Heavenly Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a place that never sleeps, isn’t usually associated with relaxation, but it is possible!

Flat bed with plump pillows and cosy duvet? Check. Jersey pyjamas and matching slippers? Check. 7 course tasting menu created by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton? Of course. WiFi at 35,000ft? You bet! My recent trip to Hong Kong began in style, courtesy of Hong Kong Airlines and their newly launched all-business class flight from London to the Asian hub. The new service offers a luxurious way to make the 12 hour journey, with a choice of Club Classic and Club Premier cabins. I was lucky enough to trial the Club Classic service and was really impressed.

On this trip I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong for the first time, one of the true “Grande Dame” hotels in the Skyscraper City, with its unbeatable harbour-front location in the buzz and excitement of Wan Chai (probably my favourite area of HK to wander around, with its non-stop action, colourful markets, delicious and often unidentifiable food objects and general centre-of-the-action feel).

The views from this hotel are extraordinary, and the swimming pool on the 11th floor is the perfect retreat when it all gets too much in this 24-hour destination. I found a fresh watermelon juice and a dip in the pool the perfect tonic to running around town! NB. They also serve the best mango pudding in Hong Kong.

The hotel’s Plateau Spa is also the place for frazzled souls, whether it’s jet lag or the night before you’re suffering from – it boasts some of the biggest treatment rooms I’ve seen anywhere and highly professional therapists. You can even check into the Plateau Rooms – hotel rooms located actually within the spa, with sunken futon beds that you can have your treatment on, and then spend the night. How often have you had a massage and wished you could float straight to bed? Next time I want to stay in one of these.

I sampled both a 60 minute Plateau massage at the Grand Hyatt, and a 60 minute neck, back and foot massage in a local Chinese massage shop and the two experiences could not have been more different. Both great – one a highly relaxing, pampering and soothing experience that left me floating on a cloud, the other an hour of back-cracking and knot busting that I’m sure left me an inch taller…I’d recommend trying both to experience both ends of the spa spectrum!

www.hongkong.grand.hyatt.com

www.hongkong.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas

www.hkairlines.com

VIP Treatment On The Slopes!

After a hassle free flight and transfer from Geneva airport we arrived at the gorgeously cosy VIP SKI, Club Bellevard in Val d’Isere. With roaring log fires, a lunch spread to challenge even the heartiest of eaters and a full view of the snow covered mountains, first impressions told me I was in Winter heaven. To leave the chalet or not to leave, that was the question!

CLUB Bellevarde is a 24 man chalet operating on a hotel style basis offering 12 rooms, each available for individual hire. The overall feel of Bellevarde is warm and welcoming with stylish furnishings in deep reds and creams. The sitting room is spacious with sofas and armchairs a plenty as well as a wide screen TV and chalet bar, with beer on tap for the boys!

The Chalet dining room has 2 long oak beam tables where guests are encouraged to mingle and share stories as the VIP chef prepares breakfast or dinner in the open plan kitchen. The food by the way, was incredible, although be sure to pack a pair of trousers with an expandable waistline!

My room in CLUB Bellevarde had a traditional chalet style, with wooden beam walls and en suite bathroom complete with White Company toiletries (always a nice touch). Most importantly, my bed was like a marshmallow, soft cosy and extremely hard to get out of!!

Having said that, when I did finally get out, an après ski session at the world famous Folie Douce was well worth leaving the chalet for! Great music, the perfect atmosphere and a DJ who’s ‘Euro’ style would put Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Bruno’ to shame!!

7 nights at VIP CLUB Bellevarde starts from £789 and includes flights, transfers and chalet catered accommodation.

www.vip-chalets.com

Anne Sémonin Beauty Week Facial At Liberty Regent Street

“Am I about to get a facial or teleport through time in here?” Those were my first thoughts as I walked into the 1920’s style beauty room at Liberty’s, which to me looks more like a time machine than your average spa room. This was my first time trying an Anne Sémonin facial during beauty week at Liberty Regent Street, where you can experience a bespoke 60 minute tailor made facial for an exclusive price of £50

To begin with, I sipped on calming tea in a plush robe and told Mathilde, the very sweet Parisian Anne Sémonin aesthetician, about my skin. Mathilde assured me she was going to analyse my skin and create an enhancing facial especially for my skin’s needs. As I nodded my head I thought if my skin was going to look anything like Mathilde’s incredible porcelain skin at the end of this facial, then frankly, I didn’t care what she did to my skin for the next 50 minutes.

I was expecting that having a facial inside a busy and noisy department store would have been distracting and far from zen like. But Mathilde’s soothing yet thorough technique made me drift off into a state of relaxation in no time. My skin was treated to a series of masks, blended plant active serums, and aromatic intensive complexes, which left my face feeling very clean, soft, and smelling incredible. I had hoped that extractions would have been included in the facial, but apparently this is not a procedure Anne Sémonin facials include. Extractions aside, I left the 1920’s time machine spa room feeling rejuvenated and my skin was luminous. This was truly a lovely way to treat myself to an hour of pampering without breaking the bank, and my spoiled skin thanked me by glowing all the way home.

If you purchase two Anne Sémonin products on the day of your beauty week facial, then these products will be redeemable against the price of your facial, so you can continue your beauty experience at home. The next Anne Sémonin beauty week at Liberty is taking place between Sunday 29th April – Sunday 5th May 2012, and you should definitely book an appointment in advance because these facials sell out quickly. Facials can be booked at the Anne Semonin counter at Liberty Regent Street or by calling 0207 734 1234. Book an appointment today and treat yourself to a luxurious dose of pampering – believe me, your skin will thank you for it!

www.annesemonin.com