra is a chic, five star resort right on the water at Paphos, Cyprus. The views of the ocean are stunning – there’s direct beach access. The all-white rooms and suites are chic, and come complete with balconies and roof terraces. Rooms start from under £100 per night in low season. If the spa didn’t have extensive facilities and a luxurious atmosphere, it wouldn’t have made the cut. But it also has all sorts of fun extras, like evening film screenings you can enjoy from the pool or hot tubs. There are four restaurants offering a choice of cuisine, large gardens, and even a kid’s club. So it really provides an opportunity for everyone to relax and feel happy.
Practical Details Paphos has its own airport about six kilometres outside town, and it’s a fairly big one, connected to Gatwick, Bristol, Edinburgh, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Stansted, Leeds and Newcastle.
Or you might try the Furnas Hotel, a boutique hideaway in a hillside Azores setting. The 54 rooms are elegant, the scenery incredible and the spa is deluxe. They also have an excellent Azorean restaurant. And all starting from around £115 per night. Furnas isn’t by the ocean, which is probably why it’s so reasonably priced and works so hard to provide a wonderful experience. However it’s still in a fantastic spot for exploring the islands – especially if you want to explore some of this beautiful terrain on foot.
Practical Details The Furnas Hotel is on the Ilha de Sao Miguel, but you’ll need to fly into the Azores’ main hub, Ponta Delgada Airport. There are local airports on every single island, although usually only one flight is chartered a day, but most towns across the islands have ports making travelling between the island by ferry easy.
Five Star Glamour
The Regent Porto Montenegro is a superbly luxurious 86 room hotel on the seafront in Tivat. The exterior is elegant and Venetian, the rooms and suites are beautifully contemporary, with everything you might imagine you could need and private balconies too. The Mediterranean restaurant is fabulous. The whole marina complex surrounding the hotel is luxurious and elegant, and the Regent is its flagship hotel. It’s themed on a luxury liner, and the decor echoes this, with yacht sail canopies over the beds, quite a bit of rope and a lot of navy and white. The sea view rooms have views of the marina and its super-yachts. And there’s a range dining options and a huge outdoor terrace. The spa has two pools, an indoor pool with a whirlpool and an outdoor infinity pool, and a gym, as well as a seriously pampering spa menu. Rooms start from around £220 per night.
Practical Details Visitors to Tivat are in luck, this is where you’ll find one of Montenegro’s two international airports. Though it might still be easier to fly into Dubrovnik, which is just across the border and a better connected hub.
L’Albereta is said to have almost made a religion out of wellbeing, with a world-class spa: Space Vitalist Henri Chenot, staffed with 30 therapists, dieticians, beauticians and doctors. But it’s the food served here that has elevated it to this list of great spas to visit in 2019. It’s really something – created by Gualtiero Marchesi, also known as the ‘Father of Modern Italian Cuisine’. Some people will appreciate the vineyard views, or the modern sculpture garden, and you’re off the beaten track, but close to beautiful Lake Iseo, so there’s plenty to please the eye as well as the palate. The 57 rooms are comfortable but traditional, and start from around £230 per night.
Practical Details Fly into Orio al Serio International Airport, from where you can take a coach and then a bus to Lake Iseo. Ryanair fly here from London Stansted, Dublin, Liverpool and Bristol.
We also like Six Senses Douro Valley, a graceful terracotta-coloured manor house on the banks of the Douro, surrounded by vineyards – where you can do a spot of ‘grape stomping’ as part of your therapy if you fancy it. As well as traditional treatments in their spacious spa with its lavish wet areas and top notch therapists, the Six Senses Douro Valley offers locally inspired treatments, like forest bathing, a Japanese wellness tradition where you follow a guided meditation while suspended in a cocoon pod. You can also just take strolls, in a simply marvellous setting, or bike if you fancy it. And come back to one of the 57 rooms and suites with all the latest high tech. mod. cons. and the indoor and outdoor pools, and Mediterranean inspired restaurants. Rooms start from around £325 per night.
Practical Details Peso da Regua is the closest centre to the hotel, and the closest airport is in Porto. From there you can travel by train, bus or car, all taking between an hour and two hours.
For ALL the Activities
If what really relaxes you is getting out on the courts or the links, then the Elba Palace Golf & Vital Hotel might be your dream destination, for, as well as a world class spa and gym, this hotel has its own championship golf course on site, plus squash and tennis courts, bowling and bike hire. Plus it’s right by the coast, so that adds in snorkelling and numerous above-water activities to your to-do list as well. The hotel overlooks the links of Fuerteventura’s Golf Club, so the location is sunny and gorgeous. And the rooms and suites are simply decorated with contemporary comforts and elegance. There’s an excellent restaurant and no kids. Rooms start from around £150 per night.
Practical Details Fuerteventura’s International Airport is fairly well connected to the UK, and only about five kilometres outside Puerto del Rosario.
Masses more in-the-know ideas on holiday destinations here