Answers on a postcard

Some of the world’s best spas are finessing their treatment menus in order to offer a bespoke service to meet individual needs. It means that whatever problem you may have, there’s a spa solution for you.

 

 

BEST FOR DETOX: Hotel Tannenhof, Austria

Hotel Tannenhof 5***** St. Anton am Arlberg

It may sound like an oxymoron, but bon vivants will be pleasantly surprised with the new detox package on offer at Hotel Tannenhof, an exquisite seven-suite property, based in the mountain village of St Anton in Austria. The uber-luxe hotel’s five-day experience puts a new spin on the concept of ‘going without’. First up are the treatments. Wonderfully indulgent – detox here does not mean deprivation – and so the package includes a variety of pampering seaweed and mineral mud body wraps, massages, facials and reflexology treatments spread out over five days. Personalisation is key so guests are given an initial in-depth consultation and your therapist adapts each treatment to your likes or dislikes and diarises according to what works best for you. Fitness is also tackled – in style, of course – with private yoga sessions, mountain hikes led by your own personal guide and ski passes for the duration of your stay. So far, so good, but mention the words ‘detox spa menu’ to a hedonist and they are likely to run for the hills. Except, joyfully, here it’s a highlight. The hotel’s gourmet chefs cook up a delectable – yet healthy – range of feast-like dishes, such as rich watercress soup with hazelnut and truffle and turbot served with spinach, artichoke and olive. Juices and warm drinks are available on tap as are homemade canapés and a ‘detox deli’. Fancy something different? It’s not a problem – just ask the obliging staff for whatever you desire. It’s that kind of place.

Tannenhof Sankt Anton am Arlberg Hotel Tannenhof 5***** St. Anton am Arlberg

Having converted the original 23-room hotel into a much more intimate offering, the owners wanted to emulate an upscale home-from-home experience. So you’ll discover a welcoming team of 20 staff, catering to a maximum 16 guests, who provide a service that is discreet and exceptional. The same goes for a the surroundings – with expansive suites boasting their own dressing rooms, huge bathrooms and terraces with jaw-dropping panoramic mountain views. Each one has deep carpets, Austrian linens, wood-burners and pressed stone baths (so that the bath water stays hotter for longer). Other well-thought out details include digital music channels in the bathrooms, all-inclusive mini-bars featuring local delicacies and a rolling art exhibition throughout the hotel. If this is going without, we’ll have more of it.

hoteltannenhof.net

The five-night Detox Package costs €3, 750 per couple, all-inclusive with the exception of flights. BA flies to Zurich, from London City Airport. ba.com

 

 

 

BEST FOR STRESS: Canyon Ranch, Miami

21-Rock Climbing - Copy 25-Stone Basin Vignette 31-Rooftop Pool

If the idea of rubbing shoulders with the world’s most glamorous jetsetters won’t cause your blood pressure to rise even further, then head to Canyon Ranch on Miami’s fashionable Collins Avenue for a new, slick approach to stress-busting. Renowned for their results-driven therapies, the Canyon Ranch brand has long been beloved by celebrity names since it launched in Tucson 30 years ago. While this and the Lenox, Massachusetts property are traditional health resorts, the more recently-opened Miami outpost is unique in combining Canyon Ranch’s serious health credentials in a luxury, boutique hotel setting. With a staggering 54 treatment rooms, 40 fitness classes per day and a menu book bursting with cutting-edge treatments, this is also the largest spa in Florida – a vast place catering to the wellness needs of the glitterati. The original Art Deco features (from its former life as the iconic Carillon Hotel) have been blended beautifully with hip David Rockwell-designed interiors. It goes without saying then that the all-suite hotel, each with an ocean view, is impressive, but expect to be wowed further by the wellness expertise on offer.

7-Guest Suite LR 8-Suite Bedroom

The new Mini Stress Buster package, for instance, is aimed at offering a positive, life-changing experience to time-poor individuals. Like all Canyon Ranch offerings, it has been designed by leading wellness professionals. Acupuncture, one-on-one meditation, massage treatments and a healing energy consultation are personalised and combine to make even the most frazzled urbanite unflappable – even when you happen to bump into Eva Longoria in the dressing room.

canyonranch.com

A four-night stay at Canyon Ranch Miami with Healing Holidays (healingholidays.co.uk ) is from £1,525 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights with four nights’ accommodation in a one-bedroom suite and includes the Stress Buster package.

 

 

BEST FOR HOLISTIC WELLBEING: Fusion Maia, Vietnam

1.Fusion Maia Da Nang - Lead 4 9. Fusion Maia Da Nang - Spa 1

Thanks to its pristine landscape, rich cultural heritage and a recent crop of design hotels, Vietnam continues to reign supreme on the travel connoisseurs’ radar. Adding another jewel to its crown is the innovative beachfront Fusion Maia retreat, based in Da Nang, Central Vietnam. A first of its kind for Asia, its irresistible USP is that all spa treatments and wellness activities are all-inclusive as part of your room rate – meaning you can be pampered as many times as you want during your stay without worrying about the costs mounting up. If that wasn’t relaxing enough, you’ll feel the stress of everyday concerns melt away just wandering around the resort’s idyllic tropical grounds, which has a cascading waterfall at its heart and villas with their own courtyard garden and pool as standard.

With a huge choice of treatments and activities on offer, not to mention the 50 therapists waiting to ease your cares away, it can be mind-boggling even knowing where to start. So to make sense of it all, a genius colour-coded system – based on aromatherapy blends – is in place. This also extends to the resort’s Natural Living program, a range of lifestyle classes and activities – think tai chi, yoga, meditation, cultural workshops, beach walks and guided excursions. You can match your treatments with your activities and even with what you eat, from the nutritious – and utterly delicious – spa cuisine on offer.

SONY DSC

Unlike many other spa retreats that offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, Fusion Maia specializes in its personal touch. From its wonderful holistic treatments (highlights are the Mindful Energy therapies and the chakra-balancing massages) to its glittering Asian-fusion restaurant with show kitchen, the place has been designed to nourish the body and nurture the spirit. It’s a real gem.

maiadanang.fusion-resorts.com

A seven-night stay at Fusion Maia with Healing Holidays (healingholidays.co.uk) is from £1,635 per person based on two sharing. Price includes return flights, private airport transfers, seven-nights’ accommodation in a pool villa, daily breakfast, unlimited spa treatments and access to daily activities.

 

 

BEST FOR HARMONY: The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland

_TAG060-SixSensesSpa _TAG065-SixSensesSpa _TAG078-SixSensesSpa


When the much-anticipated The Alpina Gstaad opened its doors for the first time earlier this year, the chi-chi holidaymakers who usually frequent the glitzy ski resort were agog. The first hotel to open here in 100 years, it took 15 years in the planning and cost an eye-watering $337m to build. Suffice to say that the 56-room resort in Oberbort, the most exclusive part of Gstaad, is seriously luxurious. Singing (with perfect pitch) rather than shouting its wealth – much thought has been put into memorable details. Gentle nods to an Alpine sensibility (think beautiful hand-painted Swiss dressers, specially sourced by antique specialists) are juxtaposed against modern-day indulgences (state-of-the-art lighting, contemporary open fires). Best of all, though, is the spectacular Six Senses spa.

Facade_1_HighRes SSS_FlotationPool_1_HighRes SSS_RelaxationsArea_2_HighRes

The vast space is packed with state-of-the-art facilities, which include an authentic hammam, floatation room, colour therapy room, sensory pods and heated water-beds. The two pools – inside is a 25m lap-pool and outside is a heated version surrounded by manicured gardens and mountain vistas – are the highlights. While you can revive tired muscles after a day on the slopes with intense massages or invest in a hi-tech QMS Alpina facial, the expertise here lies in the spa’s Ayurvedic packages, with its very own Ayurvedic doctor on tap. Lifestyle consultations, Kati-Vasti (a nurturing back treatment), and the Ku Nye Bodywork (a Tibetan treatment to strengthen the body’s flow of energy), are crafted around each guest and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. The piece-de-resistance, however, is the two-and-a-half hour Tree of Life Signature Ritual, which helps to promote vitality and includes a Himalayan salt exfoliation, a vital energy massage, a liver pack and gentle cleansing with a facial massage. You’ll find the new you in no time.

thealpinagstaad.ch

The Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultation starts at £50.50 for a half hour session. Rates start at £327 per room per night during the summer season.

