SPA OF THE MONTH
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Sri Lanka
This is a luxury family-friendly spa resort with unexpected soulset in a landscaped 21-acre coconutplantation on a secluded beach in southernSri Lanka. You can expect a relaxed vibeserene architecture, an Ayurvedic spa withdoctor, optional daily yoga classes, a kidclub and three restaurants. Unusually forthis part of the coast, the sea here isswimmable most of the time.
All manner of rituals and therapies areon offer at the spa, which lies in a serenebuilding in the resort’s landscapedgardens. Before your treatments, leavetime to use the steam rooms in eachchanging room, and after, relax in a tranquilcourtyard garden sipping a strong cup ofginger tea.You can be as serious or as pamperingas you like, for as well as oodles of Elemisfacials and body rituals, the menu includestraditional Ayurvedic treatments supervisedby a resident Ayurvedic doctor. You can also come for three- to seven-day retreatswith titles such as: Weight Loss, Yoga Joint Mobility, Muscular Tension & Strains, YogaHigh Blood Pressure and Headaches, whileprivate yoga, meditation, Pilates and t’aichi classes are also available to help yougently overhaul body and mind.
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I experienced one of the best deep-tissuemassages I’ve ever had – I’ve had a few(and I’m really fussy!). The one and a halfhour-long treatment seemed to go on forhours, and was carried out with genuinedepth and care by a wonderful Balinesetherapist using Anantara’s own hand-blended oils. It was preceded by adelicious foot scrub with sea salt and blacktea, and followed by my lolling about ona lounger in the tranquil courtyard gardenbefore I slipped into a world of dreams.Just what I needed.Was my experience a one off? No, asmy husband also had a brilliant deep-tissuemassage from another therapist (this oneThai). I’ve since found out that the Anantaragroup trains its spa staff exceptionally well.For those in need of good sleep, try theIn-Room Slumber Guru Experience, whichincludes a candlelit bath and soothingessential oil massage, a choice of nighttime refreshments and music and, atbedtime, a pillow choice with a mist spray,eye mask and ear plugs. Ah, just the ticket.
The warmth of the Sri Lankan staff felt genuine and my husband, six-year-old daughter and I quickly relaxed into days spent by the large, two-tiered pool withits individually shaded comfy loungerswhich have pockets filled with cool watersuncream and fresh oranges. At regularintervals, a man with fresh coconutsappears so you can rehydrate the SriLankan way. We also lazed at the prettybeach where a lifeguard helped guide usthe safest places and times to swim. Thispart of the Sri Lankan coast is notoriousits huge waves and strong current, so itwas refreshing to have a beach where wecould swim safely.My husband also went on a fabulousmorning surf outing at a neighbouringbeach led by Tropicsurf, which has aconcession at the hotel. After an early risein no time at all, my husband and threeother guests were taking turns to catchtwo to three foot waves breaking gentlybut powerfully on the empty beach, theSri Lankan sun firing up from the horizoninto the sky. Amazing.
As well as dining at the large, buffet-stylecentral eaterie where you can eat insidein air conditioned comfort or outside onthe terrace, there’s an award-winningItalian restaurant on a cliff here. If, like us,WORDS: Caroline Slyger Jo you’ve been travelling in Sri Lanka for a while before you visit this hotel, you’ll enjoy the delicious homemade gourmet pastas, pizzas, fresh fish dishes and fine wines available.
During your stay, be sure to go shoppingat the Barefoot shop on site where you’llfind a collection of reasonably priced,handmade and stunningly colourful bags,notebooks, toys, clothes and other goodiesusually only found at Barefoot’s signatureshops in Galle and Columbo.PRICEStays at Anantara Peace Haven TangalleResort cost from £163 a night for a premierbeach access room, based on two sharing,on a B&B basis; tangalle.anantara.com.
We’re impressed by the naturalingredients and essential oils inthe new range of Walden NaturalPerfumes from Amarya – thecompany behind Balm Balm, Oilsof Heaven and Beauty Brews.The five luxurious scents arenamed after sections of Walden,the meditation and simple-livinghandbook by Henry David Thoreau.’We felt customers were turningaway from mass producedfragrances made by industrialprocesses with chemicalingredients,’ says Sonia White,Amarya MD, ‘so we decided tocreate our own range.’Why not spray on A Little Star-Dust? Its sumptuous perfume ofylang ylang, iris and jasmine are idealto put you in the mood for a romanticdinner. Or for adaytime scent, tryCastles In The Airwith its freshblend of citruswith tropicalflowers. Bothcost £40 for50ml from lovelula.com.
‘IT WORKED FOR ME’
H&F’s art director Lucy Pinto
What? Floating in a pod of EpsomSalts water; £65 for 60 minutes.
Where? The Float Spa, Hove, EastSussex (thefloatspa.co.uk)‘As I often have trouble sleeping, I waskeen to try floatation, where both yourbody and mind relax and your bodyabsorbs magnesium from the salts.The mineral is essential for helpingregulate blood pressure, keeping bonesstrong, relaxing muscles, calming thenervous system and reducing anxiety.It sounded just what I needed.‘On entering, I was given a glassof chilled cucumber water while thetherapist explained floatation to me. Inthe peace of the pod, your body lowersthe stress hormone cortisol and yourbrain releases feel-good dopamine andendorphins. Your muscles, joints, andbones rest, your mind becomes stilland your body focuses on healing.Your spine lengthens and any chronicpain is relieved. Unlike resting on amattress, lying in water allows theblood to flow freely round your body.‘Then I was shown to the pod areato shower before opening what lookedlike a giant egg on its side. I stepped inand closed the pod’s lid, switched offthe blue lights to relax fully, lay backand floated. For the first five minutes,the pod was filled with the gentlesound of waves and birdsong. Thissoftened to silence, which helped meswitch off totally and my body relaxedfurther. It took me about 20 minutesto relax fully, but the next thing Iknew, the wave sounds were back andmy time was up.‘Opening my eyes, I slowly broughtmy mind and body back to the podbefore stepping out to wash the saltoff my skin – now super soft. This”me time” treatment forced me toslow down so much that I felt totallyrested. I even got a full night’s sleep!