We have been very good Spa Spies this year, so this is what we’d like to find in our 2015 Christmas stockings - a treatment and product each. In return we will give you a spa day at The Vineyard which not only has great de-stress treatments for chaps using VitaMan products, but also has a fabulous wine cellar to put a shine on those red cheeks of yours. We’re sure you’ll need a day of pampering after flying around the world and lugging presents down chimneys.
My dream treatment is the Thalgo Indoceane Ritual (105 minutes, £113), Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa. The full description is in my review, but basically it’s a Egyptian milk foot soak, a Mediterranean essential oils scrub, a 20 minute milky bath under a UV light exposure canopy (this bit is exclusive to Donnington valley), an Indian massage and then an Asian body wrap. So a trip around the world in 105 minutes. Lots of treatments call themselves rituals, this one actually is!
I love Bamford’s Botanic Lip Balm (£12); the texture is gorgeous, the grapefruit and mint essential oils are a pick-me-up, and the very subtle rose makes it just a little feminine.
Ideally I would like a massage in the open air spa garden at the Oberoi hotel on Mauritius! But if the flights are fully booked, I will opt for The Golden Indulgence (155 mins £160) at Ragdale Hall. This massage and facial with caviar, champagne and a gold mask was created by Ragdale Hall’s beauty team, and is the one treatment that made the most noticeable difference to my skin, my face and my overall sense of wellbeing. Everyone should try it at least once. I volunteer to have it once a month!
Whenever we have new Temple Spa products in the office there is always a queue to test them, so I pick Temple Spa Skin Truffle (125ml £80). I have been using it for several years, but it’s light and rich and really brightens my skin.
I urgently need to experience one of the Neom Organics Wellbeing Spa Treatments. You can have them anywhere around the country, but I’d like to have one at Moddershall Oaks (90 mins from £120). You choose a treatment by how you want to feel; happiness, de-stress, sleep, energise. Each ritual pulls together threads from lots of different disciplines including psychotherapy, aromatherapy and even traditional Chinese medicine. And it’s Neom, so of course it’ll smell divine!
As I’ve been such a good Spa Spy this year (ahem), I think I deserve The Cure Shere Cream by Natura Bisse (50ml £143). This must be the most luxurious BB Cream, subtly toned and creamy with essential oils and SPF-20 sunscreen. A dab of Natura Bisse every day is surely a good thing.
Please may I have a go in the I-sopod Floatation Tank at Ockenden Manor, West Sussex (60 mins £48). The idea of a floatation tank used to fill me with horror. However, a couple of years of therapy and mindfulness courses later and I’m itching to try one. It’s the spa equivalent of sky diving. Also the rather groovy pod itself reminds me of my old 90s iMac computer. I feel I should enter wearing some glittery gold platforms.
I would be really touched if someone bought me something from Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength range. One of the founders created this blend to help her get through her chemotherapy, and launched it to help others get through traumatic times. I can think of several friends I’d buy it for. I rub in the Bath and Shower Oil (55ml £45) before I step into the shower then let the steam fill with its hot spicy scent. Carry the Roller Ball (10ml £16) in your handbag for whenever you need a boost. 10 per cent of each product sold goes to www.defenceagainstcancer.com
At this time of year I really need to get away from all this cold and drizzle to more exotic climes. Failing that I’ll have Aromasoul Elements Massage at Rockliffe Hall (60 mins £90). The ritual takes you on a journey through four continents: the orient, the Med, “the vibrant world of India and the ancient culture of desert tribes”. Not sure how they do that, but there’s only one way to find out!
My dream product would be Steam Cream, as it's lush and always comes in beautifully designed tins. There are Christmas ones available, but I want the popular limited edition Hichiriki and Shoul Duo Set (2 x 75ml £21.50).
The Spa Spy
I’d like a Mulled Wine Float (55 mins £49) at Ragdale Hall, ideally on Boxing Day if they’re open. For some reason I have a vision of me floating in a bath of mulled wine with a straw dangling from my mouth (obviously I would shower first!) However the reality is even better: a mulled wine body exfoliation, followed by a luxurious gingerbread mask. While you lie on the floatation bed, you get a relaxing rose and raspberry oil scalp massage. Joy to all!
I experienced Espa’s Restorative Body Oil (100m £32) during a treatment but have completely forgotten the smell. I almost bought it, but was supposed to be Christmas shopping for other people... Rather than cheat and lift someone else’s review, I will simply say it made me feel very happy, though I couldn’t tell you anything about its notes or overtones. That, Dear Santa, is why I need it.