Spa retreats are now a "must have" facility for any purporting lifestyle hotel worth its salt. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that the "hippest hotel in the world" - the London Sanderson - boasts one of the most lavish of urban spa oases in the heart of the London city bustle. Known as The Agua, its billowing white cloud-like treatment rooms provide a surreal and dreamy chill-out zone, where full body pampering stretches to light gourmet health lunches from a menu prepared by the legendary multi Michelin-star winning chef, Alain Ducasse.
Although not usually viewed as the best route to tip-top health, it's the gourmet food that is the lynchpin of Alain Ducasse's latest venture into the world of the luxury health spa, at the newly opened L'Andana in Tuscany. Exquisite gourmet dessert concoctions - chocolate mousse, lavendar tart and others - are specifically matched to individual ESPA treatments, to stimulate all of the body's senses. Furthermore, a tea ceremony also blends treatments with herbal teas, with all the necessary ingredients freshly picked from the L'Andana gardens.
A visit to a day spa is a good idea to snatch a quick escape from the rigours of city life. The Elemis Day spas in London, rather than being a traditional water-based spa, consists of a series of luxurious treatment rooms themed in various cultural styles – Moroccan, Balinese and Thai for example – and are designed to calm the shredded nerves of fraught city souls. Elemis are the products of choice for a number of the leading spas around the world; their top-of-the-range beauty, massage and relaxation treatments combining an eclectic blend of oils, herbs and spices.
These same treatments can also be found in the considerably more exotic setting of the Maldives, where the Huvafen Fushi invites you to immerse your spirit and drift away in the world's first underwater spa. Alongside the usual flotation, steam, sauna and ice rooms, the new spa boasts two underwater treatment rooms along with six above water – each with a glass floor.
With many cheap flights to Portugal available, spa-break enthusiasts can easily visit the Algarve and the Vila Vita Parc – one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. The Vila Vita Vital Spa provides an extensive menu of treatments, covering everything from eastern massage techniques, beauty treatments and botox to medical and physio treatments such as regenerative cellular therapy, colon hydro, osteopathy and lymphatic drainage. And, to aid recovery after enduring some of the fiercer treatments, there are always the lawns, swimming pool, beach, sea and sunshine!
However, of all the possible destinations for spa treatments, the Ananda Spa in the Himalayas is probably the ultimate for those seeking a retreat in the most traditional sense. Using the ancient Indian sciences of Ayurveda, meditation and yoga the spa practices relaxing, restorative and rejuvenating therapies with the aim of achieving harmony between the physical and the mental being.
The Six Senses Earth Spa at the Evason Hideaway on Hua Hin, Thailand holds itself up as one of the worlds most eco friendly spas. Using traditional rural village construction methods, the spa is built entirely from earth - cooling the temperature by up to 15 °C and removing the need for air conditioning. The earth domes appear to be floating just above the water and are all breeze-cooled by air vents top and bottom. A skin-food concept maintains that nothing is put on the skin that could not be eaten, making this a good, albeit distant choice for any environmentally concerned spa enthusiast.
Whether you're looking for a simple facial treatment or the full spa experience, you're sure to find the perfect spa hideaway, regardless of where in the world you visit.