This past December was my second trip to the Dominican Republic
however my first trip is hazy at best. After a quick stay in the country’s capital, I headed north to the now well known Puerto Plata
along the coast. The trip was a bit of a blur because it was around the time of my divorce but what I do remember from that trip was a whole lot of reflection time on pristine beaches in the far northwest corner. I snorkeled, sunbathed, read novels, drank out of raw coconuts and ate a lot of fish. I barely remember a hotel since we had rented a little bungalow right on the beach – simple, authentic and about as close to sea salt and white sand as you can, with a simple hammock at the entrance. In fact, I slept on it a couple of nights and don’t remember coming home covered in mosquito bites. There are still simple and authentic beach stays in the country although tourism has grown substantially since I was last there as noted from our van drives, although after landing in historical Santo Domingo
in the center of the country, I spent most of my time in the…
Before Capri became famous, there was Ischia
: a volcanic island overlooking the stunning Bay of Naples
with views of Mount Vesuvius.
During Italy’s La Dolce Vita era, Ischia was the
destination for Italian film stars, royalty and the uber glamorous. The five-star L’Albergo di Regina Isabella Hotel and Health Spa
permanently secured its place in Ischia’s heyday. Inspired by the island’s healing thermal waters, the legendary Italian film producer Angelo Rizzoli had the vision to build a hotel where glamour and health blend seamlessly.
With a history of pleasing the world’s most refined (and sometimes demanding) guests, today the Regina Isabella doesn’t disappoint. I enjoyed every drop of La Dolce Vita that I experienced there, throughly enjoyed its relaxed seaside chic, and pinched myself while indulging in its Michelin-starred en plein air restaurant Indaco. The legendary spa with healing thermal waters and infused mud washed away every fiber of tension in my body. Days melted away and hours were counted by empty Prosecco bottles. The wonderful staff with their old world service spoiled me like never before. Within hours of my arrival, I was enchanted. And by the end of my stay, I understood why guests return here every summer – some…
Wellness and spa travelers will likely have heard of Mariánské Lázně
and its probably on their bucket list if they haven’t already been. Located outside Prague in the Bohemian countryside, it is world renowned for its abundance of natural medicinal sources with more than one hundred mineral springs within the wider vicinity of the town and around forty springs in the town itself. All these mineral springs are cold acidulous springs with temperatures between 7°C and 10°C and the springs differ in chemical composition, which obviously affects the impact it has on your body when drinking it, which btw, most of the people who go to this town, do for healing purposes. In other words, it’s part of the experience and why people show up!
You don’t need to be ill or have a medical condition to come to a spa town like this one, for there are plenty of traditional spa treatments you can experience, healthy food you can eat and serene walks you can take that will nourish your soul if you simply want to a little R&R. Meet Marienbad’s original spa experience, which is housed in the Danubius Health Spa Resort (original property)
up on a hill with…
If you’re planning to head to the Czech Republic
and hadn’t thought about venturing out of Prague
, then reconsider. Chateau Mcely
is an elegant and luxurious five-star castle/eco-chic hotel nestled in the countryside about an hour’s drive from the center of Prague. To get there, you’ll drive through rural Czech countryside and small villages, with old stone barns that look like they haven’t been renovated since they were built. In other words, when you arrive, you’ll feel like you’re a lifetime away from the city and from anywhere you’ve ever experienced. I think the spot is ideal for a romantic getaway quite frankly but if you are solo and want a hidden gem that is quiet, relaxing and meditative, then this is a great choice as well, especially given their picturesque pond and separate spa building where you can escape to heaven for a few hours.
