Juliet Kinsman – Top 10 Spa Treatments
Juliet Kinsman, editor-in-chief Mr & Mrs Smith boutique travel specialists, reveals her favourite spa treatments.
1. The Reparative Caviar & Oxygen Quench Facial Cornelia Spa at The Surrey, New York
Just being in this soothing all-white space feels good for you, but it’s the caviar that works the magic.
Comprised of essential fatty acids, amino acids, loads of vitamins and minerals, it repairs and protects skin cells and hydrates making it the ultimate in epidermal luxury – add to that a dose of life-enforcing oxygen which traps in moisture. Nice one, NYC.
2. Hip Hammams
Coming soon to a chic hotel near you… I love a serious Moroccan or Turkish-bath style steam, and it’s great that lots of stylish hotels are adding them now instead of common-or-garden sweatbox saunas (although House Spa at Dormy House in the Cotswolds has a pretty special glass-walled herbal-infused one where you can spy on the fabulous pool from its benches).
Places outside the riads of Marrakech where the hammams or Sultanamet in Istanbul where they take shvitzing to the next level are Soho House Berlin, Verdura – Rocco Forte’s luxury resort in Sicily – and Hammam in Athens.
3. Margaret Dabbs medi-pedi at Bulgari Hotel, London
When it comes to my making my hands look pretty with an artistic gel polish in bright colours, I never stray from my local nail parlour, Swanky run by sisters Donia and Sophie. (The best pedicure I’ve ever had on my travels was at Antigua’s Curtain Bluff).
However, to really give hooves a medical overhaul by a trained chiropodist, the sleek Margaret Dabbs Foot Clinic downstairs at Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge is pretty special.
4. Dr Barbara Sturm’s ‘blood cream’ at The Dorchester, London
Molecular cosmetics are what’s in Dr Sturm’s arsenal. Her facials are available from £134, but it’s also the German orthopaedic surgeon’s MC1 cream that’s made her a hit in Hollywood. Sturm works her wizardry by taking a sample of your blood cells which and she synthesises your own healing power to create a totally bespoke all-purpose collagen-boosting face fixer, which is a wonder at ironing out and plumping up your cheeks. A proper superstar.
5. Thalassotherapy Marbella Club, Spain
You don’t even need to sign up for a full-on Thalassa treatment at this first-class Med-side stay to feel better: just take a dip in the sea-view dynamic seawater pool. You can feel how rich in salt and minerals it is as you float in waters drawn directly from the sea. Then pummel your pressure points or any tense muscles with this salubrious saltwater using the jets.
6. Urutan Pribumi massage at Spa Village, Gaya Island, Borneo
The spa village at YTL’s Malaysian hotel is pretty darned special – and most treatments here blend age-old Sabahhealing traditions with delicious oils amid glorious nature. This particular rub down was originally used to improve flexibility for paddy planters and warriors, and works wonders now for peace-craving city dwellers.
7. QMS Medicosmetics Classic Collagen Facial at Thalassa Spa, Anassa, Cyprus
Tantamount like a facelift QMS Medicosmetics treatments promises results thanks to their surgeon-devised skincare. We’re talking scientifically perfected potions and non-invasive oxygen-enhanced applications in this luxury resort’s seriously special spa… best of all, parents, it’s about as kiddy friendly as chic stays get.
8. Zhengliao at LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius
Chinese medicine is now on the programme at this outpost of the Indian Ocean-based hotel group, which is soon to expand to China itself. Acupressure points were rubbed, back was cupped (glass balls applied with a vacuum boosting blood circulation) and giant reefers of sage not to mention some piping-hot wooden boxes the size of a small brick applied to my spine area in the same way hot stones can be in massages. Said to reduce stress, improve digestion and sleep, by working on your Yu and Qi (you’ll be forgiven for Googling).
9. Nuad Thai massage at Palafito Spa, Asia Gardens, Alicante
After donning your regulation loose-fitting cotton Thai pyjamas at this family-friendly luxury escape, they lead you to a balé for a Thai massage. She stretched, pulled and walked on me… It was like someone else doing a yoga session for me with my body. And honestly, you could actually be in Asia at this unique resort – it’s bonkers to think you’re in fact just above Alicante.
10. Kundalini Yoga Retreat
Not a spa treatment, but the kundalini yoga retreat I did this Spring worked more wonders than any lotions and rub-downs. I went because my cranial osteopath hosts it: Sam Kankanamge is an incredible Sri Lankan chap who also supports a charity from his work. Kundalini is so different to other types of yoga, so uncompetitive and you can get into it as much or as little as you like (everyone has their eyes closed throughout… and I really enjoy the uplifting music.
It’s rare to have such an even split of men and women (and a mix of ages – the people on our retreat were aged 15–70 and so, so lovely). I never thought I’d end up so completely open-minded to all the chanting and the gong: I got chatting to a lovely Sikh woman on Portobello recently and she said it’s all very similar to the Sikh prayers spoken in the temple.
There’s still a nagging sceptic in me obviously when they say holding your hand in one way cleanses your liver, say, but it’s fun just going with it, and boy did I feel better after afterwards. Plus the vegetarian food at Shunya, where the retreat was hosted in Ibiza was honestly the best food I’ve ever had let alone vegetarian.
Plus Bryan, the osteopath that also came on the trip, is such an intelligent practitioner he really explains your physical condition in a non-mumbo-jumboey way that you feel inspired to just crack on (excuse the pun) to follow his advice and keep doing the kriyas and mantras once you’re home. Although maybe when no one is looking…
Breath of Life Clinic, London, has hosted trips to Suffolk, Ibiza & Italy.