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Scotland – A Wellness Holiday Destination

Walkers taking in the view of Loch Lomond from Conic Hill part of the West Highland Way

Joining other destinations around the globe, Scotland is targeting the wellness traveller to benefit from its breath-taking scenery, fresh revitalising air and the outdoor and adventurous activities its land offers.

Adapting itself to the growing traveller demand for “wellness” holidays, VisitScotland is focussing on the demand for vacations that boost self-development, following a review of trends in the travel industry. “Restorative recreation” is a key feature based on the outdoor experiences such as the emotional appeal of its scenery and nature while “creative retreats” focus on hobbies and skills such as writing and art workshops, cookery courses and outdoor survival training.

According to the review, wellness tourism worldwide was worth £500bn in 2017, and has recently grown at more than twice the pace of tourism overall.

According to Chris Greenwood, insights manager at VisitScotland, “Wellness tourism is a trend that’s not going away and is expected to continue growing. There is huge potential for businesses who want to appeal to this market, creating experiences that enlighten the senses and feed the soul. Fortunately, Scotland’s ability to embrace wellness within our visitor economy is embedded within our tourism industry DNA.”

Euromonitor recently published its view on eight “mega trends” in world travel. Some are shaped by technology, but of the eight, three chime with the VisitScotland findings: healthy living, ethical living and experiencing more.

Booking.com found that search for experience was translated into a desire to be more adventurous about destinations in 2019. Meanwhile, 42% say they want an experience that makes them feel like a kid again, led by millennials and Generation Z.

VisitScotland.com

Wellness On The Rock

Wellness comes in many forms. It maybe the calming waters of a floating cruise liner, a relaxing treatment in a spa or a cultural experience to revitalise the mind. A change is as good as a rest so add to these experiences a gigantic rock as a backdrop on British territory and luxury accommodation aboard a yacht hotel. Welcome to Gibraltar and to the Sunborn Yacht Hotel.

Gibraltar is often described as the Cradle of History with numerous statues and memorials to salute its past. There are 30 miles of World War tunnels snaking within the rock, a spectacular cave underneath, dolphins circling,  Barbary apes prying, playing and monkeying around and a cable car ascending its side.

The Rock, Gibraltar’s signature feature, is mostly formed from Jurassic limestone dating over 200 million years. Steep, narrow roads, originally built for donkeys and carts, twist to the upper rock allowing only registered taxis and mini-buses to transport visitors, although weather permitting, the cable car is another option. The journey, whatever form of transport used, is rewarded with enviable scenery.

Clad in hard hats, the series of guided Tunnel tours are fascinating  and factual and should be on the must-do list. They include The Great Siege Tunnels and can take up to 3 hours. The  Mediterranean Steps walk is not for the faint-hearted but avoid carrying food – the monkeys will find it and will throw in free entertainment along the way. The Skywalk, opened by Mark Hamill from Star Wars fame in March 2018, is another look-out spot to take in stunning vistas.

There are various organised tours which include the fishing village of Catalin Bay, Europa Point, the Mosque, the Moorish Castle and St Michael’s cave with a secret underground lake. As for wildlife, Gibraltar’s position between Europe and Africa, the Atlantic and Mediterranean make it an important crossing point for migrating birds, whales and dolphins.

The old fortress walls surround the city with gate archways into Casemates Square which is dotted with restaurants and bars leading to Main Street the artery for shopping where familiar signs for M&S, Shepherds Pie and Morrisons are giveaway clues to its Britishness. Sean Connery and John Lennon were married here and  today, it’s the place to choose if you are in a hurry!

But if you don’t want to travel around the Rock, then you can get a better view watching the opening sequence of James Bond’s Living Daylights, part of which was filmed here or better still you can gaze up at its imposing height and stature from your own private cabin balcony.

The 5* Sunborn Hotel certainly has the novelty factor and is an attraction in itself, floating aside Ocean Village, the harbour district of Gibraltar and can easily be spotted as your plane comes into land.  Built in the design of an ocean cruiser, complete with engines and a bridge, it was the first of its kind and has a permanent residency here.

Although constructed 5 years ago, it still looks and feels new, providing a convenient place to explore Gibraltar with views over the sea to Spain and Morocco. It’s easy to find and very convenient –  just turn left out of the airport, cross the runway, (along with the other 6,000 Spanish and expats), then turn right to a gleaming white yacht hotel.

The entrance is like walking into Swarovski headquarters with a glittering backdrop headlining the reception desk populated with staff wearing welcoming smiles, keen to show off the floating services.

The corridors are wide, fitted with carpets that foot a jazzy design leading to rooms and suites, not cabins. All tastefully designed with quality furnishings, marble modern bathrooms and laced with technology that command a lesson to operate the drapes, lights and sound. And although there are several room types, surprisingly, the most popular are those with views over the runway!

