Travel Notebook

Rebecca Relaxes

My Favorite Spa Treatments

Travel is divine, and I adore my life’s work, but honestly, sometimes you simply need to slip away from reality and sink into a dreamy massage or other spa treatment. It’s soul-soothing and spirit-lifting to unburden yourself of daily worries and stressors and simply … be.

I’ve sought out spa treatments at many of our client properties simply because in addition to offering a relaxing experience, they often incorporate indigenous ingredients or techniques that offer a glimpse of the destination I’m visiting. I bring home more than looser muscles … perhaps the scent of Ceylon tea after a massage in Sri Lanka, or New Zealand Active Manuka honey during a reflexology treatment after a long day of trekking in the mountains.

My long-time favorite treatments are massages of all variety and reflexology – perhaps a testament to the amount of exploratory walking I tend to do on my trips. Take, for instance, Blanket Bay in New Zealand, where I might have hiked, ridden horseback or trekked into a remote stream for fly-fishing. Returning to the resort, I’ll indulge in an hour of the ancient holistic wisdom of reflexology, which focuses on the reflex points and areas of the feet that correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body – what a way to cover all the bases. Tensions, pains and stress levels are reduced, while toxins are naturally eliminated. Essential oils take centerstage here, the distilled essence of plants, herbs, flowers and trees, and are also used in the spa massages. One might encounter kiwifruit and matcha tea in a facial or exfoliating treatment. Everything is local and you can sense the pride among the spa therapists as they lead you through remarkably gratifying spa rituals.

Unique tea treatments at Cape Weligama

At Cape Weligama, our absolutely divine partner in Sri Lanka, spa treatments incorporate local Ceylon teas. The experienced spa therapists will come to your suite or villa for a private session. Alternately, you can retreat to the Spa Villa for the day, picking and choosing from a treatment menu that uses organic, homegrown Sri Lankan spice scrubs from clove, nutmeg, sweet orange and sandalwood. The essential oil massages also rely on Ceylon teas, which are known for their antioxidant, anti-aging and calming properties.

Also in the Resplendent Ceylon family, Tea Trails boasts special aromatic baths to begin or complete your day – “flavors” include cinnamon spice, green tea, black pepper and orange, jasmine or bergamot and geranium.

Bodysgallen Hall and Spa

Moving to the UK, I recently opted for Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, which was rated one of the UK’s 20 Best Spa hotels in 2016. The spa itself is housed in the converted buildings of the original Welsh stone Bodysgallen Farm. I had a delightful signature massage with essential oils, but next visit, I plan to partake of the special champagne spa package with time to relax in the spa lounge prior to your treatment and champagne and canapes in the main hall before dinner in The Dining Room – what a treat.

I also adore Middlethorpe Hall for its range of packages for whatever level of relaxation I’m seeking – or however time-crunched I may be. Half- and whole-day experiences allow me to customize my stay while being certain that spa time is a big player in my schedule. A full menu of treatments makes it difficult to decide where to begin – should I choose the power-packed vitamin surge facial? An aromatherapy warm stone massage? A luxury pedicure? No matter what I choose, I’m guaranteed personalized service and the finest therapy ingredients, including Decléor, Neom Organics, Shellac and Jessica.

Hot tub at Calcot

Deep in the Cotswolds countryside, Calcot Spa caters to that intrinsic need we all have for a time out, a chance to invest in our health and well-being whether for an hour, a weekend or a full week. This lavish destination spa always impresses me with its uplifting spa design and aroma – I’m already on my way to relaxation after checking in. The team here is lovely, showing me around the quiet grounds, the lavender-lined outdoor hot tub and the inviting open fire. There’s a healthy menu to choose from as well, without once feeling deprived.

I particularly enjoy the “Garden of England Rose Restore” body massage and micro-wrap. Rose, camellia and poppy seed oils are used to renew and balance one’s skin elasticity – I feel downright supple, and deliciously scented, when through. Another favorite: the hydrotherm full-body massage – warm water cushions support your body weight while releasing aching muscles and joints. The three-dimensional massage system works both sides of your body while you lie face up – dreamy.

Remember, we are our very best selves when we are kind to our souls and bodies. Take time for yourself today and the long-term effects will be far-reaching.