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The world's top 10 luxurious spa experiences

JANET BRICE reveals some hidden gems from the urban jungle’s of New York and London to a royal retreat in African and secluded hideaway on Ian Fleming’s favourite Jamaican island…

1. Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park,
South Africa

3. Badrutts Palace, St Moritz, Switzerland

5. Rome Cavalieri, Rome, Italy

7. COMO Shambhala Retreat, Cocoa Island, Maldives

9. The Spa at Chateau de la Messadiere,
St Tropez

2. FieldSpa, Goldeneye, Jamaica

4. ESPA Life at Corinthia, London

6. The Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria, New York

8. The Banyan Tree Spa, Seychelles

10. New spa for 2013 - Shangri-la Hotel, Paris

 

 

1. Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Smart, sophisticated with all the thrills of banging about in the bush.


The eight colonial rooms are outrageously extravagant (antiques, canopies, king-sized beds, Victorian baths) and the food is incredible.


Singer Elton John even had the wholemeal bread flown home to him after his idyllic stay in this hidden gem deep in the Kruger National Park.


Amid all the splendour is one of the most stylish spas in on this vast continent. African rituals restore your equilibrium; hydrotherapy treatments use the mineral-rich waters from an underground stream and the local healers offer powerfully holistic and recharging therapies.


This really is the big cat’s whiskers of a spa!

www.royalmalewane.com

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2. FieldSpa, Goldeneye, Jamaica

If the buzz around Skyfall has you both shaken and stirred, then send yourself on a glamorous mission of your own – to the decadent Caribbean hideaway where James Bond was born.


It was at Goldeneye, on Jamaica’s ravishing northern coast and a 90 minute drive from Montego Bay, that high-society writer Ian Fleming dreamt up the world’s favourite spy, and wrote all 14 of his original adventures (the first, Casino Royale, in 1952).


Post-Fleming, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell bought Goldeneye. Somehow both spectacular and totally laid-back, the setting is pure Bond: six luxurious suites and 13 ocean-front beach cottages reached via a beautiful footbridge that spans a soft lagoon and the exclusive FieldSpa.


The spa-without-walls  is located in a lagoon's edge cottage and open-to-the air treatment rooms and  is a sanctuary for massage, salt scrubs, skin brightening facials, herbal wraps, and energy work. Built into the natural landscape, guests can kayak or swim through the lagoon to arrive at the spa and enjoy sunset yoga at the end of the day.

 

Amid the seclusion and the luxury, Blackwell’s triumph here is that you never feel cut off from real life – a wander into the nearby village of Oracabessa is as every bit as languorous and pleasurable as an afternoon snorkel in that twinkling lagoon.

www.goldeneye.com

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3. Badrutts Palace, St Moritz, Switzerland

This family-run hotel put the village of St Moritz on the winter social map back in 1864. And within the heart of this grand hotel lies a freshly-revamped spa: Palace Wellness.


Palace Wellness is a unique refuge which takes its inspiration from the wonderful natural surroundings of the Engadin Valley. It is seen and felt in every corner – from the vast amount of natural light, fresh air and spectacular views of the Swiss Alps to the patio under the sky, the so-called Alpine Garden.


Its very openness to the elements captures the changing seasons. The spa offers therapeutic luxury treatments to the latest in fitness equipment, complete Palace spa/wet zone facilities, indoor and outdoor pool with breath-taking views and connects with an unspoiled nature – all designed to stimulate your senses and enhance your state of wellbeing.

www.badruttspalace.com

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4. ESPA Life at Corinthia, London

This is a spa that’s thinking out of the box.


There’s nothing square about ESPA’s new signature spa housed over four floors of The Cornithia Hotel in London.


Circular treatment rooms, cosy cocoons, curved corridors all mark the era of a new spa experience in the new ESPA Life.


The designers of this breath-taking, marble-clad temple have definitely thought out of the box to give clients a seamless experience from the cool elegance of reception to the fireside beds of the relaxation area.


