Total escape

What could be more relaxing than retreating to a luxury spa? Msafiri takes its pick of pampering resorts from across the KQ global network

SpaFrom clean, white paradises with cutting edge treatments to heavenly scented oils and therapeutic massages, there’s nothing like a spa break to ensure that your holiday leaves you feeling refreshed and revived. No longer the preserve of bored housewives and the pampered wealthy, spa breaks are fast gaining popularity – and the emphasis now is on wellbeing. With this popularity comes choice – across the globe there are spas that specialise in different modalities, wellbeing centres renowned for their masseuse’s expert touch, eco-friendly resorts using nature’s finest ingredients to soothe your body and soul, and state-of-the-art clinics offering the latest facilities. Not all spas are located in remote places – many are situated in city centres, yet once you enter the doors you really could be miles from anywhere.  If you visit a day spa you can combine your treatments with the chance to explore the region, or, for the ultimate blissed-out holiday, check into a spa resort where you will be in seventh heaven trying out treatments every day and enjoying the facilities. Many resorts offer relaxation lounges and pools for all guests. Plus, with wellbeing at the heart of your trip, you’ll enjoy tasty yet highly nutritious menus. So, sink into a super-comfy relaxation chair and surrender to the expertise of your spa therapist.

Best for holistic wellbeing… The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, Johannesburg
With a tranquil setting, world-class service and a focus on holistic health, The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa is the place to be for total and utter rejuvenation. The peaceful spa is set in ten acres of landscaped gardens and seamlessly blends modern understanding with ancient techniques to soothe tired minds and bodies. Its signature treatment will soon have you rebalanced – it starts in the Rasul Chamber, where you’ll be pampered with exfoliators and body masks, and finishes with a personalised massage. The wellness menu features superfood salads and raw juices using ingredients from the vegetable garden.

Where to stay On-site, to make the most of the facilities and surroundings.
Price guide A one-night stay in a luxury room and the Rasul and Customised Massage Journey costs from US$600.

Best for detox… Lion in the Sun Retreat, Malindi, Kenya
If the fragrant scent of frangipani and bougainvillea aren’t enough to convince you that you’re in paradise, then the beautiful and peaceful setting of this retreat will. The Malindi Marine Park begins just metres away, where comfortable daybeds facing the Indian Ocean and butler service await you. The property is one of only six exclusive Henri Chenot Detox centres around the world and the week-long detox package includes a personalised diet plan, and treatments including massage, hydrotherapy and mud therapy. You’re in good company too – Naomi Campbell, Roberto Cavalli, Bono and John Galliano have all been guests.

Where to stay In one of the Retreat’s 16 luxury rooms, in the four villas.
Price guide Superior rooms are from US$200 per person per night on a bed and breakfast basis.

Best for luxury… Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai
When it comes to luxury, few places do it better than Dubai and the iconic Palm Jumeirah – Dubai’s famous landmark – is certainly the epitome of opulence. Here, on the eastern crescent of Palm Jumeirah (an archipelago of islands connected to the mainland), you’ll find the Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. Despite being within easy reach of the airport and attractions, this beachside spa offers a sanctuary from which to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There are 17 treatments rooms, including a Thai massage room, holistic cocoon room and Ayurveda room, plus two couple’s suites and a Hammam Suite. On the outside spa terrace you’ll find a liquid sound pool, salt inhalation room and Kneipp Walk. The list of treatments is extensive, so let’s hope you’re here long enough to try out several of the soothing therapies.

Where to stay Anantara Dubai The Palm has 293 luxurious rooms and villas, plus a selection of one- and two-bed apartments.
Price guide Prices start from US$645 for a Premier Lagoon View Room.

Best for a city break… Le Royal Monceau Raffles, Paris, France
This legendary Raffles hotel is just steps from the Champs-Elysées, so after a busy day of seeing the local sights, shopping and exploring you’ll want to relax and unwind. Designed by Philippe Starck, its spa is an all-white sanctuary with an infinity pool, hammam, laconium room and sauna. The signature treatment here is ‘The Art of Touch’ a highly rejuvenating experience for city-worn guests. Suitably relaxed, why not drift to one of the rooms in the luxurious hotel, before sampling the highly praised cuisine in the one-Michelin star Il Carpaccio?

Where to stay There are 149 bedrooms at the hotel, including three Presidential Suites.
Price guide Rooms from US$1000 per night, Art of Touch treatment US$200.

