Spas, shopping and seriously good food… the best short breaks are with your besties.
When it comes to getting away from it all, there's nothing quite like a good old fashioned ‘girly’ trip to relax, let your hair down and celebrate with those who know you best.
With wellbeing and better ageing on everyone’s radar right now, jetting off to a fabulous hotel and spa for a few days R’n’R has never been more popular, or more accessible.
For grown-up girls who appreciate the finer things in life, a sophisticated spa break with your friends, combined with shopping, sightseeing and great food and wine, is the ideal antidote to a hectic home life.
Going overseas to make the best of the sunshine (or the snow) is guaranteed to turn a three or four-night stay into something extra special.
Here are some of our favourite grown-up girls’ getaways just far enough away from home to feel like a total escape.
Don’t miss Swiss: Ultimate luxury on the lake
Set in lush 4-hectare grounds on the shores of the lake, La Réserve Genève is a unique urban retreat located just seven minutes from the airport. It’s also just a short complimentary water taxi ride from the charming city centre with its famous designer shops – a handbag and watch lover’s paradise!
Luxuriously appointed rooms and suites boast sweeping views of the lovely landscape and are big enough for friends to share comfortably. A real bonus when organising a group getaway and it’s open all year round, too.
A choice of mouth-watering dining options includes Le Bar, all-day dining with a live DJ and great atmosphere in the evening; Le Loti, exquisite French cuisine; Le Tse Fung, Michelin starred Chinese wizardry and the Lodge, poolside summer grill when the weather is fine.
The award-winning Nescens Spa at La Réserve Genève is a destination in its own right. Elegant, contemporary interiors and soft, gold-hued lighting immediately plunge you into a world of essential oil aromas and pure tranquility.
A formidable menu of treatments that cover all areas of wellbeing and anti-ageing are offered using a combination of Nescens, La Prairie, specialised cosmeceutical brands and a team of qualified medical practitioners to administer them all.
There is also a gym, pool, steam room, sauna, studio classes throughout the day and a programme of regular yoga retreats.
The spa is also home to another of the hotel’s dining venues, the Café Lauren. Serene, clean and deliciously guilt-free (well almost…you can enjoy a glass of crisp white wine with your healthy lunch), the café boasts a lighter menu that certainly doesn’t skimp on taste or variety. The spa and its restaurant attracts a laid back Genevan crowd who use the facilities as a local country health club and only add to the chic, yet welcoming vibe that greets every hotel guest.
For girls (and guys) that love golf, guests of La Réserve Genève also benefit from special access to Le Golf de Bonmont. This magnificent private golf club is situated less than an hour away from the property and offers discerning golfers a choice of no less than five top quality 18-hole courses with spectacular views of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
Healing hands on a city break by the sea
Take an early morning flight from Stansted to Lisbon and you can be in the small, coastal suburb of Estoril in time for lunch.
Once the favoured resort of the European royalty, Estoril is also home to The Hotel Palacio, without question the town’s most elegant and well-connected building, sandwiched between the pretty seafront and renowned Casino Estoril.
Spacious, grand rooms and suites provide all the home comforts and an easy passage to the state-of-the-art spa and wellness centre across the road, reached via a hidden underground corridor.
Arriving at ground level, guests are greeted by the rich, warm tones and delicious jasmine oil aroma of Europe’s only Banyan Tree Spa where Thai therapists offer an inviting menu of signature massages and treatments to soothe body and soul.
The Dynamic Pool here is also a revelation. From the gently soothing bubbles of the Jacuzzi at one end to the extremely powerful jets at the other, this is no ordinary swimming pool. A Hydro Banyan Circuit includes hammam, sauna, steam room and refreshing sensations showers.
Upstairs boasts a number of specialised treatment rooms and an outstanding roll call of reputable doctors and practitioners, ranging from osteopaths to hydrologists, rheumatologists and experts in better-ageing techniques.
The fact that Palacio Estoril picked up the award for Best Targeted Healing at this year’s Conde Nast Traveller Spa Awards tells you all you need to know about how good these therapists are – and at a fraction of Harley Street prices.
The hotel offers a wide choice of group classes including yoga and pilates as well as spa and wellness packages ranging from three to seven nights tackling everything from hormones to ageing, weight loss to detox, insomnia to arthritis and more.
Wherever you dine in the hotel, from the a la carte Four Seasons restaurant to the poolside Bougainvillea Terrace, you can choose from a regular or healthy menu. So whether you’re counting calories or spoiling yourself, everyone can enjoy dining together.
Turkish delight that’s good for you
A Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, D Resort is an elegant, boutique-style hotel situated in the heart of Gocek.
A flight to Dalaman and an easy 20-minute road trans