May/June 2006  

 

 

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“… while the chocolate looked, felt and smelled divine, a sly lick of my chocolate-coated arm confirmed the products were sadly quite inedible! However, the treatment is remarkably energizing and gives an extraordinary surge of euphoria afterwards. I almost danced out of the treatment room! Apparently, chocolate boosts circulation and improves skin tone, while triggering the brain to release endorphins--or ‘happy hormones.’ You can’t expect more from a treatment than that.”

a Manga Club is southern Spain’s leading resort, a paradise for sports lovers and families that spreads itself over 1,400 beautifully landscaped acres. Situated on Spain’s Costa Calida or ‘warm coast,’ it has a mild year-round Mediterranean climate. Visitors can stay in the resort’s five-star Hyatt Regency hotel or in luxurious villas and apartments clustered in pretty small villages on its green hillsides.

Sporting facilities at La Manga Club are unsurpassed: three championship golf courses, swimming pools, cricket pitches, squash courts, eight soccer pitches and 28 tennis courts, plus a wealth of other activities. Covering an area bigger than the Principality of Monaco, La Manga Club is popular with international sports stars and celebrities alike; Steve Redgrave, Robbie Williams, David Beckham, Sean Connery, Real Madrid and the English national soccer teams are all regular visitors--while golfers like Arnold Palmer, Colin Montgomerie and Seve Ballesteros have played its verdant fairways.

Until recently, the one facility this prestigious destination lacked was a spa. Whilst it was possible to have sports massage at the tennis centre, nothing more pampering or relaxing. was available. This situation has now been rectified by the opening of the exciting Spa La Manga Club –southern Spain’s newest and most exclusive spa and wellness centre.

The spa is part of the newly built Las Lomas Village and Spa, an attractive Mediterranean-styled complex of townhouses, apartments and guestrooms set amid palm trees and brightly colored gardens. During my short visit, I stayed in one of Las Lomas’s tastefully furnished apartments overlooking the golf course with views of the sea. The apartment was conveniently close to the spa, with all the village’s leisure facilities nearby, linked by a pretty winding road, overhung with glorious flowering bougainvillea, hibiscus and oleanders. And while car hire is recommended if you want to explore the beaches and the surrounding area, you can walk, hire a bike or use one of the resort shuttles to reach La Manga Club’s scattered facilities.

lamanga-1La Manga Club’s amazing new 2,000 square-meter spa is located in a central building high on the hillside behind the apartments; it also houses meeting rooms and an Indian restaurant on the top. Access to the spa is via a side entrance up several flights of external stairs. Once inside and out of the sun’s heat, the air feels refreshingly cool and fragrant as you walk into the vast and airy spa reception, designed in typical Spanish style with attractive water features, pebbles, plants and palms.

The spa is on two levels with terrific views across the palm-dotted golf courses to the Mediterranean and the Mar Menor inland lagoon. The excellent new facilities include a plethora of saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, therapeutic showers and a tranquil relaxation area. If you are feeling energetic, you can take advantage of the state-of-the-art gym or the dedicated fitness studio--or swim a few lengths in the superb six-lane 25-meter indoor lap pool.

The spa’s 13 spacious treatment rooms and suites are arranged down a long wide corridor leading to the relaxation area, where spa sessions start and finish. The walls of the corridor are lined with abstract modern art, while the treatment rooms have lavender-colored louvred doors and are named after different Spanish plants such as Rosa, Jasmine and Malva.

Arriving at the spa reception ready for my first treatment, I was warmly greeted, given a robe and slippers, and then headed to the spacious changing rooms. Suitably attired, I shuffled (in the uncomfortable slippers) to the relaxation area. Christina, my charming therapist soon appeared and I followed her to one of the treatment rooms for my Mar Menor mud massage. (Mud massage - 85 Euros.)

