Sun salutation: yoga at the Anantara Layan Resort
Sun salutation: yoga at the Anantara Layan Resort

5 ways to... take a spa break

From the great outdoors to Alpine resorts and Himalayan healing

Aoife O'Riordain
Wednesday 08 January 2014 01:00

With the excesses of the festive period behind you, reclaiming your sense of wellbeing or shedding those extra pounds are often the focus of the New Year. However, the appeal of a spa holiday isn't time-sensitive and there are plenty of new options to keep you going throughout the year, whether it's simply for some luxurious relaxation in exotic climes or if your motives are more in line with adopting a healthier lifestyle.

In the great outdoors

Set in the Tolkienesque surroundings of New Zealand's South Island, Queenstown is the country's self-styled adventure capital. It's a fitting location for the new purpose-built Aro Ha (00 64 3 442 7011; wellness retreat. It makes the most of the majestic scenery on its doorstep, with adventure hiking just one element on its programme of tailored wellness adventures. The hikes are combined with vinyasa yoga, meditation and therapeutic massage as well as nutritious, flavoursome vegetarian menus. Five-night retreats start at NZ$4,550 (£2,309), room only.

In old school style

Baden-Baden, in southern Germany, is one of Europe's classic spa towns – the Romans discovered its restorative, thermal waters over 2,000 years ago and it later became 19th-century Europe's most fashionable summer capital. This spring, one of its most august hotels, Brenner's Park (00 49 221 9000; will unveil the Villa Stephanie ( destination spa. Set within the hotel's landscaped grounds, the house was built in 1890 for Stephanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden and will house an extensive spa as well as five guest rooms. There will also be Kneipp mineral baths, a sauna and fitness centre. The villa also has direct access to the hotel's medical centre, Haus Julius, for more specific complaints. Doubles start at €550 room only, or €375 at Brenner's Park.

In the snow

Asia meets The Alps at The Chedi (pictured above right; 00 41 887 0659;, which opened last month in the Swiss resort of Andermatt. The hotel has 10 treatment suites, hydrothermal pools and a striking 35m indoor swimming pool with a view. It's sure to have guests whizzing down the slopes in time for some après-ski pampering using products from cult beauty brands, ila, Ren and Alpienne. Doubles start at Sfr650 (£447), B&B; treatments from Sfr110 (£75).

Verbier is also fast becoming one of Switzerland's most happening resorts with the opening of the new W Verbier (00 41 27 472 8888; and its signature AWAY spa. Doubles start at Sfr300 (£207), B&B; treatments from Sfr85 (£60).

For Himalayan healing

The new Vana Malsi Estate ( gazes out over the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. This retreat, set amid mango and lychee orchards, offers Ayurvedic wellness programs to help regain the body's natural equilibrium. Health and Fitness Travel (020 3397 8891; offers seven-night holidays from £2,519 per person, including flights, transfers, full board and wellness program.

In Nepal, Dwarika's Resort ( is a new 40-suite holistic haven in Dhulikel just under an hour from Kathmandu, with spiritually uplifting views of the Himalayas. Staff include a Buddhist monk, healer and Hindu priest at its Pancha Kosha Himalayan Spa. Western & Oriental (020 7666 1234; offers seven nights from £2,099 including flights, half board and transfers.

Go totally tropical

Wolke 7 Cloud 9 is just one of a number of novel treatments offered at the Velaa Resort (00 960 6565 000; in the Maldives. With cocoon-like relaxation pods and the Maldives' first "snow room", it's breaking new spa ground. Doubles start at US$1,500 (£1,000), room only.

Phuket's five-star appeal will be bolstered by the new Anantara Layan Resort and Spa (00 960 656 5000; when it opens its doors next week. The spa's signature two-hour Pearl of the Andaman treatment combines Chinese massage and a facial. Turquoise Holidays (01494 678 400; has seven nights at the resort from £1,495pp, with flights, B&B and transfers.

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