Best Spa-inspired Advent Calendars 2021


You’ve heard all about beauty advent calendars but 2021 is all about the spa calendar. Yes, it’s time to treat yourself to self-care at its finest by spending December unwrapping your favourite luxury spa products - from heavenly-scented ESPA bath oils to OTO CBD sleep drops – one day at a time. It will certainly brighten up a dull winter, if not your skin.

What’s more, the spa-inspired advent calendars give you plenty of bang for your buck: you can pamper yourself while discovering new products and enjoying old classics, without having to splurge on the full-sized version (although feel free to add this to your Christmas list for Santa). 

The only downside is deciding which advent calendar to buy - over to the Spa Spies… 
 

TEMPLESPA 24 Day Advent Calendar, £150 (worth £225) 

Temple Spa Advent Calendar

First impressions:  

The TEMPLESPA 24 Day Advent Calendar comes in an Instagram-worthy box resplendent in midnight blue with gold twinkly stars, TEMPLESPA’s gold logo and the uplifting mantra: ‘Each day holds the possibility for great discoveries and hidden joy’. It immediately feels indulgent. Open the two doors to reveal 24 gold numbered drawers (no peeking), in an assortment of sizes and colours (think deep green, teal, brown and gold), plus a few black and white graphics of a woman’s face looking rather pleased with herself – and who can blame her? 

What’s in the box?

A well-thought out edit of 24 TEMPLESPA favourites guaranteed to brighten up December. Lots of hero products, too, including Mediterranean-scented GLOWCOLIC exfoliating toner with glycolic acid, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. For the post-party fall out, there’s AAHHH Instant cooling balm to soothe dancefloor-battled feet and the SURVIVE soothing treatment eye mask patch to help reduce those post-party bags. And, if you need a moment of calm, TEMPLESPA has included a SERENIA sensual candle and REPOSE silky soft Relaxing Night Cream to guarantee a good night’s sleep. 

Why we love it…  

This cruelty-free, British brand with its vegan options is always a good choice. Scanning the list of inclusions, I was delighted to spot my absolute favourite: the TRUFFLESQUE Hydrating Radiance Mask. Since discovering this pot of liquid gold during a Champagne & Truffles Deluxe Treatment (90 minutes, £135) at Five Bubble Lincombe Hall Spa, I was hooked. Who doesn't love IN THE BEGINNING deep cleansing melt, too? This balm leaves my skin feeling super clean and glow-y - plus it smells divine. Not only that but the calendar is a real beauty and will look the part on any mantlepiece this Christmas.

Spa Spy: Scarlet Spy 

 

OTO Ritual Advent Calendar£299 (worth £599) 
OTO CBD Advent Calendar
First impressions:  

The OTO Ritual Advent Calendar is beautifully encased in a card sleeve adorned with pink, blue and green water-colours and splashes of gold for a luxurious winter feel. The box itself is clean white with short inspirational quotes on each side in gold lettering. The calendar opens from the front with two doors - like opening the doors to spa Narnia. Twelve drawers of differing sizes then pull out, each numbered so that you don’t open them all at once – which is very temping we know.

What’s in the box?

Facial cleansers, serums, lip balm, treatment ampoules and body oil – to name just a few - are all secured by sage-green shredded paper, accompanied by a small card describing each item as well as a message from the OTO team. The Ritual Day Cream soaked quickly into my skin quickly leaving it feeling soft all day; the mini-CBD roll-on oil – with its chamomile and lavender – fitted perfectly into my handbag and was very calming on traffic-clogged drives home. I didn’t find a product that I didn’t love the smell of – even the eye cream failed to upset my usually sensitive skin.

Why we love it…  

OTO’s products are all natural, vegan and cruelty free which is a very good start. The silk hair band was a thoughtful addition to the calendar, too - it kept my hair back when applying the face mask (could this appear in an earlier box next year, I wonder?) Look out for the discounts that come with this calendar – a gift that really does keep on giving. 

Spa Spy: Seaside Spy

 

ESPA Hidden Treasures Advent Calendar£169 (worth £389) 

ESPA Hidden Treasures
 

First impressions:  

A luxurious maroon-hued treasure box opens at the front to reveal 25 drawers of varying sizes, each labelled with a gold 1-25 number. Pull the ESPA logo open and let the magic happen. Use the finger hook provided to pull each drawer open – some tall and slim; some small and wide - and reveal the gift inside. Each calendar comes with an additional gift this year: a winter spice-scented tree decoration, complete with maroon ribbon for hanging on a chosen branch – let the festive scent fill your home this Christmas. 

What’s in the box?

Every drawer has a nest of maroon tissue paper for the products to lay on; a selection of brand new and classic ESPA treasures for the skin, body and mind awaits. From grounding crystals, facial cleansers, exfoliators and masks to pulse point oils, bath and body oils and a winter scented candle, it’s all here. The Hydrating Floral Spa-Fresh Mist now sits on my desk for a mid-afternoon flowery pick-me-up; the new Clean & Green Detox Mask now brightens up my selfcare Sunday morning routine.

Why we love it…  

ESPA create naturally effective skincare products which deliver results – all the packaging is recyclable and reused, too. We got an incredible night’s sleep after using the ESPA Home Ritual with its blend of ylang-ylang, ginger and vetiver designed to release negativity. Apply the Muscle Rescue Balm to the top of your shoulders and feel the cooling sensation melt tension away, then glide the Aventurine Jade Eye ‘Massage Tool over the brow and out to the temples to relax the mind. Finally, spray the Restful Pillow Mist on your bed linen, close your eyes and drift off into dreamland. How will you re-use your box? 

