Cheering tonics to alleviate winter chills
From roaring fires and comfort food in the Cotswolds to a sprawling thermal complex in the Austrian Alps, Alice Gråhns looks at some of the best winter spa breaks.
"A spa break always feels like a luxurious getaway, but one thermal spa in the heart of the Austrian Alps has seriously upped the stakes," says Julie Delahaye in the Daily Mirror. The Aqua Dome Tirol Therme Lngenfeld "offers the ultimate getaway from the daily grind thanks to its location in the heart of the Tyrol valley", where it is surrounded by glaciers, mountains and meadows. It is also home to "Gletscherglhen sauna world", a spa measuring more than 2,000 sq m and featuring an array of saunas and steam baths.
From £365 a night. See the website at Aqua-Dome.at/en.
Berlin's swankiest spa
The spa in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Berlin, loosely modelled on the Guerlain Institute spa in Paris, is one of the handful of day spas that Guerlain, the renowned Parisian beauty house, has set up recently. It's "easily the city's swankiest spot for a spa treatment", says Adriaane Pielou in The Daily Telegraph. Berlin's main shopping street is only a few minutes' walk from the hotel and its location and views across the city "give it the feeling of a haven". The spa is "serene and fragrant" and has eight treatment rooms, a sauna and steam room, and indoor pool. A facial treatment includes massage of the lymphatic-system and pressure points along with "extractions", aka squeezing out blackheads "a practice that will virtually guarantee you will look better afterwards".
From €208 per night. For more details, go to WaldorfAstoria3.Hilton.com.
Perfection in the Cotswolds
To work its healing effects, a spa must have great communal areas for hanging out, an indoor pool for dipping in, a hot tub, a good gym, and a restaurant with healthy options that you can eat in your robe, says Rosie Green in The Daily Telegraph. It also needs a pleasing winter vibe, with roaring fires, warm enveloping dcor and comfort food. The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds ticks all the boxes. Most importantly, the spa is great and the therapists "intuitively good. My hot stone massage was superbly executed and warmed my chilled bones splendidly".
From £225 per night. For more details, see LygonArmsHotel.co.uk.
Glasgow's Gin Lane
What's more relaxing than a pedicure? "Getting your feet pampered while enjoying a gin and tonic," says Chelsea Ritschel in The Independent. The newly opened Gin Spa in Glasgow offers massages, facials, pedicures and reflexology, with products featuring clove, lavender and eucalyptus. The gin is "delicious" and customers can choose their treatments based on how they want to feel. Clear-headed is presumably not an option.
Visit GinSpa.co.uk for information.
A playground for the wealthy
Located a few hours by train from Geneva airport, Gstaad is "known as the playground of the super-rich", says The Spectator. And, indeed, Gstaad does luxury well, but Le Grand Bellevue "takes it to another level". After a change in ownership and an extensive renovation, the hotel opened its doors in 2013 and since then the buzz around it has grown. Le Grand Spa is also, as its name would suggest, "pretty grand". It's "really the jewel in the hotel's crown and the reason so many people flock here". Personalised spa programmes are tailored to suit guests' needs, and daily yoga classes are followed by swimming, massages, recommendations for saunas, and the "ice grotto", which is "supposed to be particularly good for stimulating blood flow and tackling skeletal aches and pains". The spa is effortlessly "chic and cool, quirky and fun while undoubtedly and unashamedly luxe".
From £315 per night. Full prices and information on BelleVue-Gstaad.ch.