The Sunborn is also an entertainment hub, offering performances from tribute bands, comedy shows  and a Fawlty Towers act which take place in its La Sala Restaurant & Bar. Here  there’s a good choice on the menu, ranging from a Full Rack of BBQ Jack Daniel Pork Ribs, Crispy Won Toon Lasagne to Lamb with Cocoa, Chilli and Watermelon Pico de Gallo while there is a dedicated list of British classics such as Beer Battered Fish and Chips and Surf & Turf for those wanting to feel more at home.  Service is excellent, dishes generous and attractively presented.

Breakfast, buffet style, is served on the top deck in the Barbary Restaurant which it shares with a small outdoor pool and the Aqua Bar all with outlooks over the marina, the Med and the 1400-ft high Rock.

After climbing the Rock, exploring tunnels, VAT-free shopping, dodging monkeys and with a brain overload of historical facts, R&R awaits in the Infinity Spa onboard with  a range of Elemis coated treatments, a sauna to sooth tired muscles, a fitness area to tone and strengthen the body and the Admiral Casino to try your luck.

There’s more to Gibraltar than the Rock and more to an ocean cruiser than sailing.

Visit:  www.sunborngibraltar.com

Visit:  www.visitgibraltar.gi

Cocooned in comfort at Rudding Park & Spa

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There are cloisters and cobbled streets, a castle and listed Church, leafy Georgian avenues and Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, according to my online research. Harrogate, is a Victorian Spa town and in its heyday a sought-after fashionable resort with curative spring waters. And a Yorkshire must-see. Sadly, however, I didn’t quite manage the short journey from my country house hideaway. I was, instead, cushioned in the comfort embrace of Rudding Park & Spa which sits proudly on the outskirts, perched amid 300 acres of undulating countryside.

Harrogate’s Royal Pump Room was built in1842 to provide shelter for the town’s affluent visitors as they took the famous waters. My surroundings, in contrast, are somewhat different. Contemporary styling, flashes of zany designs in bold colours hold court while individual art structures are dotted around bringing interest to corners and entrances of this 90-room hotel with a signature spa area that flows over three floors that can only be described as modern, airy, high-tech, cool and glitzy.

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Hotel Library at Rudding Park Hotel, Spa & Golf

And moody….each level of the spa exudes a defined ambience amid a creative mix of hydrotherapy and thermotherapy experiences. On the uppermost level, an air of excitement emanates from the roof-top heated pool which overlooks mature garden areas.  Guests giggle with sheer delight sipping a glass of bubbly with water splashing from jets into fine layers of mist lacing the surface creating an atmosphere more like Iceland than England. Come rain or shine, the cabanas extend the refreshing outdoor experiences or the garden sauna cabin for a little heat. Back inside, the focus moves first to the feet with a row of individual foot spas and then to the whole-body warmth of the herbal bath and luxury steam rooms.

Roof Top Spa Garden, Spa Bath, Sauna Cabin

Luxury Steam Room

Next level down boasts a tempting indoor swimming pool in a light, elegant space with a juniper log sauna on standby as well as a room set up for mud rasul rituals.  It’s all peace and tranquillity below with a number of treatment rooms and relaxation areas. Here you can snuggle up on squishy sofa chairs against the backdrop of scenic video footage on an oversized screen. Serenity flows into a twinkling-lit room with reclined beds, an audio room to meditate or a lounge for a little colouring therapy to reset the mind. Quiet, still, calm.

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The menu of treatments is wide ranging and varied from Carita Cinetic Lift Facials, a Pearl & Jasmine Body Renewal which uses mineral-rich Himalayan salt crystals, a chakra wellbeing massage, or for those living with and beyond cancer, a range of Jennifer Young treatments.

I chose the thermal detox wrap and suffice to say, it was both relaxing and effective. The Spa has won a number of awards and has cleverly combined treatments with dining options in an array of packages to suit individuals and groups alike.

All this relaxation and revitalisation whets the appetite especially for a dish or two of fine dining. The Horte Restaurant serves up artistic displays in delicate portions oozing with flavours in its chef’s 7-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings.

Once relaxed, the gym is available to tone the muscles while a private cinema room offers a little distraction. With two restaurants, tastefully furnished guest rooms with all the facilities you need, a stay here will keep you occupied in unhurried relaxation.

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Back in 1571, the first mineral spring was discovered christening Harrogate as the place of healing waters. Today, the privately-owned Rudding Park & Spa has stolen the title for restoring the mind and revitalising the body but that’s no excuse for not visiting this Victorian Spa town – I will next time.

Visit: https://www.ruddingpark.co.uk

 

 

How to beat those Winter Blues

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As the summer months retire, cooler weather and shorter days can blow in those winter blues.

To enhance moods and wellbeing during the colder months,  Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel in Scotland has launched a range of bathing treatments designed to increase mood and boost energy levels.

