When my parents realised their retirement dream and moved to Southwold (below), I would return from University and head straight to the beach – often in the rain; definitely in the sunshine, and always with a spring in my step. This I did even if it was 9pm and going dark, for - despite its loud roar and regular frothy outbursts - I found something very soothing about being near the ocean.
The healing power of the sea (or Vitamin Sea as it’s now coined) should not be underestimated – breathing in the fresh salty air, feeling soft sand between your toes and watching the ocean move to the rhythm of the moon is a stark reminder of the power of nature. And a reminder that we all need from time-to-time.
But it’s not just being near the sea that can improve our state of mind - marine treatments and products have been making a splash in the spa world for years, with seaweed wraps, salty scrubs and sea-themed product houses appearing on treatment menus.
And if you can’t get to the sea, find a salt-steam room and allow the warm salty air to penetrate your lungs, aiding respiration. At home, simply sprinkle salt into your bath and let the newly-softened water smooth your skin.
But it’s seaweed that’s the king of the marine world with a broad range of nutrients within its gangly tails - from vitamin B and calcium to magnesium and potassium. And while you may not be able to say Fucoxanthin or Phlorotannin without putting your teeth in, your skin will thank you for it – these powerful antioxidants quench harmful radicals and fight against damage. Beautiful skin here we come… Isn’t it time you treated yourself to some Vitamin Sea? Here’s how …
Six sea-loving brands to try
“From the sea to the skin” is the motto of Britanny-born spa brand Phytomer, a company racking up 45 years in marine algae cultivation. Boasting possibly the largest range of marine-based products on the market, Phytomer’s anti-ageing, cellulite-busting, sun-protecting products are pioneers in ocean-based wellness.
Scottish-born ishga has been harnessing the benefits of the sea for years, gaining an exclusive licence to harvest Hebridean seaweed throughout the Western Isles for use in its range of 18 products including creams, oils and candles, products for men, lip balm and seaweed capsules.
VOYA’s range of seaweed-based facial and body products are the result of years of scientific research into the therapeutic benefits of the green stuff. VOYA goes one step further by using a different type of seaweed for different skin issues.
Channelling the powerful benefits of salt and sand, Thalgo is another marine-lover making waves in the industry, with an ocean-sized collection of face creams, bath pebbles, slimming creams, exfoliating formulas, hydrating milks, candles and mists.
Literally meaning ‘the sea’, La Mer’s products cost a pretty penny, making them all the rage with celebs. They work though, with testaments – and products – aplenty. And it all started with Crème de la Mer, an-algae-packed face cream that’s been softening skin since 1965.
Spa powerhouse Elemis continues to expand its Marine collection with 12 products packaged in turquoise. As well as hero product Pro-Collagen Marine cream, Elemis aficionados can treat themselves to a cleanser, face oil, body moisturiser and night cream. There’s also an anti-wrinkle moisturiser for men.
Three Cornish spas to try
As if the lockdown lifting, Cornwall-heading frenzy wasn’t sufficient proof of the delights of this UK spot, the beaches are breathtaking, the fishing villages as quaint as they come and the sea as inviting as ever. Surf, spa or simply sit and admire… it’s all here:
Baring an actual beach hut, it would be harder to get closer to the sea than at The Carbis Bay Hotel, home to the newly refreshed C Bay Spa. Sea views are de rigeur here, and are particularly enchanting from the outdoor infinity-edge pool circled with loungers and Verve Clicquot-branded umbrellas (darling). The spa itself – created using creamy pebbles, natural woods and soft furnishings - has a distinctly coastal feel. After a treatment in a candle-lit room (where VOYA dominates), head to the fire-heated, glass-encased relaxation room for lunch overlooking the pool. Or climb the steps to the decked balcony and enjoy a delicious lunch with equally delicious vistas. Don’t leave without breathing in the fresh air; as beaches go, St Ives Bay is as pristine as they come.
Set high on a cliff top overlooking Fistral Bay, the redbrick Headland Hotel instantly captivates. The spa is below the first-floor reception, spilling out onto the pretty café lined with silver birch trees. There’s an attractive heated outdoor pool with loungers perfect for beach gazing; the thermal space boasts a heated pool, hot tub, spacious sauna and steam room with striped deckchairs for relaxing. Make sure you spend some time in the Cornish Salt Room with its grey curve bench seating and attractive wall made out of perfectly-formed cubes of pure white, locally-sourced salt. Now we’re talking. Enjoy Elemis, Natura Bissé, Thalgo and Natural Spa Factory treatments after a day by the seaside, or get muddy in the lovely rasul. An outdoor tennis court, fitness studio and gym will please the jumpy.
With its wood and glass exterior, adult-only policy, strict eco-credentials and booked-up-for-months-in-advance restaurant, The Scarlet is a true spa sanctuary. Take long walks on Mawgan Porth beach, refreshing dips in the outdoor reed-cleaned pool and Ayurvedic-inspired rituals in the tented treatment rooms. The sunset cliff-top hot tub experience complete with glass of fizz is a absolute must for sea farers, as is an afternoon snooze in the relaxation room’s hanging cocoon-like pods. Evening meals, accompanied by sea views, are both scrumptious and nourishing using only local bounty (try the vegan tasting menu with vegan-friendly wines). There’s yoga and Nordic walking, as well as some more unusual pastimes on offer – we tried a singing lesson facing the sea and managed to belt out previously unreachable notes. We told you it was magic.