Baie des Anges Antibes – affordable luxury on the Côte d’Azur

Few of us would ever consider holidaying for a fortnight in a 5* hotel on the swanky Côte d’Azur. That’s because we’ve been given the impression that it can only be afforded by the mega wealthy, owners of superyachts and Ferraris, film stars and ageing tax exiles. But that picture is far from the truth.

Of course you will see yachts – of all kinds – Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse was anchored off Antibes while we were there. And we were able to get a good view of the world’s second largest yacht which boasts 2 swimming pools, 2 helicopters, a submarine etc etc. And we did that from a little glass bottom tour boat which also gets so close to the exclusive luxury hotels on the nearby Roc that we can see the indignant looks on the faces of the bathers on their loungers.

Abramovich yacht

Roman Abramovich’s yacht Eclipse – the world’s second largest moored off Antibes –  worth US$475 million

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Glass bottom tour boat on the pier at Juan les Pins

But there is another side lovely side to this area – places that the ordinary working folk who live there know about and would rather we didn’t.  And I don’t blame them. Like the folks of London’s Notting Hill who decant elsewhere during the carnival to escape people doing all kinds of despicable things in their front gardens, the people of Cannes flee the town during the Film Festival. So its not all red carpet glamour, especially if you live and work there!

Cannes market

Cannes market – far more exciting than the designer shops

Monastry Abbey

Abbaye de Lerins – on an island accessible by boat from Cannes – with a shop and restaurant – worth a visit

Cannes has shops with reasonable prices and one of the best food markets I have ever seen (near the station) and an array of great  budget hotels and bed and breakfast’s (there is a list in the tourist office in the Palais des Festival). The local tourism body is very keen for us to see the everyday value-for-money side of the this town.

I was recently pleasantly surprised to find that even the exclusive headland area, between Nice and Cannes, called Cap d’Antibes – home to even more expensive hotels, such as the Hotel du Cap – Eden Roc where Sharon Stone was celebrating when we popped in – also has undiscovered gems.

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Hotel Baie des Anges – a relaxing place to spend time by the pool

The 4* Baie des Anges Hotel is one.  Set within a pine forest on a hill, it has a spectacular view of the bay all the way to Nice.  It is slightly secluded but the hotel runs a regular mini-bus service to the town of Antibes with its bougainvilla clad houses, tiny alleyways, restaurants, market, bustling port and the Picasso Museum.

Baie des Anges underwent a complete renovation over nine months in 2013 which moved it up from a 3 to 4 star hotel.  It also boasts a gastronomique restaurant – l’Angelus,with panoramic views of the coast. It’s lunchtime when we arrive and relaxed enough to allow guests who have been lounging around the pools or enjoying the spa to eat in their towelling robes.

The menu uses seasonal local produce with some cocktails reflecting the wellness theme with essential oils! But old habits die hard since for me since a Kir Royale epitomises the Côte.

The hotel has 164 rooms (suits and some apartments) – all with a balcony and air conditioning; three salt water swimming pools and one of the best thalassotherapy centres and spas in the region – it was also the first sea water spa on the Mediterranean coast for more than 20 years.

Thalasur twin-bedded room

A typical double room

The thalasso spa is enormous with two inside heated salt water pools with bubbling seats and underwater jets, a Jacuzzi, a Turkish bath and an extensive menu of treatments for health and relaxation. There is also a fully equipped gym.

Thalazur indoor pool

Hotel Baie des Anges – one of the two inside pools

During our visit the nearby town of Juan les Pins was buzzing with the annual Jazz Festival where Stevie Wonder and George Benson were billing, so we went in quest of peaceful santuary to recouperate  in the spa for the day.

Our recommended programme included:

  • Gommage Sous Affusion – body exfoliation,using marine plants which improves the circulation and cleans the skin to prepare for the treatments
  • Enveloppement D’Algues Remineralisante – the body is enveloped in hot seaweed and mud.  Next you are wrapped in a hot blanket while the body detoxes and hydrates. Total bliss as you fall asleep enveloped in the warm water blanket.
  • Bain hydromassant – a warm, very active bubbling bath of seawater with massage jets
  • Modelage “Aroma” – a lovely massage with Mediterranean essential oils from Provence.