The interior is furnished a bit like a castle but using modern decor with soft romantic colors and if you’re someone who loves attention to detail, you’ll love this gem of a find. Meticulous every step of the way, you’ll find a creative discovery at every turn, all of which are extended into their 24…
If you don’t know much about medical spas, then you may not know how they differ from traditional spas. In Eastern Europe, medical spas have been around for many years and in some countries, the government even pays for a chunk of it if a doctor prescribes it necessary, the Czech Republic being one of those. Two of the most well known spa towns in the Czech Republic are in Bohemia, and less than a two hour drive from Prague, a must visit if you love nature and are open to alternative health practices. Even if you don’t have an illness (no one in our small group did)
, the towns of Karlovy Vary
and Mariánské Lázně
are so storybook picturesque and serene that your body, mind and spirit will thank you later. People flock to Karlovy Vary (also known as Carlsbad) for their thermal springs and spas which are often attached to all inclusive
luxe hotels. Luxury wasn’t always a thing in this region however a few properties used to be popular with the Russian political intelligentsia, such as Hotel Imperial Spa & Health Club
, which is nestled in the stunning mountains above Karlovy Vary.
I wrote about the Imperial Hotel
in the Czech Republic countryside as a great wellness stay and loved my experience in this awe-inspiring castle-like property in the mountains surrounding Karlovy Vary
. Since the hotel has such an expansive spa that specializes in both traditional spa therapy and medical spa treatments, I wanted to cover their philosophy, services and program offerings in more depth. Imperial is known for their health-oriented programs that specialize in digestive and musculoskeletal system and metabolic disorders. On-site, they have a 24 hour nurse, one dietician, seven doctors, six physiotherapists, eight masseurs, and three lifeguards. The hotel provides over 100 medical interventions and procedures in a 1.600 meter area. Spa treatments use local natural medicinal sources, which are supplemented by medical rehabilitation, physical and exercise therapy, health education, diet and wellness programs. And, of course, let’s not forget about the incredible healing thermal waters in the area they will encourage you to drink daily as part of your stay.
One of the most natural medicinal resources in the area is Spring Vřídlo, which gets cooled down to 50 ° C and is available to guests for drinking right on the premises. You can find it on
Less than ten minutes walk from Charles Bridge
, you’ll find Prague’s Mandarin Hotel
on a secluded back street with a majestic entrance, at least for old town Prague. What makes it so wondrous leading up to it could be because this luxurious hotel is built on the site of a former 14th-century monastery. Spices,
their upscale Asian-inspired restaurant is on-site where you can sit indoors or outdoors depending on the weather. We included Spices
in our Ultimate Food Guide to Prague
, so be sure to check it. If you’re a foodie, you might just book a flight to Prague based on the scrumptious photos alone.
Prague hasn’t always been this luxe, but every year, it seems to add more upscale options for travelers and the Mandarin should be one of those stops on your pampering list, whether that means staying in one of their chic rooms or suites, dining at Spices or booking a spa treatment. Their rooms (and the hotel lobby and lounge areas), all have plush furnishings, the rooms have private limestone bathrooms with heated floors and some rooms add terraces, monastery garden or castle views. Suites feature lavish decor and accents such as
Set in a landmark Victorian mansion on 40 acres of waterfront, Newport’s Castle Inn
is 1.3 miles from Brenton Point State Park
and boasts breathtaking views of the ocean on all sides. What’s nice is that the property is on the outskirts of town, so it oozes with tranquility and serenity inside and out. Outside, it’s about as majestic as it gets and during warmer months, you can dine on the patio or simply have drinks.
This upscale traditional boutique property has rooms in the mansion as well as beach houses and cottages with kitchenettes. Amenities vary, but may include fireplaces, ocean views and/or 2-person soaking tubs. Full breakfast and afternoon tea are complimentary. Oh so decadent! Also part of the property and an integral part of its luxurious offerings is their spa, The Retreat at Castle Hill,
which uses all natural Farmaesthetics
Farmaesthetics founder Brenda Brock started selling her skincare products in 1999 at an organic farmstand in rural Rhode Island. A noted trailblazer in “green” and herbal skincare, her traditional herbal recipes retain 100% natural status and apparently compare in effectiveness with leading dermatological brands and today, are being sold across…
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