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Spa Holidays and Retreats

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 22 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Spa Holidays And Retreats

A spa holiday sounds like bliss – a week or two of total pampering and relaxation, what could be more rejuvenating? If you’ve never been on a spa holiday how can you make the most of your stay and make sure that you return as relaxed and refreshed as you anticipated?

What is a Spa?

A spa is basically just a place where you can go to ‘take to the waters’ – and in geographical terms it’s "a place where there is a curative mineral spring". Some people also say the word spa is derived from the Latin phrase "sanitas per aquas". which means - "health through water".In travel terms, a spa holiday usually involves getting away from it all and being pampered with delicious smelling treatments, swimming in invigorating pools and taking some ‘me time’.

Different Types of Spa and Spa Holiday

If you’re booking a first time spa holiday or retreat, it can be daunting to work out exactly what you’re getting. The spa business has exploded over the past decade and now you can find a spa at the most distinctly average of hotels – there’s no legal definition of the word and you can find that a hotel advertising spa facilities simply has a room where they carry out beauty treatments.

  • Destination spa – this is where you’ll probably want to book a longer break, a destination spa is helps visitors to develop healthy habits. These spas are usually found in glamorous places like Indonesia, but destination spas are springing up all over the world to cater for different tastes. A destination spa can be themed, but as a rule will offer guests spa beauty services, fitness, healthy food and holistic therapies.
  • Day spa – this is a spa which offers a variety of professionally administered spa services on a non-residential basis. You’ll probably find an emphasis on beauty and holistic therapies at a day spa.
  • Medical spa- these are often themed – such as Ayurvedic spas or raw food retreats. This type of spa is run by medically-trained staff, usually along with fully trained holistic therapists, and the emphasis is on wellness rather than beauty.
  • Mineral springs spas – these are water based spas, which stay true to the origins of the spa. They offer an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater and base their treatments around water and its healing properties.
  • Resort/hotel spas – these are the spas you need to be careful about as a hotel spa can be luxurious or incredibly basic. The best hotel spas will include beauty and spa services, fitness options and spa food – but not all do so check your brochures before you book and do your research.
  • Cruise ship spas - similar to a hotel spa, the services provided can vary a lot but in general should offer guests beauty, fitness and wellness as well as a spa menu.
  • Club spas – these are the spas you find attached to a gym or health club, whose main focus will be on fitness. They often have holistic therapists such as reflexologists and usually beauty treatments too.
  • Cosmetic spas – these focus on beauty and can in some cases also offer non invasive cosmetic procedures like Botox.

Finding The Spa or Retreat That Suits You

Decide what you want from the break – and work with that. If you feel like your fitness needs a boost, find a spa that offers a selection of classes. Most spas will have a fitness programme, and most of these will be are included in your stay.

  • Pampering and Pleasure- a popular type of spa break involves total pampering, with hundreds of different massages, facials, mud wraps and aromatherapy treatments to choose from.
  • Stress Management – some spas offer packages such as stress management weekends where you can learn how to unwind, take part in yoga or meditation classes and learn relaxation techniques.
  • A retreat – the interest in spa and wellness retreats has blossomed recently and it’s now possible to study meditation, yoga, tai chi, and many other spiritual disciplines at specialist spas. If you feel like doing this, it’s wise to research hard before you book. Specialist retreats are probably more effective than a destination spa with meditation classes.
  • Cosmetic Treatments – if you want to return from your holiday looking even more rejuvenated, some offer laser treatments, facelifts, botox and even cosmetic dentistry.

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