LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

From the time of Julius Caesar, the spa concept was born. Two thousand years later, we have such an abundance of spas and health retreats to choose from all over the world. Each new spa aims to top the next. And the sky is the limit. In sensory indulgent settings, luxurious resorts offer antidotes to our daily grind from massage, facials and meditation to yoga, spiritual rejuvenation and complete lifestyle overhaul.

We dedicate this entire issue of Getaway to Spas. By no means is this an exhaustive list of our Edge favourites – just a handful of celebrated, unusual or decadent spas around the globe. Internationally, we differentiate by Destination Spa, New Age Spa, Resort Spa and Urban Spa. Closer to home, we list the Top Ten Favourite Edge Spas on Australian soil. Ultimately, choosing which spa to spend your holiday is very personal and should be based upon your primary goal – whether it be to simply relax and unwind or fundamentally alter your food and exercise routine to create a whole new outlook on life.

In honour of our December Spa Issue, Orion Expedition Cruises is offering Executive Edge clients a $150 massage voucher upon booking select Orion cruises. See Cruise News for further details on their generous offer.

Next month, we’re off to Africa to bring you the most lux, the most exotic, the most extraordinary safaris available on the market today.

We hope that whatever spa suits your fancy, it will serve as a catalyst to begin living your life in the healthiest manner possible.

Sincerely, Kimberly Rosbe
Marketing and Communications Manager

FEATURE

Spas

Submerged

Tropical fish of electric rainbow colours envelope me deep in the glowing neon blue ocean depths. I’m surrounded by divine silence amidst this spectacular marine tranquillity and breathtaking kaleidoscope show. No, surprisingly, I’m not scuba diving – I’m lying on a pillow-soft treatment table receiving a heavenly massage.

Walking down the long wooden pier at Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives towards three structures built on stilts, the Aquum Spa’s mystical philosophy repeated in my mind like a whisper, “Come out of where you have been, Come out of what you know, Come out of your shell.” At the end of the pier I find all the expected luxuries of a 6* properties’ spa including an incredible 360 degree water view from the upstairs waiting area. But an underwater spa? Huvafen Fushi boasted it has built the first underwater spa in the world. This lure was, in fact, the primary reason for my long pilgrimage to this island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Please, I thought. An underwater spa. Is that even possible??

After soaking up the rays on the glorious semi-enclosed deck starring off into the endless turquoise blue water as I wait for my masseuse, I descend a steep stairwell dimly illuminated by tiny floor lights to guide my way. At the bottom I emerge into a room completely submerged underwater. Five walls of glass – including a glass floor – and decadent cushioned white surroundings. Best of all, there are fish and coral everywhere. Imagine a plush version of the underwater viewing tanks at a world-class aquarium complete with your own personal masseuse. I sink into the most comfortable treatment table I’ve ever experienced, the lights dim and the private marine show begins. The massage was the just the icing on the cake.

 

Destination Spas:

Aquum Spa – Huvafen Fushi, Maldives

Boasting the world’s first underwater spa, Lime Spa has 6 over-water treatment rooms, each with its own glass floor. Lime Spa fittingly and deliciously incorporates all lime elements in your treatments from steaming lime mineral poultice exfoliation to a conditioning lime hair mask.  Pure lime bliss. www.huvafenfushi.com

Chiva-som – Hua Hin, Thailand

Probably the most famous destination spa, Chiva-Som still remains at the forefront of revolutionary spa philosophy promoting a healthier way of life through blending traditional and contemporary therapies, exercises and classes. This is the place to get a new lease on life in the most regimented or relaxed way. The food alone is inspirational – produce from the resort’s own organic garden and prepared by Thai international master chefs. www.chivasom.com

Ananda Spa – Himalayas, India

Your husband a prospective climber of Mount Everest? Just tell him, “Meet me at the bottom dear.” Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the very region that gave birth to Ayurveda, is India’s only lifestyle destination spa. Combine their traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda while breathing in the fresh mountain air and drinking clear Himalayan spring water overlooking the holy River Ganges. www.anandaspa.com

Blue Lagoon – Iceland

Brave the cold and you are in for a real treat. Ever wonder why Eskimos have such flawless skin? Perhaps it’s the geothermal conglomeration of salt, silica and algae offered in their native extreme environment in Iceland. Submerge in Blue Lagoon’s steamy water and experience a world of healing power, wellness and beauty. www.bluelagoon.is

