I have to be honest; one of the things I’ve been craving the most since the whole world went into lockdown, is a good old-fashioned spa day! Sure, human contact and dining out is also high on the list, but nothing soothes the body, mind and soul like an afternoon of self-pampering (preferably in a nice hotel, if you ask me!) As we have no idea when this will be reality again, I had the splendid idea of creating a luxury spa experience at home instead. It’s easy, cost-efficient (yay!), and you’ll undoubtedly feel like a princess on holiday when you’re done! Ready? Let’s do it!
First of all, you don’t need to own a penthouse flat to create a luxurious hotel spa experience in the comfort of your own home. I’ve managed to do it quite successfully in my 80 m2 apartment (sending my boyfriend and our son out the door). Imagine: a whole afternoon – or evening – in the tub, reading a book, sipping a glass of wine (or whatever you prefer) and simply just having time to be YOU. Top that off with a bit of homemade body scrub, a facial and a pedicure, and you’ll feel like a new and better version of yourself.
Creating the right spa atmosphere
Of course it’s amazing having access to a large bathroom with floor heating, but even if you don’t, you’ll manage just fine. It’s all about creating the right ambience where you can fully relax and let go of any thoughts and worries.
Imagine stepping into the spa of your favorite hotel. How is the atmosphere? How does it make you feel? My best guess is calming and soothing, so you’d want to re-create that at home. Pulling down the curtains will make the bathroom darker and thus, send a signal to the brain that it’s time to relax. Put some calm music (I love Insight Timer’s calming music selection), and warm a big fluffy towel on the radiator, so you can wrap yourself up after the bath.
Light a few candles to set the mood right; personally, I love natural scented candles, and my current favorites are from the French brand Linen Vale. If you’re the lucky owner of a bath tub, it’s now time to draw yourself a relaxing bath using your favorite oil. There are so many tempting bath oils on the market, but not all of them are equally good for the skin – especially not if you have sensitive skin. Make sure to choose one without additives, or make your own version. I love the products from Aromatherapy Associates, especially the one with Ylang Ylang and Lavender.
Lastly, pour yourself a glass of wine (or another beverage of choice). There’s something lavish about drinking wine in the bath tub, my perhaps that’s just me? 😉 If you prefer something else – for example a non-alcoholic spa water – try out this amazing recipe from WhatsGabyCooking.com.
The scrubs, the lotions, the masks
What’s a spa day without scrubs, lotions and masks? A good body scrub makes you feel and look rejuvenated, and you can easily make your own. Coconut is one of my favorite scents as it makes me think if warm summer evening and endless beaches; if you like coconut too, you should try out this super simple DIY recipe which also contains calming lavender. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to make:
- Coconut oil
- Lavender essential oil (this is optional, but I highly recommend it!)
- A measuring cup
- A jar to put your scrub in
- A mixing bowl
- A mixing spoon
Pour coconut oil, salt and lavender into the bowl and mix firmly. The final product shouldn’t be too rough. Let it settle for an hour or so, and you’re good to go! Homemade body scrub in little jars are also ideal as a present or a hostess gift.
Most luxury hotels offer lavish beauty products in their spa departments, and most of the time also complimentary bottles in the rooms. This is, hands down, one of my favorite things about staying in high end hotels! Luckily, it’s not complicated to recreate the sensation at home – at least not if you know what you’re going after. What’s your favorite scent in a body lotion? I’m on team lemon, coconut and lily (not together, of course) 🙂
Treat yourself with a creamy bodylotion for the occasion, for example this iconic one from Danish skincare brand Tromborg. If you prefer making your own, give this simple recipe from LiveSimply.me a go. It’s mainly made of shea butter, which is so delicious to work with.
Last, but not last, you’ll need a good facial to complete your home spa experience. My experience tells me it’s better to splurge a little extra on a nice mask, as it will last longer (and the results will, too!) Several high end hotels have the Italian band Acqua di Parma in stock as their signature label. Every time I’ve tried their products, I’ve felt like being wrapped up in la dolce vita. Their Face Clay Mask is amazing and purifies the skin in an instant.
Before applying a face mask, make a steam bath to soften the skin. All you need i a small tub with boiled water, chamomile tea and a towel. Sit for 10 minutes and apply your mask. This is one of my favorite beauty rituals at home!
Where are the world’s best hotel spas?
I’m quite sure you’ll end up having a wonderful home spa experience if you follow the steps above, but in case you’re still curious of where to find “the real deal”, here’s a handful of amazing hotel spa experiences around the world.
Cheval Blanc, Courchevel, France
One of the most iconic French spa hotels is located in the French Alps and therefore offers exquisite views as well as direct access to the slopes. Restorative treatments and pure indulgence are the key elements of a spa experience here. For more information, click here.
This minimalistic hot spring resort has been enjoying international attention since its opening in 2016. Located in isolated settings on Japan’s Ise-Shima peninsula, there’s no shortage of the luxurious treatments you’ll get here. The ancient Japanese wisdom of wellness and wellbeing is incorporated in all treatments and offerings. For more information, click here.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
A historical castle in rural Ireland – could it be more magical? An opulent spa and wellness area with mosaic walls and marble floors will take your breath away, as will the wide array of holistic treatments you’ll get here. Click here for more information.
Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey
Idylically located in Paradise Bay (the name reveals it all!), this Mandarin Oriental property combines modern elegance with classic luxury. You won’t get better ocean views than here! And the spa – and two private beaches – simply speak for itself. Click here for more information.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
The therapeutic spa facilities of this luxury hotel set in the Portuguese countryside, will blow your mind. Elements such as water, stone and wood creates the foundation of the treatments and holistic approach to well-being. The Douro Valley is also famous for its exquisite wines, which certainly only adds to the experience. Click here for more information.