Tivoli Victoria Spa
Foxhills Spa Garden
Spa on the 19th - Vilamoura, Portugal and Surrey, England
Next week, Europe’s top players will arrive in the shiny golf haven of Vilamoura for the Portugal Masters and will be competing on the, Arnold Palmer designed, Oceanico Victoria Golf Course. Whilst the golfers may slink exhausted back to their rooms, at the end of each day, to chomp on an off-menu steak sandwich, guests at the Tivoli Victoria (which overlooks the course) can submerse themselves in the true masterpiece of the hotel – the spa.
The Elements Spa by Banyan Tree is a soupcon of Thailand in the Algarve. All of the therapists are Thai and have completed the rigours of the two year Banyan Tree Academy.
The Thai Classic was the best massage that I’ve had outside of Asia - after a foot bathing ceremony, ninety minutes of deep kneading, knot pummelling and stretching my limbs to Twister-esque positions began.
It’s an intense massage and is ideal for rectifying the cricks and creaks of modern living; it’s not an aromatherapy stroke to sleep.
There’s a range of delicious three hour signature treatments from Thai Essence (which includes a Lavender Orange bath) to Chinese Tradition (featuring a Gui Shi Hot Stone Massage). Afterwards, I was led, slightly dazed, through the glistening, black indoor pool area to an outdoor sun terrace where I re-hydrated with fresh fruit and mint tea, dozed in the sun and remembered to enjoy the sweeping golf course views.
Closer to home, Foxhills is cushioned from real life by the most opulent countryside in Surrey. Getting the golf bit out of the way – two eighteen hole championship courses and a nine hole course – head to the stunning spa garden. Overlooked by the indoor swimming pool, the garden features a natural lap pool and, whilst lazing in the giant hammocks has a sunny day appeal, the Swedish sauna hut and outdoor Jacuzzi hold a special nordic wintery magic.
Inside, get even warmer in the Hammam or Rasul. A hammam for two has become a ubiquitous couples experience but some of the romance can be lost whenever the therapist pops up, Cato like, to soap, scrub or douse you in cold water. Foxhill’s DIY hammam is a perfectly private compromise. Bowls of black soap, aloe vera scrub, exotic oils and mittens are left out for you (along with a foot bowl of ice and jugs of water to keep the balance between simmering gently and boiling over). A therapist explains the hammam process then retires allowing you to relax in the steamy heat and extreme clean yourselves. Afterwards, snooze in reclining chairs in the relaxation room or tuck into figs and herbal tea.