Chewing Over A Modern Mayr Cure at Park Igls, Austria


My happiest New Year fantasy is to wake up back at the Park Igls Hotel in the Austrian Tyrol, all set to be cosily eased into a Modern Mayr Cure – making me healthier, fitter & thinner for 2018!

The traditional FX Mayr Cure was the stuff of legend. Devised in the 1920’s by Austrian doctor Franz Xaver Mayr, it was based on his then, highly innovative theory that good gut health is critical to our all-round wellbeing.

Zoom forward almost a century and current major research into chronic modern diseases show that Mayr’s thinking was well ahead of his time. Experts now predict that the science of gut health will be a medical game changer – creating a radical new approach to many major conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The traditional FX Mayr Cure is based on a Spartan regime of stale rolls, milk, water,  massage and exercise – and has become famously effective as a super swift and safe way to de-tox and lose weight. As such, it’s also become the well-beloved secret weapon of many of the world’s most famous faces.

Happily, however, for those of us not big on hard-core deprivation, Park Igls has devised a gentler version: The Modern Mayr Cure is a bespoke programme of diet, exercise, abdominal massage, treatments, coaching and state-of-the-art medical tests and diagnostics –  served up in luxurious, but super friendly and relaxed surroundings.

When I arrived for my 6-night stay, top doc Peter Gartner gave me a private introduction to Park Igls – set in leafy parkland just 10 minutes outside Innsbruck. I explained how a series of unexpected losses had led me to neglect my normal (admittedly pretty feeble) diet and exercise disciplines – leaving me overweight and suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The empathetic Dr Gartner explained how his highly qualified medical team create a personalised recovery plan for every guest, matching their individual needs with gut-health-focused, Modern Mayr Medicine and cuisine.

Like so many great ideas, the basic thinking is fairly simple. We are what we eat! But how we eat – and when we eat – are also vitally important….

So recovery starts with the eating process. The more we chew the better we do! Chewing breaks down each mouthful of food, exposing an ever increasing surface area to saliva – with all its essential pre-digestive qualities.

Core Modern Mayr Cure tips for healthier eating include…

  • Essentially, breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper – giving your digestive system time to rest overnight
  • Eat fresh, well prepared food
  • Eat nothing raw after 4pm
  • Take small mouthfuls
  • Concentrate on chewing, chewing – then chewing some more – ideally 30 times for every mouthful. This will allow your saliva to do its vital pre-digestive work before you swallow.
  • Eating mindfully will also help you enjoy all the true flavour of your food – so you’ll feel satisfied with less
  • Use small sized forks and spoons – and put them down down between mouthfuls
  • Don’t drink just before, during or after a meal. But, between meals, drink at least two litres of water a day
  • Eat slowly – each meal should take at least 20 minutes
  • Stop the moment you start to feel full
  • ENJOY!

Days at Park Igls start and end early – partly because there’s no alcohol to keep you up partying through the night in the cosy lounge with its roaring log fire!

Most guests stay for a recommended two to three weeks.  Each day begins the same – with beastly ‘Bitter Wasser’! You collect a mug of concentrated Epsom Salts, mix with warm water and drink slowly. Then avoid swimming in the indoor pool while you wait for the – often dramatic – call of nature!

Once the Bitter Wasser has done its worst, there are always plenty of diversions. Mornings are pampering – filled with massages, warmly indulgent body wraps on wobbly waterbeds and strangely addictively, toe tingling Kneipp treatments, designed to improve circulation.

Surprisingly, I grew to enjoy working out in the panoramic gym with its amazing views and chandeliers. Other get-up-and-go options include Nordic walking, yoga, Pilates, strength training, cookery course, lectures, kybun® running and whacking balls at the exclusive TheMedGolf® Institute, plus beauty therapies, shopping and and theatre trips.

