Get ready for 2016 – Leanne Kelsall hand-picks five great spa hotels from around the world
We get it, you’re reading this because you’re ready – no, desperate – to unwind. Well look no further, my friend, we’ve got you covered. Five-fold. From a state-of-the-art sanctuary set in thriving city streets, to a regal retreat that was once a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill himself – they’re luxury, they’re award-winning and they’re among the world’s best.
So take five and get ready to be inspired by five incredible spa hotels. Your inner Zen can thank us later.
The Thief – Oslo, Norway
Tjuvholmen in Oslo draws people from all over Europe with its contemporary waterfront and idyllic fjord views. But it’s a five-star hotel, The Thief, that’s really turning heads with its ability to “steal you away from everyday life”.
As well as being a go-to for celebrities, The Thief is Oslo’s number one hotel on Trip Advisor. Its rich black and gold interiors are anything but ordinary, and the sculptures and paintings that fill the hotel’s floors are hand-selected by its very own curator.
The Thief’s high-tech spa feels intimate and exclusive, with décor designed with its Nordic neighborhood in mind. You’ll see what we mean as you enter the spa through a private glass elevator and underground tunnel, illuminated by a replica of the Northern Lights. With a state-of-the-art gym, lounger-lined infinity pool, several saunas, and fluffy robes and face creams at the ready, the Thief’s spa is equipped with everything you need for an escape from the city.
And if you feel like a treatment before you tuck into some fine Norwegian food, you’ve got a long list of options, for solo visits or couples, from Turkish Hammams to Hollywood facials – all using artisanal products. Chances are, you’ll probably find yourself sharing a steam room with an A-lister too.
Treatments from NOK 295/£22
Lime Wood – New Forest, UK
Lime Wood is hidden in the heart of the New Forest, with virtually no signage. Yet, thanks to word of mouth, this charming country house hotel has no shortage of guests staying in their many suites, lodges and cottages.
Lime Wood has enough awards to warrant a trophy cabinet – although the actual cabinet would be out of sight, such is their modesty. Its world-famous Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant, run by Michelin-starred chefs Angela Hartnett (Gordon Ramsay’s prodigy) and Luke Holder, has been shortlisted for best restaurant in the world.
With roll top baths, four poster beds, large open fires and solid oak furnishings, you can feast on a hearty serving of British culture at Lime Wood. The entrance to the New Forest is quite literally on your doorstep, and you can borrow a pair of wellies from the hotel’s entrance hall.
You’re sure to feel ‘at one’ with your surroundings in the Herb House Spa – all three floors of it. This light, airy space has several relaxation and hydrotherapy pools, steam rooms and saunas, a mud house and a whole floor of treatment rooms – with stunning woodland views.
The tempting list of treatments features the British Bamford skincare range with naturally-balancing oil blends and the seaweed-based VOYA straight from the Irish coast.
When it’s time to re-energise, Lime Wood’s exercise timetable is where it’s at, with yoga on the rooftop, fitness in the forest and more.
Treatments from £65
Amangani – Wyoming, USA
If you’re searching for a stateside spa stay, you won’t find yourself struggling for choice. But the Amangani hotel (quite literally) towers above the rest with its mighty mountain views from the edge of East Gros Ventre Butte in Jackson Hole. It’s home to some of the best skiing in the Rockies, so a sure shortlist contender for your winter escape.
At the Amangani, in Wyoming, you can start your day with a one-to-one yoga class, and then head to the heated outdoor pool and enjoy panoramic views of those snow-covered peaks you’re about to ski. Aman’s treatments focus on massage and hot stone therapy to soothe tired legs. Oils are alpine-inspired, and include local aromas like mountain juniper.
When it’s time to hit the sack, you can head back to your rustic room or luxury private home, all with breathtaking views of the valley. Now, that’s well worth a postcard home.
Treatments from $60/£39
The Datai Langkawi – Langkawi, Malaysia
Tucked away in the jungle, among the monkeys, geckos and tropical shrubbery, is the Datai Langkawi – Malaysia’s most luxurious hotel. A real rainforest retreat.
The Datai’s open-air spa with four large treatment villas, lies beneath lush Langkawi rainforest. There’s no need for relaxation CDs here, because you’re free to sit back and soak up all the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle.
The spa’s treatment list is a true recipe for tranquility. Based on the ancient healing techniques of the Malay tribes, the Ramuan’s massages, scrubs and wraps use plant-based oils and fresh herbs like hibiscus and lemongrass.
After you’ve spent the day rekindling your spirit at the spa, you can catch the sunset in the serene setting of the Andaman Sea from your deluxe beach-side villa. The Datai Langkawi sits in Datai Bay, one of the top 10 beaches in the world (according to National Geographic), with miles of white sand just begging to be bathed on.
Treatments from MYR 270/£40
La Mamounia, Marrakesh, Morocco
If you’re looking for royal R&R (which, let’s face it, you are), the legendary La Mamounia in Marrakesh is the answer. Nestled among royal walled gardens, and once a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill, this pampering palace certainly fits the bill.
Since it opened in 1923, history-rich La Mamounia has gained loyal following of celebrities, royals and rock stars. Its recent renovation saw Hollywood’s finest turning up at the launch party. World-class chefs head up the hotel’s four restaurants and there are 71 supreme suites fit for a king – and they’ve had a few of those stay too – overlooking the outdoor pool and gardens. Stunning sculptures, candle-lit walkways and awakening aromas greet you as you enter through the marbled lobby.
La Mamounia’s spa speaks of laid-back lavishness, with three traditional Hammams, several indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and a vast pool area. It’s an incredible marble and mosaic masterpiece, with ornate ceilings and colossal columns filling your eye line.
Choose from an indulgent list of deep-tissue massages, facials and wraps while you bathe in the majestic Moroccan splendor of it all, with Aragon oils soaking into your skin. When you’re finished, head to the outdoor pool where 2,600sq ft. of opulent oasis awaits you.
Treatments from 300 MAD/£20
About Leanne Kelsall