Five of the Best Luxury Spa Breaks

New Year’s resolutions already broken? Take the sting out of getting healthy in 2012 with one of our pick of the best luxury spa breaks...

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Cavo Tagoo, Mykonos

Pampering and complete relaxation are the order of the day at this whitewashed, 80-room boutique spa hotel. The combination of expert therapists, beautiful surroundings and a cool but luxurious hotel puts Cavo Tagoo among the best luxury spa breaks we’ve ever experienced.

The spa is set on the lower ground floor, and is, like much of the building (and even some of the furniture), partially carved out of the surrounding rock, creating a cosy and intimate feel. The five treatment rooms cater for everything from hydrotherapy to pedicures, and all have mood lighting, burnt orange walls and the occasional touch of gilt to add opulence. With an emphasis on Greek tradition, treatments include massages with local olive oil, wraps with Aegean sea lavender and facials with mineral-rich marine mud.

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Read our review of Cavo Tagoo

Shanti-Som, Andalucia

This chic boutique retreat is tucked away in the pines and olive trees of the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Park of southern Spain. The plethora of reclining Buddhas and tomes about yoga and raw juicing signals this is a full-on wellness retreat, though the spa and expansive al-fresco yoga pavilion are discreetly tucked away on the lower level.

Formerly a rustic, two-star hotel, it was relaunched in May 2011, and now offers serious yoga, detoxing, life-coaching and weight loss programmes. The place feels like a slice of Indonesian wellness less than three hours from the UK, so there’s no jetlag getting in the way of realigning your chakras. It’s perfect if you want to improve both mental and physical health and suits both retreat virgins as well as old hands.

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Read our full review of Shanti-Som

Parrot Cay, Turks & Caicos

Luxury spa breaks don’t get much more luxurious than at this A-list tropical hideaway in the remote Turks & Caicos. Set on a private island covering 1000 acres of wetlands and mostly untouched vegetation, encircled by a mile-long white beach, the hotel is made up of 12 wooden, butler-attended beach houses with one or two bedrooms, each with a small private pool and sandy garden. In and around the main building are 42 white, plantation-style rooms with muslin-draped four posters and ceiling fans.

The Balinese-looking Como Shambhala spa is set well away from the rooms in peaceful gardens. It’s beautifully designed with spacious treatment rooms, a women-only Jacuzzi garden, outdoor infinity pool and plenty of al-fresco space for post-treatment lounging. With the free yoga and pilates, and use of spa facilities, and the zen-like feel of the whole resort, even if your budget only stretches to one or two treatments, you can still feel you’ve had a proper ‘spa week’.

Read our full review of Parrot Cay

L’Albereta, Italian Lakes

In the heart of beautiful Lombardy, less than an hour’s drive from Milan’s Linate airport, L’Albereta is an ivy-clad manor house set in 61,000 hectares of private parkland. Rooms are very plush – in true old-school Italian style – with spectacular views of vineyards stretching away across a landscape peppered here and there with ancient churches.

The adjoining Espace Vitalité is a seriously good spa that focusses on the Henri Chenot Method. This is based on what Chenot calls ‘biontology’, which combines Chinese and Western medicine to restore the body to peak condition – it isn’t really about weight loss, although that can be a happy side effect. Seriously expensive it may be, but you can stay in the gorgeous hotel and have pay-as-you-go treatments rather than the full programme.

Read our full review of L’Albereta

The Body Holiday, St Lucia

Looking after yourself in a relaxed fashion is the message in this expansive luxury spa hotel. Whether you’re here to lie on the beach or join in all the onsite activities such as wind surfing, personal training on the beach, golf, tennis or meditation, The Body Holiday has it all.

The icing on the cake is the Moorish style Oasis spa, whose two floors of treatment rooms sit quietly at the top of the resort, overlooking the bay. The Body Holiday (formerly Le Sport) has been going for 30 years, so they have clients’ relaxation down to a fine art. The treatments are often no-nonsense, administered by St Lucian therapists with fiercely strong hands that will work out any lumps and bumps knotting up your body.

Read our full review of The Body Holiday

Like our pick of the best luxury spa breaks, but looking for something a little closer to home? Check out our pick of the best day spa breaks in the UK. Or browse our full collection of places to stay.

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