Everyone loves being pampered, and with more and more choice of alternative therapy and holistic treatments on offer in the west we are really spoiled for choice. So when looking for a luxury spa break, why not travel to the Far East where many of these philosophies and treatments began The natural beauty of the Far East goes hand in hand with Buddhist and Hindu lifestyles, so instead of dipping into a white-bricked hotel sauna in the British countryside for relaxation, head to the hills instead and indulge in some yoga while the sun rises...
Set amid the slopes of the low-level Himalayas on the borders of Nepal lies the stunning lush Indian countryside with its views of green hills sloping off into the distance. What better place for some ancient Hindu Ayurveda treatments which nurture the body and mind together for greater wellbeing? Amanda is a luxury resort set inside a converted Maharaja palace high above the city of Narendra Nagar and offers a complete range of ayurvedic experiences, yoga, meditation, and wellness rituals alongside beauty treatments.
Using wooden beds, age-old powders and oils, qualified ayurvedic therapists can massage you with four hands or use herbs to exfoliate your skin while advising you on the best diet to compliment your beauty regime. Try the Sirodhara technique where lukewarm herbal oil is poured onto the forehead to improve memory and sleep patterns while reducing the ageing process. While you can stay in the numerous furnished villages around the complex, head to the Maharaja’s Viceregal Suite for a king’s welcome, located in the old palace. Boasting a private terrace with mountain views and a rooftop Jacuzzi overlooking the distant Ganges Valley, staying here will take you back to India’s regal past.
Have it all to yourself
The beautiful island of Lombok lies just East of Bali in Indonesia’s Nusa Tenggara and is a jewel in the ocean with crashing waves, volcanic mountain ranges and lush rice paddies. Just a hop over the sea are the stunning Gili Islands while the brooding active volcano Gunung Rinjani can be seen jutting into the sky. Set 2km inland from the tranquil fishing bay of Mangsit is the palm-lined spa resort Puri Mas. With only three suites surrounding a swimming pool, this is a great place to find yourself again. Stay in an adapted Lumbung thatched house or a romantic villa with a garden shower and gated terrace. Let yourself float away with the choice of spa treatments available.
Experience the Kampung which begins with a foot massage followed by a compressing technique with herbs and spices. Then comes a coconut oil massage before finishing off with dip in a rejuvenating tea bath. Practice your salsa skills, partake in some yoga or just marvel at East Lombok’s coral gardens with the in-house dive master.
The garden city
For an urban break uniting culture with fine cuisine, Singapore has it all. From the grand facade of Raffles hotel to the exquisite eateries and world-famous Singapore Zoo, this is not a city to be missed. And while not normally considered a spa location, the Sentosa is only 10 minutes drive from the city’s business district but is set in 27 acres of lush tropical landscaped garden. Inside this complex is the Spa Botanica, Singapore’s first garden destination spa.
Four garden villas boast private terraces and a midnight blue swimming pool amid the manicured foliage. The nearby Garden restaurant only sources produce from organic and bio-dynamic farms. Have a dip in Asia’s first mud pools for cleaning those pores, rest easy in the meditation labyrinths, or just take a dip under the cascading waterfall. And, of course, there are plenty of fabulous therapies on offer.
The landlocked kingdom
Nestled high in the Himalayas is the mysterious yet peaceful nation of Bhutan, with its stretching rural landscapes of flat rice paddies, pine-clad glacial streams, and vast snow-capped mountain ranges. Uma Paro is a mountain resort who will not only sort out the much-needed visa for you, but act as a travel agent for inland treks and cycling trips to remote villages. Ayurvedic therapy is on offer, as is meditation and yoga in open windowed rooms staring out into the Himalayas.
For many, a wellbeing retreat could just mean a massage or two followed by a facial, but at The Farm in The Philippines, diet goes hand in hand with a peaceful mind. Growing their own produce in an organic garden, the vegan restaurant Alive! serves ultra-healthy food in tropical grounds. The detoxifying treatment Skin Kayud and Kalawag Body Detox uses the spice Curcumin to cleanse the liver, kidneys, and heart, which is followed by skin tightening and a massage of the lymph system.
And the treatments do not stop there! The Master Villa is the resort’s most exclusive accommodation and comes with teak-covered walls and ceilings, natural fibre carpets, views of the Malarayat mountain range, and a homemade sea salt and lemongrass body polish.
We’ve barely scratched the surface. The east offers so much to travellers yearning after some much-needed pampering in tranquil surroundings. With its peaceful culture and mesmerising traditions, this is really a region to relax in.