Amansara – Angkor, Cambodia

Spaing at Amansara can be a deeply religious experience. In the “Spiritual Cleansing’ ritual, monks chant as your spirit is purified with water blessings. To absorb the full effect of your surroundings, take the ten minute daily trek to the vast ruins and temples of Angkor – fascinating stone carvings that represent the culmination of five centuries of Khmer civilisation. The spa itself provides a tranquil refuge room featuring glass walls overlooking a reflection pool backed by a 43 meter Angkor-inspired sandstone bas relief. www.amanresorts.com

New Age Spas:

Camp Psyc – Parker Palm Springs Hotel, California

This gorgeous new age spa opened last year catering to LAers who loved the idea of a yoga and fitness retreat, but didn’t want to take it all too seriously. Their manifesto sums up the spa’s philosophy, “We believe in the American country club experience, mixed doubles, a long steam and a stiff cocktail.” Set in 5 acres of perfectly manicured Palm Springs grounds in the middle of the mountain-ringed desert, Camp Psyc offers 4 day ‘camps for adults’ mixing salsa and pole-dancing with yoga and pilates. Their spa provides Hollywood-style treatments like the Rock Star Rub Down and the Foot Fetish Pedicure in groovy modern seventies-designed interiors. Not a shock that Teri Hatcher and Brad and Angelina are fans. www.theparkerpalmsprings.com

Red Mountain Spa – St. George, Utah

Detox is the new spa buzzword. People are turning to spas not only to indulge and relax, but also to lose weight, stop smoking/drinking, de-stress and generally detox. Amidst magnificent views of the surrounding red rocks and canyons Utah is famous for, Sagestone Spa is modern design meets soothing desert setting and is all about DETOX. Sagestone Signature Treatments craft Arizona desert botanicals with mineral rich Utah muds, clays and salts to achieve indigenous pampering experiences. For the really committed detoxers, Red Mountain Spa dedicates 14 weeks each year to a program in which guests supplement body treatments and exercise with amino-acid-rich smoothies. www.redmountainspa.com

Hilton d’Evian Les Bains – Les Bains, France

The ultra groovy and modern Buddha Spa, just opened, uses 100% natural petrochemical free Buddhattitude range with Tibetan Ayurvedic Skin Care line formulated for each dosha. Craving the treatment once you return home – the products will soon be available online at www.buddha-bar.com

The Farm at San Benito – Batangas, Philippines

Nominated for the Best Alternative Health Centre by the Spa Asia Crystal Awards, The Farm accommodates all budgets. Considered one of the premier centres for education and health in Asia, The Farm takes a total approach to promoting a healthier lifestyle. Their team of experts from numerous healing modalities includes medical doctors, massage and bodywork therapists, living food chefs, fitness consultants, colonic therapists, meditation teachers and organic gardeners to assist you on your journey to healing and total health. www.thefarm.com.ph

The Standard – Miami Beach, Florida

The point of this Miami Beach Spa is social – not to get away but, instead, to get together. This truly innovative, modern and very sexy spa exceeds even Miami Beach’s version of shock therapy. Picture a claw foot bathtub sitting steps away from the beach promenade – and YOU in it slathered in coloured clay applied by a friend who soaks in the totally exposed outdoor tub right next to you! Welcome to The Standard Spa located smack on the edge of Island Avenue where water treatments are available indoor or out. Please leave your modesty at the door. www.standardhotel.com

Resort Spas:

Evason Hideaway & Six Senses Spa –
Ana Mandara, Vietnam

Accessible only by boat, this Evason Hideaway spa sits amongst lush vegetation in Ninh Van Bay and is a true feast for the senses. The tranquillity of the jungle coupled with the rhythm of the water produces absolute serenity before your treatment even begins. Six Senses Spas are renowned for their quest to balance the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell – all will be catered to, rejuvenated and returned to equilibrium by the end of your signature holistic treatment. www.sixsenses.com Also, this month the new Six Senses Erawan Spa on Phuket opens – dubbed as the premier destination spa for the 21st century!

