Britain's traditional Victorian Turkish baths are great places to relax, recharge and escape. Many are council run and reasonably priced. Newcastle's Turkish Bath has a steam room (Suditorium), three dry rooms (Tepidarium, Calidarium, Laconium), a shampoo room (Lavarium) with cooling spa (28°C) and a lounge and rest area (Frigidarium). If you wish it is possible to have a massage. As well as dedicated male and female sessions there are monthly naturist sessions combined with use of the swimming pool.
The St. Bride's Hotel is a surprising treat in West Wales. Overlooking the village of Saundersfoot and its beautiful sandy beach, the views are stunning - sitting on the balcony with a good bottle (on a bizarrely balmy day in April) is one of my favourite travel memories. We had an incredibly beautiful suite - I travel a lot with business and I love it when I stay in a hotel that isn't done by numbers but still has that feeling of quality. The food was local and excellent and the spa takes full advantage of the breathtaking views - seriously, if you can't relax here, you may as well stop looking and live out your days in a stress filled strop. Love this place, and what's more you can explore the magnificent West Wales coastline from here with ease - in fact after a tasty, generous breakfast, we headed down the beach towards Amroth and walked for about five hours. Wonderful, relaxed and it has a great little cascading pool with a view - can't wait to go back.
In an ordinary street, with large residential houses, lies the Relaxation Centre. It's tucked away from the city centre in peaceful Cliftonand is quite small, with a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and outside hot tub, sauna and plunge pool. However, somehow, it never seems crowded. Upstairs there is a cafe bar where wonderfully relaxing teas and toasted teacakes are offered. With a choice of beds, beanbags and sofas overlooking the beautifully tended gardens.
Varying between women only, mixed and couples sessions, at varying prices, it is an inexpensive spa, where a few hours can help weeks of troubles drift away.
The Thermae Spa in Bath offers what most do not – flexibility. A visit is easily slotted in before a shopping trip, after lunch or when your feet need a rest after exploring this stunning Georgian city. There is no need to book.
Although there are full ranges of treatments available, it is not really necessary to book one to have the full spa experience. A two-hour spa session at £24 is a relatively cheap and wonderful way to relax. That gives you plenty of time to use the four scented steam rooms, swim in the enclosed thermal ‘Minerva’ pool and have a glass of something in the Springs café. Finish the visit by floating in the naturally warm spring water Rooftop Pool overlooking the picture perfect Bath Spa rooftops.
The modern spa does feel a little utilitarian in places, after all, the council part owns it, but that adds to a unisex vibe that means men won’t feel as though they landed in the middle of an episode of ‘Sex and the City’. But remember, Bath being a tourist magnet, it is worth avoiding during the busiest times of the week.
It's a bit redundant mentioning Yelo since it's appearing in all sorts of guides, but it really deserves the praise.
Pop in for tea, a massage, and a nap in one of their custom-made sleep pods. You'll leave feeling 10ft tall.
There are plenty spa establishments in Marrakech and you may feel lost trying to find a good one. You won't find than Canal Forme Spa and Beauty Center.
Hammam & massage are about £40 and they have got a wellness swimming pool that does hydro massages. Access to the swimming pool and fitness is £25.
There is a hairstyling salon there too. My wife got a Keratin hair Treatment and I got my hair cut. A beautiful place to go.
53, Abou Baker Essediq Avenue - Guéliz Ménara - Marrakech. www.marrakechcanalforme.com
+212(0)524 339 580 / 581
Near the Royal Theater (Theatre Royal) and the Train Station (ONCF)
If you're looking for an oasis of peace and quiet in the bustling city of Granada then look no further than the Palacio de los Patos. It is located along one of the approach roads into the city centre and everywhere is within walking distance, including the Alhambra and the Albaicin district. It was my first stay ever in Spain and I spent quite a lot of time researching all the hotels in Granada. The reviews for the hotel were good and it didn't disappoint. The service and food were excellent, and the cleanliness second to none. The setting is a juxtaposition of traditional palatial and ultra-modern with a courtyard separating the two and was a perfect microcosm of Granada itself. It is not a cheap hotel but is worth the money - go on, treat yourself!