Mealtimes at Park Igls are quiet affairs. Mobile phones are banned. And the eight different levels of meal plan – depending on guests’ health and weight loss aims – are based on food combining. The alkaline focused menu includes spelt rolls, crispbreads, yoghurt, lightly cooked vegetables and small portions of protein – plus a Hoorah! pudding at the final lunch.

The need to chew, and chew some more is not conducive to social chit chat. So diners sit quietly chomping, like a field of contented ruminants!

The food is daintily portioned. But it’s also packed with flavour. And I was surprised to find that the secret ingredient of their yummy soups is often a good glug of Cointreau or Pernod – burnt off, of course, before serving…

But then, Park Igls was full of surprises. My “talking therapy” with lovely Thomas Blasbichler was unexpectedly helpful, offering truly practical life tips based on “possible” changes. The genuine care shown by Thomas and my personal doctor Peter Barth was typical of the whole Park Igls team. They know that life throws up googlies and that we, their guests, are fallible human beings, with normal lives, weaknesses and temptations.

They see it as their mission to listen and understand, offering a range of effective, coping techniques to alter our mindset and helping us move on to a much healthier, happier place. And so, while I’d expected to feel a bit deprived at Park Igls, instead, I felt pampered, thinner – and more positive. And by the final morning, I’d lost 8 pounds – yippee!

I followed the general ethos of the programme when I got home, mixing basic Modern Mayr principles with normal life. And by the end of a fortnight, I’d amazingly lost more than a stone – with no recurrence of my long term IBS.

So here’s to Mayr-vellous New Year! Having lapsed a little, I now feel motivated to get to grips again with the Modern Mayr programme in 2018. And I’m looking forward to rolling away much more than a stone by Easter Monday…

How to book

Felicity Hawkins was a guest of Health Retreat Park Igls ( / +43 512 377305).  The award winning, 5* pioneer of Modern Mayr Medicine offers a wide variety of health enhancing programmes – helping with burnout syndrome, giving up smoking, weight loss detox and stress reduction.


The Basic Programme costs: €977 (includes examinations, 20-minute abdominal treatment, group exercise/anti-stress sessions, lifestyle management and coaching plus Kneipp treatments and personalised Mayr cuisine eating plan.)

The Mayr Classic Programme costs: €1254pp – including the Basic Programme plus 5 massages and one metabolic detox bath.

Accommodation costs: €153 single, €148 sharing a double per night

Fly to Innsbruck with EasyJet or British Airways.

Park Igls is a member of the exclusive Niche Destinations portfolio (, promoting responsible and sustainable travel for independent travellers in elegant surroundings.



The Healing Waters of Bath

Roman steam roomDip your toe into the therapeutic waters of Bath for a reflection of a Roman era. Echoing a bygone time, it’s easy to imagine servants carrying vessels of mineral rich water, bathing in the warm waters that promise miraculous healing powers, being pampered in majestic surroundings with high domed ceilings while pompous and imposing Romanesque statues watch over.

From the Celts, Romans, Saxons and Georgians, Bath has long been associated with well-being which is well documented and exhibited at The Roman Baths, a first-class museum honouring the excavated remains which centre around the Sacred Spring. The rituals of spiritual contemplation, social interaction and the belief in health-giving properties of water are showcased and owe much to the Roman philosophy. Here you look and learn while a short distance away a more immersive experience awaits.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa has become the City’s crowning glory over healing waters. It’s tucked away in the quaint and aptly named Beau Street, minutes from the Roman Baths Museum and opposite the new and popular Thermae Spa facility. The hotel was originally built as a hospital, taking advantage of the curative properties of the underground springs. It was named after the artist Thomas Gainsborough and reflects a colourful history and a modern, sophisticated interpretation of its classic design. It stands as the only UK hotel with a naturally-occurring source of hot water with each guest room having its own supply of natural thermal water

The staff welcome guests like returning friends of the house. If your sat nav is not behaving, don’t despair, the hotel concierge will personally accompany you and guide you to the entrance. The rooms are elegant and tastefully furnished, complete with bathroom amenities from Asprey and a pillow menu to ensure a perfect night of slumber. It’s easy to stay in this cocoon of luxury.