Pangkor Laut Resort – Pangkor Laut Island, Malaysia

This privately-owned island spa was ahead of its time when it opened its Spa Village three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia along the Straits of Malacca. The village consists of specialty built sea structures that stand elegantly on stilts over water which house an extensive range of Malay, Chinese and Ayurvedic remedies. 22 divinely appointed Spa Villas are situated over the sea offering all-too-convenient direct access to the Spa Village. If you intend to take full advantage of the Spa, book a Spa Villa. www.pangkorlautresort.com

Jnane Tamsna – Morocco, Africa

Find refuge from the maze-like medina in the Palmeraie area at Jnane Tamsna. The exterior environment is bleak and dusty until you enter the gates of the hotel when suddenly nature is abound with 9 acres of lavender beds, olive and citrus trees, jasmine and white bougainvillea. With only 24 bedrooms, an eclectic and domestic mood prevails. InSpa Retreats, an independent company which chooses exotic locations to take over hotels for a week, chooses Jnane Tamsna to host its health programs regularly. InSpa brings together a team of experts in massage therapy, nutrition, yoga, and personal training to ensure maximum benefits of weight loss, stress relief and a general heightened sense of well-being. www.jnanetamsna.com

Anassa – Cyprus, Greece

Water therapy set fittingly amidst the azure blue Mediterranean, Anassa is all about blue. Its palatial Roman-style Thalasso Spa in Cyprus has everything themed with water or viewing the water. And why not?  The blues are so beautiful they’ll inspire you to exercise. This new concept spa offers a Thalasso program, holistic and therapeutic lifestyle consulting, acupuncture, and all-natural Organic Pharmacy treatments using local produce. Retreats and detox programs range from 4-10 days. www.thanohotels.com

Puri Wulandari Resort and Spa – Ubud, Indonesia

Ubud is still synonymous with peaceful seclusion. Each luxurious villa comes with its own mediation pavilion and infinity pool overlooking the Ayung River and hillside of bright green patties to contemplate your next spa treatment. The Lila Ulangun Spa utilises ancient Indonesian rituals during which you’ll be covered in a traditional batik wrap. Lull yourself into a state of calm while breathing in Balinese aromatic oils of flowers and spices. www.puriwulandari.com

Urban Hotel Spas:

Club on the Park at Park Hyatt – Tokyo, Japan

Club on the Park covers 1000 square meters over 2 floors and is considered one of the city’s most alluring spas. This is a beauty centre pure and simple. The Park Hyatt has dry and wet saunas, massage rooms, 20 meter swimming pool, a cold plunge pool and whirlpool as well as offering classic body treatments including Shiatsu massage and aromatherapy facials. Enjoy this oasis of calm above the bustle of the city below. After your pampering, hit the gym which commands 47th floor sweeping views of Mt. Fuji. www.parkhyatttokyo.com

The Peninsula – Chicago, U.S.A.

Recently redone and awarded the #1 hotel in America, this 15,000 square foot spa and fitness facility dominates the top two floors of this Chicago high rise overlooking the famed ‘Magnificent Mile.’ The highlight here may be the equally magnificent pools – indoor and outdoor pool decks, a Jacuzzi and 25 meter lap pool – half an Olympic length. www.peninsula.com

Intercontinental Hong Kong – Hong Kong, China

This iconic waterfront hotel boasts an equally impressive spa that capitalises on the ancient Chinese principles of feng shui – balancing the yin and yang to create balance in the mind and body. Feng shui aims to balance the 5 basic elements of life which are cleverly represented in the 5 original green granite rooms of the spa. For a truly Zen-like spa experience, this is the place. www.intercontinental.com

 

EDGE GOLD LIST

Top 10 Australian Spas

  1. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
    Tallebudgera Valley, Queensland
    Aiming to promote a healthier lifestyle, Gwinganna allows guests to regroup and refocus with guidance. While eating organic foods in a regimented schedule, this health retreat offers a wide selection of activities from Qi Gong instruction to deep water running to high ropes course workshops – all designed to encourage your newfound outlook on fitness and nutrition. (Read more on Gary’s Travel Diary below.) www.gwinganna.com
  2. The Empire Retreat
    Margaret River, Western Australia
    Set amongst the breathtaking scenery of the South Western Margaret River wine region, this bush retreat’s spa is founded upon three concepts: wholeness, purity and radiance. Try the Empire Hot Rock Massage to melt away your stress and tension. But be sure to book in advance of your arrival or you’ll miss out as despite only having 10 hotel rooms, the spa is unable to accommodate the number of requests it receives. Pamper, relax, then go exploring the nearby vineyards. www.worldofempire.com
  3. Qualia
    Hamilton Island
    , Queensland

