Posts Tagged: Luxury Spa

Jan 12

Time out at the Titanic Spa

Eager to keep-up with my new keep-fit philosophy to eat blueberry pancakes, learn to not humiliate myself at Zumba, and to spa as often as possible, I decided to keep my January motivation going with a bit of guilt-free pampering – much better than calorie-counting and carrot sticks. Sadly, I don’t have the fabulous Canyon Ranch on my doorstep but what I do have, less than an hour away from me, tucked away on the edge of the Pennines in the pretty little mill town of Huddersfield, is one of the UK’s leading eco-friendly retreats, The Titanic Spa.











Upon at arrival at the handsome old mill, the elegant lobby was brimming with well-to-do ladies swanning around in cosy chocolate-coloured bathrobes. Happily, and much to the relief of my spa-shy husband, there were a few men bobbing about too, hairy legs unashamedly on show. I had a quick nose to see if I could spot any celebrities – the cast of Corrie and North-West WAGs are known to regularly stop by – but today it seems to be mostly couples and mother and daughter teams cashing in on their Christmas presents. After quickly checking-in to our massive apartment (which could easily accommodate up to eight people), we threw on our bathrobes and rushed down to the soak up the spa facilities before our treatments. There was much to choose from but we opted to start our spa journey with a swim in the salt-regulated pool, filled from a natural spring a hundred metres below the building.


Post-swim, cobwebs blown away and once again bedecked in our superbly-soft bathrobes, we slipped over to the other side of the spa for our treatments. Unlike the pool area which is bursting with natural light, the treatment area is a serene sanctuary of subdued lighting, squishy seating areas and luxuriant rooms. The Titanic’s environmentally-friendly stance means that they only use skincare companies that share a similar ethos; Decleor, Elemis and Carita all make the cut, but we opted for to try the 100% natural and organic Pinks Boutique range. Now, I don’t want to cause any unnecessary envy but the treatments were wonderful. We were greeted by two genuinely warm, friendly and as it turned out extremely talented therapists who led us to the VIP suite. Here we blissed out for an hour, me with a heavenly facial that combined the perfect amount of head, neck and shoulder massage with aromatic face creams and a mask, and hubby with a massage of such skill that he slid off the table like a ribbon at the end of the session.


That would have been enough for the most slavish of sybarites but it seemed even more delicious spa treats lay in wait. So after a quick break over some champagne and chocolates it was time to tackle the Titanic’s signature Heat and Ice Experience. Here, we melted any lingering stresses as we moved between the penetrating heat of the Crystal steam room to the cooling Experience Shower, on to the Herbal Infusion hammam to a shriek-inducing cool down under an ice-cold bucket of water. Brrr… On we went to the sauna, saunarium, and aromatherapy room via the chilled plunge pool (which I wasn’t brave enough for but my part-penguin husband loved) to end our day in the Egyptian Mud Chamber.



We drew mud love hearts on each other (not really)


Stepping into our private hammam we were presented with what looked to be a bowl of ice-cream scoops and told to apply the various organic muds to our bodies. Each “scoop” worked on a different area with a white moisturising face mud, a clay-coloured body mud and a black exfoliating scrub mud for the legs. So there we were, in a steaming room, stripped bare, and rubbing sweet-smelling sludge on each – not your average Monday afternoon. After we had gotten over the hilarity of the situation, we did manage to relaxed into our intense twenty minute steam session. Whoa! it was hot (not in that way) and just when we thought we couldn’t take much more we were saved from collapsing in a naked muddy heap by a tropical rain shower bursting from the ceiling. Sweet relief and I have to say, I don’t think my skin has ever been left so soft following a treatment.





All that was left to do was change into some clothes and stop by the Titanic bistro. This was my one and only niggle, as after enjoying a flawless spa day it was a real shame that the food just didn’t live up to the same high standards. The menu items may well be all natural, organic and locally-sourced, with consideration given to vegetarians and vegans, but unfortunately it was also rather uninspired and lacking in flavour. The dining area itself is pleasant enough but it’s probably not a good idea to have an open show kitchen when microwaving is your main mode of culinary operations.


Apart from that one let down though, the Titanic Spa is fabulous and I would highly recommend it. The staff are as good as you would find in any five-star London Grande Dame, the spa and treatments exquisite and the apartments comfortable and relaxing.