 

 

BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS: Simply Healing, West Sussex, UK

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Feeling wiped out and found you’ve been putting on the pounds of late? Then head to Simply Healing, the UK’s best-kept beauty secret, for its intensive five-day Weight & Inch Loss Juice Detox. Housed in a picturesque 19th century manor house, overlooking the South Downs, the countryside retreat is renowned for delivering serious results in a nurturing environment. Run by detox expert and healer Vivien Kay, a choice of programme is on offer – weight-loss, general well-being and fertility – but all have the same focus of eliminating toxins from the body.

Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com Simply Healing www.jamesbedford.com

An intensive consultation kick-starts your journey, which is based around a diet of freshly-made fruit and vegetable juices, broths and colonic hydrotherapy. If that sounds daunting, don’t fret. You’re kept nicely busy with the team of experts on hand and a wide itinerary of treatments. Detoxing body wraps help the inch loss, while body scrubs firm and contour, deluxe foot treatments draw toxins out of the body and meditation classes empower the mind. Guided woodland walks, to get a blast of fresh air, anti-ageing facials and nutritional guidance are also included. At the end of the day, early nights beckon in the comfort of your stylish and cosy room. While your personal aims are a focus, it’s not all-encompassing for its all-rounded holistic approach that Vivien and the team put emphasis on. Yes, you’ll feel lighter and re-energised but you’ll also be equipped with the know-how to continue a healthier way to live when back at home. It will leave you glowing in more ways than one.

simplyhealingcentre.com

The Simply Healing Five-Day Inch and Weight-loss Juice Detox Plan starts from £1,600, including a wide variety of treatments and consultation.

 

This feature is also in the August issue of Kensington & Chelsea Magazine.

INTERIOR TRENDS REPORT 2014

From powder pink bedrooms to tropical kitchens, the latest trends in interior design have one thing in common: impact. Here’s how to adapt the latest key looks in your home.

 

LIVING: Urban geometrics

FIRED EARTH

FIRED EARTH

One of the key trends of the season is the use of geometric patterns. Whether you give a nod to the theme by adding in directional accessories – think hexagonal shelving and chevron-print cushions – or invest big with flooring or wall-coverings, these simple but bold designs make a big impression.

geometric -hr3

GEOMETRICS FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

geometric - hr1 geometric - hr4

Hexagons, triangles and squares in interesting shape combinations are essential to this trend, and, although they have a 1970s-retro feel about them, there’s nonetheless something intrinsically modern about this look.

SienaChair

SIENA CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

PARIS CARVER CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

PARIS CARVER CHAIR by the SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

Specialist in handcrafted furniture, The Sofa & Chair Company (020 8752 8938; www.sofaandchair.co.uk), supplies a wide selection of luxury furniture for the home and its interior design consultant, Martin Slabbert agrees that the geometric print is currently having ‘a moment’: “Geometric prints are almost never-out-of-fashion,” he says, “and this year, they are more on trend than ever before. But you don’t have to go big and bold to master this style, as classic monochrome prints are the perfect way to add interested to a living room.

 

“In 2014, patterns are more delicate than have been seen previously – almost as though they have been sketched,” he continues. “This is perfect for smaller rooms, and keeps this look up-to-date and far from the typical 1970s aesthetic. For an easy update just add some printed scatter cushions, or to make a real impact, go for floor length, patterned curtains.”

 

HARLEQUIN'S LANDSCAPES WALLPAPER

HARLEQUIN’S LANDSCAPES WALLPAPER

HARLEQUIN'S LEONIDA DESIGNS

HARLEQUIN’S LEONIDA WALLPAPER

For inspiration, fabric and wallpaper specialist Harlequin (0845 123 6815; www.harlequin.uk.com) has a range of abstract patterns available, from its just-launched Zambesi collection – a sumptuous range of velvets – to its Landscapes wallpapers, which feature statement, horizontal stripes.

 

FARROW & BALL'S CHROMATIC STRIPE

FARROW & BALL’S CHROMATIC STRIPE

Chromatic Stripe BP 4205

Continuing the bold stripe theme is the popping Chromatic Stripe selection of wallpapers available at Cambridge-based Farrow & Ball (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com). Its Parquet wallpapers will also give a room interest, taking the traditional ziz-zag pattern from floor to wall.

CHICAGO by GALERIE WALLCOVERINGS

CHICAGO by GALERIE WALLCOVERINGS

 

For a more fine-tuned take on covering your walls, however, Galerie Wall Coverings (01892 700730; www.galeriehome.co.uk) has a selection of geometric wallpapers, including the Art Deco-inspired Chicago, which are a more subtle take on the theme. For a whole selection of graphic designs, check out the huge range available at Paint and Paper Emporium (01223 506136; www.paintandpaperemporium.com).

 

BRINTON'S PADSTOW CANDY SPOT CARPET

BRINTON’S PADSTOW CANDY SPOT CARPET

Innovative shapes and intricate patterns on textiles and rugs are also an easy way to translate this trend. For an utterly committed take on the look, however, choose a floor covering, such as Brinton’s new Padstow Candy Spot carpet (www.brintons.co.uk) or floor tiles, such as the bold Artist Palette collection from the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse (www.stoneandceramicwarehouse.co.uk).

ARTIST'S PALETTE FROM STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

ARTIST’S PALETTE FROM THE STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

 

Renowned for their fashion forward tiles, Fired Earth’s (0845 293 8798; www.firedearth.com) tile category manager, Caroline Gow comments: “There’s a noticeable trend towards using bold, geometric pattern throughout the home. Walls and floors have tended to be given the role of neutral backdrops but they offer endless creative potential if you let them take centre stage. Fired Earth’s latest ranges include everything from eye-catching 3D-effect Graphix tiles, to the exotic curves of the Arabesque collection which can be mixed and matched or used in striking blocks of colour to create very different effects. The Casino range offers a contemporary, decorative take on monochrome, and all three of the new collections are made from low-maintenance and hard-wearing porcelain so they’re ideal for busy households.”

ARABESQUE WALLPAPER FROM FIRED EARTH

ARABESQUE TILES FROM FIRED EARTH

 

 

LIVING: Playful mood

Mix-matched furniture, clashing colours and ombre-effect walls all combine to create a playful twist on a living space, giving a youthful, current feel.

 

 

LAUREN WALCOTT COLLABORATION AT ANTHROPOLOGIE

LAUREN WALCOTT COLLABORATION AT ANTHROPOLOGIE

ASHLEY LONGSHORE COLLABORATION

ASHLEY LONGSHORE COLLABORATION

Source eye-catching accessories and home décor from urban lifestyle stores, such as Anthropologie (www.anthropologie.eu), which has collaborated with painters Lauren Walcott and Ashley Longshore on a range of fun, painted animal cushions.

 

 

OUT THERE INTERIORS

OUT THERE INTERIORS

 

Furniture at home-emporium Out There Interiors (www.outthereinteriors.com), meanwhile, includes French-style armchairs upholstered in funky, stripy fabric, gold cabinets and vibrant, postage stamp rugs.

 

CHANDELIER FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

CHANDELIER FROM OUT THERE INTERIORS

“I am not a fan of serious sitting rooms,” Out There Interiors director Jenny Hurren says. “Playful pieces and pops of colour draw the eye, bringing life to your space.  Try a bold rug or non-matching stripy armchair to sit alongside your sofa, play with scale by placing a huge lamp on a small table, or hang a flamboyant chandelier off centre or in an unexpected place.  If you don’t want to take the risk with an expensive piece experiment with cushions and lamps, they are brilliant, non-permanent ways of ‘quirking up’ your space.

“Playful and eye-catching pieces are also great for drawing attention away from unattractive elements such as UPVC windows or woodchip wallpaper,” she continues. “There’s a lot to be said for creating a feast for the eyes – it can cover a multitude of sins.”

LOMBOK SUNSET by HAND MADE TO MEASURE

LOMBOK SUNSET by HAND MADE TO MEASURE

You can also bring a room to life by choosing vibrant textiles to frame a window or to upholster a key piece of furniture as a focal point to a room. For instant impact, team Hand Made to Measure’s (01625 837 404; www.handmadetomeasure.com) Ferdinand Sunset fabric – a vivid orange and purple stripe – with oversized florals.

 

FERDINAND SUNSET by HANDMADE TO MEASURE

FERDINAND SUNSET by HANDMADE TO MEASURE

Not for the shy, is the latest trend in ombre-effect walls. Start with the darkest colour at the bottom of the wall and graduate the shade to a lighter tone towards the ceiling. While candy or flouro colours give the wow-factor, a more sophisticated take on this is to use lighter colours – washes of pale greys or blues – so the effect is more ‘watercolour’ rather than ‘poster paint’.