    In the glorious Great Barrier Reef island chain of the Whitsundays, the recently opened Qualia sets a new standard for Australian luxury accommodation. Qualia, meaning ‘deeper sensory experience,’ expresses the essence of their Spa’s philosophy. The six room spa features Roman baths for ultimate indulgence and a state-of-the-art gym. www.qualia.com.au

  4. Seven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge
    Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
    In Aboriginal country on the Cobourg Peninsula, the most northern tip of the Northern Territory near Darwin, the lodge and spa sit amongst the pristine wilderness of Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. Just because you are in the remote wilderness, doesn’t mean you can’t experience 5* pampering. Let the Wellbeing Spa beautify you after a day of rugged adventure of 4WD wetland safaris and sport fishing. www.sevenspiritbay.com
  5. Aquarius Roman Baths
    Launceston, Tasmania
    Although only a day spa, the Tasmanian Aquarius Baths are worth the trip if nothing else than to feel like a goddess from Roman days of yore luxuriating among the artwork and fine Italian marble. Get ready to perspire – you begin in the 54 degree hot room, then move to a 68 degree room, followed by the final sweat session at 80 degrees. Cool drink anyone? www.romanbath.com.au
  6. Lizard Island Resort
    Lizard Island
    , Queensland

    A Voyages property and Australia’s northernmost Great Barrier Reef resort, internationally renowned snorkelling and scuba diving is expected. But the resort also caters to non-fish enthusiasts with its Azure Spa. The Spa offers a range of treatments that blend ancient secrets and essential elements to provide total harmony between health, beauty and nature. www.lizardisland.com.au

  7. Gaia Retreat & Spa
    Bangalow, New South Wales
    Owned by the eternally youthful and glowing Olivia Newton John, this health retreat represents her well promoting a fountain of youth. Located in the rolling green hills of the Byron Bay Hinterland, Gaia Retreat & Spa is all about choice. Guests are encouraged to design their own personal experience – whether it be a vigorous lifestyle revamp or a peaceful and tranquil getaway of meditation and relaxing treatments at their Amala Day Spa. www.gaiaretreat.com.au
  8. Palazzo Versace Hotel
    Gold Coast, Queensland
    There will be no mistaking where you are as the Versace logo is imprinted literally everywhere. Their Salus Per Aquum Spa is clearly European-inspired with Romanesque tiled baths. Treatments offered include beauty, health, fitness, massage and hair styling. www.palazzoversace.com
  9. Golden Door Health Retreat – Elysia
    Hunter Valley, New South Wales

    Easy driving distance from Sydney, Elysia lies within the charming Hunter Valley vineyard area with magnificent views of the Brokenback Mountain Range from all the villas. Golden Door’s largest and most health-focused spa, and supposedly the only world-class purpose built health retreat in Australia, is a step above the rest in this country. Try the famous 5 Day Program designed to refurbish your entire lifestyle. (Read more about Golden Door Elysia in Rocky’s travel diary below.) www.goldendoor.com.au

  10. Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa
    Daintree, Queensland

    Daintree Eco Lodge is located 90 minutes north of Cairns airport deep in the lush tropical rainforest. Rated the World’s Best Eco Spa in 2006, Daintree Spa restores your total well-being. The rainforest Aboriginal people dubbed this place ‘Wawu-karrba’ meaning ‘to heal the spirit.’ The Spa embodies this concept and integrates the wisdom of the Aboriginal’s ancient healing medicines and natural forces.
    www.daintree-ecolodge.com.au

 

EDGE TRAVEL

Gary’s Travel Diary on
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Who would believe I would wish to rise at the crack of dawn while on holiday? This is how my ‘restful’ 5-day break at Gwinganna began each morning. Let me take you through a typical day at Gwinganna – a health retreat in Queensland I initially resisted but came to fully appreciate….

