Although mothers are routinely celebrated on Mothering Sunday, we at i-escape think they deserve kudos year-round for all that they do. So, if you’d like to express your gratitude in an appropriate fashion, may we suggest one of these wonderful weekends away? If you’re a mother yourself, it’s time to start dropping a few hints…
With the perennial juggle of family life, some previously enjoyed activities have to fall by the wayside once children come along. Ah, those delightful days of lingering in art galleries and museums, browsing shops, taking in a play or performance, and lunching in lovely cafes and restaurants… The answer? A trip to an exciting city such as Berlin, Budapest or Barcelona, either solo or with a friend or partner.
Why: It’s a thrilling capital with world-class museums, a unique history, a thriving art and music scene, excellent dining, and lots of lovely green spaces.
Stay: In the vibrant Prenzlauer Berg district, which has independent boutiques, pavement cafes and galleries (don’t miss the flea market in Mauerpark on Sundays). This eclectic pair of hotels has groovy courtyard gardens and a good range of individually styled rooms and apartments.
Why: It’s an architectural stunner, where you can cruise along the Danube and admire UNESCO-listed embankments. There are 118 thermal baths to choose from for a bit of post-sightseeing relaxation, and it’s one of the cheapest places for a mini-break in Europe.
Stay: In cosmopolitan Pest (which joined with Buda in 1873), with its Jewish quarter and uber-cool ruin bars. This good-value design hotel sits in a former apartment block, with a buzzy restaurant and cocktail bar, and a choice between double and twin rooms.
Why: It’s an eminently walkable city, with a strong Catalan culture and arts heritage, wonderful shopping (for both designer labels and classic homeware), Gaudí showstoppers, and gazillions of eateries.
Stay: At this beautiful hotel on the slopes of Tibidabo Hill. It’s a very special treat, with a double Michelin-starred restaurant, an Elemis spa and gorgeous bedrooms with hydro-massage baths.
A rural spa break for real relaxation
Now, who doesn’t like a bit of pampering in a luxurious spa, with fine food and fresh air on tap? We’ve yet to meet such a creature! These sublime country spa hotels will delight. Indulgent? Spoiling? Absolutely!
Why: An instant classic in the heart of the New Forest, this country manor hotel has extensive grounds, fabulous classical-contemporary interiors, and a stylish restaurant and cocktail bar (their cooking courses are very popular). Borrow wellies and wander through the woods, or harvest from the hedgerows using the in-room foraging book. You can also borrow bicycles or head out on horseback.
Spa: The winner of our Extra Mile Awards 2016 for ‘Unique Spa Treat’, the Herb House Spa has a living roof garden full of wildflowers, plus a mud hut where you can daub yourself with cleansing clays. There are also 10 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, a raw and cured spa cafe, a Caldarium and steam room, a rooftop sundeck, and yoga and Pilates – heaven!
Why: Set 90 minutes outside Porto, with picture windows overlooking the magical Douro Valley, this is a very classy wellness escape. It features natural materials (including limestone and Portuguese oak), along with gourmet cuisine, superb wine and port tastings nightly, and a seemingly endless estate to roam around. You can take a guided walk along the valley or a boat trip on the river itself, and there are daily yoga and Pilates lessons, too.
Spa: The fantastic spa has 10 treatment rooms (try a ‘Rose Crystal’ facial or an antioxidant ‘Grape Rejuvenation’ treatment), an indoor pool, a Finnish sauna, a hot tub, steam rooms, a nail bar and a chill-out area; we highly recommend the ‘Forest Bathing’ walks, too.
Why: Close to Mallorca’s most famous beach, the glittering Es Trenc, is this serene adults-only boutique hotel. It’s surrounded by unspoiled natural beauty, with superb food, a glamorous pool, and tranquil gardens full of flowerbeds, fountains and sit-outs. Cycle to the beach, walk through the wildlife-rich nature reserve which backs the hotel, or horse-ride through the countryside.
Spa: The spa’s thermal circuit (included in the rates) is powered by the mineral-rich waters from Mallorca’s only natural hot springs. It comprises a jacuzzi, a steam bath, a thermal pool, thermal baths, hand and foot baths and a relaxation room. Treatments deploy mineral-rich products – try a 4-hand rubdown or sea-salt exfoliation with mud and seaweed wraps. You can even consult an Ayurvedic doctor for bespoke programmes.
And if you’d like (or need) to bring the family along, taking time out is still possible! What about this wonderful family-friendly coastal resort in Italy, which has an award-winning spa, a choice of 4 restaurants, and heaps of activities for everybody to enjoy (including an all-ages kids’ club)?