by STELLA magazine writers, The Telegraph, June 3, 2019
Want to kick your body into shape for bikini season? Or dying for a spot of pampering? There’s a wellness break with your name on it.
Best for… plush pampering in paradise
The Westin Miriandhoo Resort, Baa Atoll, Maldives
The low-down: The spa alone is worth flying halfway around the world for. The over-water spa bungalows have windows in the floor, so you can watch tropical fish glide by as you’re being massaged and scrubbed to serenity. Afterwards head to the gym, with yet more ocean views (treadmills are next to floor-to-ceiling windows) and more fitness classes than a busy city leisure centre, including sunrise runs. There are friendly personal trainers (who mean business), plus New Balance gym kits and trainers are supplied. After working up an appetite, have dinner at the resort’s Japanese restaurant, Pearl (tip: exquisite sashimi), from which you can take in the best sunset views on the island, then sink into your ‘Heavenly’ bed - the most comfortable we’ve ever slept on.
Out and about: Located in the Maldives’ only Unesco Biosphere Reserve, there’s diving and marine life aplenty. The resort’s dive centre can arrange trips, as well as sunset dolphin tours. It’s also near Hanifaru Bay, which has the largest gathering of manta rays in the world.
Stella loves: The highly Instagrammable bathrooms in the island villas, complete with high-tech loos, outdoor rainforest showers and bathtubs big enough for the whole family.
From £608 a night, b&b; westin.com/maldivesmiriandhoo
Read the full expert review: The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
Best for... hardcore body overhaul
Reclaim Your Self, Tuscany, Italy
The low-down: Set in a dreamlike Tuscan estate, this retreat offers the perfect blend of sunbathing and sensational vegan cooking… combined with four hours of vinyasa yoga a day. Though it’s demanding and aimed at experienced yogis, the teachers are friendly so it's never daunting. Plus, the nutrition programme is sugar-, caffeine-, gluten- and alcohol-free, so after a week you'll return home detoxed, de-stressed - and a darned site bendier.
Out and about: On your midweek day off from yoga, visit the pretty Tuscan town of Lucca (30 minutes by taxi). Dose up on culture at the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art, or get reacquainted with pasta and wine at Ristorante San Colombano . Just shhh, OK?
Stella loves: The four gorgeous pools for kicking back between classes.
Reclaim Your Self run retreats around the world throughout the year. The next Tuscany retreat is 18-24 August 2019; from £995 full-board (excl flights); reclaimyourself.co.uk
Best for... slick city spa
Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge, London
The low-down: Run in partnership with the Harley Street cosmeceutical line, the sleek, subterranean SPA/CLINIC by 111 SKIN could not be sexier, befitting Bond villains and billionaires. Using products designed for faces recovering from cosmetic surgery, made in consultation with a Nasa scientist, expert beauty therapists ensure even those with the most hypersensitive skin will come out looking plumper, smoother and – yes, really – younger (tip: try the deeply relaxing Original Dramatic Healing Facial, £160.) It’s pure glamour – products contain powdered diamonds, while in the relaxation room with its 1960s-style open fire, you can recline in your own screened-off zone... when not scoping for celebs.
Out and about: The hotel is smack bang in the middle of the smartest boutiques and department stores around, from Harvey Nichols to Harrods. And when you've shopped to your heart's content, head down the road to museum mile, where the delights of the V&A and the Natural History Museum await, or amble north for a scenic walk around the Serpentine.
Stella loves: The four-poster loungers by the underground pool, with the most flattering lighting in which to be seen in swimwear.
Rooms from £550 a night; bulgarihotels.com
Read the full expert review: The Bulgari Hotel London
Best for… Relaxed reboot (with a side of sunshine)
Vila Vita Parc & Resort, Algarve, Portugal
The low-down: Perched on a clifftop, this family-friendly resort has 10 restaurants (including one with two Michelin stars) and a beautifully secluded beach. But the real draw is its recently renovated Sisley spa – over 17,000 sq ft of pure bliss. Signature treatments include the Golden Quartz (which involves lying in a specially made bed of warming quartz crystals that looks like a bed-shaped sandpit) and the Hilot Massage (a Filipino technique where your back is draped in hot, ginger-infused banana leaves to help soften tight muscles). Afterwards, have dinner at the candlelit, temperature-controlled wine-cellar restaurant, which is eight metres underground and contains more than 11,000 bottles of wine – perfect for re-toxing after all of that detoxing.
Out and about: Head for dinner at Arte Nautica, one of the hotel’s off-site restaurants – it’s a mile's walk away along the beach, so there’s plenty of time to work up an appetite, plus it’s beautifully informal, with nautical décor, slightly sandy floors and excellent seafood, salads and tapas.
Stella loves: The aerial yoga class, where you can hang upside down while looking out of the studio’s huge windows to the ocean.
Double rooms from £300 a night in high season and from £181 per night in low season. To book, call 00 351 282 310 100 or email [email protected]
Read the full expert review: Vila Vita Parc