Accommodating the lower ground levels, a star attraction awaits. The Spa Village offers its own version of Roman history, enjoying the privilege of exclusive access to naturally hot mineral-rich waters. This serene environment, swathed in natural light from a glass atrium, offers a range of aquatic body treatments, crafted for individual needs and conditions.

Your experience starts at the Aroma Bar where a delicate pouch of aromatherapy salts is crafted according to your mood preference.  This accompanies you throughout your time like a personal aroma mascot.  Use it as a reminder to enhance your mood during the recommended thermal circuit of three natural thermal pools, an ice alcove, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room and relaxation areas. And don’t miss the hot chocolate on tap, purported to be an ancient roman indulgent!

Treatments are designed to ensure the full benefit of the thermal waters through exfoliation, hydration and essential antioxidants and nutrients to complement the absorption of the Spring’s unique minerals. I selected the magnesium wrap, my choice based on the fact that most of us are deficient in this mineral. Apparently, magnesium is better absorbed through the skin rather than as a tablet supplement. It was a 90-minute relaxation experience combining a body scrub, massage and wrap in warm comforting towels. My skin took on a new suppleness and my mind equally nourished in relaxation. My therapist, Karbir Aliri, an expert in body nutrition, emphasised the significance of water as an essential component to relaxation, psychologically washing away stressful thoughts while immersion relaxed the muscles, allowing the breath to renew energy.

Two minutes away from the hotel is a rather different immersive experience at the Thermae Bath Spa. This popular facility is renowned for its rooftop pool created to maintain a connection with the surrounding landscape while providing therapeutic benefits. Go when the light is fading at twilight to enjoy the fabulous skyline views across the city.

The Thermae Bath Spa has involved the restoration of five historic buildings and a new contemporary structure to combine modern with a tradition of well-being which dates back over 2,000 years.

There are four natural thermal baths, one being The Minerva Bath, aptly named after the Goddess of Health and Wisdom. There are 24 treatment rooms offering a wide range of 40 therapies.

I experienced the “Nurture and Nourish” treatment which is one of the newer and recommended therapies using aromatherapy oils blended for dry or tired skin. The treatment involves a rose scrub to prepare the skin for a nourishing, light mud wrap. While wrapped cosily in towels, a facial and head massage furthers the relaxation process. The mud was showered away and the natural oils sealed in with a final massage.  I then retired to the adjoining relaxation room with a comforting cup of herbal tea in a far more calming state than when I arrived.

For that wow factor, the Wellness Suite, which was added this year, will certainly sparkle your senses with its range of colourful thermal chambers leading guests on a multi-sensory journey of seven experiences. These include Roman and Georgian inspired steam rooms, infused with aromatherapy oils, an infrared sauna, ice chamber, and an astral relaxing room, so popular that you may find a short queue. (

Bath may be brimming with restaurants but the Gainsborough Hotel’s cuisine is outstanding.  A young chef so impressed the hotel with his classic British dishes and creative use of local foods that they named the restaurant after him.  Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant offers an interesting menu as well as a creative seasonal six-course tasting option. I delved into the main menu to savour Sauteed Scallop which consisted of king prawn risotto, spring onion and yuzu – scrumptious.  The Fillet of Turbot followed, laced with crab tortellini, green peas, broad beans, girolles and crab bisque – mouth-watering and finally a menu of hard to resist desserts to include Lemon Parfait, healthy described with lavender sugar, lemon balm and raspberry sorbet.  Gluten-free requests are honoured without reminder and signature dishes modified to suit. It’s an informal yet sophisticated atmosphere with beautifully presented dishes honouring local, seasonal foods.

Before dinner, do find time to sample a cocktail made to suit your own personal taste. The bartenders are very talented and can craft a specially designed cocktail with your signature notes from a quick brief of your favourite tipples. You won’t be disappointed.  The Gainsborough bar is also well stocked with artisan gins, local ales and champagnes.

