We’re all wise to the fact that to be the best we can possibly be, we need more than awesome abs and gorgeous glutes. We need to be on top form on the inside too. And with this clued-up quartet of sensational spa resorts, you’ll come away looking good and feeling great
LES SOURCES DE CAUDALIE
MARTILLAC, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
The lowdown Five-star luxe in a contemporary country-house hotel.
Best for Relaxing and reviving in a beautiful, natural environment.
Enjoy both organic spa treatments and gourmet dining in the vineyards of Les Sources de Caudalie, the brainchild of Mathilde Thomas, the founder of French green cosmetics brand Caudalie. The Vinothérapie Spa, built from local stone and wood, harmonises with the surrounding landscape and offers treatments with pure ingredients including, not surprisingly, vine and grape extracts. It also boasts a hot spring rich in minerals and nutrients.
We highly recommend the leisurely de-stressing and toning massage, followed by the Premier Cru anti-ageing facial, which guarantee you’ll look your best for an evening of Michelin two-star dining. We indulged in the seven-course tasting menu, with seafood, venison and a hazelnut dessert. Served in a former orangery now named La Grand’Vigne, chef Nicolas Masse’s cuisine celebrates seasonal produce from the nearby Atlantic coast and Graves countryside. And if you’re pushing the boat out, you can enjoy a glass (or two) of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
MARIENSTEIN, WAAKIRCHEN, GERMANY
The lowdown Europe’s premier wellness retreat, set in the Bavarian Alps.
Best for Intensive detox routines designed for the dietary conscious.
If your idea of getting back into shape is a day’s abstinence from your favourite tipple, then give this place a miss – for this is hardcore detox, based on the principle that the secret to a happy life is healthy intestines. And boy, do your inner workings get a makeover at this chic, luxurious resort. Even before we arrived, an email suggested cutting back on dairy products, wheat, coffee, sugar and alcohol, for these are all off the menu. In their place are meals served without raw vegetables (to aid digestion). But if that sounds ominously like being back at school, relax… The food is super-tasty and forms only part of the regime.
Lanserhof has one of the finest medical facilities in Europe and the team of experts on hand – from dieticians to personal trainers – means you can take a holistic approach to losing those unwanted kilos. And do we have to tell you that the programme actually works? You’ll leave here slim, trim and raring to go…
SNAPPER, NORTH DEVON
The lowdown A sublimely holistic countryside sanctuary.
Best for Anyone in need of a full-on, outside-inside detox.
If austere boot camps don’t work for you, but gentle nurturing does, check out Yeotown. It’s hard to believe the spectacularly situated retreat is a mere two-hour train ride from central London. Its epic five-day health and fitness programme, the ‘Yeotox’, will work every inch of you – we’re talking mind, body and spirit here. The team of ‘mavens’ will guide you through everything from core workouts and coastal hiking to positive psychology and cookery lessons.
Unlike some health camps, the 10 themed rooms/suites here are rustic luxe, so you’ll feel spoilt even while you’re being good. They include four new eco lodges, ranging from Courage, dressed in serene seaside shades, to the New England woodsman-inspired Empathy (with pitchforks hanging by the bed). At the end of your Yeotown experience, you’ll not only feel ready to face the world again but, hopefully, inspired and equipped to stay on the right track.
NINH VAN, BAY, VIETNAM
The lowdown An exclusive coastal hotel, located in a secluded bay.
Best for Jaded city dwellers in need of therapeutic rejuvenation.
As soon as you step off the speed boat – Six Senses Ninh Van Bay is a short ride across the sheltered East Vietnam Sea – and are greeted by your personal butler in a golf cart, you know you’ve arrived at somewhere special. This place really is a treat for the senses. In the astonishingly beautiful spa, consultancies are offered over fragrant ginger-infused tea, before you choose from a list including wellness programmes with nutritional advice, yoga, Chinese acupuncture and a range of therapies, such as the rejuvenating Vietnamese massage and the smoothing green coffee body treatment.
Your accommodation too is designed for relaxation. The private villas, from those at the ocean’s edge to others up in the hills, offer serene views of the surroundings – crystal-blue seas and verdant jungle. Tasty local delicacies can be enjoyed by the resort’s pool or by the bay, while dressing for dinner is preferred at the cliff-top Dining by the Rocks restaurant. Blissful!