8 brilliant new summer spa breaks
From mountaintop Euro retreats to ultimate city sancuaries and far-flung wellness escapes, Muddy pulls on a white robe and slippers to discover what’s new for 2022.
Craving a bit of calm? We’ve rounded up our favourite new wellness spots world-wide, from luxurious island spas to cosy, mountain retreats (and the best treatments to try while you’re there) so you can get the ‘me’ time you deserve this summer.
Best for total relaxation…CAYO Exclusive Resort & Spa, Crete
CAYO’s new Armonia Spa opened this year and it’s a dream combo of state-of-the-art facilities mixed with natural Cretan-inspired design and treatments. Aphrodite’s the local beauty idol, which sets the benchmark pretty high, but actually many of the products used thousands of years ago are incorporated into CAYO’s spa treatments today: think salt exfoliation, healing honey and moisturising olive oil. Don’t leave without trying signature treatments like a full body herbs and oils scrub, hydrating avocado and olive oil face massage, face yoga (yes, really) and cryotherapy.
Best for getting back to nature…Alikats Retreats, France
If you’re looking for a wild wellness retreat this summer (or autumn) catch the plane or train to Morzine in France’s mountainous Portes du Soleil. Need more convincing? How do hikes through breathtaking scenery, sunrise yoga, mountainside meditation, forest bathing, and personal development through one-on-one coaching sessions sound? And there’s more! Healthy nutritious food and a luxe chalet with outside hot tub and valley views mean we’d like to book in for the entire summer, please.
Best for local treatments…Jardin des Douars, Morocco
Direct flights to west coast escape Essaouira resume late summer after nearly three years on hold (thanks Covid!), and to celebrate we’re going to be hot-footing it to gorgeous Jardin des Douars asap. Not only is this boutique retreat set in lush gardens on a picturesque hillside above Essaouira, but it’s also a top spa destination with a large hammam and long list of treatments incorporating local argan oil (packed with vitamin E and anti-aging properties). The express facial radiance treatment with argan oil is worth the flight alone. Chances of returning home looking younger and happier? Extremely High.
Best for far-flung fabulousness…Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives
The resort’s Anantara Spa has just announced a collab with Oz brand Subtle Energies, which combines ancient Ayurveda and aromatherapy techniques. The results? Apparently muscle tensions are eased, stress is released and physical, mental and emotional wellbeing are enhanced (tbh we think we’d feel better just looking at that turquoise sea). If you’re having trouble sleeping this is the place to head as Subtle Energies also offers sleep support therapy, which includes guided breathing techniques, meditation and holistic massage. And there’s a ‘woman’s journey’ programme too, which aims to balance hormones and ‘empower one from within’, which Muddy would like to try (at home we find a gin and tonic does the trick).
Best for couples….Monteverdi Tuscany, Italy
Overlooking the Tuscan countryside, this new spa and wellness centre attached to a sleek boutique hotel is utterly idyllic. From private outdoor treatment areas to private Hatha yoga lessons, it’s perfect for a hush hush long weekend of wellbeing à deux. Try the Monteverdi spa circuit, which includes a stimulating and massaging water path, hop into the sauna and then relax in the underground spa pool. Plenty of regenerating treatments on the menu, from minimising wrinkles to creating brighter, firmer skin. Bliss.
Best for thermal therapy….Sky Lagoon, Iceland
Set on a cliff just outside Reykjavik, Iceland’s latest geothermal spa experience was built during lockdown. Book the ‘Sky package’, a seven-step spa ritual which includes entering the infinity pool via a cave-like tunnel, followed by a cold plunge pool, body scrub using Icelandic salt, coconut and sesame oil, steam room session, cool mist and a heavenly moment in a glass-walled sauna, with incredible sea, sky and lagoon views. Though you can’t stay at Sky Lagoon, a 15-minute taxi ride away is The Reykjavik EDITION, a slick city hotel with cosy TÖLT bar, views of the Snæfellsjökull Glacier (try saying that after a couple of vodkas) and a spa which opened this year.
Best for a spiritual journey…Stardome Peru
If you’re looking for something a bit deeper than a mani and pedi, check out this futuristic looking new retreat in the Sacred Valley. Its Soul 7 Healing Spa helps guests get back in touch with their spiritual side through guided visualisation, sound therapy and a multi-wave oscillator, designed to re-tune the nervous system (we have no idea what that is either, but it sounds like we could do with a session after the morning school run).
Best for friends…Marbella Club, Spain
Get fit with friends this summer at Marbs’ legendary resort on the Golden Mile, which has introduced bespoke group retreats for the first time. Fly in with the gang (between four to ten people) and kick off with health consultations, including bio-energetic testing on a Quest machine which can reveal everything from food allergies to menopausal problems. An in-house team of nutritionists, therapists and fitness instructors then work together to ensure everyone has an individual plan alongside all the group activities like meditation, aerial yoga, bike rides by the sea and hiking in the nearby Sierra Blanca mountains.