Rising from the dunes, Bab Al Shams sits in Endurance City, along a sandswept road, past thoroughbred stables and camel farms some 40 minutes’ drive from Dubai. Meaning ‘gateway to the sun’ in Arabic, Bab Al Shams offers guests an array of activities for exploring the surrounding desert, from falconry, to camel treks to dune drives.
Another five minutes…? The sing song voice of my therapist Pema drifts into my cubicle. ‘Why not…’ I murmur in return. A small river of droplets slip from the bridge of my nose, forming a miniature pool at my feet. I sit in my own personal steam cubicle, contemplating how quickly the minutes have already passed. I am beginning an afternoon of therapy, having signed up for a traditional Turkish hamman, followed by a signature Arabian massage at the newly relaunched spa at Anantara the Palm
Capri is enchanting – an island of blue grottos, limestone cliffs dotted with wild flower, crystal clear coves and colossal turquoise skies – a world apart. This wildly romantic paradise has welcomed auteurs and their muses from Godard and Bardot, to Shavelson and Loren. Perhaps it is the light. Or the island uniform of white linen paired with dark shades, that makes everyone appear to be a movie star. Whatever the secret is, more than a half a century later, this island retreat shines brighter than ever.
I adore the idea of stepping onto a little wooden boat and sailing away to my own private island for a few days of rest and relaxation. These three gorgeous spas offer the opportunity to float away from it all for a few precious hours. Should you choose to return, you will do so feeling rested and rejuvenated.
Why visit … I’ve always wanted to live in a home with a built in spa. Relax, unwind, then wander upstairs to sleep. Repeat. Since this was a little ambitious, even for me, I visited Amankora Thimphu a simple and elegant retreat set in a blue pine forest in the upper Thimphu Valley of Bhutan.
What I like most about InterContinental Dubai Marina is the gorgeous scent. From the second you step into the hotel until the moment you leave, the calming, signature fragrance envelopes you. It is so good, it almost makes you want to move in. And move in you can, for the hotel has 196 Residential Suites hidden away, perfect for the discerning guest seeking rest and relaxation. You could while away your days at the pool, your evenings drinking bespoke cocktails or bubbles at The Social Room, or take up residency in the spa. I was not allowed to move in permanently however, so I just opted to stay for the afternoon.
Why visit … Just a short flight away from Dubai, the Himalayan nation of Nepal is a beautiful and inspirational destination. Home to historical sites and some of the world’s most breath-taking natural landscapes, Nepal is ready to welcome tourists following the devastating earthquake in April 2015. I recommend a twin center- immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Kathamandu, then head to the mountains to Dwarika’s Dhulikhel Himalayan Shangri-La for some rest and relaxation.