 

LIVING: Dramatic glamour

CABINETS by SHIMU

CABINETS by SHIMU

Teal Cabinet 2 Teal Slim Cabinet 4

Dark, moody walls set off with metallic or mirrored furniture is an instant hit if high-end glamour is your goal. Paint walls black or midnight blue and contrast with Chinese lacquered furniture, such as the teal and pink cabinets available at Shimu (01274 610961; www.shimu.co.uk). Make a focal wall with mirrors, such as the vintage set of mirrors or the black and cream flower versions at stylish homeware store Oliver Hayden (0844 3350 710; www.oliverhayden.com).

 

FLOWER MIRRORS by OLIVER HAYDEN

FLOWER MIRRORS by OLIVER HAYDEN

Oliver Hayden’s director, Bernice Say, comments: “If you have a flair for the dramatic, a black and red colour scheme will appeal. It offers a bold palette with the ability to create a variety of different styles. Silver and mirrored surfaces are a wonderful compliment to this scheme. This look is pure glamour.”

 

MILLINER CHAIR by JOHN SANKEY

MILLINER CHAIR by JOHN SANKEY

Sumptuous furnishings – such as the handmade velvet chairs stocked at John Sankey (www.johnsankey.co.uk) – and decadent pieces, such as the deep fuchsia ottomans, black cocktail chairs and orange velvet Demi Lune sofas at The Sofa & Chair Company (020 8752 8938; www.sofaandchair.co.uk) are the ultimate ways to make the look work.

 

DEMI-LUNE by SOFA AND CHAIR

DEMI-LUNE by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

ALLEGRI OTTOMAN by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

ALLEGRI OTTOMAN by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

 

DEENA BENCH by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

DEENA BENCH by THE SOFA AND CHAIR COMPANY

Interior design consultant, Martin Slabbert, at The Sofa & Chair Company, comments: “Interiors have become far more glamorous this season, moving away from the shabby-chic aesthetic which has been so popular in recent years. The use of clean and classic colour palettes; black, whites and even mirroring is a great way to add a subtle touch of opulence to your home. High gloss black flooring is also making a come-back, a trend I am happy to see return!”

 

 

SLEEPING: Layered textures

Cosy is key to the latest bedroom styles. Use an assortment of different textures for a modern approach to a traditional aesthetic and go for a blended, mis-matched look. Contrast cushions in different fabrics and don’t be afraid to mix modern with the new – a floral eiderdown on a silk covered duvet, for instance, works really well.

 

BALLINA IRON BED by THE

BALLINA IRON BED by THE ORIGINAL BEDSTEAD COMPANY

Traditional iron bedsteads, such as those available at The Original Bedstead Company (020 7351 1955; www.obc-uk.net) are perfect for this look – giving an old-time sentiment to a bedroom. To add in a contemporary twist, choose unusual textiles, such as Vanessa Arbuthnott’s (www.vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk) Bohemian range with its natural scenes in a grey and chartreuse colour palette.

 

BOHEMIAN by VANESSA ARBUTHNOTT

BOHEMIAN by VANESSA ARBUTHNOTT

To create the ultimate retreat, layering is crucial – but keep it neat. Set up small tableau of curiosities or collectables on chests of drawers or occasional tables, pile on the bedcovers in contrasting prints and create feature walls with vintage hand mirrors or small oil paintings in a similar colour palette. Check out Oliver Hayden’s quirky accessories for inspiration (0844 3350 710; www.oliverhayden.com).

CROSBY MIRRORS AT OLIVER HAYDEN

CROSBY MIRRORS AT OLIVER HAYDEN

 

HEARTS at OLIVER HAYDEN

HEARTS at OLIVER HAYDEN

 

 

 

SLEEPING: In the pink

Whether it’s soft blush or rich raspberry, pink is making a comeback. Taking its cue from last season’s catwalks (where the shade was featured by virtually every designer), the colour – used correctly – can look modern and sophisticated.

 

FUSCIA DRAWERS by OUT THERE INTERIORS

FUSCIA DRAWERS by OUT THERE INTERIORS

Director of Out There Interiors (www.outthereinteriors.com) Jenny Hurren, comments: “Pink bedrooms don’t have to scream Barbie!  Soft pink and grey is a wonderful colour combination, for instance, and creates a relaxing, sophisticated room. Think pastel pink bedside tables with copper lamps and sumptuous textiles – gorgeous!  When it comes to hot pink, don’t go overboard. One piece is perfect, a statement chest of drawers or sumptuous upholstered linen box for example. Allow it to own the space, then choose complementary neutrals to sit alongside.”

CAMERON OTTOMAN BED by FEATHER AND BLACK

CAMERON OTTOMAN BED by FEATHER AND BLACK

Essentially a romantic colour, using too much pink in the bedroom is in danger of being too ‘frou frou’ and feminine, especially if you are sharing with a male partner. Keep it modern and subtle by dressing a clean-lined ottoman bed, such as the Cameron Ottoman bed at Cambridge’s Feather and Black (01223 366282; www.featherandblack.com), with the Poetica range of fabrics –faded glamour in style – from Harlequin (www.harlequin.uk.com).

Harlequin_Poetica_10_ER

POETICA RANGE from HARELQUIN

Harlequin_Poetica_11_ER Harlequin_Poetica_12_ER

For bolder schemes, use bright, fresh detailing – such as the oversized floral Tamika wallpaper, also from Harlequin (www.harlequin.uk.com) and contrast with gold or mirrored furniture for an atmospheric boudoir. Minimalist lovers need not shy away from the shade, either. Contrast a clean, sparse aesthetic with a candy-pink wall colour, such as Farrow & Ball’s (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com) Nancy’s Blushes – and your room will be instantly updated.

NANCY'S BLUSHES by FARROW & BALL

NANCY’S BLUSHES by FARROW & BALL

 

SLEEPING: Keep it zen
Like no other room in the house, the bedroom is all about calmness and serenity. Echo this feel with your furnishings and décor. A combination of complimentary pastel colours – think aqua, pale blue and grey – look elegant and understated.

HAND PAINTED WARDDROBES by RENCRAFT

HAND PAINTED WARDDROBES by RENCRAFT

Hand Painted Wardrobes 002

Highlight areas, such as a dressing table, with clever lighting – source antique bronze lamps or gilded bedside lights for a sophisticated contrast against light wall colours. And hide away the clutter. Fitted wardrobes, such as those supplied by Rencraft (www.rencraft.co.uk), in contrasting pastel colours to the rest of the room, will give a seamless, peaceful look.

LITTLE GREENE

LITTLE GREENE

Soft fabrics and vintage-style wallpapers with pale prints also create a subdued backdrop. Cambridge’s Paint and Paper Emporium (01223 506136; www.paintandpaperemporium.com) has a fantastic selection to choose from, such as the 1950s-style Hampstead by Little Greene – a fine detailed paper in black and white.

Window coverings are also key. For high-ceilinged rooms, hang curtains – in silks and velvets – that drape along the floor for a decadent, sumptuous look. Alternatively, shutters can create a beachy feel to induce a laid-back holiday vibe.

SHUTTERCRAFT

SHUTTERCRAFT

Ryan Jarvis owner of Cambridge’s Shuttercraft (01223 581 339; www.shuttercraft-cambridge.co.uk) agrees: “Interior window shutters are a highly versatile window covering that can provide the perfect balance of light and privacy to help create a tranquil atmosphere to relax and unwind in.Shuttercraft Cambridge offer the widest range of premium window shutters and can even custom colour match their shutters to compliment customers unique style and zen.”

 

KITCHEN: Shine and shimmer
Kitchens have come a long way from simply being a practical hub of the home. They are now being ‘dressed’ just as any other room would be; and the more glamorous the better. Cabinets in gemstone colours – think emerald and sapphire – are accentuated with brass taps and mother-of-pearl splashbacks. Meanwhile, glimmering surfaces in bold hues, such as the Cristallino Blue and Cape Cod Green, available at Granite Transformations (0808 271 6672; www.granitetransformations.co.uk) elevate the kitchen to the most design conscious room in the house.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

The use of glass in a kitchen can also bring a polished look to the space. A bank of glass cabinets, such as those available at Nicholas Anthony (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk) can house statement vases or crockery, while pretty glass chandeliers can contrast nicely with sleek, modern cabinetry.

MAGMA KITCHEN by CERAMIC

MAGMA KITCHEN by THE STONE AND CERAMIC WAREHOUSE

 

A white on white look (think: white flooring, cabinets and lighting), matched with gleaming white tiles, such as the Magma stone tiles available at The Stone and Ceramic Warehouse (020 8993 5545; www.thestoneandceramicwarehouse.co.uk) can make as much of an elegant statement as a colourful scheme does.