Spa Spy: Serene Spy 

 

Aromatherapy Associates Moments to Treasure (advent alternative)£225 (worth £360)

Aromatherapy Associates - Moments to Treasure

First impressions:  

The Aromatherapy Associate Moments to Treasure gift comes in a large midnight blue box with gold decorative elements and three drawers at the front differing in depth and opened by tugging on a gold ribbon. Across the middle of each drawer are words of advice written in gold - on the top “open for mini moments of reset”, the middle “open for a tranquil & restful sleep” and the bottom “open for daily moments of wellbeing.” 

What’s in the box?

Twenty glorious AA products separated according to a desired goal, be it to reset, to enjoy a restful sleep or to discover wellbeing. Drawer one (reset) is perfect for travel with eight micro (9ml) bath and shower oils – ranging from de-stress to inner strength – and three 10ml roller balls complete with travel pouch. Drawer 2 (restful sleep) contains a 55ml deep relax bath oil, a 50ml sleep mist, a 50ml deep relax body butter and a rose-scented candle. Drawer 3 (wellbeing) contains a body brush, two 50ml shower oils (named de-stress and revive) and a 150ml de-stress muscle gel. 

Why we love it…  

As Christmas treasure boxes go, the Aromatherapy Associates Moments to Treasure screams “self-care” without compromising on luxury. The large, attractive box would make a statement in any bathroom and the drawers make it easy to administer the correct type of aromatherapy - at home or on the move. As someone who is always on the go – be it work or play – the mini moments of reset proved to be life-saver, providing necessary pick-me-ups on long journeys and moments of calm in stressful situations. As a hit-and-miss sleeper (thank you menopause), I found the restful sleep drawer to be invaluable, using the bath oil and candle in the tub before bed and the Deep Relax Sleep Mist when rudely awoke at 4am. Start each day with a shower oil and body brush from the wellbeing drawer and you can’t go wrong. 

Spa Spy: Stylish Spy
 

Germaine de Capuccini Advent Calendar£99.00 (Worth £184.44)

Germaine de Capucinni

First impressions:  

The 2021 Germaine de Capuccini advent calendar comes in a slim white box with a black and white drawing of a house on the front, the name of the company in gold at the top, the words “advanced professional cosmetics” also in gold across the middle and all the product descriptions on the back. Behind the windows are drawings of people relaxing – in the bath, enjoying a head massage or in the salon. It’s both stylish and clever. Peel the gold sticker to one side to open the doors and reveal the Christmas magic.

What’s in the box?

What isn’t? Twenty-four mini products hidden behind individually-numbered (in gold) doors with one to open during each day of December. Inside you’ll find a range of Germaine de Capuccini products – from masks, scrubs and creams (anti-pollution, anti-wrinkle, lifting, Mediterranean, vitamin C…) to cleansing balms, make-up remover and sleep cures. Each product is small enough to take with you, be it a train journey, an overnight stay or a far-flung trip (remember those?) with no need to put them in the hold. 

Why we love it…  

The TIMEXPERT range which includes Rides, a capsule of anti-wrinkle cream, and SRNS, a repair night progress oil which gets to work while you sleep – a bit like Santa’s elves. The night oil comes in a silver box and has the words “happiness comes in drops” written on the inside of the lid. Use the dropper to add a small quantity to your face each night; the creamy liquid glides on and immediately creates a soft sheen. When combined with the anti-wrinkle cream, fine lines have no chance. And my face remained soft to touch throughout the next day.  

Spa Spy: Stylish Spy

 

Decleor Essential Oils Lab Christmas Advent Calendar£120 (worth £417) 

Decleor Advent Calendar

First impressions:  

The Decleor Essential Oils Lab comes in a very large box that opens like a book to reveal a painted scene of pipets, test tubes and perfume bottles with 24 doors to open - each with a Decleor product inside. Opening these doors is so much more fun than finding chocolate inside - depending on the level of your sweet tooth, it’s likely last a lot longer, too. Yes, it’s an extravagance, but one that will cheer up a busy December, day-by-day. 

What’s in the box?

Plenty here to see you through the dull dark winter days: shower gel, delightfully rich magnolia hand cream, smooth and gentle neroli comforting body milk, BB cream, facial cleansing milk and more. Most of the goodies come in Decleor’s trademark jaunty yellow and white make it a cheery affair. Several of the products were new to me, so I had a merry time trying each one out. I am already a fan of the Decleor neroli bath and shower gel which has just the right amount of uplifting perfume to wake me up. Among the smaller tubes (10-15ml), I made a beeline for the eye cream and the eye gel - this girl needs all the help she can get in that area. I am also now hooked on the light day cream, which sinks in quickly but leaves my dry skin nourished. 

Why we love it…  

Although this retails at £120 several of the products are large (50ml) which makes it a good value gift or treat, and the contents are apparently worth £417. The smaller samples and sachets are the perfect opportunity to try something new and, if anything is going to help me through the Christmas chaos, it’s a relaxing bath with a glass of something bubbly and a DIY spa treatment with these tubes of Decleor loveliness. 

Spa Spy: Sybaritic Spy

Scarlet_Spa_Spy

Spa Likes

"Beautiful interiors, luxurious swimming pools, being pampered, long massages, quality food."

Spa Dislikes

"Noisy echoes, overlooking facilities, thin walls in treatment rooms, cramped spa layout."