Antara Spa in Cyprus specialises in personalised retreat programmes, where the therapies, activities and menus are tailored to you. "The spa is a haven for holistic health," says spa manager Guille Castroman, "where you can connect your mind with your body." The Good Spa Guide travelled to the destination spa shortly after its opening -- you can read our review here -- and sampled some of the ayurvedic and Amala treatments on offer, designed to make you look and feel like Aphrodite herself. (Legend has it, this Greek goddess of love was born on the shores of Cyprus.)
The spa's signature treatments change with the season, so, as I was there in October, I tried the "Antioxidant Autumn", an anti-ageing treatment based on French Premier Cru red grapes. The grapes are rich in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals which age the skin. My therapist, Mariana, painted my skin with a herbal pack made with grape pulp and seaweed, which then "fermented" gently all over with a light bubbly feel. Mariana used this time to give a wonderful scalp massage, then led me to a hydrotherapy bath where I could soak the paste away. After adding a grape nectar to the water, Mariana left me to bubble gently for 20 minutes in the warmth, gradually detoxifying, and getting more relaxed by the moment. She completed the treatment with a soothing massage with grapeseed oil, unwinding some of the knots in my back and shoulders.
So, depending on when you visit, you could enjoy a Spring Spirit, with a detoxifying lymphatic drainage massage, Summer Slimming, or Winter Warmth, which involves ginger, honey and reiki.
I also had a thorough antioxidant facial with Nicky, whose sure pressure on the marma points as part of the treatment was a joy. Using the organic Amala cocoa-bean products, Nicky double-cleansed my skin, applied moisturising masks containing acai and muru muru butter (a new ingredient for me) and did a great massage of my neck and shoulders ("That's some knot you have there") as well as my scalp. Using reflexology techniques, Nicky massaged my feet and diagnosed some concern in my transverse colon, an unexpected side-effect you do not usually encounter in a facial. I love having my top and toes paid attention to, so this was a much more comprehensive treatment than I was expecting, and I emerged with skin that felt soft and smooth, as well as less knotted shoulders.
The treatment I enjoyed the most during my stay -- although everyone will have their favourite --was from Antara Spa's ayurvedic range: the Royal Ayurveda Four-Hand massage. I have been lucky enough to experience this treatment before, both in the UK and India, and knew that to really enjoy it, I would need total confidence in my therapists. This is because it is a profoundly intimate treatment, where you have to surrender both your mind and your body to the care of two therapists working symmetrically and in harmony on either side of you, moving you seamlessly from one position to the next as they carry out their varying massage movements together.
I needn't have worried. My therapists, Joanne and Catherine, worked in perfect accord, taking charge, moving me from sitting to lying to onto my side with perfect assurance. The warm herbal oil was copious and fluid, allowing their synchronised movements to be sweeping yet precise and calm. I felt I was in totally professional hands and was able to let go and switch off -- a rarity for someone as mentally switched on as I always seem to be. This is where your stilled mind can re-connect with your body once more, with total relaxation the result. A rare treat, and recommended.
Tea in the relaxation room at Antara Spa
After your treatments, you can recline on a lounger in the spa with a little herbal tea and a soothing warm pillow around your neck and shoulders. Or you can simply wander the short distance back to your suite.
As Antara Spa specialises in individual programmes, your treatments may vary. But we can wholeheartedly recommend any one of the treatments we tried.