 

Meanwhile, gold, silver and copper elements – taps, practical accessories and ovens – are key materials for those looking to stay one step ahead when it comes to interior design.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

 

Tony Nicholas, managing director at Cambridge-based Nicholas Anthony kitchens (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk), also identifies the trend: “Silver is a soft, sleek iridescent element in a kitchen. In fact, the use of metallics will enhance an expression of modernism and glamour while shimmering surfaces deliver opulence. The use of metallic increases a sense of warmth and value in any kitchen interior.”

 

 

KITCHEN: Tropical heat

Turning up the heat in the most modern kitchens is a new tropical theme, played out in exotic leaf motifs, natural textures and the use of greens of all shades.

 

FRUTA FUENTE at ANTHROPOLOGIE

FRUTA FUENTE at ANTHROPOLOGIE

Against a neutral backdrop, you can play with the theme by adding in brightly coloured accessories, such as the exotic hued platters and jugs, available at Anthropologie (www.anthropologie.eu), and bright, zesty lighting, such as the green Wan pendants at Christopher Wray (www.christopherwray.com).

WAN PENDANT at CHRISTOPHER WRAY

WAN PENDANT at CHRISTOPHER WRAY

 

Whether you go for emerald shades or lime green, this look is all about being bold. Clash your greens and use natural textures such as sisal rugs, palm-print wallpapers and Waikiki print fabrics. Plantation-style painted shutters, such as those available at Shutterly Fabulous (www.shutterlyfabulous.co.uk) give an ‘island’ feel to a space and can be used as a bright focal point if painted a popping colour in an otherwise neutral kitchen.

 

SHUTTERLY FABULOUS

SHUTTERLY FABULOUS

Tony Nicholas, managing director at Cambridge-based Nicholas Anthony kitchens (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk), comments: “Shades of green offset with contrasting materials such as wood, glass, plastic, concrete and steel can create a tropical escape with a soft urban edge. This look works extremely well in both kitchens and bathrooms. Informal interiors with using nature’s shades and finishes can enhance a sense of comfort.”

 

KITCHENS: Future luxe

Most of all, when it comes to our kitchens, we want them to work hard for us – and work well. Available soon are a new generation of intelligent appliances, which will mean we’ll all be cooking clever. Ovens and fridges controlled by apps – even when you are not at home; oversized fridges (four doors anyone?) with inbuilt tablets and intelligent thermostats that automatically reduce energy consumption are coming to a kitchen near you soon.

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

NICHOLAS ANTHONY

It goes without saying that a luxury home for these new devices is essential. Invest in a handle-less, sleek kitchen by Nicholas Anthony (01223 368828; www.nicholas-anthony.co.uk) or a contemporary, glossy model at By Design (01223 248409; www.bydi.co.uk) to complete the futuristic vibe. The latest kitchens offer space-saving features and hide away all the practical items that are kitchen essentials but which you may not want on show. After all, innovation that looks good is hot right now.

 

This feature is in the July issue of The Cambridge Edition Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty for the long haul

The latest beauty launches are perfect for seeing you through the endless days of summer. Here are my top ten summer sizzles:

 

Soak it up

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The Greek island of Santorini is the inspiration behind Korres new Santorini Vine range. The Santorini Vine Body Milk, £10, smells just like a holiday in a bottle with its green apple, floral, citrus and peach notes. I also love the bold blue and white packaging, too, which mirrors the Aegean waters and Cycladic architecture of the Greek islands. Ideal for use after basking in the sun, the body milk sinks into limbs immediately and provides long-lasting hydration with its combination of almond oil, active aloe, provitamin B5 and shea butter. A little mention, here, too, of its sister product, the Santorini Vine Shower Gel, £8, which is just as divine. www.debenhams.com

 

Reviving wash

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Bubble T’s Moroccan Mint Tea Reviving Shower Gel, £8, has a unique tea-infused formula blended with super fruit extracts, such as goji berry, and is inspired by the Taiwanese drink – Bubble Tea. The vivid green shower gel is an amazing morning pick-me up with its refreshing peppermint scent. It is also blended with white jasmine and sweet spearmint said to energize and revive. www.bubbletcosmetics.com

 

Everyday luxury

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Deeply replenishing, Argan Oil’s Ultra-Rich Body Butter, £8.99, is ideal for skin that has had too much sun. The intensive moisturiser feels really decadent and has an air-whipped, non-greasy texture. I love the exotic scent, too, which lingers on the skin for hours after applying. Made with a blend of Argan oil with four other oils, Baobab, Kukui, Moringa and Sacha Inci, this rich body butter is fabulous restorative leaving skin enriched and silky. www.boots.com

 

The big reveal

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Use Pulpe de Vie’s Tickle Me Body Scrubbing Butter, £14, a week or so before you hit the beach and you’ll have incredibly smooth and even skin to show off. Its rich buttery texture melts into an ultra-soft cream when applied, removing dead skin cells and softening dry and flaky patches. Using a fruity mix of tomato and blackcurrent waters, sourced from Provence, as well as apricot kernel powder, this body exfoliator also smells as good as its ingredients. www.absolutelydivine.co.uk

 

Spritz it on

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Baylis & Harding’s new Great Body range has a sophisticated new design ethos. Based around wildflower botanical extracts, the collection of five body-care products includes the Body Mist, £6, which is ideal for travelling. It refreshes and firms the skin and quenches with instant hydration. It also has a lovely, light floral scent to revive the senses – perfect to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day. An honourable mention also goes to the line’s new Body Lotion and Body Firming Cream – both £6 each and both great additions to your summer regime. www.waitrose.com

 

Foot first

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One of my favourite new brands to launch recently is the British label Ruby Red. The botanical skincare range is inspired by a traditional apothecary ethos but with an added contemporary urban twist. Its Cooling Foot Cream, £19, is just the thing for relieving tired feet when travelling. Containing natural essence of peppermint as well as shea butter and sunflower seed oil, it instantly refreshes tired, aching feet and legs. It also helps to heal cracked heels and rough, dry skin. www.rubyredcosmetics.co.uk

 

Divine cleanliness

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Another find from Ruby Red is its glorious Reviving Body Cleanser, £17. This is one of the most wonderfully scented shower gels I have ever come across. Containing lime, red mandarin, coriander and cedarwood, it is fabulously cosseting yet enlivening at the same time. It softly foams and does not dry or irritate the skin, thanks to its botanical extract of aloe vera. It also does not contain any SLS or harsh detergents, so is kind for all the family. Although no doubt you’ll want to keep this one to yourself. www.rubyredcosmetics.co.uk

 

Crowning glory

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Perfect for packing light, NHP’s Top Ten Perfect Styling Cream, £16.80, has everything you need for perfect hair all in one spray. The intensive, multifunctional treatment is rich in organic Argan oil, Macademia oil and Panthenol and repairs, tames, gives shine and body and protects against heat damage. What more do you want? www.beautybyzara.com

 

Scent from heaven

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One of the latest trends in the fragrance world is perfume for hair. Ideally suited to the summer months, it is a subtle way of wearing scent. Cool new brand Hairy Jayne’s Hair Perfume and Heat Protector, £9, takes the theme one step further by adding in an anti-frizz ingredient so it becomes a perfume with a purpose. A choice of three scents, citrus, floral or musk (my fave is the floral), is available and they give hair a long-lasting freshness. Meanwhile its shine enhancing formula means hair is non-frizzy and smooth. www.hairyjayne.co.uk

 

Eye, eye

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After any flight or long journey, skin can become tired and saggy, especially around the eye area. Target dark shadows and puffiness with Pond’s Institute Eye Contour Cream, £7.99. The gentle formula keeps the eye area fresh and hydrated. Formulated with vitamins A, E and B5, it improves the skin structure and cares for the sensitive area. www.pondsinstitute.co.uk

Timeless beauty

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She’s an icon, a legend even, but instead of the 80-year-old Joan Collins hanging up her handbag in lieu of hanging out at St Tropez, say, or the Dorch (surely, there’s no better for the queen of the screen?), the actress has rather launched a new make-up collection. And rather lovely it is, too.

Styled in a 1950s meets Art Deco design, lipsticks are housed in heavy gold cases and shadows in expensive-looking compacts. The Timeless Beauty range aims to be attainable and effective for all women of all ages.

“Looking good and feeling great is the right of every woman no matter how old she is,” she says. “Beauty is timeless.”

