Rasul Spa Wellness Treatment – Ancient Bathing Rite, Sets New Health Trend

Rasul thermal mud treatments date back hundreds of years being a traditional Arabian inspired cleansing/bathing ritual, much like the Scandinavians enjoy their health-giving saunas or the Turkish that have indulged in their traditional Turkish baths for centuries. The Rasul however, combines the health enhancing properties of heat, steam and mineral rich mud for a totally relaxing and skin conditioning treatment.  This traditional, well-being practice targets all five senses in a mosaic tiled chamber, that will leave you feeling relaxed, cleansed and invigorated. This is the latest wellness spa treatment to offered by The Spa at Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda in Lagos, Algarve Portugal.

This is a self-applying treatment that takes you through a number of steps, the first being to shower and wash your hair, then exfoliate your body to remove all the dead skin and enable the minerals in the mud to impart their nutrients deep into your skin and hair.

The fun part comes next where you smother yourself and your friends or partner in special mineral rich mud. You can take a Rasul by yourself, but more commonly they are a ritual enjoyed by 2 to 4 people. About 2 big scoops of your chosen mud are needed which you need to smear all over yourself and/or your companions not forgetting your face and hair! Then just relax in the steam of the Rasul for approx. 25 minutes and let the mud go to work.

When the body is exposed to heat, the blood supply to the skin is increased and heat is lost through perspiration. This helps your body rid itself of toxins, impurities and sebum (skin oil) through sweating. This is absorbed into the mud, whilst the heat enlarges pores which helps your skin absorb the essential oils in the mud leaving it feeling plumped, smooth and soft. Perspiration also helps the body regulate body temperature and keeps our circulatory system running smoothly.

The combined effects of heat, sweating and water can reduce the feeling of stress in most people and the relaxing effects can promote hormonal change to take place within the body resulting in the suppression of stress hormones. It can also reduce muscle spasm, relieve inflammation and balance blood pressure by the narrowing and dilation of blood vessels, alleviate eczema and psoriasis and improve the complexion.

The metabolic effects of a Rasul spa treatment have a positive influence as negative ions are released in the process which increase your feeling of well-being as well as the social aspect of enjoying the spa treatment with friends or your partner, which increases our feelings of happiness. All you have to do, is sit back and relax whilst your body purifies itself and the essential oils in the mud are absorbed.

When the mud is dry, shower in warm water to remove the mud and then turn to cool as this will help close your pores, help your body cool down after the heat treatment and let your blood pressure to return to near normal. Just dry yourself off and feel how soft and smooth your skin is now.

Now all that remains is to relax for a while on a lounger with a cool glass of water until your pulse and temperature have returned to normal and enjoy the sensation of feeling completely and utterly at peace. It’s important when taking a Rasul spa treatment to drink lots of water to re-hydrate your body and replenish the fluid that has been lost by sweating.

Here at Vivenda Miranda, we always recommend finishing your relaxing Rasul by indulging in a Swedish massage with coconut oil that will leave you in seventh heaven. This is just one of a range of indulgent, health and well-being treatments you can enjoy whilst staying as our guest on a wellness holiday or just visiting Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda as an outside client. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Food Travel & Fine Dining Hotels for Foodies

Travellers are increasingly looking for authentic travel experiences and the food of the region enables them to better understand and get a feeling for the culture of the destinations they visit. The travel boom in recent times has led to an increasing familiarity with different food cultures and a willingness to try new foods and ingredients that were previously viewed as exotic or unusual.

But food tourism comes in many guises and price ranges. Of course, there are those holidays which will take you to a culinary hotspot to learn to cook the food of the region, or on course where your diet will be restricted to certain food groups, normally for health reasons. Some foodie travellers will choose a destination where they can experience street food or dine with the locals. But much more commonly gastronomy tourists choose their hotel and destination by the type and quality of food and drink they can enjoy whilst they are staying there.

Everyone looks for something different in their holidays and for many, food and drink is a very big influencer. So, with the popularity of good food ever on the increase more and more people are looking to stay at hotels where they can indulge in the type of food that delights them.

Portugal is a less-known food and drink paradise and although its coastline meets the Atlantic Ocean, its food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean style cooking. Each region champions its own dishes using ingredients that are locally available and recipes that have been passed down through the generations.