The smooth lines of this spa are evident the moment you walk into the spacious reception area where the cool Tunisian white marble and silver tables are offset with a shot of vibrant purple from the flowers.
Spread over four floors and covering 3,300 square metres, the enormity and grandeur takes your breath away as you walk along the vast curved-walled corridors to your circular treatment room.
There are 17 luxurious treatment pods but the spa also boasts a nail studio, Daniel Galvin hair studio, nine-metre silver steel swimming pool, amphitheatre sauna, black mosaic steam room and a state-of-the-art gym.


beaded curtains, a fireplace curved into the marble heating your space, black marble dressing tables with hairdryers inside and the circular shower area.


In fact, the lines within the changing area were so smooth I couldn’t find the door to get out! But after this minor blip I headed upstairs to the luxurious spa café with its white leather seats and pink petals scattered in a bowl on each table.


A jewellery box is even provided in the changing rooms for your diamond necklaces, earrings and rings. What more could you ask for in the heart of London?

www.Espalifeatcorinthia.com

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5. Rome Cavalieri, Rome, Italy

Fifty years ago, Rome Cavalieri opened its doors and became one of the Eternal City’s most luxurious spa hotels.


Walking into the palatial Cavalieri Grand Spa is a pure dolce vita experience it is quite simply an oasis of pampering nestled on one of Rome’s seven hills just beyond The Vatican.


The spa takes its inspiration from the great tradition of Roman baths which is evident when seeing the indoor Winter Pool which baths in golden light shining in from the beautiful glass dome roof.

 

A fountain splashes into the hydro-massage pool and a Japanese stone walkway massages the soles of tired feet but the piste de resistence is the fireplace which flickers away as you swim. There is something very soothing about the combination of fire and water.

 

Swiss luxury product brand, La Prairie offers the spa signature treatments from The Platinum Collection which uses an exclusive cellular complex to lift and bring firmness and resilience to the skin.


Exquisite oils and fragrances of the tropical tiare flower, fine lilly and the essence of pure bourbon vanilla are also used in treatments from the exotic St Barth’s range. These are complemented by a more conventional menu including pedicure, manicure, waxing and tanning.

 

The fitting centrepiece to this spa is the spectacular Brazilian amethyst Turkish Bath which, at first, may not seem entirely appropriate. But historically the Turkish hammams are actually the descendants of the traditional Imperial Roman baths.

www.romecavalieri.com

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6. The Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria, New York

Like a pearl poised inside a Fabergé egg, New York’s recently re-opened Guerlain Spa sits serenely on the 19th floor of the palatial Waldorf Astoria Hotel, waiting to restore you.

For this is right in among the hustle of the Big Apple, the shopping meccas of 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue.

The hotel’s wood-panelled lifts whisk you up and away from the busy, buzzy streets, into the intricate grandeur of the lobby, and release you into a totally different ambience – cool, cream and silver, sparkling. The pale palette is accentuated by huge Swarowski crystals creating dazzling drop-curtain and light compositions.

Guerlain has its own Orchidarium, dedicated to extracting and applying the flower’s powers of longevity to its treatments and products.


Each treatment room is a five-star suite gently lit with fat golden candles and complete with a fully-appointed bathroom and the finishing touch of a purple orchid lying on the head rest.

www.guerlainspa.com

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7. COMO Shambhala Retreat, Cocoa Island, Maldives

When you escape to COMO Shambhala Retreat, Cocoa Island in the Maldives you will literally live the dream.


Where else could you wake to an empty horizon from your over-water bungalow before indulging in a host of Asian-inspired treatments including massage, emotionally rebalancing holistic techniques, facials for restorative skincare and authentic Ayurvedic therapies.

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian tradition of healing, helps restore the body to its natural state of equilibrium by rebalancing the three doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – which make up our constitution.

