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You may or may not know Neal’s Yard Remedies, the original organic, slightly hippy UK skincare brand. If you have, you don’t need us to sell it to you. If you haven’t, get hold of some, now –it produces some of the most wonderfully scented, naturally made products you’ll ever find, as well as herbal teas, supplements and all that hippy jazz.
Although a few of the Neal’s Yard branches in London do spa treatments, it’s more of a buy-to-use-at-home range, which is why this news is so important: The first non-UK Neal’s Yard spa has just opened at Vivenda Miranda on the Algarve in Portugal.
The hotel is on a bit of an eco crusade, focusing its food on local and seasonal produce, introducing vegan, gluten free and raw food dishes, and revamping the spa, which opened June 1. They’re also introducing “lifestyle retreats” focusing on meditation and raw food, in conjunction with Neal’s Yard – from £1395 for a week, see here for further details.
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Clarins is kind of the Ryan Reynolds of the beauty world: a solid little worker that’ll do a good job, but looking a bit dated amongst the
Benedict Cumberbatches and Channing Tatums Ilas and Amalas. But anyway, you know it’s good, and it’s probably time you gave them another whirl.
And here’s somewhere nice to do it: the Royal Palm Marrakech, which lies eight miles out of town, has just opened a Clarins spa, or Spa by Clarins, as they call it.
The spa has been “designed to resemble a Moroccan palace” – you’ll have to take their word for it, as they haven’t photographed it yet – and the menu is a beautiful array of Moroccan-inspired treatments, such as the perfumed “Supreme Rose” massage, the ghassoul body wrap, and, of course, a traditional Moroccan hammam ritual.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa as well as signs of a very bad spa. Now, here's are some ways to ensure your next massage is the absolute best it can be.
Besides emerging from your hotel spa feeling like a brand new human being, there are a few things you can watch out for in order to detect whether or not the spa you are visiting is really as good as it should be. We’ve already given you our insider’s top spa knowledge points, but now we turn to the nitty-gritty...to the moment you get naked...the actual massage.
A lot can happen when lying back on the massage table and a lot can go amiss too. One thing’s for sure though, the benefits of a massage are underestimated. When done right and regularly massage, plays an important role in keeping the body healthy. Massage techniques are hard to judge because they vary so widely in type (Californian, Swedish, Thai, Balinese, Ayurvedic, etc) and depend on the training institute.
For that reason, we won’t be going into the actual techniques that may descend upon your body. Rather, we'll focus on 6 little touches (heh) that can make a good massage even better.
You may have realized by now that the Parker Palm Springs is one of our favorite hotels on earth. You may even have noted that one of the best ways to stay is through the Spa Junkie package, which gives you credit to PSYC (Palm Springs Yacht Club, the spa) with your room rate.
The package used to cost $199 plus tax, and give you $200 spa credit. This year, they changed it to a $250 room rate and $250 credit – not so cool, since the taxes and fees take it up to $324.
However, the Parker just announced it’s dialing back the prices for September - $199 for your stay, $200 spa credit. The deal is bookable until midnight tomorrow by clicking here.
There’s something about the Intercontinental Park Lane that makes a tiny part of us die inside with every visit. Yes, they’ve been renovating the rooms to de-drab them, and yes, the views can be awesome, but it always feels so… sterile.
Having said that, we’ve always given props to the spa for having good therapists and decently priced treatments, considering its surroundings.
And this summer, the treatments have got even more appealing, with the introduction of Ayurvedic-inspired Sundãri treatments.
There are lots available – see the menu here – but they’ve kicked the program off with special offers on two treatments: a “Facial, Massage and Floatation Bed Offer” (a 30 minute massage, 30 minute facial and 20 minutes lying on a floatation bed) for £65 instead of £112.50; and the signature Sama treatment for £90 instead of £135. This takes 90 minutes and packs in loads of stuff: a feet-in-hot-towels thing; a “cleansing back ritual”; an Ayurvedic massage; a hand and food massage to relieve “stress and negativity”; facial cleanse and exfoliation; a Marma massage; and a scalp massage.
Hotel Detox / Hotel Spas / Hotel Packages / France Hotels / Vence Hotels / Cote d'Azur Hotels / Oetker Collection / Ananda / → All Tags
It’s the delicious pairing of two brands at the top of their game that’s exciting us this week – no, not Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Martin, but Ananda (amazing spa brand) and Château Saint-Martin, the uberlux hotel in uberlux Côte d’Azur village Vence.
From 21-29 September, Ananda will be running a pop-up spa au Château. The focus? A detox program devised especially for the hotel by yogi Sushant Pandley, and tailored to your precise needs.
You can streamline your detox with the quick five day program, take a week over it or even string it out for nine days (any excuse to stay in the chateau). Activities include meditation and yoga, “theoretical aspects of yogic tradition” (us neither) and “stimulating and purifying ayurvedic therapies” like massage and reflexology – definitely the most fun part.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa as well as signs of a very bad spa. Now, here's a little spa love for the men out there.