Best for mind and body… Yogacara, South Mumbai, India
A wellness break doesn’t mean you have to spend your time lying prone on a massage table with a green juice by your side. Yoga is an important part of balancing both mind and body and devotees can’t get enough of the health boost they get post-workout. Head to one of Mumbai’s most beautiful yoga studios – Yogacara, located in an old bungalow, next to Mahalaxmi Temple. It’s quiet and you’ll have views of both the sea and the green as you work your body into positions you’ve never previously thought possible. Classes are limited to just ten people per session so you can be sure of some one-on-one attention, plus the studio also offers a range of massage and therapies to increase wellbeing.

Where to stay Try The Rodas, a 3-star eco-hotel with 36 bedrooms and ecotel certification.
Price guide Deluxe double rooms at The Rodas cost from US$200. A single class at Yogacara costs US$9.60, or an unlimited pass for a week costs US$24.

Best for getting away from it all… Thermen La Mer, Amsterdam, Holland
You can spend some time in the beautiful city of Amsterdam and then travel a mere 30 minutes to reach the beautiful wooded environment of the Vogelbos, home to Thermen La Mer. This day spa specialises in sauna techniques, so you can gain the therapeutic benefits of water, heat and aroma. Its sauna rooms are crafted from 100-year old Finnish white wood, and it also offers some special therapies including the Finnish Kelo Sauna and the Meditation Kelo Sauna. When you’re totally relaxed and all steamed out you can return to the city for quite possibly the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had.

Where to stay Opening in September 2015, W Hotel Amsterdam is a blend of traditional Dutch architecture and contemporary design, situated in the heart of Amsterdam at Dam Square and close to the UNESCO-listed Singel Canal.
Price guide Entrance to the spa costs US$32, with treatment prices starting from US$20.

Best foods for detox
Artichokes – Encourage the liver to function at optimum levels to help the body expel toxins.
Lemons – A simple lemon-and-water remedy each morning will help prepare your body’s digestion for the day ahead.
Green tea – Antioxidants improve liver function while the extra liquid will help wash toxins from the body.
Ginger – This spice will boost your metabolism and flush out waste. Some say it can even curb the appetite.

Spa success
Make your spa trip an outstanding success with these top tips
1 Leave technology behind. The aim is to de-stress, so leave your mobile phone firmly in your suitcase.
2 Don’t be embarrassed to spend the day in your robe and slippers – the chances are that if you remain fully dressed you are more likely to stand out.
3 Speak up if you’re not enjoying your treatments. Therapists will always be happy to alter the room temperature, pressure of a massage or anything else they can control.
4 Always arrive a few minutes early for your spa treatment – in case you need to fill out any forms, and so you’re not stressed out before you get started!

From Acupuncture to Zero Balancing
At-a-glance guide to a range of alternative therapies
1 Acupuncture This ancient therapy sees very fine needles inserted into specific pressure points to release stagnant energy and improve health.
2 Indian Head Massage In order to rebalance the whole body, a therapist will use marma points on the head, upper back, neck, shoulders, scalp and face.
3 Iridology Used as a diagnostic for a range of conditions. An iridologist will study the iris to understand the body’s genetic strengths and weaknesses.
4 Kinesiology A popular form of muscle testing which practitioners use to identify imbalances and determine the best course of action.
5 Qi Gong A gentle form of exercise, perfect for retreat-goers. The calming motions are good for stress, keeping joints flexible and improving the posture.
6 Reflexology A reflexologist will stimulate the reflexes on the feet, hands or ears to effect physical change – using points that relate to specific areas of the body.
7 Rolfing A deeply therapeutic form of massage, based on the principle that soft tissue manipulation can reorganise muscle function and release chronic stress.
8 Shiatsu This form of bodywork massage uses kneading, pressing, tapping and stretching techniques that work on specific pressure points.
9 Thalassotherapy Refers to a group of treatments that use the healing properties found in seawater and marine minerals – popular options include wraps, mud baths and hydro-massage.
10 Transcendental Meditation (TM) A great way to beat stress. Think of a sound (your mantra) and keep it in your mind while removing all else from your thoughts to achieve a state of peacefulness.
11 Watsu A form of aquatic bodywork, similar to shiatsu, performed in water. You float while the therapist performs stretching and massaging techniques on you.
12 Yoga The most common form of yoga is hatha, but there are many different branches including the fast-paced ashtanga and bikram – which is performed in a heated room.
13 Zero Balancing A hands-on form of bodywork that can help maintain good health or address specific problems. Minimal amounts of manipulation are used to improve energy flow.