Long gone are the days of DIY cucumber eye-masks and impromptu avocado facials… think rather of hot-stones working out niggly kinks, detox-delicious juices and yoga workshops guaranteed to realign your chakras! Fresh (faced) from the inaugural Smith Hotel Awards, the boutique hotel-hunters at Mr & Mrs Smith have selected the three most divine, massage-mad, wellness-focused stays to help you see in 2014, with spas so luxe you’ll have to be pried away! These hotels – the winner and two runners-up for Smith’s Best Spa Hotel award – take relaxation to a higher plane, with carefully crafted wellness programmes, treatment menus to unfurrow any brow and therapists with hands that work wonders.
Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
Best for Rainforest rejuvenation
Style Well-heeled wellbeing
Setting Jungle wonderland
Tending to aching muscles, miscellaneous pains and overburdened shoulders, Como Shambhala Estate is a totally tropical holistic haven. A wellness retreat renowned for its back-to-nature approach and with promises (that most certainly deliver!) to soothe, revivify and cosset, the Estate was rightly named Smith’s Best Spa Hotel 2013.
Overlooking lush greenery and verdant valleys, Como calls for body-hugging and stretch-friendly attire; mosey between yoga classes, restorative skincare therapies at the East-meets-West Ojas spa and your private in-villa treatment room. If acupuncture, Taksu massage and Dead Sea mud wraps aren’t your Ayurvedic cup of tea, dabble in one of the activities plucked from the daily schedule – aqua therapy, rock climbing, or Balinese dance and gamelan. Those hungry for adventure can try out Ayung River rafting, a challenging climb up Mount Abang or the Estate Biathlon, with rice paddy trekking and biking through jungle gorges.
Later on, watch the chefs in the open kitchen at Glow – the Estate’s eatery, dedicated to balanced nutrition – prepare a sophisticated menu that isn’t just limited to green leaves and vegetables, but instead includes dishes such as baby Lombok lobster with sambal spices, spelt-flour pizza and mango carpaccio with Indonesian vanilla and Kaffir lime syrup. Richly flavoured with the strong spices and diverse influences of Indonesian cuisine, Kudos House is intimately nestled in a 19th-century Javanese villa and offers a gourmet Ubud dining experience. Healthy has never been so tasty – savour wok-seared prawns with pineapple, and caramelised banana-and-coconut crêpes.
Check out our full review of Como Shambhala here
Lime Wood, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Best for Woody wellness
Style Mannered modern manor
Setting New Forest’s ancient capital
Budding historians will marvel at the history of Lime Wood, once a mediaeval hunting lodge, then reclaimed by royalty in the 1740s and now, after an extravagant makeover, a stately pile with an air of perfection, primly landscaped grounds and a super spa spanning three floors.
Relax in your robe and dig into the waistline-conscious dishes – venison loin, Hampshire ham and smoked salmon with horseradish pâté – at Raw & Cured, the Herb House Spa’s food bar, which uses cured meat and fish from Lime Wood’s own smoke house. Posh nosh on fine crockery can be had at Harnett Holder & Co (helmed by Michelin-pedigreed Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder), an eatery that blends both chefs’ much-admired styles to create a menu boasting locally sourced English classics with a distinctive Italian influence. Typical offerings include mackerel with elderflower, stuffed courgette flowers and linguini with goat bolognaise.
Here’s your chance to get down and dirty (minds out of the gutter, please!) at Lime Wood’s mud house where mineral-rich muds, harvested from the Austrian Alps, are slathered over freshly exfoliated bodies and left to dry, before being washed away to reveal softly plumped skin. After mucking about with mud, head up and out to the rooftop herbary perfumed with classic English lavender, mint, thyme and purple sage, for panoramic views of the forest and spaces for private meditation. The Herb House has luxurious double treatment rooms and pampering sessions perfect for loved-up couples. There are mountain bikes and wellies available, as well as picturesque walking and running trails; if you prefer to work up a sweat indoors, don your swankiest gym shorts at Herb House’s timber-panelled loft gym for Pilates, spin classes and one-on-one personal training.
Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Best for Pacific paradise
Style Tropical romance
Setting Private Motu Tevairoa isle
With an idyllic lagoon location, perfect for #nofilter Instagrams, Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa has the best seat in the house. Perched on a magical motu (mini isle) with seriously good looks and flaunting overwater bungalows, beachside suites and a spectacular spa, this retreat is a recipe for liquid seduction.
An underwater camera is a must for snapping darting, multi-coloured fish as you step off your private sundeck and into beyond-blue waters. If you prefer to keep your head at surface level, snag a kayak, paddleboat or windsurfing board for some castaway-chic adventure. Replenish spent calories at Tevairoa, an airy thatched terrace that dishes up a mouthwatering mix of French, Polynesian and international cuisine; on Mondays, there’s a Polynesian buffet and traditional dance show, whilst Fridays herald a lavish seafood feast.
After a sun-kissed day of hiking Mount Pahia, feeding sharks and stingrays and catamaran-cruising, a heavenly reward is well in order – the cracking Manea Spa is set on stilts above koi-filled ponds and surrounded by flower-dotted foliage. Embracing Taurumi philosophy, Manea offers authentic Polynesian massages, body treatments and facials to rejuvenate weary muscles and even an after-sun care therapy for lobster-red loungers. If a permanent reminder of your time in Bora Bora is up your alley, the Manea Spa has an in-house tattooist for a souvenir with serious style!