Sunday, 18 March 2012

The World's Top 10 Spas

Ananda Spa
Condé Nast Traveller Magazine had just released its awards for the top spas in the world for 21012. These awards come from the 10th annual Readers' Spa Awards. Last autumn the magazine asked its readers to tell us where they would most like to go to relax, detox and improve their well-being. The readers nominated their favourites, from urban day spas to hotel spas, exotic retreats to medical wellness centres.
The choices were rated according to various criteria, including ambience/design, body treatments, cuisine and service. The results were theb collated by Market Management, an independent market-research company, which then calculated an average score for each spa, out of a possible 100.

1. Ananda Spa, Ananda in the Himalayas
Ananda Spa
Ananda is in the far north of India near Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga and The Beatles' interest in transcendental meditation. It is. Its location, setting - in manicured grounds overlooking the powerfully snaking Ganges - and its unfailingly kind and gentle staff give it a special healing energy.  Its programme of yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta is as emotionally uplifting as it is physically effective. It would be impossible to go for a week and not leave feeling on top of the world.

Rating out of 100: 96.67
Ananda Spa, Ananda in the Himalayas, India (00 91 1378 227500;

2. Six Senses Spa, Evason Ma'In Hot Springs
Six Senses Spa
This spa is built beneath a natural hot-spring waterfall near the Dead Sea, 264 metres below sea level. In the stark Jordanian desert, the resort itself feels like a secluded oasis, offering the ideal conditions in which to relax.It was the body treatments that stood out at Evason Ma'In Hot Springs. The spa utilises the natural properties of the mineral-rich waters in its therapies, which include scrubs, wraps, massage and facials.

Rating out of 100: 96.44
Six Senses Spa, Evason Ma'in Hot Springs, Madaba, Ma'In, Jordan (00 962 5 324 5500;

3. The Mekong Spa, La Résidence Phou Vao, Luang Prabang
The Mekong Spa
The Mekong Spa is located in Laos' charming ancient city of Luang Prabang. The facials, using organic Jurlique products, were highly regarded. As well as two specifically designed for men, they include anti-ageing, aromatherapy, sunburn relief and tired-eye treatments. Exhausted travellers should try the 'Jet-lag Delight' body massage to relieve the symptoms and aches and pains of flying. And all guests can make use of the herbal steam bath to for a deep and thorough cleanse.

Rating out of 100: 96.30
The Mekong Spa, La Résidence Phou Vao, , Laos (00 856 71 212194;

4. ESPA Riga
Design is important at ESPA Riga. The spa takes on the properties of the elements fire and water, illustrated in a mosaic of black crystal and a spectacular light sculpture. Treatments, too, take inspiration from the elements, and incorporate techniques from Chinese, Indian, European and Balinese concepts. A number of ESPA treatments have been designed to combat the effects of cold weather on skin - essential in Latvia - using amber stone from the Baltics.

Rating out of 100: 95.98
ESPA Riga, 4a Baznīcas Street, Riga, Latvia (00 371 67715222;

5. The Spa, Coworth Park, Berkshire
The Spa
Eco-sensitivity is at the heart of the spa at Coworth Park. The building is designed to allow as much natural light to flood in as possible, and the materials used to build it are locally sourced. Guests who wish to go organic can choose treatments using Dr Alkaitis products; treatments using Carol Joy London, Kerstin Florian and Aromatherapy Associates products are also on the menu. The Spatisserie serves healthy, light meals and afternoon tea.

Rating out of 100: 95.94
The Spa, Coworth Park, Blacknest Road, Ascot, Berkshire (01344 876600;

6. Verdura Spa, Verdura Golf &Spa Resort
Verdura Spa
As well as golf-related exercise, guests at Verdura Spa can also indulge in therapies based on anti-ageing, detoxing, fitness and thalassotherapy. Treatments use ingredients from Sicily, such as olive oil, seaweed, mud and seawater. Of particular note are the four thalassotherapy pools; the warm waters encourage circulation and improve look and condition of skin. Readers were also impressed by the amenities - indoor swimming pool, spa bar, large hammam, sauna, hair and beauty centre - and the products used.

Rating out of 100: 95.73
Verdura Spa, Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Sicily, Italy (00 39 09 2599 8061;

7. The Spa by ESPA, One&Only Reethi Rah
The Spa
It's all about sun, glorious sun in this Indian Ocean archipelago, and guests at the One&Only Reethi Rah are encouraged to enjoy it safely. A Sun Spa Esthederm service prepares guests for exposure; treatment includes exfoliation, application of suncream throughout the day and a soothing after-sun treatment. Spa treatments take influence from Ayurvedic medicine and traditional therapies from South-East Asia. But, while you enjoyed the treatments, you were most impressed with the luxurious accommodation. Hardly surprising given the uninterrupted sea views from each of the beachfront rooms and the inviting water above which the stilted villas stand.

Rating out of 100: 95.65
The Spa by ESPA, One&Only Reethi Rah, North Malé Atoll, Maldives (00 960 664 8800;

8. Banyan Tree Spa, Banyan Tree Ringha, Tibet
Banyan Tree Spa
The Banyan Tree Spa in the Himalayas has seductive rich-red décor, detailed carvings and unique local artefacts. Accommodation is in traditional Tibetan farmhouses, which have been reassembled along the valley. Treatments are inspired by the local Himalayan healers of royal houses and monasteries; the spa's signature treatment, Ringha Relief, is based on the Chinese Five Elements philosophy. It encompasses a combination of yoga, Chinese Tui Na (a massage to help energy flow through the body), Himalayan Gui Shi hot-stone therapy; an exfoliating Indonesian spice wrap, and a jasmine-green-tea bath to help soothe and relax aching muscles. All treatments begin with a footbath and 30 minutes of 'calm time'.

Rating out of 100: 95.48
Banyan Tree Spa, Banyan Tree Ringha, Tibet (00 86 887 828 8822;

9. The Blue Spa, Carlisle Bay
The Blue Spa
Carlisle Bay's Blue Spa has an individual approach. The spa menu features a range of body treatments, massages (hot-stone, Swedish, deep-tissue) and facials using Natura Bissé products. Teenagers can enjoy specially designed facials and massages for younger skin; and manicures, pedicures, hair styling and waxing are available for all. Yoga and Pilates classes take place four times a week on the pavilion in the gardens. After relaxing at the spa, try a ginger and cinnamon elixir from the juice bar.

Rating out of 100: 95.32
The Blue Spa, Carlisle Bay, Antigua, West Indies (00 1 268 484 0000;

10. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Banjaran Hotsprings rated highly for its facials, such as the anti-ageing treatment that uses Black Cohosh to plump and repair skin, and the detoxing cranberry facial. Chinese medicines - acupuncture, cupping, Gua Sha (a scraping method) - and Ayurvedic treatments also feature widely on the spa menu, and guests can try traditional Malaysian 'spa journeys'. The Ramuan Journey starts with a massage, followed by a hibiscus scrub and body wrap. Cleansing treatments are then applied before the Mandi Bunga, a traditional bath.

Rating out of 100: 95.13
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, 1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia (00 60 5 210 7839;

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