Solarillo de Gracia, 1, Centro, 18002 Granada, Spain
+34 958 53 57 90
- Visit the Hindu Temple in Varkala Town on a Sunday morning. Intimidating but interesting. You will receive a lot of attention.
- Take the cliffwalk south, past the shops and restaurants. It's very pretty
- Look into the Blue Water Beach Resort
- Book some spa treatments. Spas rated as Olive Leaf or Green Leaf by the Kerala Tourism Board are "legit"
- Just because beer isn't on the menu doesn't mean it isn't available.
- Eat at Cafe del Mar.
This upmarket Cape Town Hotel, spa and restaurant offers uninterrupted sea views of the Atlantic Ocean and is positioned beneath the slopes of the Twelve Apostles mountain range on the Cape peninsula amidst a backdrop of unspoilt fynbos vegetation. The Twelve Apostles Hotel has no immediate neighbours yet is less than a 30 minute drive from the heart of bustling Cape Town along one of this coast's most scenic roads.
The location caters for those seeking tranquillity and offers every comfort including five star facilities and a private cinema for after dinner screenings. Besides the Leopard Room bar, popular for sunset cocktails and an envious collection of vodka and port, a café offering light meals, or the option of afternoon tea, the main draw card is the Azure Restaurant which promotes cape-fusion cuisine utilising indigenous plants known as fynbos, herbs, seasonal ingredients and local seafood. It also offers visitors the opportunity to sample pickled fish, incorporating Cape Malay style cooking, a favourite of the BoKaap. It has won acclaim as one of the best places to stay in the world and is on the Conde Nast Traveller Gold list for 2010.
The view of the ocean, Lion's Head and the craggy Twelve Apostles to the rear in wild surroundings makes this luxurious establishment well worth a visit.
+27 (0) 21 437 9000
Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Steeped in history dating to Simon van der Stel's era, this working wine estate is set in the fertile Constantia valley. Once the bread-basket supplying the former emerging settlement now it is only a twenty minute drive from the urban centre of Cape Town. Still holding its rural charm it offers the choice of three restaurants, hotel accommodation, spa facilities and a cricket oval as well as wine tastings seven days a week. History buffs and green-fingered enthusiasts can opt for tours of this restored and popular homestead and gardens. There is a selection of brandies and olive oils for sale in the wine shop as well as advice on food and wine pairing.
The recently revamped River Café offers a menu of affordable seasonal produce from Uitsig's own organic garden which is accompanied with specially sourced home-made breads, meats and cheeses. Understated and relaxed this bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea throughout the year bar New Year's day.
La Colombe is the winner of numerous awards for both its service and predominately French cuisine but also offers diners a selection of Asian- inspired dishes. The estate's selection of prestigious wines only heighten the experience of fine dining.
Situated in the original manor house on the estate, The Constantia Uitsig restaurant focuses mainly on rustic Italian favourites for lunch and dinner. The best quality ingredients are used and this heartfelt approach adds to the convivial ambience.
With the option of three restaurants, fine wine, stunning scenery and a slice of Cape history this dining experience fails to disappoint.
Encompassed with breathtaking views, Phantom Forest is nestled high above the picturesque coastal town of Knysna, just a few hours scenic drive east of Cape Town along the Garden Route. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff and a cluster of luxurious yet surprisingly affordable eco-treehouse suites set amongst an enchanting 137-hectare nature reserve.
Eating here is an adventure in itself. Wander through the forest canopy trails along interlinking wooden boardwalks to the forest buma, an al-fresco fire-deck wilderness viewpoint and restaurant, where a delicious choice of breakfast is served, as well as an entertaining 5-course dinner, with a range of award-winning delights including fresh local oysters.