Bath’s wellness tradition is more than a bridge over flowing healthy waters.  Its natural springs have inspired architectural richness, aquatic treatments and a reverence towards the traditions and heritage of a healing destination. This is a place fashioning thermal health and wellness with the curative powers of warm hospitality.

Water floweth – The Facts on Bath’s waters:

There are three natural spring heads in the centre of Bath- The Kings Spring which fills the Roman Baths, The Hetling Spring and The Cross Spring

Each day the flow of water in 1.25 million litres at 45 centigrade.

The water contains 42 minerals. The most concentrated include calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, hydrogen carbonate, silicate and sulphur.

Places to visit…..

The Cross Bath is an 18th century open-air bathing pool where spring water rises up under natural artesian pressure through a sculptured fountain. It is a hidden sanctuary and an official sacred site, used in a similar way to years gone by for private gatherings reminiscent of Georgian bathers sipping hot chocolate with serenading musicians on the balcony above.  This hidden gem is recognised as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

A must is to see the “halo” of Georgian houses designed by John Wood the Elder which has become Bath’s memorable piece of architecture. Walk west to the Royal Crescent.

Bath Abbey is a former cathedral which has stood since 757 AD. Visit to see its stained glass windows and towering stone columns.

Jane Austen Centre is a draw for literary enthusiasts.  Hear about her own experience of Bath when she wrote “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey”.

The Pulteney Bridge provides a view over the horseshoe-shaped weir and views to the high grounds.

The Grand Pump Room for afternoon tea while enjoying a recital or string quarter.

Sally Lunn’s is the city’s oldest eating house and kitchen and home to the famous Sally Lunn Bun – a recipe dating back 300 years.


How to Book:

For the Thermae Spa bookings:

Reservations. Tel: 01225 33 1234,


For The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel

Reservations. Tel: +44 (0) 1225 358 888



A Designer Touch


Editor’s Review:

Versace clothing, jewellery, eyewear,  fragrances….. Welcome to Versace hospitality, to the Versace Palazzo in Dubai styling furniture, furnishings and paintings in this fashion branded hotel which stands smartly in the heart of Dubai’s developing Culture Village.

Step into the lobby and its grandeur and sense of space will stop you in your designer shoes. A panoramic view focuses on statement pieces, splashes of “Medusa Blue”, paintings of fashion models and a mosaic of 1.5 million pieces.

A quick glance will not suffice. Floating overhead is a chandelier, graceful in its simplicity, a table or two prominently placed, laden with Versace vases while high ceilings tower above.

Promenade into the lobby lounge and you will be trespassing on a masterpiece mosaic, painstakingly crafted as the key floor attraction. Guests are Versace lovers, brand followers and those craving a taste for classical elegance.

For those who want complete immersion, indulgent pampering awaits in The Spa at The Versace Palazzo with a range of tailored and exotic treatments.  If you have time on your side, The Ultimate will keep you cossetted for 7.5 hours. If not, 30 minutes will give you a custom-made exfoliation of oils and salt crystals promising you a nourished glow. Add a sprinkle of sparkle, with a two-hour 24-carat gold dust massage, aptly named 24K, or a healthy based intensive facial of green caviar listed under one of their Swiss anti-ageing treatments.

I sampled a much needed 90-minute Sleep Massage and pleased to admit that I managed to stay awake to experience it in full. From the moment I entered the treatment room, snug in a thick Versace gown and fluffy slippers, the atmosphere was one of peace and tranquillity. Specially blended oils with hints of lavender, jasmine and sweet basil enveloped the room melting away intrusive thoughts.

My therapist started with a foot cleanse and a hint of reflexology before the full massage. Rhythmic strokes of a medium pressure leading from the heel of the hand gradually drained away tension. Soft, mellow music played in the background with no other sounds interrupting the experience. As if completing a full circle, she finished with my feet, wrapping them in warmth, softness and care.  A designer touch tailored to my needs.