We also tried the hydro-bike exercise class – which was a bit like a spin class underwater. The day was well spent and we felt cleansed and relaxed by the time we left.

This spa has treatments for everyone including new mothers (and fathers) and babies; slimming and nutrition, detox and anti-stress.  It also has various packages and special offers. It also welcomes guests who simply want a spa day at the hotel.

For those who don’t just want to lie around there is plenty to do and not too far to go to do it. There is Marineland – the only one in Europe; the village of Grasse, famous for its perfume shops and a trip to old Nice is a must.

I really liked this hotel – everything was clean, the rooms were spacious, the staff were chatty, and nothing was too much for the spa therapists, the food was great – and the fellow guests were normal people, a few with children, who came to relax rather than make a splash with their cash.

Fact Box

Hôtel Baie des Anges Thalassotherapy Hotel & Spa
770 chemin des Moyennes Bréguières
06600 Antibes
T: +33 492918200
F: +33 493659414

Price: Depends on season but can be as low as 200 euros per night.

Getting there:

Road: A8, Antibes exit, Sophia-Antipolis, Vallauris/follow A8 access road for 1km/take the D35 from the A8 motorway exit.
Train: Antibes is 3km away
Bus: from the airport to Antibes (2 euros)
Airport: Nice

Why Tunisia is Tops for Thalassotherapy

0204_Sidi_Bou_Said_Blue_Door [200x200].jpgCarthageStatue2 [200x200].jpgBy Avril O’Connor

Tunisia has more thalassotherapy centres than anywhere else in the world, aside from France, combining both traditional Arabic and French influenced treatments using heated seawater.

 

Fashionable and fun – thalassotherapy is a medical treatment that uses hot seawater combined with mud or seaweed, massage and physiotherapy, it is particularly recommended for sufferers of reheumatism, arthritis and stress but provides a great source of relaxation for anybody seeking a bit of rejuvenation.

 

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This is reflected in the fact that in addition to bubbling baths, underwater massage, acqua aerobics and seaweed wraps, Tunisia’s thalassotherapy centres also offer more traditional pampering and beauty treatments.

So whether you opt for a jasmine aromatherapy bath or a post-exfoliation cucumber body wrap, the petal-scattered marble floors and mist-filled arches of these Moorish Aladdin’s caves will let you dream the hours away.

Many of Tunisia’s centres also cater for smokers intent on kicking the habit, post natal mothers in need of some molly-coddling of their own and anyone looking to loose a few pounds or embark on a short get-fit programme. Many of the centres are equipped with guilt-free low calorie restaurants and state of the art fitness centres.

The Hasdrubal Thalassa at Yasmin Hammamet, is an exceptional hotel, offering spacious five star luxury. It has a huge white sand beach on the edge of the Mediterranean. The hotel is exclusively comprised of suites, the majority with a sea view.

 

Hammam [200x200].jpgThe hotels hammam pictured above

As one of the Leading Hotels of the World you only get the best food and service here. The rooms are huge and decadent with marble bathrooms and the state of the art thalassotherapy centre makes it an ideal place for relaxation.

It is also the resort which visiting dignitaries choose for their holidays –  it has a private villa with its own pool, double garage and helipad.

The spa has a huge wet area with 8 hydromassage cabins, 4 “affusion” showers cabins, 4 jet showers cabins, 6 alghotherapy cabins, 4 underwater showers cabins, 1 phlebology course, 1 sea-water indoor swimming pool, 1 sea-water open air swimming pool and 1 cavitosonic room. The dry area has 16 massage cabins, an aromatherapy room, and marine ball. There is also a herbal tea room, beauty and hair-dressing salons and a fitness centre. There are also has two traditional hammams – one for men and the other for women.

The spa menus is enormous. As well as thalassotherapy, there are Ayurvedic massages and others with fragrant oils. The whole spa experience here is magical.

