Travel

Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

Hot and cold: Alpentherme spa complex

Off piste and into the spa: Austria's Bad Hofgastein offers far more than skiing

Past the town's cross-country skiing track, a little further on from an icy-looking pond peppered with hardy ducks, steam was rising from the valley floor. A series of low-rise modern buildings, large windows brightly lit against the surrounding mountains, awaited me, grouped around a striking dome and a simple glass box.

First time for everything: Having a facial

Not only had I never had a "facial" until last month; I didn't even know what a "facial" was. A lot of men will be more familiar with its second meaning (a pornographic act) than its first (a non-pornographic skin treatment). Let me reassure you that this short article is about the skin treatment, not the pornographic act. I have not indulged in the latter and, if I had, then the pages of The Independent are not where I would choose to share it.

The Oberoi, Seminyak

The Big Six: Balinese beach retreats

Jiva Puri, Cemagi

Something To Declare: Maldives; Montenegro; Thistle; South Coast railway line

Warning of the week: Maldives

Maldives calls off resort spa ban

The president of the Maldives has ordered the country's resorts to reopen their spas pending a court decision, just days after they were shut under pressure from an Islamic opposition party.

The 50 Best spas

Need a cure for the New Year blues? Rhiannon Batten presents the experts' guide to steamy saunas, perfect plunge pools and tempting treatments

Lime Wood in Hampshire

The Big Six: English spa hotels

Lime Wood, Hampshire

Fancy a dip? It depends where you live

As winds of up to 90mph battered Scotland and the north of England yesterday elsewhere in the UK was enjoying some of the balmiest December weather for decades.

Altapura, Val Thorens

The Big Six: Luxury ski hotels

Altapura, Val Thorens

Tranquil: The Peace Laguna Resort and Spa in Krabi

Travel Challenge: Thailand

Each week we invite three travel companies to offer us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a two-week holiday at a Thai beach resort in the new year. Prices are per person, based on two sharing. All include Thai Airways from Heathrow via Bangkok in early January with transfers.

Women on full pension set to double

The proportion of women set to receive the full basic state pension is set to nearly double in 20 years time, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today.

Travel Challenge: A week in the Cape Verde islands

Every week we invite three companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a week in Cape Verde – an archipelago of 10 islands off the coast of West Africa – in early November. Prices are for two, flying on Thomson and include transfers.

Book Of A Lifetime: Tess of the d'Urbervilles, By Thomas Hardy

It's more than 30 years since I read 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy. Re-reading it now, what stayed? Tess herself, mainly. She sweats, she blushes, she bleeds. All that red and white. The white dress she wore in the May Dance, she singled out by a red ribbon; the blood from the horse, Prince, pooling on the ground and spattering her dress after she has accidentally killed it on her way to take the beehives to market; the strawberry – British Queen variety - that Alec d'Urberville foists on her with that telling line: "in a slight distress she parted her lips and took it in".

Tributes paid to honeymoon couple killed in Maldives

Tributes have been paid to a British couple who were killed in a quadbiking accident while on their honeymoon in the Maldives.

Newlyweds die in quad-bike accident

A British couple were killed in a quad-biking accident while on their honeymoon in the Maldives, police on the holiday island said yesterday.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn