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Spa special: The 7 top spas around the world
Work up a sweat in St. Lucia
Story by Katherine Flemming
All that prep you did to squeeze yourself into that Agent Provocateur
cut-out bikini? Keep the momentum ablaze at The BodyHoliday LeSPORT, a lush hideaway where stem-to-stern wellness is an option, not a mandate. (The workout menu would rival any city gym, and some of the
spa’s treatments fall under the “all-inclusive” umbrella. We’re talking daily spa treatments, people.) I start with Octoba Yoga, an annual tradition that includes sunset yoga on an islet and a core-siphoning twisting class to wring out the boozy liquid sins I seem to stumble across every night.
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At the Wellness Centre spa, I sit down with Dr. Michael Prager, the renowned U.K. cosmetic doctor, for a consultation before trying his oft-requested Illuminator Facial. The facial starts with mechanical and chemical exfoliation (the latter burns ever so slightly) followed by a flooding of hyaluronic acid via a transderm machine. “The electric impulse temporarily reduces the tightness of the skin barrier and helps the absorption of the hyaluronic molecules,”says Prager. “We can infuse the skin with its own hydrator.” After the treatment, I skip out of the spa with glowing skin.
Sip and swim in Milan
Story by Stephanie Epiro
If you’re going to unwind, a relaxing float in a pool beneath a 19th-century vaulted brick ceiling is a good place to start. Housed in a former wine cellar, The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Milano (itself a fresco-filled former convent) unfolds over 800 square metres and features a mix of customized laser-cut marble, curved wood panels and golden-apricot tones.
After spending two weeks on a heroically gastronomic tour of eating and drinking across Italy, I need the Sodashi Himalayan-salt scrub with sweet-orange essence to improve circulation and kick-start my
necessary detox. Once my skin has been buffed smooth, a muscle- and mind-soothing massage follows. In my post-treatment haze, I settle on a divan by the pool with a warming cup of herbal tea to reflect, relax and plan my next “re-tox.”
Check out The Spa at Silversea on the next page…
Float away in the Mediterranean
Story by Vanessa Craft
I avoid making eye contact with my boyfriend when our butler, Kieran, who is wearing an immaculate morning suit, asks if we’d rather our bathroom toiletries be Bulgari or Ferragamo. We nearly got caught high-fiving each other when he offered to unpack our luggage earlier, so I’m trying to play it cool. We’re celebrating my birthday on board the Silversea Silver Spirit—a ship so dashing I’m having major regrets I didn’t come on board with a parasol, a poodle and a Louis Vuitton train case or two. Here’s my plan of action: Drink lots of champagne and book as many spa treatments as there are glam stops on this week-long cruise to Rome, Pisa, Monte Carlo, Marseille, Majorca and Barcelona.
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The Spa at Silversea rivals any I’ve been to on solid ground. It comprises 771 square metres of warm dark wood, a ceramic-tiled thermal suite, a slick gym and nine massage and treatment rooms. There’s also a private spa deck for collapsing post-massage. The must-do treatment— essential for swanning by the pool in that Overboard-style low-cut one-piece—is the Sea Indulgence Treatment Massage. To kick circulation into high gear, I am covered in detoxifying marine algae, wrapped up in Mylar, rinsed off and then given a full-body massage using fragrant oils.
If there’s a risk I might get bored of being beautified, I have options. I could book a tour of the Côte d’Azur via a chauffeur-driven vintage Rolls-Royce, wander around the streets of Pisa eating pizza and gelato or just chill out on the deck by the pool and people-watch.
During breakfast the morning of my birthday, my boyfriend proposes. I spend the afternoon in a bliss bubble at the spa, getting an antioxidant-rich skin-boosting facial. That evening, we have a button-popping dinner (lobster risotto sprinkled with gold leaf) at the ship’s most exclusive and intimate restaurant, Le Champagne—a perfect name if ever there was one. Speaking of names, I’m certain I’ll change mine. How does Mrs. Moët sound?
Check out spa treatments in Puerto Vallarta and California on the next page…
Get a buzz in Mexico
Story by Noreen Flanagan
The night before I arrived for my DiamondMagnetic Treatment at the spa in the Casa Velas resort in Puerto Vallarta, I was having an Édith Piaf-inspired moment at Garbo piano bar. “
Quand il me prend dans ses bras / Il me parle tout bas / Je vois la vie en rose!” I belted out with tequila-fuelled passion. The next day, I was feeling—how to put this delicately—a little fuzzy. My “spa valet” assured me that the treatment would “harmonize [my] chakras and the Natura Bissé Diamond Powder Cream would
cleanse [my] body of electromagnetic pollution.” Sensing that I might need additional assistance, she suggested we start off with the spa’s signature Water Ritual, which would help detoxify my body. This involved taking a shower and then sitting in a mint-infused steam room sipping a chlorophyll-based drink from a plastic champagne flute.
By the time I got on the massage table, I was ready for what the Barcelona-based brand calls “mineral magnotherapy.” The product, which contains diamond dust and micronized iron, was massaged into my body and then removed using a “neodymium magnet” in a clockwise circular motion. It’s the iron that reportedly counteracts the damage caused by electromagnetic pollution. The diamond dust boosts “positive energy”(no surprise there) and
leaves your skin literally sparkling—but not with the wattage of a Liza Minnelli sequined top. To carry that off, I’d need to go back to Garbo.
Say “Cheers” in California
Story by Alex Stauss
Staying fit while on a wine tour isn’t an oxymoron. The South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in southern California has found a creative solution that will keep you stretched and well lubricated. I tried its Vino-Vinyasa
yoga class, which integrates the flow of yoga movements with the flow of wine tasting—three reds and three whites. Each of these award-winning wines is paired with the characteristics of the body’s chakras so that as your body opens up, thanks to the yoga, so do your taste buds and senses.
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“A lot of people call it ‘hiccup yoga,’” said the resort’s spa director. “We start with the feet and offer a robust red because we want something grounding. We lighten up with the whites as we move from the hips up to the third eye, which is paired with a sparkling brut.” How stretchingly sublime.
Check out the Awili spa in Hawaii on the next page…
Bar-hop in Hawaii
Story by Olivia Stren
It’s winter at the Andaz Maui at Wailea (translation? 25ºC and sunny—locals consider this “brisk”), which also means whale season, when the sea turns into a splashing ground for humpback whales on the lam from the Gulf of Alaska (who can blame them?) to breed and give birth. Look out at the sea from the hotel’s Awili spa and the Pacific is abloom with what look like bouquets of water drops, as if the whales were popping millions of giant champagne bottles just under the surface. (They’re just exhaling.) Should you need help exhaling in style, you may want to beach yourself at Awili (Hawaiian for “mix” or “entwine”).
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The spa, entwining Polynesian and East Asian traditions, is Omakase-style, which is Japanese for “faith in you.” It also means that, as a guest, you are paired with a personal “apothecary consultant” who will handcraft a potion based on your needs. The spa’s blending bar, a sort of living lab, shoulders an assortment of bottles, pots and jars containing a beguiling assortment of foraged
indigenous exotica (awapuhi flowers, coffee berry, Kona coffee, Lilikoi, cornflower petals).
After about half an hour of sniffing beakers bar-side, I’m already drunk on
exotic fragrance; my consultant whips up a couple of potions for me to hand over to my masseuse. The first involves
toasted coconut, star anise, cardamom and lime zest; the second, jalapeno, Hawaiian chili pepper and grapefruit. Each sounds like a grocery list for a Polynesian rainforest pixie; both sound—and smell—fresh enough to eat.
Check out the spa at Les Souces de Caudalie in Bordeaux on the next page…
Do the grapevine in Bordeaux, France
Story by Vanessa Craft
“We believe that the grape is a magical fruit,” says Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of Caudalie. She’s speaking of her (and her husband, Bertrand’s) discovery 21 years ago that the leftover skins, vines and seeds of grapes from the vineyards of her family’s estate, the Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux, were rich in
One look at Les Sources de Caudalie, the
dream-like spa set on the estate grounds, and I’m inclined to believe in magic myself. Set in the lush rolling hills of the French countryside, overlooking the Graves Grand Cru Classé vineyards, the large, airy spa exudes serenity. All treatments here are based on the beautifying power of the grape and, more specifically, resveratrol, a free-radical-fighting antioxidant. “If a grapevine is cut, it is able to activate new cell renewal,” explains Thomas. “It’s the same for the skin: The resveratrol repairs, rebuilds and refines.” She believes that resveratrol is a powerful anti-inflammatory and discovered a way to stabilize it and, by pairing it with fatty acids, enable it to penetrate the skin barrier. Thomas is certainly a testament to the power of wine: youthful, vibrant and passionate.
I sample some vino (all in the name of research) while partaking in a Red Vine bath (a bubbling hydro massage, infused with red-vine extract, that improves circulation). Post-bath, I’m given a Crushed Cabernet Scrub, which leaves my skin baby soft and silky using a mix of grape seed, honey and brown sugar. Thomas confesses that she grew up in an environment in which it was believed that “wine functions as a beauty elixir.” I’ll certainly drink to that.
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