Don’t miss!

Sidi Bou Saïd

Sidi Bou Saïd is a picturesque blue and white 13th century village situated near Tunis and adorned with red bougainvilla, on the chic Upper Carthage Coast (20 minutes from the capital) overlooking the Gulf of Tunis.

 

0216_Dar_Said_Door [200x200].jpgThe hotel, Dar Saïd is a beautiful “Dar” residence (house in Arabic and equivalent to Morocco’s Riads) which dates back to 1868. Built in 1948 it became a 24-room boutique hotel. Every room is different and filled with antiques. Previous guests include Prince Albert of Monaco.

We recommend you sit by the pool with a glass of the local rose and watch the sun go down – its just beautiful!

Piscine___jour [200x200].jpgCafé Chabaane, Sidi Bou Saïd

Famous for its panoramic views of the sea and its mint tea – it is a popular hangout with Tunisians

Avenue Bourguiba in the Nouvelle Ville, Tunis

Take a leisurely stroll along the café-lined boulevards of the Ville Nouvelle and people watch. This wide avenue has modern shops, patisseries, banks and an opera house.

Medina of Tunis

This quarter is a UNESCO world heritage site is a warren of streets selling all kinds of goodies. Haggle for handicrafts including olive wood bowls, silver jewellery, spices, carpets, ceramics and kaftans.

If you have time to explore the Medina (visit to the Ezzitouna or “olive” Mosque- 698 AD, see panoramic views of Tunis and visit traditional Tunisian residences including boutique hotel “Dar El Medina” voted by Sunday Times Travel as one of best hip havens in the world & featured 67 out of 100 best hotels).

Dar Bel Hadj restaurant, Medina of Tunis

This restaurant is converted from traditional Tunisian residence dating back to 1707. It is frequented by wealthy Tunisians and tourists alike. The food is fantastic – sample real Tunisian cuisine and Tunisian wine.

Bardo Museum

This museum is arguably home to the most impressive collection of Roman mosaics in the world. Beautiful and get inspiration for home DIY.

 

 

Carthage Statue [200x200].jpgRestaurant Au Bon Vieux de Temps, Sidi Bou Saïd

A small restaurant with lots of character and great sea views. (1 minute walk from Dar Saïd). Sample fresh fish, couscous and French/international cuisine; Bœuf Sur le Toit, la Soukra – a jazz bar 10 minutes from Sidi Bou Saïd, often live jazz music; Carthage: The Antonine Baths & Byrsa Hill: The ancient sites of Carthage founded in 814 BC by the Phoenicians are staggering in their scale. There are also Punic and Roman ruins.

La Falaise (cliff) restaurant in La Marsa on Carthage Coast

This restaurant is famous for fresh fish & sea food.

The Sadika Keskes
A blown glass art studio, La Marsa on Carthage Coast; Sadika Keskes is the only Tunisian woman in this profession. She has a beautiful studio where she makes & sells glass artwork & objects, handmade jewellery and linen goods.www.sadika.com

Shopping at Berges du Lac shopping centre

Tunisia’s modern shopping centre situated 10 minutes from the centre of the city, where you can find top brands such as Sisley, Benetton, Hugo Boss at a 30% discount.

The marina of Yasmine Hammamet

The Pomodoro restaurant in marina of Yasmine Hammamet, The Medina of Hammamet, The restaurant Les Trois Moutons in Hammamet

Fact Box

The international code for Tunisia is: 0021
Tunisair has return flights from Heathrow to Tunis from $280 (€188, £150pp) www.tunisair.com.
Tunisian National Tourist Office London 020 7224 5598 www.cometotunisia.co.uk

Hotels

Dar Saïd
Tel: 00216 71 729 666 Fax: 00216 71 729 599. Twin/doubles from $186 (€125, £100) per night based 2 sharing including tax, breakfast is not included.www.darsaid.com.tn

Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa Tel : 00216 72 244 850 Fax : 00216 72 244 895 Double junior suites (low season) from $214 (€144, £115) per night including tax.www.hasdrubalhotels.com

Fly to the sun in Gran Canaria and get 5* spa and aesthetic clinic discounts

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Las Palmas: Top spas and clinics on the beautiful island of Gran Canary have joined Elixir’s Makeover Miles loyalty card scheme which offers exclusive discounts throughout the world on anti-ageing services , treatments and products.