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Priced between £12-£50, the range is affordable and fantastic quality. My favourite is the pointy, 50s nail varnish (love the popping pink Fontaine shade and the fact that they are all named after the characters she has played). The eyebrow pencil also gives fantastic definition, the blush is just the right side of peachy while the genius Paparazzi Ready Compact Duo pairs together a pressed powder and Divine Lips lipstick (there are eight shades to choose from) in a super-glam compact.

Renowned for her glamour, Joan Collins has called upon her many years in Hollywood as inspiration for the collection, using many of her ‘insider’ secrets to create what she calls the ultimate line of make-up for any woman. Timeless.

www.joancollinsbeauty.com

Roll on Retallack

Daymer Bay

Daymer Bay

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If you are thinking of heading for a cheeky stay down in Cornwall this summer then my money is on staying at Retallack Resort & Spa, near Padstow. This little gem of a place has something for everyone and makes holidaying in the UK a stylish and stress-free option.

A variety of lodges - and I use the word loosely, as they are so much more than this – is available. Ours was for eight people and, with four bedrooms, and two living areas, it meant we lived all together with friends for our week’s holiday but had enough space not to get under each other’s feet. Decor is modern, clean and fresh – with plenty of cosy sofas, en-suites, a contemporary kitchen stocked with everything you need and soft, dreamy beds. Our Daymer Lodge also came complete with a hot tub, which was popular with kids and adults alike. In fact, we didn’t have a look in while the little ones (aged from 12 to 7) were around.

Contemporary Cool

Contemporary Cool

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Facilities included a playground with zip wire, a Matrix Fitness Suite and spinning studio, a nine hole par three golf course, indoor swimming pool, soft play zone, two tennis courts and bike trails. If that all sounds a tad tiring, don’t worry. There’s also a Retreat Spa with two beauty rooms, a eucalyptus steam room and scandinavian sauna. Bliss!

The highlight, for us, however, was Cornwall’s only FlowRider. While the adults sipped our hot chocolates, from the coffee bar, the kids got stuck in. It’s not exclusively for children, I have to say, but we didn’t want to put them off their swerve the first time they tried it! A little daunted at first, they soon got the hang of riding the waves and loved the chipper trainer who flung them in the water and gave them a confidence boost when things got tricky. It was voted the best thing of their trip and comes with that elusive kids’ seal of approval – boys and girls alike.

Go with the flow: Flowrider

Go with the flow: Flowrider

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As well as the fun factor, Retallack is also making a name for itself due to its The Green Room restaurant, headed up by Masterchef 2008 winner, James Nathan. We had two standout meals during our trip and we loved the combination of laid-back approach (very much appropriate for a family-orientated, holiday destination) and stellar cuisine. Here’s a little snapshot of what we sampled:

Mushroom risotto starter

Mushroom Risotto Starter

Scallops, chorizo and red pepper puree starter

Scallops, Chorizo and Red Pepper Puree Starter

Padstow Crab Linguine Starter

Padstow Crab Linguine Starter

Slow-cooked Pork Belly with Cannellini Cassoulet Main

Slow-cooked Pork Belly with Cannellini Cassoulet Main

Selection of Cornish Cheeses

Selection of Cornish Cheeses

Belgian Chocolat Fondant

Belgian Chocolat Fondant

 

As well a great kids’ menu, best of all the restaurant is situated near Retallack’s beachy-style lounge – the ideal place for growing kids to hang around without the parents. A combination of squishy sofas, a ready-made XBox and pool table meant that this was their Mecca. As our children are now a bit older, we gave them the green card to escape after they finished their meal, while we enjoyed our meals in peace. Secret to a successful holiday? Keep everyone happy. They did here.

Lounge lovers

Lounge lovers

IMG_4192www.retallackresort.co.uk

 

Haute Austria: Hotel Tannenhof

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Sleep tight – the luxury bedrooms at Hotel Tannenhof

 

Visiting a ski resort without any intention of skiing is a bit like going to a wine tasting without any intention of tasting the wine. It’s an odd place to be. Sure there are other distractions when en piste (wine, for instance), and so it was with this justification I took off to the Austrian skiing town of St Anton. I don’t ski and had no intention of taking it up but the ‘distraction’ was the new luxury hotel opening that was Hotel Tannenhof. I’m a sucker for swish.

 

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Our in-car welcome hamper

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Soak it up

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Alpine chic

At first sight, the hotel was not as glitzy as I had expected – it is one of just 13 five-star hotels in the whole of Austria – so I had high hopes. The ubiquitous Alpine timber façade was a tad flouncy and more chalet than chic. But, as in all the best travel experiences, those expectations were overturned the minute I walked through the doors.

 

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The restaurant

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Elegant settings

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Even the detox menu is super tasty

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Aiming to be an upscale home-from-home, the hotel, which opened its doors early this year, was boldly converted from a 23-room hotel to just seven suites. The owners wanted to recreate its heyday of the 1960s, when it was a hub on the skiing-scene, renowned for its good food and après-ski party vibe (hence the traditional exterior, which, it turns out, had been knowingly restored as a nod to its past life as a tavern). With an investment of €9m, they have stripped it back and restructured the building to create an intimate boutique offering, fitting for today’s savvy, well-heeled travellers.

 

Lounge and library

Lounge and library

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There’s a small army of 20 staff catering to a maximum of 16 guests at any time (in fact if you have the budget and enough friends you can hire the whole hotel out, as Dragon Peter Jones did the week before I stayed). Rather than feel outnumbered, though, service is discreet and polished – an Austrian fusing of German efficiency and Italian warmth. It’s the kind of place where you can order off-menu without any fuss, where a pair of reading glasses will be sourced for you if you have lost your own and where spa treatments are miraculously invented to suit that back complaint you mentioned at breakfast.

 

Suite dreams

Suite dreams

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The attention to detail continues in the elegant design. Suites are expansive and akin to sumptuous apartments. If you wanted, you could dance a waltz in the huge dressing rooms (to a soundtrack from the in-room digital music system), cha-cha around the spacious bathrooms and right into the arms of the oversized rain-dance shower. Freestanding baths made of pressed stone (so that the bath water stays hotter for longer), open fires that are stocked and lit twice a day in winter, crisp Austrian linens and deep carpets add more than a touch of luxury. You’ll also find an all-inclusive mini-bar featuring local delicacies (a nice touch no matter how deep your pockets are), rolling art exhibitions throughout the hotel and balconies offering panoramic views over the mountains. Each of the seven suites is based on a similar design ethos but with differing colour palettes – think silver and plum, stone and terracotta, black and gold. Individual ‘statement’ pieces of furniture – a French chest here, an English tartan armchair there – add a sense of personality. Downstairs, in the public rooms, guests can mingle in the intimate bar with its cosy roaring fire, or retreat for a game of pool in the library, if they wish. It’s all utterly cocooning.

 

Natural elements in the spa

Natural elements in the spa

Stone sink

Stone sink

Soak it up

Soak it up

Take the plunge

Take the plunge

Sauna scene

Sauna scene

Mountain terrace

Mountain terrace

View front he spa

View front he spa

Talking of which, the real highlight here is the spa, tucked away at the bottom of the house and a mighty distraction from the skiing on offer. Whether you indulge in a dedicated spa package – such as the new five-day Lifestyle Detox or just sample one treatment, it’s a must. Personalisation is key here so guests are given an initial in-depth consultation and your therapist adapts each treatment to your likes or dislikes. For a little local flavour, try the signature Healing Stone Massage Ritual. It uses silver quartzite, hot basalt stone from local rivers and Tyrolean zeolite minerals combined with herbs and warm oils, which are massaged into the skin, all to the strangely alluring sounds of the Tyrolean mountains. It’s unbelievably relaxing. Fitness is also tackled – in style, of course – with private yoga sessions, mountain hikes led by your own personal guide and ski passes – if you must – on offer.

 

A sunny terrace is a joy in the summer months and a scenic way to ingest some invigorating mountain air in colder climes (the loungers come complete with velvety-soft blankets). There’s an indoor and outdoor sauna, hammam, a 15m pool with massage jets and a counter current system for length swimming.

 

While the spa has enough on offer to feed the soul, the body is sated in the small but exquisite restaurant. While the mountains glimmer in the background, Chef Christoph Zangeri turns out classic dishes with a modern twist, such as rich watercress soup with hazelnut and truffle and turbot served with spinach, artichoke and olive. The kitchen follows a field to fork mantra – who doesn’t these days? – but here, with the freshly baked breads and interesting amuse-bouche, the food really does taste zingy and fresh. There’s also an impressive wine cellar, which with its touchscreen bottle selection, will please tech-heads and oenophiles alike. Pop down into the basement and zip through the menu of wines and it will be delivered to your table or room in no time.

