What kind of child-free holiday do mums want, in their heart of hearts? Perhaps you want to do a Greta Garbo and go solo, or perhaps you want to get together with some fellow mums and organise a ‘girlfriend getaway’ – a growing trend. You might not even have relaxation in mind; many women whose children have gone beyond all-consuming toddlerdom want to reclaim part of their lives and learn or improve a skill, perhaps taking themselves out of their comfort zone and proving to themselves they can rise to new challenges, whether it’s bread-making at River Cottage or mountain-climbing. Many women want to get fit or at least be more active, while others want to experience something exotic and perhaps put something back into local communities or even do some volunteer work. And some have even made a bucket list of things to do before they die or are looking for a life-altering experience, à la Eat, Pray, Love.
If none of the suggestions below float your boat, choose a lovely area for walking, such as the Lake District, and book a self-catering cottage (our partner Cottages4You has a great selection), alone or with friends. Take along pampering goodies, a detox book if you’re on a health kick, a good cookbook, and sturdy walking shoes/boots.
See also our feature on Mums' Breaks With Kids.
See also our feature on A Parent’s Break at the Feversham Arms & Verbena Spa in Yorkshire.
The famous home to the Met Bar and Nobu is a fun, chic place for a mum’s break, offering shopping and spa packages. The spa, COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, offers Asian-inspired treatments to treat mind, body and spirit, including pre-natal massages. Guestrooms come with yoga mats for those who want to stretch (instructors can be hired, as can private trainers). If you do come with children, there’s a Honey, I Brought the Kids package.
This country house hotel in the heart of the New Forest has created what it describes as a ‘sumptuous bootcamp’, Forest Fit, for women only, including sand-dune running or walking, forest hikes and bike rides, yoga and use of the Herb House spa with its pool and herb-planted meditation area. Lasting two days, it’s limited to six places, ensuring personal attention and a tailor-made schedule. The spa also offer various pregnancy treatments, Body MOTS and – great for mums on a break together – treatments for up to four people in the Mud House, using cleansing clays. The restaurant, Harnett Holder & Co, offers the freshest local produce.
The best-known name in the health resort world, Champneys long pre-dates the recent proliferation of hotel spas, and its expertise shows in its range of treatment and facilities, both here and at its resorts in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, and Bedfordshire. It’s also a very good-value venue for a mums’ break, with rates including unlimited access to up to 20 fitness and relaxation classes and access to the swimming pool, whirlpool, steam/sauna room, gym, and tennis court, bike loan, and all meals. Your only problem will be choosing from the dizzying array of treatments. If you’re pregnant, try a Beautiful Bump massage, or if you’re on a fitness blitz, there’s a luxury bootcamp.
This nurturing, awardwinning spa offers a variety of spa treatment packages for those who need a little TLC in order to put the spring back in their step, including Holistic and De-Stress (both 2-4 nights) and Recuperation (4 nights). A daily fitness program includes yoga, pilates and walks in the grounds and on the surrounding National Trust land, and there are indoor and outdoor pools plus an in-house nutritionist.
The world’s original ‘vinothérapie’ spa is perfect for wine-loving mums, who can follow up a grape-based therapy with wine- or champagne-tasting in the bar, from a 16,000-strong cellar. Situated in the wine region just outside Bordeaux, Les Sources offers cures and rituals focused on slimming and anti-ageing, including Body of Your Dreams (toxin elimination), the Young Mother Cure for those who want to get back into shape after pregnancy (there’s a baby-sitting service), and various grape-pulp friction scrubs. There’s a sister spa, Les Etangs de Corot, in Ville d'Avray between Paris and Versailles.
This luxurious hotel is part of a small group of hotels throughout Spain and in Paris running the Dreams Project, a non-profit social initiative researching the importance of good sleep and ways to achieve it, as well as helping less fortunate young people make their dreams come true through donations. In terms of its hotel guests, it aims to provide full mental and physical revitalisation, particularly each March, which sees The Sleep Month promotion – think Dreamers rooms (at Maricel, some of these have their own zen swimming pool), tips and advice, nutritional menus, and restful spa treatments.
This pampering and wellness paradise (adult-only except at certain times of year) offers a vast range of treatments and activities including yoga and FitCombat plus a 4th Trimester Healing Hour therapy for new mums in need of a little mothering themselves. Its Wellness Rooms are designed to promote a longer-lasting deep relaxation and thus a better night’s sleep, with magnetising beds that relieve aches, pains and stress, energised anti-dustmite mattresses, duvets and pillows, a living water and shower system, and mountain-fresh ionised air purifiers. The aim is to get your body back in tune with the Earth’s natural rhythms, with better temperature control and fewer toxins.
The sister hotel to the Metropolitan (above) on a private island halfway around the world is a wonderful place for frazzled adults (though its one-bedroom villas will accommodate older children in convertible sleeping areas), with a Chill Out package including three spa treatments at COMO Shambhala Retreat and a private yoga and pranayama class. The Retreat also offers four Wellness Paths: purification, rejuvenation, relaxation and restoration. The best accommodation is the Loft Villas, set on stilts in the water, with sun terraces and steps down into the lagoon, plus full-length windows with views over the Indian Ocean. The suites and villas are all overwater, connected by a wooden boardwalk.
If you feel that your life has been taken over by other people’s schedules, this clifftop resort in Karnataka, with a name that translates as ‘my own rhythm’, may be just the ticket for a minimum 5-day break based around yoga, pranayama, and meditation. Art classes are also included, as are cooking lessons, with guests invited to help pick some of the ingredients for meals based on organic, seasonal ingredients with the emphasis on seafood. There’s also an ayurveda centre on-site offering a variety of massages and other therapies.
One that’s sure to go the top of many mums’ wish lists, this luxury women-only surf spa retreat offers a week-long surf, yoga and wellbeing program for all ages and abilities. Peaceful and serene yet within easy reach of Bali’s many fantastic shops, it offers accommodation for a maximum of 10 women within two butler-serviced villas with all mod cons, including iPod docking stations and flatscreen TVs. There’s also two large swimming pools and a rooftop bar perfect for sundowners. You may just have found paradise.
This all-inclusive resort in a secluded cove on one of the world’s loveliest islands promises that if you give you its body for a week, it will ‘give you back your mind’. It does his through its famed treatments, therapies and activities, which include scuba-diving, Pilates, ayurvedic treatments, and yoga retreats. Mother-to-be massages are included in the price; some other treatments, including the 2-day Sleep Restoration course, which through reflexology and Shirodhara remedies the inability to sleep properly often caused by stress and poor habits, cost extra. There's also a WellFit Families retreat if you do bring the kids.
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