by STELLA magazine writers from The Telegraph, October 3, 2019
Whether you’re after a hardcore detox or a spa break with a side of bubbly, there’s a pampering pad with your name on it.
Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, Champagne, France
Best for… a stylish spa break (with a side of champagne)
This is the place to come if you like your spa breaks with a side bubbly rather than green juice. Overlooking the vineyards of the Champagne region, it’s a former coaching inn dating back to the 19th century, that recently reopened after a £28 million renovation. First stop, unwind in the 1,500 square metre spa with a treatment or two (using products by upmarket French brand, Recherche Biologique), then soak in the Jacuzzi and relax in the steam room. Later retire to one of the two excellent restaurants – one brasserie-style, the other more formal. The icing on the cake is the wine list, which includes over 200 champagnes. The morning after, recharge with a petit dejeuner of avocado on toast before clearing your head with an electric bike ride around the vines. Heaven.
Stella loves: The view – every room comes with a vineyard-facing balcony and two cosy armchairs.
Out and about: The pretty village of Hautvillers (a 20-minute away by electric bike) is home to the abbey where Dom Perignon first discovered champagne. There are also dozens of other independent producers – many of them offer tastings from their cellar doors. The town of Reims, home to Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot and others, is a 30-minute drive away (the hotel can arrange private cellar tours). If you’re visiting Paris anyway, this is a perfect side trip as it’s only a 30-minute train ride from Gare de L’Est or a 90-minute drive from Charles de Gaulle airport.
Rooms from £322 a night in an entry-level Garden Junior Suite, b&b; royalchampagne.com
Read the full expert review: Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa
Six Senses Douro Valley, Douro Valley, Portugal
Best for… posh pampering in paradise
Housed in a striking 19th-century building decorated with modern artworks, this is a haven of tranquillity. Fast-track yourself to total relaxation with a 40-minute yoga nidra class on arrival and you’ll feel like you’ve slept for a week – ready for a hike through the vineyards. (The resort is nestled in the Douro Valley, one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions.) Back inside, there are five saunas (including an infrared sauna that promotes weight loss) and treatments aplenty, from almond-oil massages to an orange-and-lemon wrap with fruit from the gardens. The nutritional programme is excellent; try the sensational beetroot carpaccio dessert. And after all of that clean living, be sure to end your day with a complimentary wine-tasting session in the library.
Stella loves: Creating our own citrus body scrub in the alchemy bar workshop.
Out and about: There's more than enough to keep you occupied at the hotel. Reconnect with nature on a forest bathing tour, a walk through the citrus groves or around the herb garden, or go for a run along the banks of the Douro River – where the hotel dog, Aqua, may just join you.
Rooms from £267 a night based on two sharing a Quinta Superior, b&b; sixsenses.com
Read the full expert review: Six Senses Douro Valley
Schloss Elmau, Bavarian Alps, Germany
Best for… magical mountain retreat
The hotel, originally a castle but rebuilt in 2005 after it was destroyed by a fire, sits in a stunning valley between white-capped mountains and meadows. As views go, it’s the closest you’ll get to Narnia, while inside there’s a distinctly A-list finish. (A G7 summit was held here and Barack Obama is among those who have stayed.) Open fires make it feel cosy, the vast bedrooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows to take in those views and the jaw-dropping spas have to be seen to be believed. There are six in total, including an enormous hammam.
Stella loves: The outdoor pool situated at the base of the mountains – utterly dream-like.
Out and about: It’s a 50-minute drive up the motorway from Innsbruck. But honestly, don’t even think about leaving once you’ve checked-in. There are scores of activities on offer, from yoga retreats to mountain climbing, archery, even classical and jazz concerts, which are held at the in-house concert hall.
From £277 per night per person on a half-board basis in a double room, including entrance to concerts, spas and library, participation in Taijiquan Qigong, yoga classes, Pilates, guided mountain tours, use of gyms; schloss-elmau.de/en
Read the full expert review: Schloss Elmau
Ibiza Retreats, Ibiza, Spain
Best for… hardcore hippie hideaway
Equal parts yoga retreat, holistic break and bohemian villa holiday, this place leaves you feeling amazing, inside and out. Set in the gorgeously modern hilltop villa Can Luminosa, this retreat serves plentiful and downright delicious vegan meals and offers daily activities, starting with sunrise yoga (suitable for beginners), which takes place on a serene terrace with forest views. If that’s not enough to set your spirit soaring, the reiki, singing therapy and barefoot meditation will do the job.
Stella loves: The personalised consultations, making sure all therapies help you achieve the transformation you need.
Out and about: Head to the pretty seaside town of Santa Eulàlia on the east of the island where the Passion Cafe serves huge wholesome salads and smoothies to keep your health kick on track.
Prices from £1,380 per person for five nights, based on sharing a twin-room ensuite, full board (excluding flights); ibizaretreats.com
Edited by Laura Powell. Reviews by Sarah Royce Greensill, Naomi McMullen, Charlotte Cox and Alicia Field