Calm and serene, even without the gold dust and caviar, I stepped out into the House of Versace for another intake of its opulence and neoclassical designs.








The Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai


Editor’s Review:

A Spa with a story to tell ….

We have read tales of nomads crossing the desert in search of an oasis to revive and rejuvenate them for their onward journey. Today, searching for such finds has become more hazardess as lands have been developed, skyscrapers blocking horizons and highways creating a spaghetti of routes.

The Palm in Dubai has been created from reclaimed land accommodating an increasing number of stylish and glitzy hotels.  One of the most recent to open its doors is the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai claiming fame to the world’s largest cube structure as its entrance statement and the doorway to an oasis in the form of The Spa.

Away from the cosmopolitan fast-lane, this contemporary space is filled with architectural styles from different eras. High ceilings yield into elegant archways channelling energy for the wealth of holistic treatments on offer. A gently lit curved stairway immediately sets the scene of tranquillity and calm, leading your mind towards light, openness and the benefits to be bestowed by a skilled therapist.

My treatment took me on a 90-minute Arabian multi-sensory journey, transporting me to a desert complete with sights smells and sounds. It told a story and drew me in to a faraway place, away from the hustle and bustle outside, from the tall buildings, expansive malls and car fumes.

It started with a visual meditation as I lay on a heated sand-filled quartz bed which gave a wave –like motion and the feeling of being on a beach, close to the waves of the sea, transporting me to a personal place of relaxation. Warm, calm and peaceful.

Once there, all senses came into play from the touch of an ostrich feather replicating a breeze, ostrich shells, strategically placed to focus on opening the chakras, the reassuring scents of frankincense and oud, reminiscent of the Arabian culture and the vibration of Tibetan bowls to further my meditative state.

The therapist performed the massage using rhythmic, gliding strokes which seemed to reflect the architectural lines of my surroundings; the gentle circular strokes brought images of the curved staircase bathed in subtle light while her strong pressure work around my shoulders brought images of the arched doorways, signalling an exit for stress and tension.

This was The Spa’s signature Desert Sensory Experience, one of many on the menu, making it difficult to choose. Treatments include the Desert Crystal Massage, The Casanova, exclusively for men or a Diamond Rose Experience which includes a smoothing, nourishing exfoliation with diamond dust, followed by an Absolute Damask Rose Body Oil massage.  For something very special and available only at The Viceroy, there is The Oscars Hollywood Treatment which promises to transform, unblock and reset your mind.

The philosophy behind the treatments originate from the beaches and palm trees of Santa Monica, where Viceroy was first founded, to the desert and beaches of the Arabian Peninsula. The Spa at The Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai demonstrated its promise of escapism with consciousness.

So, armed with opened chakras and vivid images of a relaxing sandy oasis, I felt ready to make my return to the hectic pace that is Dubai.




Unveiling the refurbished Preidlhof Luxury Spa Resort

Award-winning luxury health and spa resort, Preidlhof in South Tyrol, Italy has reopened following a €6 million luxury refurbishment. Overseen by Austrian designer, Reinhard Köck, Preidlhof’s refurbishment will see the the unveiling of 36 new luxury suites and five luxury penthouse suites, bringing the total number of rooms to 70 to enhance the impressive medical and health spa facilities already available.

Preidlhof’s spa programme offers an integrated preventative, holistic and medical healthcare programme with highly experience and qualified practitioners, representing tremendous value. Central to Preidlhof’s philosophy is the Mediterranean ‘Good Life’ – La Dolce Vita – and this is interwoven into every facet of its offering.

The new luxury suites all feature spa loggias and some have their own whirlpool and private sauna. The penthouse suites each have an outdoor cinema and the Luxury Penthouse Suite DolceVita Premium Star, its own private pool.The new luxury accommodation is situated within an entirely new main building. This incorporates a new entrance and reception area with a dedicated ‘Adventure’ check-in and Concierge service.