 Titanic Spa, Huddersfield: Tel 0845 410 3333; ; Overnight Spa packages available for £109pp

Oct 11

Passport to the Stars: One Year On

It’s now been a year since I joined the Hello! blogging team with the Passport to the Stars blog and, oh my, what an exciting year it’s been. I kicked things off with a trip to the romantic Ritz-Carlton in Cancun and have closed my first twelve months with a trip to the stunning, star-filled La Residencia in Mallorca – look out for a super-glamorous post on this one soon! In between, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy celebrity-style stopovers everywhere from London to Hong Kong, to the Caribbean and the Cotswolds so, with so much to cover, I thought it would be fun to create a word cloud from Passport to the Stars’ entries to reflect the spirit of the blog one year on.

My word cloud was made using Wordle. It’s fab, isn’t it? I love the way it takes the text and turns the prominent words into a floaty, colourful visualisation of your work. I’ve picked some of the stand-outs to break down the best bits from the last year:



Hotel: Over the last year, Passport to the Stars has evolved to include a collection of luxe hotel reviews amongst the celebrity travel gossip. I’m regularly asked now which of these amazing hotels is my favourite and for me that’s as difficult as trying to pick your favourite child! I will always have a soft spot for The Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong though. I was brought up on the island and one of my favourite childhood days out involved popping on a pretty dress and  taking afternoon tea (and a milkshake) at the Clipper Lounge with my Mum. And many years on (I’m not telling you how many) it’s still one of my favourite things in the world to do.


Celebrity: Of course! It’s a celebrity travel blog, and this word was bound to have a prominent cloud position. All the lovely hotels I visited had plenty of celebrity callers, but it has to be The Dorchester with its eighty years of A-listers that wins for the highest and most prestigious star count.

Suites: My (made-up) award for best suite also goes to The Dorchester. During my visit I was upgraded to the beautiful Belgravia Suite and its elegant colonial decor and balcony overlooking Hyde Park had me positively swooning. This was also one of Elizabeth Taylor’s favourite hotels – and that lady knew how to travel in style, love it!











Spa: A visit to a luxury spa was once an occasional treat but has now become an integral part of my job – well, someone’s got to do it. I’ve become a real spa bunny and have to say that Britain has come up trumps with the most amazing new spa complexes. The light and lovely Spa at the Coworth Park (left) and the dark and decadent Blythswood Square Hotel Spa in Glasgow (right) both receive big shiny gold stars from me.








Romantic: The saying goes that “you’ve never lived until you’ve loved in Rome” and, having honeymooned at the Cavalieri, I can confirm that this is true. For its full-on romantic vibe and achingly beautiful view of the Eternal City, the Rome Cavalieri is my hotel of choice for starry-eyed lovers.



Beautiful: This is a tough one; Prague, Rome, Paris are all amazingly gorgeous destinations, and Barbados meets all the paradise island requirements but having just returned from the simply stunning La Residencia in Deia, Mallorca, I’m going to give them the prize for most scenic and serenely beautiful destination to this hillside haven of loveliness – just look at this view from my room!



So, I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog so far. These lucky celebrities love to travel so there’s plenty more to come! Look out for the lowdown on Vancouver, otherwise known as Hollywood North, and the filming location for the Twilight films, as well as a visit to the Mandarin Oriental Prague to see where the Hollywood movie moguls have been staying during the shoot of the new Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol movie. There’ll also be some winter sun from favourite celeb destinations Thailand, Dubai and the Maldives. Also, if you spot any A-list lovelies on your travels don’t forget to leave your comments or send me a wee Tweet on @passporttostars. Thanks for following along!





Jun 11

Hats, Horses and Prince Harry! Celebrate Royal Ascot at Coworth Park

It’s all about the Royals at the moment! First the magnificent Royal Wedding, closely followed by Hollywood royalty strutting their stuff in Cannes, and now it’s time for the fashion extravaganza that is Royal Ascot! There’s no doubt that Royal Ascot is one of the most famous and prestigious events in the sporting calendar where first class horseracing is combined with spectacle, style and tradition. This year, Royal Ascot celebrates its 300th anniversary and it’s a sure bet that fashionistas will be pulling out all the stops to commemorate this momentous occasion – and the odds are pretty good for spotting a royal visitor or two this year too. So, there could be no better time to turn your day at the races into a luxury holiday with a stay at the nearby Coworth Park Hotel.












