Lie back and think of not being in England. The spa break is the perfect getaway, a bit of ‘me time’, some pampering and attention. And like anything, you can take it to the nth degree, by doing it in serious style. Sure, you could pop down your local Virgin Active and jump in the sauna, but it’s not the same. Many five star hotels don’t actually have particularly fancy spas, often a couple of expensive treatment rooms and a mangey basement pool. But, by contrast, there are a number of incredible spas to be found around the globe. Spas that push the boundaries. This is them.
“I’m heading off to a clinic in Switzerland’ might startle your friends and family, but they can rest assured when it’s Clinique La Prairie. This incredible health and medical spa is surrounded by alps and stunning Swiss beauty. Famous for its rejuvenation treatment, the anti-ageing revitalisation cell therapy that uses extracts from foetal lamb-liver extracts (nice), there’s far more to Clinique La Prairie. The spa pool overlooks Lake Geneva and the magnificent setting makes this one of the most relaxing, restorative and healthy places on earth.
Where: Rue du Lac 142, 1815 Clarens, Switzerland
Well for starters, it’s in a palace. Set in parkland and dating back to the seventeenth century, Palace Merano has been a spa retreat since the early twentieth century and thanks to their health department they are the place to detox. Or, indeed, re-tox (this is Northern Italy, another Prosecco please). Either way the relaxing surroundings and luxurious rooms and facilities make Palace Merano, Epace Henri Chenot one of Europe’s best spas. As does the genius behind the clinic, Henri Chenot, an expert in phytocosmetics and phytotherapy.
Where: Via Camillo Benso Cavour, 2, 39012 Merano BZ, Italy
It may be a Four Seasons hotel but any of the four will bring you an incredible time at this luxury retreat in Bali. The Ayung river runs through the missile of the gardens and adds to the general ‘om’ of the place. Designed for holistic holidaymakers to live in style but also connect with their inner selves, enjoy yoga (anti-gravity yoga, no less) and take in traditional Balian culture and medicines.
Where: Jl. Raya Sayan, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
33 floors up, the spa at the Aman Tokyo is breathtaking. Aman’s first city-based hotel, the aesthetic is minimal and Japanese, but the effect is, um, maximal. Set over two floors the spa gives you the chance to enjoy views across Japan’s first city from the 30 metre pool.
Where: The Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Otemachi, Aman Tokyo Spa, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan
The view across the valley from the infinity pool at Terre Blanche Hotel and Spa is far reaching and beautiful. To be fair I went in winter, and it was still incredible, though I didn’t get in. Set across a series of villas running away from the main complex. The spa, with its own stunning indoor pool, high ceilinged and surrounded by marble, the spa offers traditional and modern therapies in true Provencal style. If you want to get outside, then the championship golf course isn’t a bad place to start.
Where: 3100 Route de Bagnols-en-Forêt, 83440 Tourrettes, France
Indian luxury is luxury like no other luxury. And RAAS Devigarh is probably one of the best places to experience it. The hilltop fortress is as attractive to behold as the views from it. And inside things get even better, with attention to detail you’d expect from a leading hotel, and a contemporary style you often miss out on on the sub continent. And spa-wise the masseurs are some of the best around or try a traditional two hour Devi Blessing to calm and recalibrate your inner self. That or splash around in the pool.
Where: NH8, Near Eklingji Temple, Delwara, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313202, India
It may not be an Indian fortress, or a set in a Balinese jungle, granted, but don’t be fooled but the Slough postcode (after all, Windsor castle has it too), flying the flag for little England is Cliveden, and it certainly packs a punch. The iconic hotel, the centre of British high society during the twentieth century is now one of the country’s best known luxury hotel and spas. The hotel, spread over the mansion and grounds with include parkland with picturesque views across Berkshire, the recently re-opened spa is set within the walled gardens and includes treatments and experiences that put the old house on anyone’s spa bucket list.
Where: The Cliveden Spa Taplow, Berkshire, England, SL6 0JF