 

St Anton

St Anton

I’m told I can’t talk about St Anton without at least mentioning the skiing. I visited just as the season was coming to an end. But even so I’m told it’s good.

I was too distracted to find out more.

 This review also features on The Arbuturian website.

Hoteltannenhof.net

Suites start from about £1,540 per night on a full board basis. The five-night Detox Package costs €3, 750 per couple, including all treatments and activities on a full-board basis.

British Airways flies to Zurich from London City Airport. Flights can be booked at ba.com.

 

 

Zacry’s, Watergate Bay, Cornwall: moments that bring people together

I’ve always loved Watergate Bay Hotel, just outside of Newquay (the town’s not nearly as charming, but this seems a world away). And it seems to be going from strength to strength. We discovered it a few years ago, having been invited to its barefoot chic restaurant The Living Space and we fell in love with the panoramic views over one of Cornwall’s best beaches and shoreline beyond, the laid-back surfy vibe, the hip furnishings, the family-friendly nature of the place and its cool philosophy. Oh, did I mention the food? It was good. Freshly caught fish, mezze, pastrami sandwiches, buttered Cornish new potatoes… I could go on.

Last year, the hotel opened its Swim Club, situated under The Living Space and which has a Hamptons-come-to-Cornwall kind of feel. It’s made up of a stunning 25-m ocean-view infinity pool, a charming cafe-lounge, poolside terraces, timber boardwalks and a Canadian hot tub. There’s even a spa and yoga classes on tap. Could this place get any better?

I’m enthusing, I know. But it has. This year is the unveiling of new restaurant Zacry’s. A grown-up brasserie-style restaurant with a dash of Cornish attitude and a pinch of New York style, it has a cool sensibility.

New York-style lighting

New York-style lighting

Statement chevron flooring

Statement chevron flooring

 

You sit on tan leather banquettes and dine off zinc-wrapped refectory tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can eat with the stunning sunset as your backdrop, while cocooning booths mean you can also indulge in an intimate dinner for two.

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Freshly baked bread

Starter

Octopus starter

Starter

Scallops starter

 

Our meal kicked off with freshly-baked bread and icy butter (delicious) and perfectly made Bellinis – how better to kick start a meal? We were already feeling the good vibes, when my starter of Charred Octopus with haricot beans, courgette, fennel, red pepper, black olives and basil (yes, it was a mouthful, in more ways than one) arrived. Fresh and zesty, it was an unusual and memorable dish. My husband’s, meanwhile, was Crispy Cornish Scallops with spicy mayo and white truffle oil and was equally impressive.

Head chef Neil Haydock’s passion for seasonality shines through across the extensive menu, which features both classic and contemporary dishes. Seafood, of course, is a highlight and the indoor charcoal oven means that flavours are bold and distinctive.

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Roasted Turbot

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Buttered early potatoes

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Pork Loin Chop

 

On to the mains and I chose the Roasted Turbot with spinach, cockles and pancetta, with a side of Cornish early potatoes. The combinations were an ideal marriage and complimented each other perfectly. Hubbie’s main was the Pork Loin Chop with crushed potatoes, onion puree and crackling (the highlight of the dish, he said). Sumptuous home cooking with a lot of finesse was how he described it. I have to confess I wanted to reach over and snap off a piece of the crackling, but divorce may have been mentioned.

When it came to the desserts, we toyed between the chocolate soufflé and the cheese board, but –- and, now looking back, I could kick myself – we were so full, we decided to forego all treats!

There was a real camaraderie at Zacry’s and a laid-back buzz about the place. It’s somewhere to unwind, and somewhere to enjoy good, inventive food. “Zacry’s is not just a place to eat,” they say about themselves. “It’s about the notion of sharing; food, good company and moments that bring people together.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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A view to remember

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Watergate Bay: so much more than good food

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Sunset over the bay

For more information, and to book, visit: www.watergatebay.co.uk/food-and-drink/zacrys/

Capture the castle: Castell son Claret, Mallorca

 

HOTEL REVIEW: CASTELL SON CLARET, MALLORCA, SPAIN

As a restored 18th century castle, you might think that Castell son Claret in sunny Mallorca would be a flamboyant nod to its baroque past. Instead, its ‘less-is-more’ approach is offering a new kind of luxury…

Scenes from the grounds

Scenes from the grounds

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You’ll find no flashy lobby, state-of-the-art check-in or showstopper concepts at Mallorca’s new opening Castell Son Claret, but that’s not to say the converted 18th century castle doesn’t feel palatial. Castell Son Claret has no truck with hoteliers’ current penchant for sensory overload. Instead the new Mallorcan hotel is redefining the concept of luxury with a pared-back, but no less sumptuous, approach for a new breed of travellers.

 

Peaceful surrounds

Peaceful surrounds

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Hidden away on a vast 325-acre estate, in the west of the island and under the shadow of the Tramuntana Mountains, German owners Christine and Klaus-Michael Kühne have tapped into the current hotel trend of ‘poetic quietness’ with this private-home style retreat. With just 38 rooms, a subterranean spa and a restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Fernando Pérez-Arellano, it merges its traditional architecture with modernist interiors – it’s a grown-up take on fairytale luxe.

Interiors merge a modern sensibility with the building's rich history

Interiors merge a modern sensibility with the building’s rich history

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While interiors in the restored 18th century castle fall just the right side of plain, they are undoubtedly top-end. Polished limestone floors, white-on-cream décor and slick fittings give a real sense of wellbeing and comfort – with a special nod given here to the state-of-the-art heated loo and one of the most sumptuous beds I’ve ever slept in.  Juliet balconies, hidden-away courtyards and a real Rapunzel suite set in its own private tower add a unique touch of magic.

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You can get lost in the dreamy, scented gardens, designed by landscape artist Tatjana von Griesheim, practice the art of mindfulness with a spiritual practitioner and, best of all, stay the night in one of the most original suites I’ve come across. The two-storey Rapunzel tower (originally the castle’s water tower, shown above) stands alone in the hotel’s orchard and gives panoramic views from its circular rooms across the grounds to the peak of Puig de Galatzo.  It may be tiny inside but the marble flooring, oak wood furniture, art by Mallorcan artist Ramon Canet and sumptuous, cloud-like bed make for a cosy space. Ideal for letting your hair down.

 

 

Blooming lovely

Blooming lovely

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Set in a glorious 325-acre estate, in the province of Calvia, Castell son Claret seeks to be the ultimate cocooning retreat. Meander through the scented gardens – rich in the aromas of bergamot, jasmine, rose and vetiver – and you’ll be on a natural high, basking in the silence that surrounds you. As well as the lessons on  ‘mindfulness’ and meditation are on offer as are outdoor yoga sessions in the shade of a lemon tree. When it comes to culinary delights, simplicity is key, from the fresh bread straight out of the castle’s own bakery to the stellar choice of just two menus in the haute-cuisine Zaranda restaurant. Be prepared to be wowed as this is dining meets theatre.

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Factor in the subterranean Bellesa de Claret Spa with hammam, infinity pool and terrace with views over the Tramunta mountains and it’s proof that less is definitely more. Fantastic highlights include the attentive yet unobtrusive service, the fast-track VIP service from Palma airport, just half-hour away and the pre-treatment holistic walk around the estate. Castell son Claret’s ‘luxury of silence’ ethos means this renovated castle is an enchanting place to recharge your batteries.

 

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Rooms from £245 per night, B&B.

Castellsonclaret.com

 

Makeup makeover

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After popping into Boots recently for some basics, I started browsing the beauty counters and was amazed at some of the new budget lines that were available. What’s a girl to do? I obviously indulged in some ‘drug-store’ treats and have been totally won over by some of the fabulous beauty bounty to be had by the high-street brands. Many of these match, if not better, some of the top designer brands available proving that budget has come a long way of late. This girl has turned!

Bourjois has long been a favourite but my recent finds include its Volume Clubbing Waterproof Mascara in Dramatic Black. It is truly smudge proof (even on my eyes that tend to water quite a lot) and gives lovely definition. A patented double-sided brush gives even coverage on the lashes and the waterproof formula is enriched with vinyl for an intense look that won’t budge all evening. I’m normally a Lancôme devotee when it comes to mascara, so am very happy with its £7.99 price.

Also from the Bourjois stable is their new launch - the Colour Edition 24 Hour cream-to-powder eyeshadows. Fine and silky, this soft cream colour – my fave is Or Desir, a subtle gold shade – turns into powder upon the contact with the skin leaving you with a luxurious, second-skin feel. It gives a metallic sheen and long-lasting colour and just £6.99 to boot.