The Coworth Park has been a glittering success since its opening in 2010 and is now looking forward to hosting its first Ascot season. Situated in the heart of Royal Berkshire’s polo playing country, yet only forty-five minutes from London, and twenty minutes from Heathrow, the hotel makes for the perfect celebrity retreat. The Coworth Park is part of the Dorchester Collection and perfectly complements its big city sister – it’s kooky, capricious and contemporary while at the same time it manages to lovingly uphold the tradition for fine dining, inspired interiors and impeccable service that the Dorchester is so famous for. Its wonderful eco-spa has also been attracting a load of A-listers with its innovative indulgent treatments … but more on that later.



This cool country manor comes complete with its own equestrian centre, and is the only UK hotel to have its own polo field, and an equestrian centre with stabling. Prince Harry is a regular visitor who was most recently seen charming Charlize Theron at the Audi Challenge charity Polo Cup, and when his royal hotness needs to cool down there’s a good chance he’ll be sipping his Pimms at the Coworth.

And Harry is not the only red-hot royal to be spotted here; during their courtship, the Cambridges were also seen strolling hand in hand through the ambling countryside. Blue-bloods abound but they are not the only ones who love this place; as I checked in, Paloma Faith tweeted that she had just checked out of “the best hotel in the world”. Cheryl Cole was here last year to film parts of the X-Factor and the local press recently reported that Jonny Depp, Vanessa Paradis, and family were staying at the five-star manor while Depp was shooting his new film, Dark Shadows, on our shores.



I loved so many things about this hotel that it’s hard to pick favourites, but I’ll have a go. First the Spaaaaaah! This thoroughly modern spa is bathed in light and has lashings of high-end glamour. Sculpted into the lush green landscape with a “living roof” herb garden, this holistic haven has fabulous eco-credentials as well fabulous treatments. The Dr Alkaitis Organic Skinfood Facial left my skin with the glow of new bride and my husband was more than a little bit impressed with the super-stylish indoor pool, which was lined with amethyst sculptures, lit with luminous LEDs, and had underwater music – he was so surprised when he popped up from his first dip that I thought he must have discovered a new life form down there! The Spa also has its own eatery, The Spatisserie, where you can lounge around in enormous duvet-like robes drinking champagne (or tea if you prefer) and tickling your tastebuds with zingy snacks, amid the postcard-pretty English countryside. Bliss.








Post-spa we spent a couple of hours in our Junior Suite to revel in its understated luxury before dinner. Celebrities tend to stay in the jewel in the Coworth’s crown, the Dower House, a Grade 2 listed building that has been lovingly restored to include three bedrooms, a private kitchen, dining and living area. It also has its own gardens, a babbling brook and a family of swans. All the rooms, however, have every amenity you would expect from a classy hotel. Chicly decorated in far-from-boring neutral tones, every accommodation comes with a wonderful woodland-inspired four-poster bed, pop-up Bang and Olufsen TV, sumptuous furnishings and under-floor heating to keep you cosy after a dip in the freestanding copper tub.












An evening at the John Campbell restaurant completed the A-list experience. The delightful dining room honours the hotel’s natural surroundings with elegant leather seating, beautiful floral displays and a simply stunning copper halo of oak leaves and acorns to dine beneath. The vivacious eight-course degustation menu was described as a “journey through the senses” and with everything from pea and ham ice-cream to rabbit ragout and a divine chocolate, lychee and rose dessert on the menu, it certainly lived up to its spirited description. Throw in some fabulous cocktails and outstanding service and it’s fair to say that John Campbell has ruined me for all other restaurants!












The Coworth Park has its very own fashion ambassador, the celebrated milliner Stephen Jones. OBE Jones has created enchanting headwear for the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, and Dita Von Teese. This collection of four couture hats, however, has been inspired by the celebrity bolthole, and will be available for suite guests to borrow to attend the legendary Ladies’ Day.





Coworth Park: 01344 876600; Doubles from £282.















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