Chill Out: Do The Detox
Get scrubbed with salt, drenched in wine, or just have a plain old massage. Francesca Syz reveals the latest spas - and treatments - to tick off your list
Sunday 30 April 2006
1. Banyan does the double in China
Spa group Banyan Tree opens its second property in Southern China next month, with the 55-villa Banyan Tree Lijiang. Set just outside the 800-year-old village of Lijiang - a Unesco World Heritage Site - in Yunnan province, the resort is ringed by snow-capped peaks, with all its villas facing north-east towards the cloud-shrouded Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The hotel, built mostly from local materials, will feature the group's signature Ryokan Spa, with a menu offering everything from Balinese massages to mud wraps and salt scrubs.
Special touches: between spa treatments, you can pursue pandas and butterflies, go hiking, horse-riding, river-rafting, skiing or mountaineering or just wander the ancient cobblestone village of Lijiang.
Contact: Banyan Tree Lijiang (0065 6849 5800; www.banyantree.com). Villas from £284 per night without breakfast.
2. A royal retreat in Tuscany
This Tuscan villa, once owned by Leopold II, Duke of Tuscany, was transformed three years ago into a 33-room country inn and restaurant, L'Andana, by French chef Alain Ducasse. The hotel joins forces with E'Spa this month to launch a food-inspired spa featuring ingredients from the kitchen garden. A collection of teapots by 100 Japanese artists adds a quirky touch to the walls of the new spa - and complements the menu of infusions.
Special touches: drinking tea and eating cake before a roaring fire or on a terrace, depending on the season, is an essential part of a visit to L'Andana Spa.
Contact: L'Andana, Tenuta La Badiola, Localita Badiola, Castiglione della Pescaia 58043, Italy (00 39 0564 944 800; www.andana.it). Doubles from €450 (£232) per night b&b.
3. Stretch out in the Seychelles
Due to open in August, the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa will be a 30-villa resort on a private bay on Mahe, the Seychelles. Built from volcanic stone and bilau wood, it blends into the lush jungle setting. The spa, set on a hillside overlooking the ocean, features three thatched pavilions for treatments and a fourth for complementary yoga and Pilates classes.
Special touches: couples can book a pavilion for the evening: a vanilla and coconut body scrub and "dancing fingers" massage is followed by, say, fresh fish and organic salad, with cognac and petits fours while sharing a fragrant flower bath in the outdoor tub.
Contact: Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, Anse Louis, Mahe, Seychelles (00 248 390 000; www.maia.com.sc). Villas from €1,200 (£857) per night b&b.
4. Go organic on Cyprus
The original boutique hotel on Cyprus, Anassa, has just revamped its spa, opting for a holistic concept by the Organic Pharmacy. The spa offers individual treatments through to four- to 10-day retreats and detox programmes, including thalassotherapy.
Special touches: Organic Pharmacy is one of the trailblazers of the chemical-free movement, aiming to persuade customers that natural products work as well or better than the additive-heavy brands - and even smell nice too.
Contact: Anassa, Polis, Cyprus (00 357 26 888 000; www.thanoshotels.com). Doubles from £215 per night b&b
5. Above the waves in the Maldives
On the coral-ringed island of Fesdu, in the turquoise waters of the North Ari Atoll, W Hotels will launch its first resort, the W Retreat & Spa, Maldives, this July. Seventy-eight villas, both over-water and beachside, will combine Maldivian village architecture with contemporary interior design. The spa, aWay, sits on a teak platform over the ocean at the south-eastern corner of the island. Its four, ocean-facing, canvas-roofed treatment rooms are inspired by the sails of dhows. Treatments use botanical ingredients and products by Sundari and Comfort Zone.
Special touches: Sunrise and sunset yoga classes and art tuition are held daily on the ocean-front platform. The regulation spa muzak - whale calls and lapping waves - are eschewed for a selection that ranges from classical music to cool jazz.
Contact: W Retreat & Spa, North Ari Atoll, Maldives (00 960 332 2222; www.whotels.com). Villas from $832 (£489) per night b&b.
6. Trek treatments in Malaysia
The owners of the award-winning spa resort Pangkor Laut have just opened a new 56-room resort with a spa village in this lush hill station above a river valley. Named after a British surveyor who discovered the area during a mapping expedition in 1885, the Cameron Highlands were once home to a tea, strawberry and rose-planting expatriate community. The Cameron Highlands Resort is built in the style of an old plantation house, with reading room, tea room, dining room, terrace, and lots of fireplaces. The Spa Village has six treatment rooms, four tea bathrooms, two outdoor cabanas and a fully equipped gym.
Special touches: This exotic yet temperate climate is ideal for trekking. so the spa offers a series of treatments to be taken after long hikes, such as the Lapis-Lapis Malay Herbal Wrap, made from ginger, lemongrass, galangal and camphor.
Contact: Cameron Highlands Resort (00 60 3 2145 9000; www.cameronhighlandsresort.com). Doubles from £127 per night.
7. A drink and a dip in South Africa
A South African landmark for three centuries, Lanzerac Manor stands amid the rolling vineyards of the Jonkershoek Valley. The house became a hotel in 1958, enticing visitors with its white gabled buildings and dramatic backdrop of the Helderberg Mountains. The most recent addition is a six-room vinotherapy spa featuring treatments by Theravine, a skincare range based on grapes that aims to tackle aging and stress. Try the Pinotage Grape Skin Extract Bath, in which you are immersed in grape skin and vine leaf anti-oxidant extracts combined with essential oils. At the spa's boutique, you can stock up on Sauvignon Blanc shampoo, Chardonnay conditioner and Merlot bath and shower gel.
Special touches: After a day of vinotherapy treatments, head to the hotel's Governor's Hall Restaurant to drink the wine too.
Contact: Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, Lanzerac Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa (00 27 21 887 1182; www.lanzerac.co.za). Doubles from R1,660 (£153) per night b&b.
8. Keeping it calm in Galway
The recently opened G Hotel in Galway is all flounce, feather and drama, but its new E'Spa spa, which inhabits the top two floors of the hotel, is a contrasting haven of calm. On its first floor are four beauty suites, wet and heat rooms, rock sauna, steam room, several types of shower, and an ice fountain.
Special touches: The relaxation room is a glass box surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden - a glorious spot for relaxation and meditation.
Contact: G Hotel, Wellpark, Galway (00 353 91 865 200; www.monogram hotels.ie). Doubles from £220 per night b&b.
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The 59-villa Bulgari Resort Bali, on a cliff at the tip of the Jimbaran peninsula, will open in late summer. It will have art-filled villas, private pavilions, terraces, plunge pools and a funicular to the beach. The spa will offer treatments such as the "Unforgettable Double Bulgari Royal Lulur".
Special touches: The spa's main building is an antique, hand-carved Joglo house relocated from Java.
Contact: Bulgari Resort, Jimbaran Peninsula, Bali (0800 169 0804; www.bulgarihotels.com). Villas from $1,330 (£780) per night
The best of British: Country pursuits
Grayshott's reopens next month after a revamp. The new look is a spa with 36 treatment rooms and more than 80 natural, medical, fitness and beauty treatments.
Special touches: Grayshott eschews calorie counting, so expect menus such as duck terrine, grilled fillet of red mullet with wild rice, sautéd green beans and crab and basil sauce.
Contact: Grayshott Spa, Headley Road, Grayshott, nr Hindhead, Surrey (01428 602020; www.grayshottspa.com). Doubles from £310 per night b&b.
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