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……