Travel

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

The truth about colonic irrigation: It doesn't work

It had been a steady passage from alternative to mainstream for colonic irrigation – but that could change after researchers have rubbished the treatment’s benefits, and cautioned about its side effects – including cramps, nausea, vomiting and renal failure.

Portfolio: Anna Fox

Where have the knobbly knees gone?

Met chief's spa stay 'not a jolly'

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson had a five-week stay at the luxury Champneys health resort at a time when the former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis - now on bail over the phone-hacking scandal - was a PR consultant for the resort.

Mountains of massage: The Austrian spa retreats that take their cue from Mother Nature

It's rare enough you meet someone who has invented a massage. To have them perform their treatment on you on a balmy afternoon in western Austria is something else indeed. But that's exactly what happened to me as I lay prostrate under the hands of Harald Kitz.

100th UK branch for Handelsbanken

Handelsbanken will launch its 100th British branch today. The Swedish community bank says the branch, in the West Yorkshire spa town of Ilkley, will open in the next few weeks when local staff have been recruited.

Trail of the unexpected: A spa break in Latvia

The Latvian resort of Jurmala is giving new life to its historic spa traditions, says Alice Azania-Jarvis

Gym chain set to reveal record profits

Duncan Bannatyne is set to reveal record profits for his eponymous gym chain this week.

The Big Six: Luxury hotels in Sardinia

From a villa in Cagliari hidden away amid forest and foliage to a La Coluccia, Santa Teresa di GalluraA red wave meets a bleached Mediterranean sculpture at La Coluccia, which cuts no corners in the style stakes. Rooms are minimalist, sharp and to-the-point. The pool area is similarly smart, leading to the beach. La Coluccia, Santa Teresa Gallura (00 39 07 89 75 80 04; lacoluccia.eu). Doubles start at €260, half board.

24-hour Room Service: Lifehouse, Thorpe-le-Soken, Essex

Set in 130 acres of fields and woodland, and 12 acres of gardens, Lifehouse is a countryside spa that couldn't feel less like a country-house hotel. There's nothing chintzy about it, nothing olde worlde and nothing the least bit pretentious. Instead, it looks like what it is: a gleaming, purpose-built spa – the first to be built in England for 20 years – with rooms attached.

Deborah Ross: Tills that make you do the work are evil

If you ask me...

Fishy business: the spa fad hitting high streets

Is 'Garra rufa' therapy safe? Luke Blackall steps into the controversy

Jane Austen's Bath: Cream teas and genteel spas for ladies at leisure

There is something about a weekend in Bath that brings out one's inner Catherine Morland. With its perfectly proportioned terraces, serenely sloping cobbled streets and elegant crescents chastely embracing gated gardens, it's a city that drips decorum from its very building blocks. The quaint, ladylike pursuits of Jane Austen's heroines are still de rigueur here – taking the waters, perambulating in the parks, a spot of shopping and, of course, the clotted-cream ceremonies of an afternoon tea. If I'd happened upon a place to play a hand of whist or dance a cotillion, I would have donned my finest sprigged muslin and surely done so. Resistance is futile. And why resist? Why not cast off the corset of nasty, pacey modern life and sink into Bath's languorous, idle pleasures? Surely, my dear, it would be almost rude not to.

Full steam Ahead: The sauna has become the latest must-have for pampering at home

There's something about a home sauna that conjures up an era of prawn cocktails, swirly carpets and suburban swingers. Quite why it is that these innocent Nordic heated cabins should inspire such Seventies connotations is a mystery. Of course, there are "those" sorts of saunas – open late in backstreets – but surely we've all been to enough gyms and spas for a post-workout muscle relax, in a no-hint-of-slap-and-tickle environment, to overcome the giggly reactions?

The ten best bathtime treats

You might not have time for candles and soft music, but with the right scented beauty product, your bathroom can become a serene spa...

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
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