Two baths to try at COMO include the Shambhala Bath and the Javanese Royal Lulur Bath. The Shambhala cleansing therapy exfoliates and softens. After dry brushing, COMO Shambhala’s Invigorate salt scrub is applied. A soak in a revitalising bath is followed with a relaxing massage.

The Javanese Royal Lulur Bath is the ultimate beauty ritual which begins with an Indonesian massage. A body scrub with aromatic mixed spices precedes the application of cooling yoghurt and a flower-filled bath.

 

Cocoa Island itself is a small, private island surrounded by the rich, warm waters of the Indian Ocean boasting bountiful coral and a promise of the world's best beaches, snorkelling, diving and spas. What more could you ask for?

www.cocoaisland.como.bz

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8. The Banyan Tree Spa, Seychelles

Honeymooners’ or holidaymakers will both find solace in the idyllic Banyan Tree Spa. This lush tropical forest setting will soothe your senses and ease away the stresses and strains of modern life. Against the backdrop of majestic granite mountains facing the deep azure Indian Ocean, relaxation comes easily in the luxurious hillside pavilions.


The therapists’ grace, attentiveness to detail and instinctive sensitivity sets the Banyan Tree Spa apart from the rest as they are given formal training at Banyan Tree Spa Academies.


Signature treatments include the innovative rain mist experience which is an indulging combination of mist, steam bath and rain shower designed to uplift the senses.

 

Another treatment to try is the Royal Banyan Herbal Pouch Massage which uses simple east-meets-west techniques and a herbal pouch dipped in warm sesame oil.It has been said the when leaving the spa guests  feel like they are in the “honeymoon period” for quite some time afterwards…

www.banyantreespa.com

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9. The Spa at Chateau de la Messadiere, St Tropez

‘Luxe, calme et volupte’ – or luxury, tranquillity and voluptuousness – is a much quoted maxim and could be used to describe the imposing hotel that is the Chateau de la Messadiere in St Tropez.


Perched on a hillside with fabulous views and surrounded by carefully manicured gardens, the hotel offers luxury, peace and beauty for international travellers and jet-set visitors to St Tropez. No wonder. The hotel provides the sort of discreet service and intuitive details those accustomed to five star properties and a luxury lifestyle crave. And the spa is no different.


As an integral part of the hotel, there is a sense of space and airiness which is immediately relaxing. Here the spa is surrounded by an extensive gym and pool area. Throughout the hotel there are regular art installations as well as beautifully designed stained-glass windows and features, giving a special dimension to the hotel.


Designed in stone with mosaic tiling, and in shades of olive greens and terracotta, the atmosphere at the spa is relaxing and the service is efficient. On offer in exclusivity are treatments by La Prairie and Cinq Mondes – the latter celebrating a decade of success with products which smell as good as they feel. Why not try La Prairie en Provence which is specially created for the spa using the medicinal effects of lavender.

www.messardiere.com

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10. New spa for 2013 - Shangri-la Hotel, Paris

‘Ooh la la! A new wellness oasis has opened in the heart of the French capital. Located in what were originally the stables of Prince Roland Bonaparte’s hôtel particulier, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris’s new retreat includes fitness facilities, a pool with an outdoor terrace and a beauty treatment centre.


A hidden sanctuary within the hotel, the pool, treatment rooms and fitness area are configured in a harmonious duplex formation, which optimises both space and natural daylight and provides a serene ambiance.


From the mezzanine, visitors can access the en-suite treatment rooms, each outfitted with a private hammam shower and vanity table. A beauty treatment menu offers a curated selection of five facials and five body treatments by Carita. Access is available for non-resident guests with special treatment packages.


The treatment menu features two of Carita’s best-known products - the ultra-nourishing dry oil Beauty Fluid 14 and the regenerating Renovateur, both of which have enjoyed a cult following since the Carita sisters created them in 1956.


With a pedigree of more than half a century it’s not surprising you will receive a crème de la crème treatment aptly applied in the heart of Paris.

www.shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila/health-leisure/

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