By Jo Finzi
Now is the time to detox after a hectic festive season. Some of you may want to try a spa getaway to kick-start that more healthy lifestyle, so here’s a couple of ideas to galvanise you into action…
Go East - One night in Bangkok?
If you’re looking for a haven of tranquillity amongst the bustling hubbub of Bangkok, the Banyan Tree Spa may be just the ticket. The 61-floor hotel has a slim and elegant facade, and right from arrival you’ll get the VIP treatment with hot towels and fruit at every turn.
Voted number seven in Condé Nast’s top ten spas of the world, the spa at the Banyan Tree has an enticing mixture of rubs, massages, wraps, and facials. The soft music and subtle aromas of the hotel give you an instant feeling of relaxation even before you enter the spa, where herbal and aromatic treatments take the best from East and West.
There are four single and ten double treatment rooms with extra facilities such as steam baths, saunas and jet spa pools. The spa is currently on the 39th floor, but is moving this spring to its stunning new location on 21st floor.
There’s an exotic menu of massages from around the world, with detailed description of each one, so you’ll know in advance whether you’re getting deep pressure with thumbs, or gentle pressure with arms. The therapists actually listen to your preferences about pressure and areas of sensitivity (not a feature of every spa we’ve been to!). At the end of your treatment, you’ll see why the spa is so highly regarded.
If you’re looking for a more private experience, there are three spa suites, which have their own treatment rooms and come with spa extras such as a welcome scrub, bath menu, massage lesson, toiletries gift pack and canapes. But you’ll still be pampered if you stay in a regular suite. Although the hotel has a mixture of business and leisure guests, the spa has such spacious treatment areas, with discreet pre and post treatment rooms you always get the feeling of a truly personalised service.
As for eating out, you don’t really need to move from the hotel. Vertigo, the open rooftop bar gives you stunning views of the city, and the hotel’s seven restaurants all offer a selection light and healthy menus.
Rooms (all suites) start from Dhs1,100 per night, and a 90 minute treatment is Dhs295, with special spa all-inclusive packages to choose from. Contact Banyan Tree Spa Bangkok, Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120, Thailand (+66 2 679 1052/4; http://www.banyantreespa.com/bangkok; email: email@example.com).
Go West - in the footsteps of the rich and famous
The word mansion means you’d expect to find a certain sense of style. The elegant sweep of the driveway to Champneys in Tring gets you into the mood for pampering from the moment you arrive.
The stunning Rothschild-built retreat is one of UK’s most famous spa destinations. Taken over in recent years by the Purdew family, it’s still having it’s own facelift, with millions of pounds being spent in every area.
Like the Banyan Tree, some of the major changes won’t be finished until Easter but there’s already a new spa area with a vast range of treatments on offer. If you’re looking for hydrotherapy, the thalassotherapy pool is still “work in progress”. So if you want to get wet, for the moment there’s just the 25 metre swimming pool - albeit in a brand new purpose-built complex with a laconeum to keep you snuggly and warm on a cold January day.
When you arrive, you’ll get straight into your Champneys dressing gown and slippers, ready to start unwinding and de-stressing.
Fitness enthusiasts can stay on the move with a full selection of inclusive classes. You can kick start your day with an early morning walk around the extensive grounds, or try a wake up and stretch class if you don’t want to venture out into the cold. There’s an opportunity to book a personal training session at an extra cost (the trainers are all excellent), or try the Vibrogym - a vibrating plate that really gives those muscles a good workout.
TV celebrities such as Simon Cowell frequent the Champneys mansion. Frank Bruno is a regular at the gym, but if there’s a race to get the last treadmill, it might be an idea to let him win.
If you want to really pamper yourself after a workout, there’s a La Prairie caviar facial that’s to die for, and La Stone, a hot and cold stone all over treatment that’s so good it gets booked up very fast.
A two night/three day package at Champneys Tring will cost from between Dhs4,215 for a standard room to Dhs5,430 for a suite. The price includes all meals facilities and fitness classes, a facial, a body massage, a scalp massage, an aquajet dry float massage and a body wrap.
There’s also a special “Detox Your New Year” promotion, at Dhs1,885, for two night’s stay in a standard room. You get all meals and use of facilities (including classes), a detoxifying wrap, a detox patch, an aquajet treatment and a detox diet plan from experienced nutritionists to help you get started on your road to a healthier 2007.
Champneys has now become the brand name for other resorts in its group which includes Henlow Grange, Forest Mere and Springs. All these destinations already have their own thalassotherapy pools and each offers its own special treatments packages.
For more details visit http://www.champneys.com (for special packages go to tariffs and offers, then promotions). Booking online seems to work fine, but we’ve heard mixed reports about phone reservations.
If you have any questions, it might be better to email firstname.lastname@example.org (especially if you want to pre-book any treatments - which would be good advice to avoid missing out on the treatment you want).