A highly memorable dining experience under the south african night sky - one not to be missed.
Victoria is a French owned four-star aiming for five-star hotel. The setting is good - end of development and quiet. Bungalows well spaced out. Food quite expensive so if you don't want to pay, jump in a taxi for a £1 and go down to the large choice off the main strip. Go now before it becomes over developed
Situated about two hours east of the capital Quito, high in the Andes just before you come down the eastern slopes to the Amazon, this hotel is built around a series of thermal springs.
The scenery is breath-taking and you can bathe in boiling hot water before taking an invigorating plunge in an ice-cold mountain stream. The complex is open to non-residents of the hotel but the real romance comes from the cabins which have their own private thermal pools on the doorstep.
You can eat at the hotel's excellent restaurant and then retire for an intimate midnight swim under the stars.
The surrounding gardens, full of endemic plant species and hummingbirds, add to the atmosphere and make this an unforgettable option for a romantic weekend.
On the Mornington Peninsula about an hour from the centre of Melbourne are a lot of natural hot springs and pools and 'Peninsula Hot Springs' has built a resort over some of them. With this they provide special private treatments (massages, spa treatments etc) as well as public swimming areas in the thermal pools. Rich in minerals, the warm waters (around 36-42°c) soothe and caress.
A spa hotel, secluded, rural mountain area above the Dead Sea, and still 400m below sea level, overlooking a spectacular hot springs. The perfect place to relax in peaceful and comfortable surroundings. We stayed four nights before Christmas and it was blue skies everyday with temperatures of 25C, perfect spring weather
Terme Čatež or Čatež thermal spa can be found in eastern part of Slovenia near Brežice. Terme Čatež is the biggest thermal spa in Slovenia and also the most popular ones. They were recently renovated and now have even more fun facilities such as new toboggans in inner and outer pools. While kids are playing, parents can enjoy in wellness or in sauna.
Terme Čatež are located in village Čatež ob Savi near Brežice.
More information about Terme Čatež: www.terme-catez.si/en/catez/
Information about thermal spas in Slovenia: www.sloveniaholidays.org/category/slovenia-holidays/thermal-spas-in-slovenia
By now it must be obvious that I'm hopelessly in love with Tuscany and its fabulous vistas, and Montecatini Terme doesn't disappoint at all.
Though the springs and spas that sprung up around them draw a fair bit of business, it's much less touristy than many other places in Tuscany one can hit. And why argue with a place where I can enjoy hot springs AND Tuscan cuisine?
At Ercolini & Savi, I was treated not only to a lovely stay by another warm, welcoming staff, but the restaurant was just FABULOUS. And when not eating in the hotel they were very kind with recommendations. Since they helped organize so much for me and gave me a stress free holiday I promised them I'd spread the word!
Via S. Martino 18 - 51016 - Montecatini Terme (PT)
Booked like most of my trip through my new best friends: www.italiancollection.com/en/ercolini-savi.html
A lovely hotel/spa/resort in Lecce, this is an awesome place to really soak up the city.
Baroque beauty all around, with a delightful array of cuisine (including wonderful wines and olive oils), Lecce is architecturally stunning, and a fascinating place to visit. And of course, after a hard day's sightseeing, one deserves a bit of pampering and nature.
Sangiorgio is absolutely amazing, being made of a restored monastic asylum and set amongst groves of citrus and olive trees, as well as vineyards. Soaking in the scents on the breeze alone is enough to inspire a visit here, but the level of service provided as well as spa services themselves are exquisite.
Comfortable rooms, lovely grounds, a selection of pools, and a friendly staff make this a great find and the hotel restaurant with it's wine cellars is a DEFINITE can't miss as they house a large selection of fine wines. They pampered me very very well and I fully intend to return as soon as I can... and enjoy more wine!
It probably has a listing somewhere, but I booked through this site and it was very easy (the staff speaks English too): www.italiancollection.com/en/SanGiorgioResort-Lecce.html
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