I add to this a light veil of Barry M’s Dazzle Dust Eye Shadow, £4.59, in Tan, which is a neutral nude-gold colour. It gives a lovely shimmer to the brow bone or can be dusted all over for a light-reflecting effect.

I can’t mention Bourjois without touching on their cute and practical Little Round Pot Blusher, also £6.99. I use mine along my cheek bones or on the apple of my cheeks, with a smaller blusher brush after applying bronzer. It gives a rosy glow without looking too much like Aunt Sally. Current shade is Rose De Jaspe but at this price, you can invest in a few different colours. They last for ages, too.

I have also been totally won over by L’Oreal’s L’Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick by Color Riche, £8.99. Molto Mauve is a wonderfully dark rose colour that gives an intense colour but just enough for day-wear. It goes on like a dream – not too sticky and with a gorgeous shine. It is described as ‘when oil meets colour’ and this is very accurate. It gives a balm-like feel with colour like a lipstick, but shine like a gloss. Fab!

Last, but not least, and I can just about justify it in this ‘budget’ write-up I think, is Benefit’s Speed Brow, £13 (the most priciest). I love a defined brow, but don’t want mine to be eye-poppingly defined or HD Ready, which is a popular look right now. This quick-set gel gives brows a hint of colour and tidies them up. It lasts all day and keeps brows neat and tamed.

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Dressing table bounty

Dressing table bounty

Dream a little dream: children’s rooms

Big or small, boy’s or girl’s – a children’s room is more than just a place for the little ones to sleep. Let your imagination go wild and inspire your children by giving them a stylish room that meets all of their needs and more.

 

Farrow and Ball's

Farrow and Ball’s Calamine is just the right shade of pink

Like no other room in the house, a child’s room has a multitude of functions. It’s a playroom, a den, a place to do homework, a retreat to daydream and somewhere to sleep (only if they must, of course). It is also one of the only rooms that will need to continuously adapt to differing needs over time, as your children grow. With some clever design tips and a few investment buys, however, you can design a room that will adapt with their changing needs, with just a few simple adjustments. While practicality is key, it’s also essential to remember the fun factor. Get your children involved in the planning stages and show them a variety of options before agreeing on a theme or a colour. It should result in them having an emotional investment in the room they helped design, and so they will be less likely to want to change it after a year or so. What’s more building a creative space for them will also encourage creative minds to develop.

 Adventure Wall Sticker

SLEEP

While for most adults, the bedroom’s primary purpose is to get a good night’s sleep, it’s not necessarily the case for children (much to our exasperation at times). But that’s not to say that it’s not essential. Children need a lot more shut-eye than adults, which is why it is a wise idea to spend a healthy chunk of your budget on a quality bed.

After the cot stage, when a child is around the age of two, many parents plump for a junior-size bed as a child’s first proper bed. This can make sense if there’s more than one child in the house – who will also be able to use it further down the line. For homes that only have one child, it may be more practical to purchase a single bed, and additional guardrails or removable sides for when they are toddlers, which will see them through to the teenage years.

 

Caravan and Tent beds from Idyll Home

Caravan and Tent beds (below) from Idyll Home

Tent bed cream

From elaborate bunk-beds to specially-designed novelty beds, these days the choice of beds designed with a child in mind is immense. Idyll Home (01270 812717; www.idyllhome.co.uk), a stylish home emporium, has a choice of imaginative beds for children, such as its Belgium-made Caravan Bed and Tent Bed. Offering a room-within-a-room, these charming pieces are ideal for children who fight their bedtime routine, as the bed is almost secondary, hidden away within the structure, giving more of a ‘playtime’ impression.

 

Canopy beds from Noa and Nani

Canopy beds from Noa and Nani

6 Butterflyhighbed

Noa & Nani (01303 872957; www.noaandnani.co.uk), meanwhile, is a specialist in cabin beds that will fire up a child’s imagination. Models have built in tents, slides, ladders and desks in a variety of designs, offering practical storage and space-saving solutions, as well as appealing to a child’s sensibility.

 

Ashton furniture fom John Lewis

Ashton furniture fom John Lewis

For smaller rooms, a storage bed is a wise choice. Caitlin Price, Beds and Bedroom Furniture Buyer at John Lewis (0844 693 1709; www.johnlewis.com) advises: “Think about investing in a storage bed with drawers or a built in desk area. Ranges such as the Stompa Bedroom Furniture collection work really well. If funds prevent this then consider drawers, which are sold separately, that you can slide under an existing bed – just make sure you check the height from floor to side rail.”

 

The Storage Bed Company

The Storage Bed Company

David Norman, Director at specialist The Storage Bed Company (0845 2000 128; www.thestoragebed.co.uk), agrees: “Children’s bedrooms can soon become overwhelmed with toys, clothes and other clutter so it is important to think about helpful storage solutions when furnishing their room. Their bedrooms are often the smallest of the house so maximise available space by choosing furniture that has multi-uses. A practical storage bed provides a surprising amount of extra space; perfect for tidying away toys, sports equipment and general bit and bobs after playtime. Our storage beds do not compromise on quality, single bed designs are built to adult-sized proportions so they will last them until they move out! A great long term solution.”

 

Canford Storage bed from Aspace

Canford Storage bed from Aspace

Mid- and high-sleepers are also good options if you are short on space. They feature an elevated bed with a play area, desk, storage or even a second bed (in the form of a futon) underneath. Remember to check your ceiling height and ensure that there is enough room for a child to sit up in their bed, especially as they grow older.

 

Charterhouse Trundle bed from Aspace

Charterhouse Trundle bed from Aspace

Christopher Lusty, Managing Director of Aspace (0845 872 2400; www.aspace.co.uk), which offers a huge range of children’s furniture, says: “While storage is important, so too is creating a space for children to play and relax. Look for an all-in-one space saving solution, such as a High Sleeper Bunk Bed with a built-in futon and desk, or a Cabin Bed with built in furniture and space to play beneath, giving you double the function without taking up any more space!”

Perch Bunkbed and Woody Hug bed (below) from Nubie.

Perch Bunkbed and Woody Hug bed (below) from Nubie.

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Many parents spend money on novelty beds only to find a child quickly outgrows them. Consider instead more of a sophisticated design ethos, such as the contemporary range at modern kids boutique Nubie (01825 724160; www.nubie.co.uk).

Oliver single bed from Feather and Black

Oliver single bed from Feather and Black

Noah High Sleeper Bed from Feather and Black

Noah High Sleeper Bed from Feather and Black

Feather and Black (www.featherandblack.com) also have a selection of practical bed choices, many of which come in neutral colours yet with a stylish twist, making them suitable for all ages.

“Feather and Black understands sleep and children,” says Dan Wade, Managing Director of Feather and Black. “Our extensiveKids range offers great flexibility while not compromising on the needs of the children. Our classic and contemporary designs combined with excellent quality ensure whatever you choose is built and designed to last beyond childhood. “

 

Loft Bed from Nubie

Loft Bed from Nubie

Lastly, don’t forget how important it is for children to have quality time with friends, cousins and siblings – especially if they don’t share a room. A bed with a secondary trundle bed underneath means simply pulling it out when they get to an age of wanting friends to stay over, making sleepovers hassle-free for parents.

 

Wide Loft Bed from Nubie

Wide Loft Bed from Nubie

Amanda Short, Founder of Nubie, comments: “At Nubie we are seeing an increase in parents wanting their kids furniture to be multi-functional. A child’s bedroom is not just a place to rest your head, but also somewhere to accommodate sleepovers, storage and homework, too. Beds that house a trundle are a great option for those occasional overnight guests, but also have storage boxes or drawers built in as well.  Once you have a bed which multi-tasks like this then you find you have much more space in the bedroom too!”

 

 

 

STORAGE

One of the biggest challenges in thinking about a child’s room is fitting in the amount of storage that is often required. Their space often doubles up as a playroom, a creative area and a room for study, not to mention housing their clothes. While it should be practical, it should also be lively, bold and joyful.

14 Library System

ArtRoom Desk from Nubie

ArtRoom Desk from Nubie

Nubie’s Amanda Short agrees: “At Nubie, we think that keeping a room tidy should be a fun experience. Our advise would be to provide plenty of stylish storage options and keep it varied with soft colourful bins and baskets for ‘cuddlies’ and then stackable boxes for cars and dolls. Also bear in mind your colour palette. Storage is a great way of introducing a pop of colour into a neutral room, meaning you won’t have to be constantly redecorating. Use bright door handles or paint inside a wardrobe for an interesting feature – this can look stunning against a neutral background.  Introduce bright flashes of bunting or jewel-coloured accessories to bring life to a room – these are also very easy to update if you feel like a change.”

