It's the attention to detail that makes Cowley Manor stand out. The rack of Hunter wellies at the door, to wear while you stroll around the exquisite Grade II listed gardens. The golden triple cooked chips that compliment the club sandwich. The funky, Scando-style rugs and throws. From the service to the salt cellars, everything feels like it's been carefully and lovingly thought out.
Situated on a long beach in Hua Hin district, this holiday resort-come-health spa makes you acknowledge your surroundings, live in the present, slow down and smell the lotus flowers. Be prepared to abandon your mobile, disown your laptop and shun your camera. Even tablets and kindles are kindly forbidden in communal areas, so I had been warned.
When you ask for directions to your hotel and the reply is: "Turn left at the fountain and head straight for the grand entrance", you get the sense that something pretty spectacular lies at the end of the driveway. Sure enough, Cliveden House - a majestic neoclassical country house, perched within 376 acres of National Trust parkland - is no let-down.
If you don't need a bit of a detox after a trip to Las Vegas then you aren't doing it right. But why not indulge in some TLC while you are still there? Aria is one of the newest five star hotels to land in the Nevada town and it is a tower of glamour, offering a huge menu of treatments in a vast luxury spa far, far away from the casino halls and neon lights.
In the lower level of the hotel, the spa is discreet and quiet, and has a magnificent original apothecary display. You feel as though you are Alice in her slightly eccentric Wonderland. The door to your treatment room has an Alice style mirror with the number of your room - the door opens as you approach it, as if by magic!
Once the Christmas party season is over, thoughts inevitably turn to those twin January obsessions: diet and detox. But instead of signing up for an expensive gym membership that you'll never use, why not escape the winter gloom with a few days on a spa break, with nothing more strenuous to do than choose your treatments and splash in a pool?
I visualise - for relaxation, sometimes during yoga, to get to sleep or if I'm just feeling a bit 'fed up'. I've got a few places I go to. Sometimes country hills or mountains, more often somewhere near the sea; a white sand beach with crystal clear waters. One of my favourite places is the reception terrace at Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui.
Set on a hillside on the south dast coast of Samui with stunning views over Lamai bay, Banyan Tree is the epitome of an idyllic get-away retreat. On arrival, flower garland in hand, sipping fresh, ice cold coconut water and looking out on to the sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand, I can't help but feel peace and serenity take over.