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The best spas Europe has to offer (and they’re only a short plane ride away)
Rosa Alpina, San Cassiano, Italy
The vibe: Pinterest-board-perfection in the most luxurious home-from-home atmosphere, Rosa Alpina is all about getting back to nature and forgetting about the real world for a little while. Although a large establishment, Rosa Alpina feels like a family home, much to the credit of the Pizzinini family who work hard to ensure no detail is overlooked. The Dolomites truly live and breathe through this hotel and spa, whether it’s in the fabric, food, wine, bathroom minis or the way of life.
Come with… Your partner or on your own. The Dolomites are easily one of the most romantic mountain ranges in the world and Rosa Alpina will definitely make you fall in love with the surroundings, as well as whoever you’re there with. After a guided hike up the incredible mountains, ease into a relaxing spa session, before heading to one of the stunning roof terraces for a glass of wine. Finish off the day with a mind-blowing meal in the 3-Michelin star St Hubertus restaurant and then pop into the bar for a classic cocktail in an armchair while the piano plays. Heaven is a place on earth, and its name is Rosa Alpina.
Hero Treatment: Dr Suraj Dubey’s Body and Mind Balance Retreat. More of a life-transforming escape than a treatment, Dr Suraj Dubey is based at Rosa Alpina in summer to help you reconnect with nature and find ways to stay grounded in the modern world. We’d recommend a Holistic Lifestyle Consultation with the renowned Ayurvedic Physician where you’ll be advised on the exercise routines, food and wellness practices that match your Dosha (your fundamental bodily bio-elements make-up). Team this with sunrise yoga, detox tea sessions and wellness lectures, and you’ll be well on your way to finding total zen.
You’ll leave feeling… Refreshed and enlightened. As well as learning how to get back in touch with nature as humans were intended to, you’ll be equipped with strategies and tips to achieve more life balance when you head back into the real world, not that you’ll ever want to leave…
The Original VivaMayr FX, Austria
The vibe: Medical clinic par excellence meets lakeside retreat. The intention of their famous ‘Mayr cure’ programme is not merely to pamper and cosset, but rather to fully overhaul – think lessons in chewing, colonics should you need one, a room for vitamin infusions, and a whole range of holistic therapies spanning everything from craniosacral therapy to nasal reflexology all designed to reset and restore ruffled nerves and muddled digestive systems.
Come with… Either someone you’re on fairly intimate terms with, or alone: part of the signature VivaMayr treatment is the guzzling of Epsom salts to flush out the system, so you can expect lots of trips to the loo and a fair amount of scatological chat among guests.
Hero Treatment: The stomach massage. Alright, it’s technically not a treatment but rather a diagnostic method used daily by the doctors to ascertain how the cure is progressing and how your organs are responding, but it’s oddly relaxing and really very soothing.
You’ll leave feeling… Utterly renewed – it may be hardcore, but it truly works and has accordingly amassed an army of famous VivaMayr devotees rumoured to include everyone from Kate Moss and Jourdan Dunn to Lisa Eldridge and Liz Hurley.
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Florence, Italy
The vibe: Hidden amongst the ancient trees in Giardino della Gerardesca, it is said that this spa is situated in what was once a 15th century Medici palace. With its high gardens, renaissance exterior and famous art pieces dotted all over, you will feel as if you’ve timed travelled into Italian royalty as you’re pampered like a queen.
Come with… Your other half. The Italian renaissance vibes will have you feeling like Romeo & Juliet.
Hero Treatment: When we say pampered like a queen, we mean it. Dip into a ‘Lux Ceremony’, an intense facial and body ritual, which is powered through one special ingredient… non-other than 24 karat-gold.
You’ll leave feeling… like you’ve had the royal treatment.
Terre Blanche Hotel and Spa, France
The vibe: Nestled in a particularly picturesque part of Provence, everything about Terre Blanche is chic with a capital C. The spa is enormous, with a manicured ‘zen space’ outside from which you can sip lemon tea in the balmy weather, while the rooms, complete with terracotta terraces on which you can enjoy many croissants in the morning, are sumptuous and ripe for a sneaky Instagram shot. Remember to pack your bikini – the incredible Art Deco swimming pool is impossible to resist.
Come with… Someone who’s into the good life with whom you can enjoy the spa, the wine, the freshly-baked bread, and the local market selling juicy fruit and hand-embroidered smocks.
Hero Treatment: A massage at Terre Blanche is a thing of joy as the therapists tailor the treatments to your ailments, so you can go and choose something to both relieve aching muscles and leave you feeling sprightly in one session. Also, the scented, 100% natural oils smell heavenly.
You’ll leave feeling… Desperate to book back in. And mellow. Very mellow.
Barceló Asia Gardens, Costa Blanca, Spain
The vibe: The peaceful serenity of Thailand, without the 13 hour flight. Discover your spiritual and physical balance through the ancient wisdom of the Thai Spa legacy – you will be forgiven when you completely forget you’ve only travelled as far as Spain.
Come with.. With six pools to cool off in, three tropical gardens to explore and nine restaurants to indulge at, this is an experience that must be shared, whether it’s with your boyfriend or your best friend, it would be a crime not to!
Hero Treatment: The Nuad Four Hand massage sounds like a crazy round of fruit ninja but ticks all boxes for relaxation. Consisting of five famous massage techniques such as Japanese Shiatsu and Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, this is THE massage for ultimate zen.
You’ll leave feeling… Like a Far Eastern princess of Zen.
