As 2016 draws to a close, The Spa Spies have been reminiscing about the fabulous experiences, trips and treatments we’ve had over the past 12 months. From out-of-this-world treatments in the Maldives, Arizona, Switzerland, France and Italy, to our favourite moments in amazing spas across the UK - it’s been quite a year. Here’s to more spa adventures in 2017...
Summer Spy’s highlights
This year has been an exciting one for the Spa Spies. We’re reviewing more than ever, and we travel to some seriously special spas.
In 2016, I ended up visiting five US states; Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Working with a beautiful chestnut horse named Magic at Miraval in Arizona was an unforgettable experience – maybe it was a loose interpretation of ‘spa’ but it definitely helped me discover my inner self. Seeing the sheer amount on offer at Canyon Ranch also helped expand my view of what spa and wellness really is.
I left London for pastures new three years ago but I did two very special London reviews this year that made me remember the magic of the big smoke. Both spas are gloriously glamorous but I left Bulgari Spa feeling super indulged and ESPA Life at Corinthia feeling super balanced. What more could a girl ask for?
One memorable spring morning I found myself drifting around the Spa Garden at Rockliffe Hall all by myself. The mist was rising off the fields, the hydro-pool was deliciously warm and it was very peaceful. That’s how to make a Spa Spy’s day!
One of my favourite treatments was All Things Scotland at Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel. There was massage, hot stones, a Vichy shower and so much steam and heat that my body was perfectly receptive to the ministrations of my therapist. Ohhh – take me back!
Sybaritic Spy’s highlights
They say the early bird catches the worm and indeed it does! Taking an early dip in an outdoor hot tub on the terrace of the Grand Dolder and watching the clouds clear over the lake and city of Zurich was wonderfully memorable.
Back on home soil I was lucky enough to spend the weekend at Ragdale Hall with a dear friend before she emigrated to Australia. We indulged in lots of wonderful treatments, some gentle exercise, a few glasses of fizz and a whole lot of chatter! Thank you Ragdale for making our farewell so special.
Finally, my session with Katherine Dandridge the Traditional Chinese Therapist at Gleneagles Hotel and Spa was life changing. Some cupping, acupuncture and an unbelievably good massage left me feeling wonderful. Even better my skin (usually ghostly pale all over) actually changed colour. I looked like I had a gentle tan. I am convinced that the treatment improved my circulation, too.
Savant Spy’s highlights
Where to begin…
My ayurvedic Shirodhara treatment at Shangri-La Villingilli in the Maldives – the one where they trickle oil onto your forehead for half an hour – was the most amazing, mind-blowing treatment I have ever experienced… And it was in the Maldives (did I mention that?).
Taking a friend to The Coniston Spa and sipping smoothies in their outdoor hot tub with its beautiful view of the Yorkshire dales.
Oh, I forgot my private hot tub on the River Maine at Galgorm, with champagne and chocolates – at 9am!
The naked panoramic sauna in the Dolomites. It was the panorama of mountains not the naked men that was the highlight, honest….
Dipping in the swimming pool on the roof of the Schwarzer Adler Hotel in the Austrian Alps at Kitzbuhel, briefly home to the Lanserhof pop-up clinic.
And finally the de Mamiel facial in Jersey: I love the products, the fact they are handmade and sung to, and I loved Longville Manor.
Supreme Spy’s highlights
The Freedom water treatment at The Gainsborough Bath Spa – it is the closest I have ever got to a clear mind. When it finished I had no awareness of what the time was, minutes or hours could have passed, it was a magical experience.
The Ayurvedic doctor at Four Seasons Landaa taking my pulse and then diagnosing my dosha. He knew who I was and what I needed without me saying a word, it was incredibly powerful.
I will never forget my first impression of Lucknam Park – as the gates opened and unveiled the mile long, tree-lined driveway, with the stunning manor house at the end. It puts a new meaning to ‘countryside getaway’. I could have stayed forever.
The Spa Spy
3rd January 2017
Intuitive masseurs, inspired or outlandish treatments and design, posh products and celeb spotting.
Anyone po-faced (guests and therapists) or stupid, boring design and treatments.
Behind the scenes