Four spas to visit to recover from Christmas

Madeleine Taylor looks at four new or reopened spas to recharge your batteries.


Arctic Bath: a Narnia-like nest
(Image credit: © Johan Kauppi / Arctic Bath 2014)

With Christmas only just over and New Year celebrations looming, you can be forgiven for feeling exhausted. But help is at hand. "It has been scientifically proven that the Nordic tradition of hot and cold plunging improves mood and reduces stress," says Leo Bear in The Daily Telegraph. With remedies such as cryotherapy and ice yoga becoming more popular, Arctic Bath, a spa retreat due to open 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle in the spring, "feels way ahead of the curve".

This small-scale retreat in Swedish Lapland, near the tiny town of Harads, is set to be one of 2019's coolest spas. Its hub is a "free-floating Narnia-like nest" anchored in the Lule River, with a chilly plunge pool at its centre surrounded by sauna cabins, a treatment room ("try the berry oxidant infusion facial"), a restaurant and a relaxation lounge. "All very Scandi." And while you're engaged in all this relaxation, you can look up and admire the Northern Lights.

Cabins from £505,

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A slower way of life

The "Slow Life" movement also offers welcome relief from the frenzy of the Boxing Day sales. It prioritises "downshifting" to a slower, more connected way of life, says Francesca Syz, also in The Daily Telegraph. This month Revivo Wellness Resort in Bali took the concept to sea for the first time with its six-day wellness cruise around Indonesia.

The mobile spa sails routes through Indonesia's natural wonders, including the prime diving region of Raja Ampat, and the wildlife haven of Komodo island. While on board, guests receive guided yoga, meditation, fitness classes, tailor-made menus and daily spa treatments.

The experience allows guests to "focus on developing a sustainable, healthy lifestyle while enjoying the freedom of an adventure on the warm, tropical open water", says Syz.

From £52,000 for two sharing,

A cause for celebration


Luxury well-being at Chiva-Som
(Image credit:

Chiva-Som "has had a formidable reputation, and garnered a host of awards, as a destination spa where those seeking to improve their physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being are guaranteed results without sacrificing luxury", says Gillian de Bono in the Financial Times.

So last month's grand reopening of Thailand's refurbished Chiva-Som in Hua Hin was a cause for celebration among its many devotees. De Bono's stay began with a review of her medical history and consultations with experts to determine her stress level. Then, embarking on a "revelatory" daily regime of tailored treatments, massages, and fitness classes, de Bono found that her final massage brought "silent tears" to her eyes as it lifted the incurable "early-morning numbness" she had suffered with for years.

Fans of Chiva-Som who have been suffering withdrawal systems should definitely head back for their fix.

Seven nights from £5,595,

A modern classic reopens its doors


Golden Door has inspired devotion among its Hollywood clientele

California's Golden Door is a classic in the wellness world. But its 60 years of experience makes it no less refreshing, says Daisy Finer in Cond Nast Traveller. "Well-being trends come and go, but there's a lot to be said for the vigour of collaborative wisdom filtered through the ages and delivered with passion."

Over the years, its 600 acres of bucolic beauty and signature ethos of "reconnection to the inner self" have inspired cultish devotion among its Hollywood clientele, while its 96-year old founder, Deborah Szekely, nicknamed the "godmother of wellness", is a further selling point.

Each stay at Golden Door is different because guests are free to choose their own schedule. Options range from dance and water volleyball classes to self-hypnosis for sleep and spirituality.

Around $10,000 a week,

Madeleine Taylor

Madeleine is a former contributor for MoneyWeek and a Former investment writer for The Financial Times, and now Madeleine is a journalist in Tokyo. She has appeared in other titles such as The Week Magazine, Investors Chronicle Magazine and NME. On MoneyWeek Madeleine covered stock markets, art and travel and holiday.