This lovely signature treatment uses mud from the nearby Mar Menor, the Murcia region's own equivalent of the Dead Sea--a vast inland lagoon renowned for its curative and beautifying properties. The full body warm mud wrap is complemented by a regenerative facial masque, followed by an invigorating application of body cream. The results promised relief from aching joints and muscles, smoother, softer skin and an unsurpassed sense of wellbeing. After showering off the mud, Christina escorted me back to the relaxation area where I dozed for about 20 blissful minutes.

Afterwards I chatted with Marion Neilson, the Danish spa director, who told me her plans for the spa included more Yoga Retreats and Holistic Fitness Breaks, which proved popular last winter. These are run by New York yoga expert Sylvia Smith and Swedish health coach Sabine Itze-Warn and are suitable for all levels of fitness. Lasting four days, the courses include activities like yoga, tai chi, dance and nature walks. Complimentary healthy cuisine workshops followed by lunch were included in both courses and will be offered again.

“Many of our clients are non-golfers and golf widows, so we’ve designed special programs for them including Pilates and salsa classes,” Marion told me. “Sylvia will be returning in August so we plan to run some flexible yoga-type activities that we hope our family visitors will enjoy.”

Spa La Manga Club is the only spa in Spain to use Kerstin Florian products. Marion explained that these products are ideal for Spa La Manga Club because they “… help transform some of Europe’s great healing traditions into relaxing and restorative treatments ideal for our discerning spa guests.”

lamanga-2Another appealing aspect of the spa is that the rooms are designed for all the treatments. This means you can have a facial, body treatment, manicure and pedicure without having to change rooms. Another bonus is that in addition to individual and couple’s treatment rooms, the spa offers three spacious spa suites. Each suite has its own changing area with a steam shower, bath tub and treatment facilities, so that you can arrive in your street clothes, change in the suite, enjoy a full range of treatments, shower and do your hair, make-up etc, dress and leave as you entered, only revitalised and rejuvenated.

My final treatment in the spa was the mouth-watering Chocotherapy Massage, a rich, smooth and aromatic treatment featuring a full body chocolate massage using a unique blend of natural cocoa, cocoa butter and sweet almond oil. An indulgent feast for all the senses? Not quite: while the chocolate looked, felt and smelled divine, a sly lick of my chocolate-coated arm confirmed the products were sadly quite inedible! However, the treatment is remarkably energising and gives an extraordinary surge of euphoria afterwards. I almost danced out of the treatment room! Apparently, chocolate boosts circulation and improves skin tone, while triggering the brain to release endorphins--or ‘happy hormones.’ You can’t expect more from a treatment than that. (Chocotherapy massage - 85 Euros.)

I enjoyed my short visit to La Manga Club and the new spa. The weather was fantastic, a great bonus after the cool climes of the UK. I made full use of the spa facilities--swam, sunbathed, and had golf and tennis lessons, and dined in several of the resort’s leading restaurants.

In short, Spa La Manga Club has something for everyone and is well worth a visit.

La Manga Club
30385 Los Belones, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
Tel: 00 34 968 331234
www.lamangaclub.com

Barwell Leisure offers ‘Pamper Me’ spa breaks staying for three nights on a bed/breakfast basis as the Hyatt Regency. Prices from £557 per person sharing and includes return flights to Murcia from London Gatwick, transfers and spa package including a mud wrap, two mineral baths, two massages and a facial.

For further information and special offers during the year visit www.barwell.co.uk.



BeattieCatherineCatherine Beattie is a UK-based health and travel writer/publisher with a lifelong interest in spas. Her credentials include writing and publishing several consumer guides including Healthy Breaks in Britain & Ireland (the UK's first spa guide) and The Really Useful Guides. Catherine was founding editor of Spa Health & Beauty magazine and contributes to many UK national newspapers and magazines including The Sunday Times, The Express, Here's Health and Harpers & Queen. She is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, Guild of Health Writers and Spa Business Association.

 

 

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