Now is always the right time to take a breath and head off for some pampering – no long flights, no stress, just indulgent treatments and “me time” in spades.
If the city buzz makes you feel alive, combining spa with sightseeing could be right up your bustling street.
Portugal’s second city has a UNESCO-listed centre of mismatched townhouses and sun-dappled squares. They lead down to the imposing Douro River, where you can wander the barge-lined banks. If eating good food is part of your wellness plan, you will be spoilt for choice – the city has a great foodie scene.
If you want to be treated like royalty, The Yeatman is the place to be. This wine-themed hotel has a superb spa with highly-trained Caudalie therapists. We had a fantastic massage and a dip in the indoor infinity pool, where we enjoyed views over the red-tiled rooftops.
In the beautiful city of Prague, all of the sights are within walking distance, so it’s an easy-breezy break if you want to take things slowly. We’d recommend riding the funicular up to Petrin Hill for serene views over the rooftops and spires.
The spa at the slick, boutique ICON Hotel and Lounge offers a range of Thai and Balinese treatments to help you forget the stresses of modern life – they promise that you’ll leave feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
A bit of sunshine helps freshen the mind, and as the nights draw in it’s important to top up those vitamin D levels. Of course, we can’t guarantee blazing sunshine at these retreats, but the chances are much higher than in the UK.
Adults-only and supremely peaceful, Font Santa is close to Mallorca’s most famous beach, where glittering white sand meets turquoise sea. There are lots of indulgent treatments at the spa (additional cost) but entry to its thermal circuit is included in your room rate: vaporium, a Jacuzzi, a hot-water pool, a relaxation room, sauna, steam room and toning zone with shower cube.
On the island of Madeira, just a short stay at classy Quinta da Casa Branca left us feeling like VIPS: nothing is too much trouble. There are plenty of tranquil spots where you can hide away in the immaculate gardens or you can opt for an al fresco Shiatsu massage.
Closer to home
If time is short or you just don’t fancy a flight, these UK hideaways offer up lungfuls of fresh air to revitalise you.
With views over the beautiful Salcombe Estuary, just staring out of the window at Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa could help you unwind. But, you’d be foolish to miss out on the swanky spa, with its hydro-pool and sauna. And the afternoon cream teas are definitely good for the soul.
Although it feels very plush, there is nothing at all pretentious about contemporary Cowley Manor, which sits in 55 acres of green rolling Cotswold parkland. The atmosphere is one of sheer relaxation and we totally blissed out at the C-Side spa. Our express facial was wonderfully pampering and we love the sound of the ‘Cloud 9’ experience, which is a mix of aromatherapy, Qi energy balancing, reflexology and acupressure.
And if you have kids, don’t feel like pampering is not on your horizon, even if childcare is scarce…
The super family-friendly Martinhal Cascais resort has everything you could possibly think of to keep children occupied. (And happy kids = relaxed parents.) This includes a great kids’ club so you can spend some quality time at the spa, having a mud wrap or a facial, safe in the knowledge that the little ones are having a ball.