The popular Algarve region of Portugal has many local specialities some of which are enjoyed throughout Portugal. Although as you would expect, there is a plethora of fish and seafood of all kinds most of which are served simply grilled with boiled potatoes and salad.

Some of the most popular traditional Algarvian dishes are:

 “Cataplana” a Moorish influenced dish which uses a clam shaped copper pan to cook clams or a mix of fish and seafood, with spicy sausage, tomatoes, wine, garlic and herbs. One of the best places to experience this is in the Mirandus Restaurant at Vivenda Miranda. This stunning dish will be served to your table in a traditional copper pan bursting with flavour whilst you relax and enjoy delicious ambience of your location.

 “Feijoada” is a thick bean stew with pork, bacon and sausage which originally came from Brazil and is commonly eaten in many Portuguese homes.

“Bacalhau” is probably one of the most traditional dishes that you’ll find in the Algarve. It is dried salt-cod, preserved in the same way as it was in the days of the great sea voyages of the Portuguese Discoveries.

“Frango piri-piri” is the world renowned piri-piri chicken, made famous by a certain chain of chicken restaurants, but each Algarve eatery will have its own traditional recipe. This spicy chicken features the bright red piri-piri chilli pepper, which is used to spice up many Portuguese dishes and is even used as a condiment too.

“Frango no churrasco” or barbequed chicken is a big favourite in Portugal as with an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year, and great all year-round weather there is a big tradition of outside cooking.  The sister hotel to Vivenda Miranda, the country house Quinta das Barradas which lies in the countryside of the Alvor valley just a few kilometres outside of Lagos, hosts weekly “Churrasco” barbeques during the summer months. This is the ideal opportunity to taste the real flavours of a proper Portuguese barbeque which showcases the meats, fish, salads and vegetables of the locality in the lovely gardens of this beautiful rural setting. A truly authentic food experience.

You will find that the house’ wine “vinho da casa” in Portugal is usually local, great quality and good value. You can choose either “branco” white, “tinto” red or rosé which is the same in both languages. But unique to Portugal is “vinho verde” a young, green wine which is slightly sparkling and lower in alcohol so it provides a refreshing, lighter alternative. But the Algarve also produces its own wine mostly from the areas of Lagoa, Portimão and Tavira. You will find a great selection of the very finest local Algarvian wine served in the Mirandus Restaurant at Vivenda Miranda where you can enjoy wine paring and recommendations from our knowledgeable wine waiters.

Portugal also is famed for some of its pastries and desserts and you cannot leave without having tried the pasties de nata or Portuguese custard tart. These are simply divine! If you add to your tasting list the pudim flan or crème caramel, tarte de amêndoa, almond tart you will be in dessert heaven. Many of Portuguese desserts use local, seasonal fruits and produce such as figs, almonds, citrus fruits, honey and the amazing, low calorie chocolate replacement, carob!  At the Mirandus Restaurant you will find that carob inspired desserts will regularly feature on the menu such as well as some delicious desserts that are low in sugar and vegan friendly!

So, why not come, stay a while and discover some of the best flavours the region has to offer amidst the natural beauty of the Algarve at the Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda!

Destination Weddings – Portugal Weddings are High on the List!

While traditional weddings may hold meaning for many couples who wish to follow their traditions and cultures, and that is just fine if that is what you want. But who hasn’t fantasised about a dream wedding in a romantic wedding destination far from the madding crowd?

Getting married is truly one of the most personal and important days of your life, and it shouldn’t be tainted by pressure to have a traditional wedding. Unless that is what you want of course. The world is your oyster and you can tie the knot almost anywhere your heart desires! But mother nature has everything covered at Vivenda Miranda as it is so breathtakingly beautiful, you just can’t go wrong!

There are many benefits of marrying abroad and here are just a few:

When you have a traditional wedding, you are often under pressure to invite distant relatives that you rarely see or extended friends or work colleagues that you feel you can’t leave out. But with a destination wedding, as it may take hours to travel there and will need much more effort and expenditure from your guests to be there, it’s going to rule out those who are not so close! So, you will be surrounded by the most important people in your lives. You can always throw a post wedding party when you return home so no-one feels left out if you feel the need.

As your destination wedding will normally take place during holiday or vacation time, and you usually need to arrive a few days earlier to complete the paperwork, you get to spend some quality time with your closest family and friends as you prepare to celebrate one of the most important days of your lives.