Located in Naturns, Preidlhof is built into the hillside, interspersed with orchards, vines, olive trees and subtropical plants as typified by the region. The guest rooms, the Spa, fitness pavilion, 450m² wellness water park, and the restaurant – recently awarded a Michelin star – all afford stunning views of the valley. The Mediterranean climate and The Texel Group Nature Park (the largest natural park in South Tyrol) make this a wonderful place to hike and bike with all the equipment and guides available in-house. Guests can also use the complimentary DolceVita Vespas and quad bikes to explore further afield.

The comprehensive 5000m² Spa and Wellness facilities, including six floors dedicated to 16 different sauna, steam and relaxation experiences, as well as 14 Spa treatment rooms. A team of spa and on-site medical experts offer a wide range of natural health, medical and beauty treatments.

The 5-night “Preidl Health Check” programme starts from €1,550 per person with accommodation on a 3⁄4 board basis in a Lavendel Luxury Suite. Treatments include:

Initial medical consultation with PROGNOS measurement, 50 min
Medical abdomen examination, 20 min
Initial medical consultation with heart-rate variability measurement (HRV), 50 min
Medical abdomen examination, 20 min
Concluding medical consultation with HRV measurement, 25 min
Medical acupressure, 3 sessions of 25 min
Life coaching, 50 min
Craniosacral therapy, 50 min
Shiatsu, 50 min
PREIDL harmony massage, 75 min
Relaxation in the Deep Sea Room in the Spa Tower, 2 sessions of 15 min
Option of additional individual infusion therapy
The 10-night “Preidl Detox” programme starts from €2,663 per person with accommodation on a 3⁄4 board basis in a Lavendel Luxury Suite. Treatments include:

Initial medical consultation with PROGNOS measurement, 50 min
Medical abdomen examination, 20 min
Concluding medical consultation, 25 min
Alkali correction
Individual infusion therapies
Visceral osteopathy, 50 min
Lymphatic drainage, 3 sessions of 50 min
Maritime phytotherapy, 3 sessions of 20 min
1 cooking workshop – “My healthy kitchen”
Relaxation in the Deep Sea Room, 2 sessions of 15 min
Alkaline diet
Preidlhof is a highly attractive and great value destination for guests seeking an active and indulgent holiday, couples on a romantic break, and serious detox and wellness seekers travelling alone. Children under the age of 16 are not permitted.

Reservations and more information:

May we have your tension please…..

Deep in the heart of Suffolk lies the pretty village of Lavenham with its crooked buildings dating back to medieval times. Woven between quaint teashops and art galleries sits the Swan Hotel, camouflaged by its age-old timber structure. Inside with beams and alcoves, history repeats itself with intimate lounges, cozy fireplaces and meandering passageways. Here, as a guest, you are addressed by your name, not your room number while your breakfast preferences are remembered from the day before. The Swan embraces you and provides the perfect setting for stepping away from busy schedules.

“May we have your tension please….” I read this from a display card. It refers to the unique facility attached to the hotel. Chic, stylish and extremely personal, the Weavers’ House Spa is tucked behind the imposing timber structure in a separate building but linked with easy access from the hotel or through a pretty garden and decked area.

The genuine care for individual comfort and attention seeps through to this award-winning Spa. Modern and bright the experience is peppered with sweet indulgences as well as custom-created treatments. A wide range of treatments include signature packages such as the 2-hour Weavers’ House Hug which promises that you will “Swan Out” feeling totally restored while the Brush with Heaven, which uses brush sequences of different sizes and textures, aims to stimulate, massage and drain toxins. The menu is extensive, capturing every type of facial, massage, scrub and wrap specially created to make them unique, earning this Spa a basket of awards and accolades.