Research consistently demonstrates that hydrotherapy has a significant impact on mood enhancement by releasing elevated levels of endorphins, the body’s natural anxiety and stress busters. The use of therapeutic bathing also promotes a deep meditative state.

Guests at Kohler Waters Spa can achieve this heightened state of wellbeing through a range of inimitable Kohler bathing experiences employing marine-based ingredients, such as seaweed, that treat skin conditions and relieve muscle aches and stiffness, therefore improving overall state of mind.

Treatments include a relaxing, 90-minute Soak Overflowing Bath, which involves floating in a continually over-flowing bath tub filled with seaweed. The heat from the bath aids the body’s natural detoxifying process whilst the mineral rich Voya seaweed, harvested off the coast of Ireland, relieves muscle aches and joint stiffness, including rheumatism and arthritis.

The spa’s signature treatment, Lavender Rain involves warm rain pours down from the Kohler Custom Vichy shower whilst guests are treated to a nourishing body scrub using fresh lavender, marine salt crystals and eucalyptus. Lavender also works as a natural mood booster by relieving stress and helping achieve a good night’s sleep.

Guests can also make use of Kohler Waters Spa’s extensive hydrotherapy facilities including the invigorating cold plunge pool, the heated hydrotherapy pool providing therapeutic bathing and the refreshing ice fountain. There is also a steam room for deep muscular relaxation and detoxification, a Finnish sauna and a rooftop garden with hot tub.

Situated just metres away from West Sands Beach with commanding views of the Scottish coastline, the Old Course Hotel is situated in an idyllic location from which to enjoy some mind-calming walks in the fresh sea air, another natural mood enhancer. The Fife coastal path takes in 135 kilometres of stunning coastline, or guests can simply enjoy a gentle stroll along West Sands Beach. The hotel also has a fleet of bikes for hire, complete with chunky tyres ideal for a ride on the beach or the coastal path.

The Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel is the first Kohler spa experience outside the USA. With a focus on the therapeutic benefits of water, Kohler Waters Spa offers replenishing experiences that re-create the healing properties of Earth’s natural mineral-rich waters.

For further information on the Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel please visit www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk/spa/kohler-waters-spa or call 01334 474 371.

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Wake up! The first ever sleep health exhibition is launching in London


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Snooze, doze, nap, forty winks…. the answer to a good night’s sleep is not a dream. A new dedicated sleep exhibition is set to awaken the industry in London this October.

With sleep deprivation costing the UK economy £4.6 million per hour, SOMNEX The Sleep Show has been designed as a platform to bring together the entire sleep industry as well as generate better awareness around the impact of poor sleep for consumers and how they can improve it.

This three-day event will be split into one trade and corporate day on Friday 12 October, followed by two consumer days on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. The event will address key issues across the full spectrum of sleep health andwill feature over 120 companies displaying their innovative products and technology.

Leading research company RAND Europe recently unveiled that the issue of sleeplessness is real and costs the UK economy over £40 billion annually, which works out at an astonishing £4.6 million every hour.Marco Hafner, Senior Economist at RAND and co-author of their report ‘Why Sleep Matters’ will be discussing these findings and their impact on the economy in more detail at SOMNEX | The Sleep Show.

James Cox, CEO of Simba, comments: “You might think your five-hours-a night is nothing to worry about but chronic sleep deprivation can not only affect cognitive performance at work but has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and can even affect your performance in endurance sports.

Focusing on the trade and corporate day, the show gets down to business with opening session ‘Why all roads lead to sleep: Waking up to the importance of sleep and how much your health and well-being depends on it’ following the inaugural address. Using the latest research, scientists & experts will examine the link between the quality of sleep and physical & mental health.

Other presentations will take an in-depth look at industry trends and attitudes towards the sleep industry and the sleep strategies embraced by the retail and hospitality sectors.

During the show, the ‘demo zone’ will showcase the full spectrum of sleep products including eyewear, wearables, apps and skincare during individual twenty-minute sessions.

For very specific sleep issues facing different industry sectors, the organisers have designed five dedicated stages which will address separate industry verticals, which include retail, travel and hospitality, sports and fitness, healthcare and education.

The global sleep aids market is currently categorised by Research and Markets into mattress and pillows, sleep laboratories, medications, and sleep apnea devices. However, the business of sleep has rapidly expanded recently to include many more categories from the wider health and wellbeing industry to the tech sector.

 

SOMNEX | The Sleep Show is an independent and neutral platform. It takes place on 12-14 October in London at The Old Truman Brewery.

Of note: We do not endorse or represent any specific brand, product, methodology or approach around sleep. We welcome all those working across the sleep sector. SOMNEX has been created as a platform to facilitate and ignite discussion, debate and awareness around this very important and current topic.

