It’s a new year and for many people this means a new start. So, why not wipe the slate clean and plan a spa break in one of the many luxury resorts offering rejuvenating treatments. Who said New Year’s resolutions can’t come true? We didn’t! And a spa retreat is the perfect kick start to a new you; a new and healthier lifestyle. And if you feel bloated after too much Christmas turkey and run down following the New Year celebrations, the thought of escaping the bustle of everyday life and enjoy a rejuvenating spa break is probably appealing.
So, if you need a post-Christmas detox, privacy and seclusion in tranquil surroundings, a wellness holiday is the way to go. Spa resorts, well-being centres and fitness institutes have shot up both across the UK and throughout most of the world. Rejuvenation and lifestyle changes are the ‘name of the game’ these years, where holistic treatments and well-being have become the new buzz words. Is it a coincidence that a ‘new me’ has been high on many people’s wish lists these holidays? Probably not! So, we at HolidayChic.co.uk have come up with our top spa retreats to inspire and motivate you.
Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Karnataka, India
Probably not the place you had thought we would start our tour of world spa retreats for 2011. But there is a reason why India is our first destinations. If you’re serious about your new and healthier regime, Shreyas Yoga Retreat in Karnataka is as serious as you are. Pull through the gates, enter landscaped gardens and be welcomed with a marigold garland by serene, white-robed staff. It all seems quite harmless at this stage! But as you fill in the questionnaire about your mental and physical health, realisation dawns that this is no ordinary luxury hotel. Your stay is planned in terms of diet and treatments: Ayurvedic massage, meditation, rejuvenating spa, pukka astanga and hatha yoga twice a day and, if you like, afternoons spent in the organic vegetable garden. Yes, this is serious rejuvenation! But of course, you can come just to soak up the atmosphere and sunbathe by the pool. How serious are you?
The Ice House Hotel, Ireland
Taking a rather big jump from sunny India to the green, green grass of Ireland, the Ice House Hotel in County Mayo is a chic boutique hotel offering an alternative spa experience. There is no doubt that the Chill Spa will kick start the ‘new you’ regime, as the unique sanctuary will be offering a range of new treatments in the coming year. The Chill Spa boasts a super sleek sauna, steam room, laconium and outdoor tubs, perfect for those cold winter days. Built with luxury in mind, the Ice House Hotel offers the best in modern facilities and contemporary design – and perfect for a scenic walk in the countryside.
Aqua Sana, UK
Who said spa sanctuaries are for women only? Visiting a spa may not be every bloke’s cup of tea, but massages and facials aren’t only for women. And if you have been to any of Aqua Sana’s retreats across the country you will probably agree with us that this is definitely not the case. The brand has managed to put some masculinity into a spa break and there are special experiences designed ‘for him’. Most treatments are suitable for men but let’s face it not many men are attracted to floral-scented scrubs and cellulite treatments. Aqua Sana offers a unique range of face and body products designed specifically for men. They use scents like clove, sandalwood, peppermint and lemongrass rather than florals and include calming treatments to help shaving irritation.
Choupana Hills, Madeira
When we think spa resorts, we automatically think Madeira. We just can’t help it. A raft of new hotel and spa openings has repositioned the island of Madeira as one of Europe’s leading spa destinations. So, for those of us looking to escape the cold and dark winter weather, a luxury spa break not only offers rejuvenation after a stressful holiday period it also gives you a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings and far away from icy winds. Madeira is home to a wide selection of historic spa resorts, but the Choupana Hills resort (on a hill outside the capital) stands apart from the island’s old-school, tie-and-tea hotels. It’s modern and chic and pulls in a younger, hipper crowd than the old favourites. If that’s you then this is your place.
Spas aren’t just the preserve of posh hotels. Along with geysers, leftfield pop and drinking, Iceland's natural hot springs have made it an international superstar. So, if you’re ready leave your clothes behind in sub-zero temperatures, roll around in the snow and then jump into one of the natural hot springs, Iceland is the perfect start to your new year. The milky waters of the Blue Lagoon are an iconic image of Iceland, but for something less crowded and more natural, make for Landmannalaugar in the centre of the island. Here you can soothe your muscles with a dip in the geothermal waters that feed into the local brooks. You may have to wait until the summer though, since the area is inaccessible during the winter months. Tempted?!
Spa haven, Budapest
If the holidays turned out to be considerably more expensive than you had expected, why not kick start your new health regime with an escape to Budapest where you can enjoy a free trip to the sap as part of the city’s annual Winter Campaign. Running until end of March, the campaign allows you to visit one of the city’s most popular spas – the Széchenyi, Gellért or Rudas. As the spa capital of the world, the Hungarian capital is the place to go for a unique spa break…a new you that doesn’t break the bank!
Villa de Vida, Spain
It may not be the biggest of spa resorts, or the grandest, but this small, family-run yoga and spa half an hour from Malaga in the mountains of Andalucía offers a range of complementary medical treatments, including osteopathy, acupuncture and deep-tissue massage. Staying at the beautifully restored Andalucian finca, or in tepees, allows spa guests to feel at one with nature. And for everyone else, who wants a bit more from their retreat, Villa de Vida boasts a steam room beside the pool, a hyprotherapy pool and a yoga platform at the highest point of the 18-acre resort. Vamos a Espana, anyone?!
Olhuveli Beach and Spa, the Maldives
Okay, let’s finish off in pure luxury and in exotic surroundings. True, we’ve just spent serious amounts of money on Christmas presents, food and booze and we’re still not in the best place economically as a country, but sometimes you just need to blow the budget. And what better place to do it than at our final spa resort, Olhuveli Beach and Spa in the Maldives. Elegance, style and pure relaxation are some of the key words at this resort. If you need an excuse to visit this picture-perfect part of the world, the Sun Spa at the resort is the perfect excuse. Here, you can get traditional Chinese healing treatments and the spa’s holistic approach will leave you feeling in harmony with your mind, body and spirit. Now, that’s the way to start 2011!
Ready for the new you?
We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll say it again, if it is a new and healthier lifestyle you’re after, a spa retreat is the perfect motivation factor. And who said you can’t visit a few resorts throughout this coming year, you may need new inspiration half way through. Did anyone mention a summer break?