Often parents will have their own ideas as to how your wedding should be. But with a destination wedding you are in control. After all, your wedding is all about the both of you an what you want, so this is an ideal way of avoiding much of the stress and drama that could otherwise be involved!

A destination wedding, keeps it all so simple! The only thing you really have to do is choose a place, your dates and flights; everything else can be arranged by your wedding hotel. Many hotels such as Vivenda Miranda, have their own in-house wedding planner and offer wedding packages that include everything you could possibly want. Alternatively, you could hire your own wedding planner to take care of everything so you can relax and enjoy the whole experience. All you have to do is be there! There is a big reason that destination weddings are becoming ever more popular and that is less stress!

Often a destination wedding is cheaper than you think! A smaller guest list means less people for you to feed and provide drinks for. And many destination wedding packages can provide you with a selection that combines everything you could ever want. The affordability of a destination wedding in comparison to the often, rocketing costs of a traditional wedding is a “no brainer” for many couples, and sees them jetting off without a second glance!

Many couples following a traditional wedding will want to fly away on their honeymoon to spend some much-needed time alone with their love one, where they can continue making memories that will last them all their days together. But with a destination wedding you are already there, with no last-minute rush, waiting around at the airport or hanging around on the days in-between waiting for your honeymoon to start! And many hotels will give you special packages and discounts for your honeymoon stay if you stage your wedding there.

They’re perfect for couples that have been married before and are perhaps marrying for the second or third time. One or both may have had a large traditional wedding before with all the bells and whistles, and this time want something more personal, simple and private. It will probably be much less expensive too!

Destination weddings are also very popular with LGBT couples. Often gay weddings are more relaxed and less entrenched in tradition. With a destination wedding in Portugal, couples can jet away in the full knowledge that there will be no legal impediments to their union and everything will run like clockwork, enabling them to enjoy the bespoke intimate wedding of their dreams.

 

Spa Holidays – Hotel, Resort, Destination or Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In today’s world the word spa used in the same sentence as a holiday or vacation is becoming increasingly familiar, although the different types of spa holidays and what they’re called is becoming ever more confusing. So, take care when choosing your well-earned break as you may not necessarily get what you were expecting!

To better explain the main differences, it helps to divide these descriptions into 2 main categories: Hotel or Resort Spas; and Destination/Health Spas, although the lines between these can still be a little blurred.

Hotel or Resort Spas

These are usually found in popular tourist destinations or large cities. At a hotel or resort spa, a big an emphasis is put on health and beauty and they excel at providing guests with individual spa treatments and services during their stay. (Which can normally be of any duration.)

They typically offer a range of facilities and treatments, (massage, facials & body treatments) normally with signature treatments that are unique to that particular spa Usually they have additional facilities such as steam rooms, saunas, fitness facilities, as well as a swimming pool. Some spa hotels offer regular exercise or fitness classes too, but this is not common, However, you may be able to hire a personal trainer or yoga teacher for private classes. At spa resort you will normally have a range of classes or other sports or activities to pursue too, such as golf, water sports, tennis etc.

The range of spa products is usually of a very high quality and often carefully chosen to represent the ethos and style of the property. Rooms here also tend to be high end and comfortable as it is all about rest and relaxation with a touch of luxury. You can also expect to find a fine dining restaurant but you won’t be restricted to a particular diet. The food will often reflect a healthy lifestyle but you will be able to enjoy the food and culture of the area with beers, wines and spirits of your choice.

This type of spa hotel or resort is perfect if you want to relax, unwind and enjoy some treatments and relaxation as part of your holiday without it to be the sole focus. Its also ideal for those traveling with friends or family that want to do other things….

Destination or Health Spas

A destination spa or health spa is normally where the sole purpose is to help you develop a healthy lifestyle through special diet with lots of exercise and relaxation treatments as well as therapies.

They’re places that generally have a spirit of camaraderie where you attend with like-minded people who share your interest in health or getting back to better health. Many have a small number of guests at any one time so you can get to know people, even if you go by yourself. Groups often go on hikes, take exercise classes, and share tables together and there is usually a high staff-to-guest ratio.

Prices at destination spas generally include all meals, classes and some spa treatments although some are provided for a supplement. Although they all have different personalities, and can vary widely in size, price, setting and programming, they generally share several traits.

Healthy food is served exclusively although it is not always organic and most don’t serve alcohol. However, there are different styles of menus. Some are geared towards weight loss, with restricted calories and strict portion control, others are orientated towards detoxing whilst some have an all-you-can-eat philosophy.

