Treatment of the week: Visit a traditional Thai spa without taking a long-haul flight
When I was told about a hotel in Spain’s Alicante offering everything great about Thailand — cool design, lovely Thai food and a brilliant spa — all within a budget two-hour flight from London, I was cynical.
All fears were quashed when I stepped into the lobby which resembled a huge Thai hut complete with palm fans, acres of natural wood and Asian styling.
Keen to get straight into relaxation mode, I headed for the dimly-lit spa with its trickling water features.
Taste of Thailand: Asia Gardens in Alicante is an exotic sanctuary
I’d chosen a Thai massage and was told to change into the loose cotton pyjamas I’d been given rather than the usual white robe. A refreshing change.
First, my therapist washed my feet — a traditional welcome ritual — then I lay on the low-level mattress in the centre of the room.
No oil is used — the massage is given over the top of your pyjamas, and the therapist used her feet as well as her hands to knead away the knots and tension in my back. Be warned, this is quite an intense physical experience.
But after I became accustomed to the discomfort, it was lovely being moulded, pressed and stretched by the slight but deceptively strong Thai masseur.
After a few minutes of recuperation in the spa’s steam room and a quick plunge in their indoor-meets-outdoor pool, I left free from aches and pains.
Other high points of my stay included the lavish selection of tropical fruits for breakfast (although we did succumb to the chocolate fountain, too), dinner at Thai Koh Samui restaurant and swimming in the hotel’s many pools surrounded by lush gardens.
It was like a mini-break to Thailand without the long-haul flight!
Thai massage, 80. Double deluxe rooms from 200, per night, for bed and breakfast based on two people sharing (asiagardens.co.uk)