Go on, treat yourself. Aoife O'Riordain selects her top therapy holidays
Saturday 31 January 2004
Park Hotel Kenmare, Ireland
Park Hotel Kenmare, Ireland
The hotel is one of Ireland's best-kept secrets, but with the launch of its new Sámas spa, that will change. Set in one of the most picturesque spots in the country, the hotel stands in 12 acres of gardens overlooking Kenmare Bay. In its sleek interior, lots of space is dedicated to pampering, from facials and pedicures to massages, hot-stone therapy, vitality pools and steam and relaxation rooms. Guests can join in activities such as guided walks, moonlight relaxation, meditation and gentle yoga. Park Hotel, Kenmare, Co Kerry, Ireland (00 353 64 412 00; www.samaskenmare.com). Two-night programmes, from €527 (£376) per person (two sharing, B&B, one dinner, one treatment and choice of activity)
Fonteverde Hotel, Italy
Italy is dotted with thermal spas, but few are as chic and beautifully situated as this. Set deep in the Val D'Orcia in the Tuscan hills south of Florence, it takes its name from the thermal springs that bubble up at a constant temperature of 42C into the spa's mineral-rich pools. The hotel sports a 17th-century portico, while the adjacent spa offers an array of programmes to treat conditions such as stress and circulatory problems, all supervised by a team of medical experts and therapists.
Fonteverde Hotel and Spa, San Casciano di Bagni, Italy (00 39 0578 572 41; www.ghotw.com). From €180 (£128) per person (two sharing)
Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos
There are many reasons why Parrot Cayreigns supreme in the spa world - miles of sandy beaches, panoramic sea views and the Como Shambala spa, which doubles in size next month. The new space has yoga and pilates studios, Japanese baths, open-air showers and a women-only Jacuzzi garden. The range of holistic treatments, with a new Ayurvedic menu, makes this spa heaven.
Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands, British West Indies (001 649 946 7788; www.parrotcay.com.bz). Doubles from $586 (£285) per night; seven nights from £1,654 per person, based on two sharing, including flights and transfers, with ITC Classics (01244 355527)
Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
Pangkor Laut occupies a dreamy location on a small private island, blanketed with verdant jungle, off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It boasts not just a spa, but a spa village exclusively dedicated to sybaritic pleasures. There's a series of treatment pavilions, healing "huts" and gazebos, all built in traditional Malay style. The spa menu draws on the ancient rituals of Bali, China, Malaysia and Thailand, and offers everything from Ayurveda, traditional Malay healing and other indulgent treats.
Pangkor Laut, Lumut, Perak, Malaysia (00 605 699 1100; www.pangkorlautresort.com). Doubles from RM1,750 (£250) per room per night
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Arizona
The Fairmont's Willow Stream spa borrows much from its surroundings - the treatments are inspired by the herbs and plants used in native American therapies, and the interior echoes the wild landscape of sandstone, rock and wood that surrounds the spa. The spa also lays claim to having invented hot-stone therapy, where smooth, heated basalt stones are used to massage the body into a blissful state of relaxation. Perhaps the most spectacular feature is the roof-top pool, where guests can float and contemplate the views of the sun-baked Sonoran Desert beyond.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 757 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, Arizona (001 480 585 4848; www.fairmont.com). British Airways Holidays (0870 243 3406; www.ba.com) offers seven nights at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, from £1,149 per adult. The price includes return scheduled flights from Heathrow, accommodation only and car hire
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