Often aimed at women, hotel spas can be daunting places for men. However, more and more treatments especially tailored to men’s needs are popping up on spa menus all over the world and it’s no longer a rare sight to see a man getting a massage, facial or even, (gulp) a wax.
Yet despite the evolution in spa culture, there aren't many male specific tips for navigating the spa. So we thought we'd come up with a few of our own. These aren't too dissimilar to those for women but here are few things that can optimize a man’s spa experience, whether a first-timer or a veritable spa hound.
Funky Spa Treatments / Hotel Spas / Austria Hotels / Bad Gastein Hotels / Salzburg Hotels / Organic Hotels / → All Tags
Wild roses outside the Grüner Baum: probably thrown into the treatments too
Ah, Austria, country of mountains, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and holistic healthcare. Eco spa treatments here are nothing new, of course – this is the country of salt caves and hay wraps and oil baths – but an organic spa in a soon-to-be organic hotel doing treatments involving mare’s milk? Why, colour us Cleopatra. Yes please!
The Grüner Baum is a family-run, 100-year-old, 80-room, four-star hotel in Bad Gastein (Salzburg province), which is currently transforming into an entirely organic hotel, from the food to the cleaning products. The conversion will finish next year, but they’ve just completed the most important part: the spa.
Forget Clarins or even Amala; at the Grüner Baum, you’ll now be treated with products from Marías Organic Care – not just organic, but local, too, as they’re based in Salzburg. And not just organic and local – organic, local mare’s milk. Yum.
When Hard Rock introduced their Rhythm and Motion spa treatments earlier in the year, we, along with everyone else in possession of common sense, heard the “gimmick” klaxon. “The world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu utilizing amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns, as the foundation of its treatments,” heavy-breathed the press release. “Bass vibrations ripple through the massage table as treble beats come from above, sending pulses through the body and leaving guests feeling energized and invigorated.” What rot, we thought. Vibrating, titillating rot.
And then we tried one.
A couple of weeks ago, I stayed at the Hard Rock Palm Springs, one of the first to get “the dome” (the treatments are referred to as taking place “under the dome”). Being a massage fiend, I wanted to see what the pulsating “Synchronicity” massage was like. First impressions weren’t great: the spa is small with just four treatment rooms and a tiny, not very atmospheric, relaxation room. The signature Hard Rock pre-treatment guitar on the bed was fun, but “the dome” looked like one of those hair-setting bowls at old lady salons.
The massage started to a soundtrack of chill-out music, and just a hint of a vibrating bed underneath me. Just as I’d thought: gimmick. Rub, dig, swirl, should have chosen a normal massage, rub, dig, swirl, stop trying to identify the music, rub, dig, swirl OHMYGODWHATISHAPPENINGTOME.
Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa. Now, here's what to steer clear of in a bad spa.
It’s mind-boggling how many five-star hotel spas miss out on those 6 signs of a very good spa that we shared this week. The rule is simple: if you’re at a five-star hotel, then your spa should be five-star as well. .
Now, here are the 6 telltale signs that a hotel spa isn’t quite deserving of its reputation.
JW Marriott Hotels want you to relax. Wait. Actually they want you to "demystify and re-imagine the spa experience" with their new spa concept---Spa by JW.
While JW Marriott hotels around the world often have a spa component of some sort, the hotel brand is now officially getting into the spa game with Spa by JW. Not very creative but at least, we know whose spa it is.
The first Spa by JW will open at the new JW Marriott Hotel in Houston Downtown when the hotel itself opens in September. Another Spa by JW will open at the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar in December followed by at least 20 more.
Through a variety of treatments--short and long--Spa by JW will concentrate on four purposes--Calm, Indulge, Invigorate and Renew. Here are some examples of that:
On a visit to the Langham Pasadena a few months ago, one of the better perks of our guest room was the Chuan Spa toiletries found in the bathroom. Now, guests at the Langham can spend a whole day inside the hotel's new, real-life Chuan Spa.
Chuan Spa, the Langham brand's signature spa experience, creates its offerings using Traditional Chinese Medicine which balances the five Wu Xing elements--fire, water, earth, metal and wood. Such treatments include the Chuan Balancing massage and the Chuan Harmony massage, both of which incorporate acupressure, and the Chuan Stone Therapy, which aims to balance your yin and yang through both hot and cold stones. Regular massages start at $160 for an hour, while the special Chuan massages start at $205 for an hour.
But this being Los Angeles, many folks care not just about their bodies, but probably more of them care about their faces. (Hand raised here.) Which is why this Chuan Spa has cutting-edge skin care technology like HydraFacial MD® and Mistral LHE, essentially a laser machine that provides an advanced combo of light and heat. It works as an anti-aging therapy but also works to clear acne and remove hair.
Other facial treatments include specially designed ones by Kerstin Florian and PRIORI (Caviar Facial anyone?) In short, in the spa brochure, there's one page for massages and three pages for facials.