The vibe: Love the idea of a spa but can’t think of anything worse than Buddhas, sound bowls and silence? ME Mallorca is the ideal retreat for you. Perfect for those who want to mix up partying with a bit of peace, this luxury lifestyle hotel, set in the stunning Balearic Islands, will cater to your every need. Located next to the iconic Nikki Beach, the hotel offers a chilled-out haven with the perfect dose of party if you so desire. The pared-back spa is tucked away within the hotel, offering a tranquil retreat for those seeking some much-needed ‘me’ time.
Come with… Your girlfriends. Indulge in a morning yoga session followed by a relaxing massage. Then, head to the pool for sundowners before a beachside dinner at Barbarossa. Be sure to stay on a Saturday, when guests can chill by the pool to laid-back lounge music from the hotel’s resident DJ, whilst enjoying a barbeque and cocktails.
Hero treatment: With its cutting-edge technology and contemporary feel, BE ENERGY SPA provides bespoke beauty treatments and therapies tailored to the needs and desires of each guest so whatever you choose will be totally catered to your needs. You can’t go wrong with a classic massage; be sure to indulge in a 90-minute offering to really unwind.
You’ll leave feeling… Relaxed but uplifted. It’s the ideal spa trip for those seeking a harmonious mix of downtime and dancing because, yes, you can have the best of both worlds.
Anazoe Spa at Costa Navarino, Greece
The vibe: Perched on the Pelponnese peninsula lie two linked hotels comprising Costa Navarino, where you’ll find all the ingredients for a restorative holiday including a panoply of eateries including a traditional taverna and series of village-style cafes, many swimming pools (some even coming off the back of hotel rooms), and, yes, an impressive 4000 square metre spa. But don’t let its scale fool you – the attention to detail at Costa Navarino is impressive, with everything geared towards showcasing and preserving this beautiful part of Greece.
Come with… Anyone in need of a proper holiday and keen on all things Greek – there’s more than a whiff of Mama Mia about this one.
Hero Treatment: Olive trees are a key part of the Costa Navarino mission – in order to build the golf courses, they uprooted and replanted hundreds to preserve them, and now harvest their own olive oil. The signature Oleotherapy treatment makes use of the healing, antioxidant properties of the oil, so book in for that.
You’ll leave feeling… Healthier – all that fresh Greek food and time in the warm Ionian Sea is a great tonic if you’ve been under the weather.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Italy
The vibe: Venice is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places on the planet – but it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you visit during warmer months, when the tiny streets are jam-packed with tourists and the 177 canals that traverse the city make things a bit confusing. Enter this haven. Tucked award from the hordes on Isola Delle Rose, you’re a short gondola ride from the splendours of Venice but in a sanctuary of sorts. The rooftop alone from which you can gaze out at the Lagoon is well worth the visit, but we also rate the Michelin-starred Dopolavoro Dining Room and would recommend clearing at least an afternoon to luxuriate in the award-winning GOCO Spa Venice.
Come with… Your significant other – this is a city that’s made for romance.
Hero Treatment: Opt for a classic Deep Tissue massage – you’ll need it after all that plodding around the streets of Venice.
You’ll leave feeling… Slightly (okay very) peeved that you ever have to leave. But also extremely relaxed and possibly a little more rounded – Italy wouldn’t be Italy without a little pasta and a dash of wine.
Jumeriah Port Soller Hotel and Spa, Port de Soller, Majorca, Spain
The vibe: You’d be forgiven for thinking that the view from Jumeriah Port Soller was just a superimposed postcard against a green screen. Situated on a cliff overlooking Port Soller and surrounded by the Tramuntana mountain range, Jumeriah Port Soller has the ability to transport you to a place of calm and relaxation just at one glance.
Come with… Yourself. Amongst the company of sun, sea and scenery, you will get the alone time you need without feeling lonely.
Hero Treatment: Olive seeds scrub. Who knew this tasty snack had antioxidant and regenerative properties? Instead, over-indulge in this body treatment for exfoliated and moisturised skin – the perfect act of self-love
You’ll leave feeling… Like a secret agent whose been pampering away up in Spain’s hidden cliffs of paradise.
Bio – Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria
The vibe: Don’t think of the Stanglwirt as a hotel – it’s more a sprawling eco-friendly, homely series of wooden buildings – with some seriously luxe additions. There’s the bar with a glass wall so you can watch the snow white Lippizaner horses practising routines, an enormous spa comprising a series of grotto-like steam and saunas, a lake water-filled outdoor plunge pool, tennis courts overlooking the mountain range, and the comfiest beds you can imagine.
Come with… Your family – there’s something for everyone at this place.
Hero Treatment: Facialist to many an A-lister (think Emma Roberts, Elle MacPherson, and Gwyneth) Dr. Barbara Sturm has brought her famous Molecular Facial to the Stanglwirt, so book in for that if you’re after a firming, deeply hydrating treatment.
You’ll leave feeling… Much fitter – all that jumping in and out of the various pools and trying all the variety of gym facilities make for great tone that you get without putting in too much effort.
Schloss Elmau, Oberbayern, Germany
The vibe: They say the grass is always greener on the other side and at Schloss Elmau spa, just beyond your direct view of perfectly lawned greenery, you have the landscape view of the Bavarian Alps – so we’re going to have to agree with that one. The surrounding mountain-range gives this spa a true feel of escapism like no other.
Come with… Your whole family. With entertainment and soccer camps for kids, a Michelin star restaurant and a large concert hall, there is something to entertain any mood, age or pace in this German getaway.
Hero Treatment: The ‘Orient Express’ treatment is the ultimate bath you imagine when you’re preparing a pamper night in at home. It steams, scrubs and foams your body, with an added hair and body massage. And there’s even treatments for kids with cute names such as ‘Happy Hands, Happy Feet and Happy Back’, so you’re ensured a peaceful pamper.
You’ll leave feeling… A Peaceful Pack. You and the whole clan, peaceful at last.