These new members to Makeover Miles offer world class treatments in asethetics, eye health, anti-ageing programmes and spa therapies on an island that has the perfect sunshine climate all year round.

New services are being offered by the Clínica San Roque, (aesthetics, anti-ageing programmes, diet and nutrition and much more); the EuroCanarias Oftalmologica Clinic (eye health); and the spa sat the Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, the Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort, the thalassotherapy centres at the Gloria Palace Amadores and the Gloria Palace San Agustin, the Corrallium Spa and the Costa Meloneras Resort Spa & Casino.

Find out more at Makeover Miles

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Thalassotherapy – Gloria Palace Amadores and San Agustin, Gran Canaria

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TALASOTERAPIA CANARIAS AMADORES – Gloria Palace Amadores Thalasso & Hotel and TALASOTERAPIA CANARIAS SAN AGUSTÍN Gloria Palace San Agustín Thalasso & Hotel
T: +34 928 128 507
Gloria Palace Hotels
Email: direccioncomercial@gloriapalaceth.com & promocion@gloriapalaceth.com
10% discount on all thalasso treatments

Located in two of the most popular areas in the south of Gran Canaria(San Agustín and Amadores) – the 4-star Gloria Palace San Agustín and Gloria Palace Amadores hotels are noted for their outstanding locations and fantastic views, spaciousness, family-style welcome, their cuisine and their involvement with health through the seawater treatments provided at their renowned thalassotherapy centres.

Pioneers in health tourism in the Canary Islands, the Gloria Palace Thalasso & Hotels are among the best-equipped thalassotherapy centres in Europe. They offer a wide range of treatments based on therapeutic use of the benefits of seawater and sea products such as algae, mud, etc. Your relaxation, beauty and wellbeing are the goals of the professional therapists, who are led by a specialist doctor.

Gloria Palace San Agustín

Health and wellbeing at Talasoterapia Canarias at the Gloria Palace San Agustín : Large “Get in Shape Pool”: sea water circuit with 33 hydromassage points and a relaxation area with sea views. 45 personalised treatment cubicles: massage, hydrotherapy bathtub, bubbling baths and algae therapy. Special cures from 3 to 12 days. On-site medical check-up.

Aqua-gym. Therapy pool. Sauna, Turkish bath, thermal bath and Kneipp shower. Beauty centre specialising in Ayurveda, chocolate therapy, vinotherapy and more.

Gloria Palace Amadores Thalasso & Hotel

The Talasoterapia Canarias centre at Gloria Palace Amadores Thalasso & Hotel was opened in 2003. The health centre here includes a dynamic pool, gym pool and the “Get in Shape” pool, which consists of a relaxing circuit in seawater heated to different temperatures (33ºC/37ºC), with 29 hydromassage points. The centre is located in the main building of the hotel and has spectacular sea views from the Get in Shape pool and the relaxation area.

The treatments provided at the centre include many for rheumatic conditions, post-traumatic disorders, stress-related problems such as nervous fatigue, anxiety and weight loss, as well as cellulite. In addition to the large “Get in Shape” pool – one of the centre’s main attractions – Talasoterapia Canarias San Agustín is equipped with a sauna, a large gym with modern therapeutic and sports facilitiesAll of this area is in an outstanding location with views directly over the sea.

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Hotel Bora Bora

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Point Raititi, B.P. 1, Nunue, Bora Bora, 98730, French Polynesia
T. 689 604 460 Fax: (689) 604 466
E-mail: hotelborabora@amanresorts.com

Hotel Bora Bora sits on the edge of a turquoise lagoon nestled beneath the lush green volcanic peaks of Mount Otemanu. There are three beaches and a barrier reef offering a variety of colourful marine life. Enjoy a Honeymoon Escape.