At 5:30 am a pleasant voice would knock on the door to give my wife and I time to get ready for the 6 am Tai Chi class on the grassy knoll as the sun rose. At 6:30 am we were given the choice of a tougher walk or easier option.  The walks always involved climbing and beautiful views from different angles at the top of Mt. Gwinganna. Ravenous by now, breakfast was served at 8 am but not until we had our ‘shot’ of apple cider vinegar.  A coffee is usually the way I begin my breakfast!

After a healthy breakfast, the 9 am stretch class began followed by our choice of a fitness class or mind and body class.  By 11 am I was ready for morning tea which included either a delicious fresh fruit juice or a small piece of cake – organic and gluten free of course! (I will concede that whatever we were given, it always tasted delicious.) Now it was time to put our feet up, sit back and sip one of the herbal teas while listening to one of the 4 lectures. My favourite talk involved a lecture on movement.

Lunch was something I looked forward to each day.  There were at least 3 to 4 salads to choose from as well as a protein option.  Coffee is still forbidden and by day 2, I am desperately wanting a cup…

The afternoon is spent in ‘dreamtime’.  I had my daily massage or reflexology and spent the rest of the time reading a book at the side of the 25 meter heated pool or in the sauna. These afternoons energised me instilling optimism for the next days’ challenges.

As 6:45 pm approaches, I’m well and truly ready to tuck into a hearty dinner.  Each night we were served the most beautifully prepared and tasty meals surrounded by good company and interesting people whom I got to know over the 4 days.

As day 3 approaches, I suddenly find myself full of energy. I always considered myself fit and healthy, but today I realise how good I can actually feel following this regimented food and exercise routine. Much to my delight, this energised feeling continued for the remainder of my stay.

Although eager to return home to our kids, I leave Gwinganna revitalised and intent to apply the lessons learned to my everyday life. Who knows, with the encouragement of my gorgeous wife, I may even return to tackle the advanced program.

Rocky’s Travel Diary on
Golden Door Hunter Valley

Earlier this year I travelled to the Golden Door Hunter Valley for a 40th birthday celebration with 40 other 40-year olds.  Most of us had been to the Golden Door in the Gold Coast Hinterland and loved the experience – but we were all blown away by the level of accommodation in the Hunter Valley. The rooms have heavenly king beds with marble ensuite bathrooms and there are two bedrooms per apartment that each open into a beautiful lounge with modern furniture and balconies with wonderful views over the valley. The exercise options are inspiring and the Health and Wellness Seminars provide even the healthiest guests with something new to think about and adopt into their lifestyle. The food is wonderfully fresh and clean as well as delicious and interesting, and the spa treatments are world-class. I personally loved waking early for Tai Chi, followed by a vigorous hike and breakfast. I then would take advantage of as many different forms of exercise as possible before having treatments in the afternoon and then swimming laps and sitting in the steam room before dinner. Other guests would choose to spend time relaxing by the pool or taking advantage of the wonderful golf in the area. The Golden Door caters to everyone’s needs and individual goals no matter how diverse they are. You’ll leave feeling completely alive and invigorated.

 

CRUISE NEWS

Orion Indulgent Experiences

Exclusive Offer for Edge Clients:

Book a 2008 Kimberly East & West Cruise departing either May 30th or August 18th and receive an Orion Expedition Massage Experience valued at $150.*

Choose from the following Massage Experiences:

Melanesian Magic – Inhale scents of tropical flowers, coconut oil and salt breezes as you enjoy an invigorating salt scrub followed by a full body massage using aloe vera gel. Next choose between a self-tan application or a hydrating facial mask. 90 minutes

Kimberley Radiance – Using traditional Australian essential oils and organic clays, this full body massage includes a heat pack to relieve aching muscles followed by a facial and neck massage while listening to the distinctive sounds of the Australian Outback. 90 minutes

New Zealand Wilderness – Begins with pressure point therapy to re-energise the body, followed by a full body massage and facial massage using kiwi fruit extracts to provide anti-oxidant and skin protection. 90 minutes

Antarctic Explorer – Lymphatic drainage full body massage using the cooling menthol scents of Antarctica followed by a reflexology treatment to strengthen your immune system. 90 minutes

Please contact your Executive Edge Cruise Consultant for further details.

*Terms and Conditions: Valid for new bookings only made prior to December 31st, 2007, newsletter offer only, valid for the first two guests travelling in the same stateroom/suite. All offers subject to change.