Sleep tight!

pebbles 4A good night’s sleep is important for emotional, physical and mental wellbeing especially in our fast-paced lifestyles. There is an increasing number of therapies and products to help induce this much needed slumber. Hastings Hotels have introduced a natural therapy in the form of a tailor-made new Sleep Ritual spa ritual.

Performed in calming, candlelit surroundings, the ESPA Sleep Ritual is offered at The Culloden Estate & Spa and the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland. The treatment includes breathing and visualisation techniques to release physical and emotional anxiety and restore energy. A deep tissue massage to release deep-seated muscular tension is combined with hot stones and warmed fragrant ESPA oil poured onto the body. This concludes with a soothing scalp massage to relieve any final signs of stress ensuring guests completely switch off.

The 5* Culloden Estate & Spa stands on the forested slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coastline. In close proximity to Belfast City Centre, the luxurious spa is Northern Ireland’s premier sanctuary for mind, body and soul. Guests can revel in a range of ESPA products and therapies with eight treatment suites, two pre and post treatment relaxation rooms. The hotel also offers a variety of different classes at the Health Club including Aquafit, Yogalates and Pilates. Guests can also enjoy relaxing in the pool, Jacuzzi and eucalyptus steam room. In 2017, Hastings Hotels celebrated 50 years of the ownership of the jewel in its crown, the Culloden Estate & Spa, as well as the completion of a £4.8M renovation programme at the hotel over the last three years.

The Slieve Donard Resort & Spa is situated on the seashores of the Irish Sea on Newcastle Bay. The hotel looks out to the Mountains of Mourne. Set in six acres of private grounds, the property is famous for its expansive and luxurious spa. Guests can escape to a cocoon of calm with over two floors of tranquillity, including a 20 metre swimming pool and Vitality Pool, amethyst steam room and high-tech fitness studio.

www.hastingshotels.com

The Thermae Bath Spa

Roman steam room

This natural thermal spa lies in the heart of Bath, a World Heritage Site.

The Thermae Bath Spa is an award winning facility flowing with warm, mineral-rich thermal waters.  Combining the old with the new, this historical spa building blends with the contemporary design of the New Royal Bath.

Following in the bathing traditions of the Celts and Romans, dating back 2000 years ago, here you can enjoy bathing in the Minerva Bath or the open-air rooftop pool with views over the city and countryside.

A dedicated Wellness Suite has been designed to offer a range of multi-sensory facilities.  Guests are invited to experience a thermal journey which includes an infrared sauna, an astral relaxation room, a series of aroma steam rooms and an ice chamber. Creative displays and features reflect the spa traditions of the Romans and Georgians.

For light refreshment, the Springs Cafe Restaurant serves freshly prepared meals and drinks.

www.thermaebathspa.com

 




The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel, Bath

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Originally built in the 1800s, The Gainsborough Bath Spa occupies two Grade II Listed buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades. Named after the artist, Sir Thomas Gainsborough, the luxury hotel is centred around its own Spa facility, (Spa Village), which, uniquely in the UK, has the exclusive privilege of having access to the natural thermal, mineral-rich waters.

The hotel is located in Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was built around a thermal spring bringing waters that once healed a swineherd prince as well as providing a Georgian playground for both aristocracy and commoners alike. Bath’s legendary reputation has endorsed it as a leisure and wellness destination.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel offers a range of tastefully decorated rooms and suites which fuse period furniture pieces with contemporary styling.  Each guest room has complimentary wi-fi, flat screen TVs and luxury amenities.

The Dan Moon at the Gainsborough Restaurant offers fine dining with a comfortable, sophisticated ambience. This popular venue features Georgian architecture, original artwork and an impressive wine wall.

Guests are offered a complimentary  Bath House experience at the hotel’s Spa Village, with access to the natural thermal pools from 7am to 9am and 8pm to 10pm

http://www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

20- Spa Village by day

Bryn Tanat Wellness, Wales

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Bryn Tanat Wellness is a new five-star wellness retreat in Wales offering pioneering programmes designed to address physical, mental and emotional wellbeing with functional medicine at its heart.

Launched by Susan Martin and her family, one-day and four-day programmes use Metabolic Analysis Profiling, Genetic Profiling, and a 24 hour Adrenocortex Stress Profile to uncover and address health issues prior to guests arriving.

Located on the border of Mid-wales and Shropshire, progammes aim to uncover and address the root of a person’s health issue through personalised wellbeing options. The programmes begin in February 2017 using experts providing bespoke advice and support to individuals.

The Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall Hotel, Devon

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The Gaia Spa at Boringdon Hall Hotel in Devon opened in August 2016 offering a range of treatments focusing on health and wellbeing, using its s own-brand natural products as well as some of the UK’s top names in spa and wellness.

The Gaia Spa concept seamlessly combines ancient wellness traditions from around the world with the refinement and skills of modern spa.