Now we’re into autumn and your summer holiday seems like a lifetime ago, it’s important to look after yourself, factoring in some time for a little TLC. Although an 8+ hour working day may not leave ample room for putting your feet up, a spa stay can push aside everyday distractions and offer much needed respite. What’s more, planning a break, whether it be a day in Hampshire or a week in Corsica, lifts your spirits for far longer than the actual pampering lasts. Indeed, you could fritter away hours drooling over these top 5 European spa retreats - take that as a warning.
The remote one
Situated close to Thingvellir National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site one hour’s drive from Reykjavik, Iceland, the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel offers guests striking mountain top views and a glimpse of the Northern Lights (if you’re lucky). As the name suggests, the Lava Spa has views of the lava fields which can be admired from the warmth of the glass-fronted sauna. Modern Nordic dining and bathing in the remedial local water makes this a spa resort like no other.
The island one
Perched on the edge of the mountainous Mediterranean island of Corsica, Sofitel Golfe d'Ajaccio Thalassa Sea and Spa is a 5-star resort by the sea. They have all of the usual spa facilities you would expect, plus kayaks and Jet Ski rentals if your kind of relaxation is more active. With average winter temperatures of 8-10 degrees Celsius you’ll escape the British frost but don’t expect to be sunbathing. You can fly to Corsica’s Bastia airport on the cheap with Flybe who offer a great range of flights at low prices.
The local one
If you haven’t the time for an overseas break, there are plenty of options to take your fancy in the UK. Take a luxury weekend break at Lime Wood in the New Forest and you won’t be disappointed. The ‘Herb House’ as they call it, has a hydro pool, forest sauna, hot outdoors pool and mud house as well as the usual steam rooms, treatment rooms and meditation areas. It’s a luxury back to nature experience offering the ultimate wellness revival.
The alcoholic one
A 900 year old abbey surrounded by vineyards provides the setting for one of Spain’s most interesting and brand new spa resorts. LeDomaine is now an exquisite spa hotel in the province of Valladolid, just one hour’s train ride from Madrid. With 500 acres of vineyards, the ‘spa sommelier’ offers guests wine to taste and oils to sniff in order to create the bespoke vinotherapy treatments.
The medicinal one
Amanzoe is a luxury Greek hotel and spa resort set amidst olive groves and cypress trees. The spa experience focuses on the healing philosophy of Greek medicine and holistic therapies. Wellness retreats are held regularly and the facilities include a gym, yoga studios and tennis courts.
Of course you don’t have to go to a spa to factor in some pampering. While summer days can be spontaneous and sometimes (occasionally) just too hot to work, in winter we’re more likely to stay cooped up indoors soaking up heat from the radiator and light from the computer screen. Just taking an hour at home to have a bath and pop on a face mask will offer some recuperation and healing time. Build it into your weekly schedule.
Article written in association with Flybe.