My spa journey started as soon as I arrived. The changing rooms are neat, bright and spotless. The robes engagingly fluffy and soft, setting me immediately into a pampering mindset. I find a little tray waiting for me in the lounge, neatly laid with a consultation form accompanied by a strawberry smoothie in a shot glass – containing those all-important antioxidants. I am then escorted to one of the six elegant treatment rooms where I was surprised by the Hydrotherm waterbed mattress. This apparently relieves pressure off the spine during a treatment. Slightly hesitant that I would lose balance, it proved to be extremely comfortable. A full massage usually requires turning, smothering your face, but this time the whole massage was done lying on my back. At the end of the treatment, totally relaxed, a zesty lemon sorbet is placed in the room as a post treatment treat, prescribed to awaken my senses! I am then led to a quiet relaxation room where a blended tea awaits complete with a macaroon. How sweet!

It’s sensory too. The inhalations help to relax the mind to deepen the effect of the treatment. The various products give a hint of the aroma aiding calm and peace. There is no noise or disturbances around.

Not wanting to turn any guest away, the Weavers’ House Spa has launched its selection of “Touch Therapies” by Jennifer Young for those living with and beyond cancer. Jennifer Young is an experienced micro-biologist and nutritionist, qualified therapist and product formulator. The therapists at the Spa have been specially trained and qualified in her treatments and skincare to provide the highest grade of treatment with quality ingredients. Touch therapies range from a facial, massage and top to toe experience. All Jennifer Young’s “Defiant Beauty” range have been developed for those affected by cancer and are 100% natural and organic.

The same personal attention has also been paid to the products they use and sell. Think cashmere, diamond dust and truffles. The products boast exotic ingredients made by the British brand, Temple Spa. Their exclusivity means availability is limited to the likes of Emirates First Class, Harrods, Selfridges, Orient Express and of course Weavers Spa as well as a scattering of selected spas across the country.

To relegate stress to history, experience products of the modern age while cocooned in a character hotel in a medieval setting, head to The Swan in Lavenham.

To book a stay at the Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa and treatments in Weavers’ House Spa call +44 (0) 1787 247477 or visit Rooms start from £185 per night for two sharing including a full Suffolk breakfast; dinner from the a la carte menu is from £39 per person for three courses. Overnight guests have a complimentary two-hour session with use of the spa facilities including the sauna, steam room, outdoor vitality pool and relaxation lounge.

ESPALife at The Corinthia

The Sauna ESPA life at Corinthia

My arrival is greeted with a warm chamomile tea and a gentle smile. The reception looks like a setting for Chanel – all champagne and shiny black marble with an imposing statue. It is calm, tranquil and luxurious.

EspaLife is a next Generation Spa and located at the Corinthia Hotel in London. It is dedicated to total relaxation, is spread over four floors and said to be the largest urban facility of its kind in London and I can believe it.

The thermal floor is innovative with an ice fountain positioned close to an Amphitheatre- styled sauna, unique with glass walls, a far cry from the traditional design of a wooden sauna. There are two pools, one being a Vitality pool with a ceiling reflecting the ripples below and modern open flamed fires create an intimate atmosphere that is rich, warm and contemporary.

With a heightened focus on relaxation, heated marble beds are carefully positioned around to relax and admire the space. Privacy has been created through the clever use of curved walls to introduce individual space areas. And do try the sleep pods – a dedicated private area just for you.

The wide choice of unique treatments stem from a holistic approach. Mindful therapies have been blended with traditional practices to offer facials, massages and bespoke treatments to suit individual needs prescribed by professionally-trained therapists. Catering for all types and ailments, these range from Craniosacaral Therapy & Reflexology, Bamboo Joint Release, a Dosha Specific Ritual for balance, an Age Rebel Face Treatment for Men, a Maternity Massage, and for feet, a prescription service for Orthotics.