Algotherapy

Algae and marine products are used in body treatments to relax and detox.

Capri Beauty Farm – Anacapri

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Capri Palace Hotel & Spa

Via Capodimonte, 2b 80071 Anacapri
T: +39 081 978 0111; wwwcapri-palace.com

In a hillside position with beautiful views of the Gulf of Naples and the Mediterranean, this spa has doctors who create tailor-made programmes for all kinds of ailments from weight-loss to stress-busting. There is a large pool and a gym. The treatments focus on massages, thalassotherapy and mud cures. Also available are cosmetic treatments and the latest machines to hone the body into shape and refine and tone the skin of the face and body. There are a number of special leg treatments of which Sophia Loren is reputed to be a devotee. The “Leg School” specialises in stimulating circulation using hot and cold water therapy to improve elasticity, skin tone and shape, as well as fighting cellulite. Cuisine is Mediterranean and diet food is available in a choice of three restaurants.

Udai vilas, Udaipur, Rajasthan

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T:+91 294 243 3300; www.oberoihotels.com

The resort has two large swimming pools which are heated in winter, a gymnasium, boutique and a library with a selection of music and DVDs. Private excursions and cruises on the lake can be organised by the hotel. The spa, managed by Banyan Tree, offers holistic treatments and therapies to pamper and revitalise mind and body using holistic therapies and massages combining the best of East and West. Massages, facials and body beautification methods use ancient Ayurveda and aromatherapy as well as Thai and western techniques designed to relieve stress as well as create a sense of wellbeing. The spa has a private pool and individual therapy suites with views of Lake Pichola, the Aravali mountains and City Palace. Each of the eight suites has its own steam sauna and Victorian style bathtub. The gym and hair salon are located around a central domed foyer with a marble fountain.

Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa – Blaa Ionio

PO Box 22, 240 Grindgavik, Blaa Ionio

T: +354 420 8800; www.bluelagoon.is

In south west Iceland next to geothermal beaches, the spa offers the latest treatments using mineral-rich seawater to cleanse and nourish. The water is particularly good for skin conditions and there is a clinic for the treatment of psoriasis. The restaurant serves and international menu using fresh local ingredients.

Thermae Sylla Spa – Evia

Wellness Hotel, Loutra Aedipsos, Evia

T: +30 22 606 0100; www.thermaesylla.gr

The spa is famous for its curative mineral waters that are reputed to help all kinds of illness including arthritis, rheumatism and skin problems. The hotel has views of the sea and mountains. A large number of hydrotherapy treatments are available, as well as reflexology and inhalation therapy. Specialities are the Cream Cleopatra bath, the grape paste facial and the Oriental Rasul where Moroccan fango mud is spread over the body. There are two restaurants that serve food using organic ingredients.

Brenner’s Park Hotel & Spa – Baden-Baden

Schillerstrasse 4-6. D-76530 Baden-Baden

T: +49 72 21 90 05 00; www.brenners.com

The Brenner’s Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden has a Medical Spa which offers a diverse program of healthcare. A team of professionals and the latest examination and diagnostic techniques are available.
Treatments: massages including acupressure, scrubs, facials and body treatments, manicures, pedicures. Gourmet and diet menus are available.

Thalgo La Baule

Hotel Royal-Thalasso Barriere, 6 Avenue Pierre Loti, 44504 La Baule

T: +33 2 40 11 48 48

The Royal-Thalasso Barrière is a “temple” of health and fitness, set in the heart of a garden surrounded by century-old pine trees. Facing the sea, this hotel is a haven of peace, perfect for relaxing and recuperating.
The spa which specialies in thalassotheraphy, is in an airy wood and glass building that optimises natural light and has a gym. There is a 45-hole golf course nearby. Treatments: the MediMer Anti-Ageing Cure, aromatheraphy, reflexology, shiatsu, anti-smoking, slimming, arthritis. The inhouse team of specialists includes physicians, physiotherapists, osteopaths, dieticians and hydrotherapists. Makeovers are a speciality with a make-up artists, hairdresser and style consultant.