Spas of Europe

With another summer coming to an end and winter approaching us, my thoughts have started turning to warm and relaxing spas. While I genuinely believe that a good spa is great for any time of year, there’s something extra special about being pampered in comfort and in expert hands during colder days.

As any regular spa user will know, the prices can get quite steep. For me, there’s nothing worse than going to a spa that is competitive on price but fails to deliver any worthwhile experience, sometimes to the point where the massage can leave me with pain.

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How to Create a Luxury Spa in Your Home

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of a spa is “a bath containing hot aerated water”, I guess you could say that “spa” is a fancy word for a “hot bath”. By this definition you could very well have a private spa in your home already! However I think when most of us think of the word “spa”, we think of a luxuriously appointed space oozing tranquillity and calm, nourishing refreshments with meditative music in the background where your mind, body and soul are pampered and recharged. Now wouldn’t you prefer that in your home, rather than just a hot bath?

A professional spa session can set you back quite a lot, sometimes even up to hundreds of pounds. However if you were to create a spa environment in your own home, then you can use it literally whenever you want. Planning, reservations and logistics are yours to command. And of course it will be way cheaper, all you need are a few accessories in your home.

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Afternoon Tea Week – an Expert Insight

Given it’s Afternoon Tea Week in London this week – starting from the 12th of August – Aspiring Snob set out to learn more about this endearing and most English of traditions. After our own experience with Afternoon Tea at the amazing Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, we got hooked and have enjoyed many a sandwich and scone since then, while gaining a greater appreciation for good tea.

To help us on our journey of exploring afternoon tea, its etiquette and its history, we reached out to Eileen Donaghey, the Afternoon Tea Expert. “Afternoon tea is a distinctly British phenomenon that is currently enjoying a resurgence amongst those who appreciate fine food and drink. I’ve been passionate about afternoon tea and everything around it for a number of years and now have the opportunity to share my passion with like-minded enthusiasts from all over the world”, says Eileen.

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The Power of Welcome

There is nothing that makes you feel more at home than a good welcome after a journey, no matter how long or short. During my travels, I learned to appreciate a good welcome and it has since become a symbol of how the venue will treat me that I pay particular attention to. A welcome means a lot and has many important functions that carry importance throughout your stay.

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Dessert Wines

When dining out at a nice restaurant, or putting on a dinner party at home, it is fairly standard to have a starter, main and dessert. This is a tried and tested formula as there’s something about a tantalising entree leading into a filling main which is then followed up by a succulent dessert, that leaves the mind and body feeling nourished and satiated. The same can be said for drinks, especially when accompanying such a meal. Apertifs, wines and digestifs are perfectly suited for each stage of a meal.

Wine (or sake, beer, juice) for a main is a fairly well-understood concept, and something that I’ve spoken about elsewhere. Writing this now in summer, apertifs like the delicious Aperol Spritz are a fairly common sight at trendy restaurant terraces. However I’m of the opinion that the humble dessert wine is a misunderstood and often overlooked third leg of the trifecta of complimenting drinks.

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Hidden Gems at Hotel Stays

To get the ultimate value out of hotel stays, all you need is to keep your eyes open for what amenities are on offer and just go for them! I’ve had many exquisite experiences throughout my hotel stay career, but I want to mention the top of the top here. My most exceptional four experiences I found completely by chance. Every single one was a nice reminder of the abundance of opportunities around you if you are keen to try. These experiences totally made my day and I felt that I was really taking advantage of what was on offer but many people miss out on.

The first experience is the value of a valet car park (which I covered in my other article), another was a sensational swimming pool at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, the third was a phenomenal yoga session at the Mandarin Oriental The Landmark in Hong Kong and finally I had an epic Sense Spa experience at The Rosewood in London.

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