The Nurture and Support programme is its signature suite of complementary alternative therapies. I sampled the ESPA Mindful Massage which included the ancient practices of Pranayama and Yoga Nidra to bring about conscious relaxation. This included guided breathing and visualization. My therapist, aptly called Angel, guided me through this unusual treatment. After a consultation, the massage concentrated on the small chakra points to stimulate energy through blocked areas. Once unblocked, his voice strong and clear transported me away through breathing and visualisation to rebalance and restore my mind and body to the here and now. Did it work? I left lighter in mind, my body more balanced and a feeling of renewed positivity and more conscious of the present moment.

ESPALife has also launched a new collection of nurturing face and body rituals for those experiencing any of the symptoms, degrees and stages of cancer. This follows many years of development, working with Wellness for CancerTM,
a non-profit educational foundation and underpinned by an extensive training programme.

Beginning with a personal consultation, these gentle rituals are carefully designed to help relax, nurture and support at a time when they are needed the most, ultimately helping to aid the reduction of stress and anxiety while promoting inner calm. All experiences begin with guided breath-work and visualisation to steady the breathing along with crystals where appropriate to create a sense of calm and ensure you get the most out of your experience.

Which ever treatment you choose, rest assured, you will leave not only balanced and relaxed but equipped with advice to integrate into your daily routines to enhance your general wellbeing. But ensconced amid this tranquil oasis, you may not want to leave……. Another chamomile tea please.

The ESPA Life in the Corinthia Hotel is located close to the river Thames and a walk from Trafalgar Square, right in the heart of London.


Groupe Floirat introduces Wellness Programme at La Réserve

Located in the heart of the Basque countryside, the property invites guests to experience the most soothing yet nurturing breaks with a new wellness programme.

La Reserve

Offerings will include various packages incorporating a revitalising two-night stay, fun fitness activities for guests to choose from, relaxing Esthederm treatments, and ‘Low’Cal’ Menus specially concocted by the hotel chef using local produces.

Each activity will take on the spirit of the region and will be supported by new beauty partner and skincare brand Institut Esthederm now available at the property. Based on cellular water, Esthederm analyses each skin type so that treatments are adapted to each individual. For this wellness programme, package treatments will vary depending on the activity that guests have chosen to do. Ranging from slimming and detox treatments to hydrating products that protect skin from sun exposure, guests will be sure to find their perfect fit.

Fabrice Idiart of Ilura at La Réserve has created ‘Low’Cal’ menus that will remain just as delicious all the whilst being calorie conscious. Dishes will be cooked in a lighter and healthier way with less oil and sugar, enhancing the benefits of cereals, vegetables and seasonal fruits – all specialties from the region.

Wellness Packages at La Réserve

La Réserve hotel overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is located a stone-throw away from the historical town of St Jean De Luz, only a short drive from Biarritz. La Réserve’s restaurant ILURA, offers an innovative menu based on the Basque Country’s local products, created by young talented chef Fabrice Idiart. The packages are available until 20 November 2016 excluding July, August and French Bank Holiday Weekends (July 14-17 and August 13-15).

‘Art-de-Vivre’, priced from €850 for two people
  • Two night stay in a double room*
  • Buffet Breakfast for two
  • 2 Hours of Hawaiian Canoe session
  • A 60 minute fresh, moisturizing and soothing facial treatment that protects skin from sun exposure
  • 1 ‘Lowcal’ Dinner Menu at Ilura restaurant for two (drinks included)
‘PaddleSlow’, priced from €850 for two people
  • Two night stay in a double room*
  • Buffet Breakfast for two
  • 2 hour Paddle Session
  • 1 hour Aqua & Sun treatment
  • 1 ‘Lowcal’ Dinner Menu at Ilura restaurant for two (drinks included)
‘Body & Spirit’, priced from €850 for two
  • Two night stay in a double room*
  • Buffet Breakfast for two
  • Private coaching in the hotel’s gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, including Pilates, stretching sessions and muscle reinforcement
  • 1 hour of Detox treatment by Esthederm
  • 1 ‘Lowcal’ Dinner Menu at Ilura restaurant for two (drinks included)

*Potential upgrade upon availability, low season rates are adapted for the offering. Sessions are available per person and upon availability.