Destination or health spas often require that you stay at least three nights, and some even require a longer stay. They generally include a full programme of fitness, stress reduction or well-being classes as well as therapeutic spa treatments. Most will also include coaching or tuition so you can bring your healthy new habits home.

All in all, these are the ideal places to go if you want to focus on a particular issue or health problem in a discrete supportive adult environment. Here you will be surrounded by like-minded people and skilled therapists or clinicians in a place where you will be supported to make positive long-term changes to your habits, health and wellness.

Spa hotel Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda

Vivenda Miranda is a perfect example of a small spa hotel. With just 24 rooms/suites, all are individually decorated in a bold colourful style by the resident interior designer Christina.

The newly refurbished fine dining Mirandus Restaurant serves a selection healthy and indulgent dishes created by talented resident chef Hugo, with an emphasis on seasonal, local organic produce when possible. There is also a good selection of vegetarian and vegan choices as well as fine wines and spirits of the region. The restaurant’s piece da resistance however is its beautiful dining terrace where you can take in stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean whilst enjoying your breakfast, lunch or dinner or perhaps sampling a cheeky little cocktail or glass of bubbly!

The intimate Spa is managed by the experienced treatment maestro Sharon, and uses world-leading ethical, organic and award-winning Neal’s Yard Remedies products in all its body treatments, and the vegan brand, Maggie Ann for its nail polishes. Under Sharon’s leadership, its experienced therapists provide signature treatments and a range of relaxing and health enhancing therapies in one of the three stylish, atmospheric treatment rooms. The spa also features a sauna, steam room, heated loungers and outdoor pool to complete your relaxation experience.

Complimentary yoga classes are provided 3 times a week at the outdoor exercise area to guest of all abilities. So why not start the day gently stretching and breathing the fresh ocean air whilst taking in the incredible views? Additional individual classes can be organised for a supplement and there is also some exercise equipment that you can use if you want to keep up your exercise regime, rather than just completely relaxing and going with the flow……

Rainbow Hotels or Friendly Gay, LGBT Hotels

We all work hard for our money and when we go on holiday most of us want the same thing. To feel safe, be treated with respect, have some fun and enjoy some of the good things that life has to offer.

That is why Portugal is the perfect destination for everyone whatever their colour, creed or orientation. Here they have very tough laws against discrimination of all kinds and the people have a relaxed, friendly and all-embracing attitude.

(The laws are also very relaxed when it comes to overseas marriages of all genders, so it is an ideal place for a destination wedding!)

As a result of this Portugal is one of the safest European countries for the LGBT community to visit and is a world leader for LGBT and gay rights. Just to give you some examples, here are some dates for you:

1982    –           Gay activity legalised

2004    –           LGBT discrimination illegal

2007    –           Age of consent equalised

2010    –           Gay marriage legalised

2015    –           Gay adoption legalised

So, if you are a lover of sun, sea, surf, beaches, history and food and wine, you will find it in abundance in the Algarve. Lagos in particular is a lovely historic town, bursting with restaurants and bars of all kinds where you can sample the local food and wine of the area as well as sample some of the young and trendy healthy eateries. There is a lively nightlife too for those who like to party and it has a thriving gay scene.

The marina offers water activities of all kinds and there are many lovely natural features to explore such as the stunning Ponta da Piedade and the beautiful caves and grottos that lie beneath! Simply nature at it’s best.

This area is famed for it’s award winning beaches such as the Meia Praia which is a largely natural expanse of soft golden sand that at approx. 4.5 km long makes it one of the longest beaches in the Algarve. For those looking for a more intimate beach there is the Porta da Mόs or the small rocky coves of Praia Dona Ana, Do Camilo that are very close-by.

If you are the type that wants to explore the beauty of the region whilst staying in a beautiful, private and peaceful hotel the boutique hotel Vivenda Miranda is the perfect choice for you. This lovely historic building now tastefully refurbished sits on the clifftops above the Porto da Mόs beach with quiet secluded gardens, a private entry to the cliff walk down to the beach as well as the fine dining Mirandus Restaurant and intimate ethical, organic spa. It’s just a 5-minute taxi ride into the centre of busy Lagos, but a world away in terms of peace and quiet. Here you can relax and enjoy a little bit of paradise.