 

Sunny Safari furniture from O"Nessy's

Sunny Safari furniture from O”Nessy’s

If money is no object, buy a few pieces of magical, painted children’s furniture to hide away the clutter – it may not last them a lifetime but it will be something they will always remember, and good quality pieces can even be kept as heirlooms. O’Nessy’s (01527 916447; www.onessytoys.com) stocks colourful ranges of hand-painted mini tables, chairs, chests and dressing tables in pirate, dinosaurs, princess and magic garden themes.

Captain Lifestyle furniture from Oliver Hayden

Captain Lifestyle furniture from Oliver Hayden

 

Furniture store Oliver Hayden (0844 3350 710; www.oliverhayden.com), meanwhile, also stocks unique furniture for children, such as its Captain Lifestyle range, which feature wardrobes and desks with a nautical theme and a hand-carved range of boldly-coloured quirky bookshelves, drawers and cupboards.

Grifoni furniture from Lux Deco

Grifoni furniture from Lux Deco

 

For something extra special, check out the traditional Italian furniture from Florentine company Grifoni, available at LuxDeco (www.luxdeco.com). Inspired by the artwork and opulent architecture of Florence, the brand specializes in decorative creations – many of which are bespoke-made – crafted of wood, enhanced with gold and silver leafing. The hand-painted Cirque du Bebe and Pinocchio pieces may be beyond most of our budgets, but are wonderfully characterful pieces to cherish.

 

Toy storage from Plantabox

Toy storage from Plantabox

 

Bookshelves from White Rabbit England

Bookshelves from White Rabbit England

To hide the ever-growing piles of playthings, maximise space with clever storage solutions, such as stacking toy boxes and cubby holes in shelving. Check out the lovely personalised toy boxes and coat racks, made from apple crates, from £16.95, available at Plantabox (www.plantabox.co.uk) and the tree bookshelf, £560, available at White Rabbit England (01625 419622; www.whiterabbitengland.com).

 

Storage sorted from Aspace

Storage sorted from Aspace

Christopher Lusty, Managing Director of Aspace, gives his advice: “A child’s ever expanding collection of toys, gadgets, clothes and books means that space is increasingly precious. Optimizing storage space is often the biggest challenge.  When there is limited floor space, plump for wall-hung storage and shelving.  Shelves are the ideal solution for storing books and toys; leaving the floor clutter-free and opening up the room to its full potential.  Additionally, in bedrooms with limited square footage, avoid storage units that take up precious floor space.  Instead, choose storage units that have the option to be placed vertically; minimising the footprint, whilst maximising storage space.”

 

 

 

STYLE

Decorating a child’s bedroom should be a fun experience and something you should encourage your child to get involved with. Whether you go for a striking colour scheme, a specific theme for the room or a neutral backdrop to highlight colourful accessories, remember to consult with your child – their imagination may run wild, but can always be tailored and harnessed to keep everyone happy.

double bunk tree hi

Laura furniture from Oliver Hayden

Laura furniture from Oliver Hayden

 

Bernice Say, Director of luxury homeware store Oliver Hayden gives her tips on styling a child’s bedroom: “Start off by listing the colours and the things your child loves. Does he/she like numbers, shapes, cars or dolls, for instance? You can then incorporate these elements in your design. Choose a neutral or subtle colour for the walls with youu child, and get it painted. Don’t worry too much if your child is veering towards bright colours. Direct your child back to the subtle, after all, your child must be able to sleep in the room at night! Then, choose a wall to showcase a piece of artwork. Get a large stretched canvas and some paint and give it to your child to get creative. This will be their masterpiece – something they will be proud of. Be sure to incorporate accessible shelving for books and toys. Lastly, I always like to create a ‘cushion area’ for either the bed or floor, as a little zone for them to relax.”

 

Farrow and Ball

Farrow and Ball

An expert in colour is Farrow & Ball (01223 367771; www.farrow-ball.com). Sarah Cole, director of the heritage brand, agrees with choosing an adaptable colour as a foundation for the room: “We’ve found that the key to decorating young people’s rooms, from nurseries to teenage bedrooms, is to use colours and patterns that will grow with them. For example, if you have a little girl who is determined that only pink will do, but you know she may well grow out of the ‘pink phase’ as soon as you’ve put down the paint brush, why not compromise by using a neutral colour like Great White on the walls and ceilings and painting the door, woodwork and accessories in Cinder Rose? That way, when she’s moved on to other colours, it will be easier for you to update her room. Wallpaper is also an interesting addition to consider, a feature wall of wallpaper is often a popular choice among parents as it’s easy to update as children grow in age as well as sophistication.”

 

She continues: “To create a calming and soothing atmosphere, the subtle tones and interesting pattern of Vermicelli is great for nurseries; stimulating young babies and helping to lull them off to the land of nod. Wallpaper also works well across all ages. For example, Bumble Bee is a great way to create an animal friendly room for younger children, whereas Ocelot is a great choice for teenagers who want to make a statement.

 

“Children’s playrooms and dens are a great place to be bold and have fun with colour. Bright colours like Rectory Red, Charlotte’s Locks, Yellowcake, St Giles Blue and Arsenic are brilliant colours to add vibrancy to a room and create pops of colours. You don’t have to use them on the walls, apply these colours on stools, chairs and tables to create a happy environment for your child to play in.”

 

Ink Blue Spot stickers from Lovably Me

Ink Blue Spot stickers from Lovably Me

 

Enchanted Wood wallpaper by Hibou Home at Nubie.

Enchanted Wood wallpaper by Hibou Home at Nubie.

Alphabet Zoo stickers from Peanut and Pip

Alphabet Zoo stickers from Peanut and Pip

Giant World Map by Maps International

Giant World Map by Maps International

From interesting, quirky wallpapers, such as the Spots range from Lovably Me (www.lovablyme.co.uk) and the Hibou Home Enchanted Woodland range at Nubie (www.nubie.co.uk), to practical wall stickers, available at Peanut and Pip (www.peanutandpip.com), these days décor is increasingly sophisticated for the young. Perfect for a feature wall, and educational to boot, are the giant map murals available at Maps International (www.mapsinternational.co.uk).

Textiles from the White Company

Textiles from the White Company

 

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Cushions from Jan Constantine

Lucky Boy Sunday cushions and blankets at The Boy Who

Lucky Boy Sunday cushions and blankets at The Kid Who

You can also dress a child’s room with pretty bedlinens and cushions made from textiles that don’t meet the usual ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys’ stereotypes. Search out the elegant range available at The White Company, (www.thewhitecompany.com), the British-themed cushions at Jan Constantine (www.janconstantine.com) and the naïve drawings found on fabrics at cool children’s website The Kid Who (www.thekidwho.eu), which appeal as much to parents as they do to the kiddies.

 

White Owl lamp at White Rabbit England

White Owl lamp at White Rabbit England

Pastiche fabrics from Handmade to Measure

Pastiche fabrics from Handmade to Measure

Duette blinds

Duette blinds

Lastly, let’s not forget the all-important aspect of sleeping. Vital for any child – and parent – is ensuring the little ones have an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Invest in a night-light, to ward off night-time terrors (there are lovely animal versions at White Rabbit England) and make sure you fit the room with black-out blinds or curtains. Hand Made to Measure (01625 837 404; www.handmadetomeasure.com) are experts in the field and have a wide choice of fabrics on offer. While the Energy Saving Blinds at Duette (08000 663 662; www.duette.co.uk) have been designed with children in mind. They help to keep the heat in during winter, have black out properties for long summer nights and are child-safe.

Hillary's Blinds

Hillary’s Blinds

Sarah Quilliam, Head of Product Design at blind experts Hillarys (0800 328 4192; www.hillarys.co.uk) adds: “Blinds with a blackout function are a great choice for kids’ rooms. They make it much easier to settle small children on light evenings and should help stop them waking up at dawn in the summer months. Blackout roller blinds also allow you to let in as much natural light as possible at other times.  Always ensure that safety devices are fitted to keep control chains taut and out of harm’s reach or choose a window dressing that doesn’t have any cords such as shutters, a tabbed pleated blind or have roller or venetian blinds fitted in a perfect fit frame.”

No matter what design you choose – and the scope is endless – a child’s room is their first ‘room of their own’, and one they will recall forever. No pressure, now!

 

This article also appears in this month’s issue of The Cambridge Edition