TRAVEL: Treat your Mum to a ma-rvellous break
Forget flowers and a box of chocolates - a weekend break is the best way to please Mum this year, says Sarah Marshall.
Best for... Fun-loving mums
:: Sanderson, London
Nowhere does it say that daughters can’t do something different for Mother’s Day, so this year take the initiative and book the two of you in for some quality time you’ll both enjoy.
She might wince at first when you suggest afternoon tea, spa treatments and a luxurious dinner at one of London’s top boutique hotels. But just remind her John Lewis will be a mere five minutes away and you’ll be all hers for a whole 48 hours, and watch her face crack into a smile.
The Sanderson, just off Oxford Circus in London, is the perfect place for a fun, mother-daughter bonding session.
While the modern hotel might seem self-consciously cool on the website, in reality the reception couldn’t be warmer.
Guests go there to have fun and let off steam, so whether they’re staggering through the glass front door with huge yellow Selfridges bags, lingering over cocktails at the beautiful Long Bar or enjoying the oasis of green calm and trickling water in the Asian-inspired covered garden, the sound of laughter is never far away.
The Sanderson’s Agua spa is a trip highlight not to be missed. The height of several floors, it’s sectioned by white drapes and feels like entering a futuristic palace devoted entirely to self-indulgence. The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is also a must-do. This Heston Blumenthal-style affair offers primary-coloured sandwiches, exploding ice cream and foams that beg you to ‘Drink Them’.
Finally, a stay would not be complete without dinner at Asia De Cuba. Although this restaurant is at the Sanderson’s sister hotel, St Martin’s Lane, it’s well worth the cab ride. What better way to convince your mum the weekend is all marvellous value for money than by enjoying their Asian-Cuban fusion dishes, which are delicious and huge!
:: Rates for a room at Sanderson start from £229 per night plus tax. For more information, visit www.sandersonlondon.com and www.stmartinslane.com
Best for... Earth mothers
:: Center Parcs, Elveden Forest, Suffolk
If you and your mum want to shut out the world for some serious pampering, try the new spa suites at Center Parcs.
With a log cabin feel, these luxe suites are decked out like a swish apartment with a bath tub ‘with a view’ and circular outdoor bed.
With interior touches such as lime green accents, wooden panels and tree bark lamp stands, the rural forest setting has been reflected in the glossy modern decor.
But the real draw is the adjoining Aqua Sana spa, which is right on your doorstep. Set over two levels, with a heated outdoor pool and Zen relaxation areas aplenty, pampering nirvana is just a few footsteps away. You can almost smell the aromatherapy vapours from your suite.
There’s unlimited entry to the spa throughout your stay, including your arrival and departure days, giving you ample time to try all 15 globally-inspired experience rooms, such as the Indian Blossom Steam Room, Greek Herbal Bath and Turkish Hammam.
Once you’ve built up an appetite, you can undo all the hard detox work and treat your mum with a visit to the spa’s Zilli Cafe, offering mouth-watering dishes designed by Aldo Zilli.
The spa suite package also includes a face and body treatment for you both. OK, so the therapist doesn’t quite come to your room, but it’s the next best thing. In fact, you don’t even have to get dressed; you can pad between your spa suite and the next door spa in your white slippers and robe.
If that still sounds too much like hard work, a concierge is on hand to arrange restaurant reservations and ensure you’re stocked up with DVDs so you don’t have to lift a finger.
Now, that’s one way to ensure your mum glows for Mother’s Day!
:: Overnight accommodation in a spa suite, with double or twin beds, starts from £199 per person per night based on two people sharing. For more information, visit www.aquasana.co.uk or call 08448 266 205
Best for... High-maintenance matriarchs
:: Le Bristol, Paris
She gave birth to you, sewed labels into your school uniform, and has probably washed your socks a million times. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, there’s really no-one quite like Mum.
If you really want to go for broke and spoil her rotten on Mother’s Day, a weekend break at one of the finest hotels in Paris could be the ultimate treat.
Take the Eurostar from London, and within two-and-a-half hours Mum could be playing princess in a property that deserves every one of its five stars.
Built on a site dating back to 1715 and opened as a hotel in 1925, Le Bristol embodies the spirit of classic Parisian style. Vibrant bouquets of fresh flowers perfume the marble hallways; a grand, old-fashioned iron elevator trundles between floors, and the hotel’s resident fluffy white cat can often be found curled up on one of the red plush sofas.
Designed to be a home from home, albeit much more luxurious, there’s none of the stuffiness usually encountered at top-end hotels. So even if Mum comes down to breakfast in her Primark pullover, no-one will bat an eyelid.
Le Bristol has recently renovated its stand-alone three-floor spa and now offers treatments by Le Prairie. Decorated in muted cream, white and mushroom hues, the environment is just as soothing as the myriad of massages and facials on offer.
While Mum may not quite be ready for the Russie Blanche treatments, which involve being beaten by birch branches infused with essential oils, you won’t go far wrong with a Platine Rare massage. After two therapists smother her skin with creams containing platinum, she’ll leave looking literally radiant.
If an overnight stay is beyond your budget, consider booking a spa treatment followed by afternoon tea.
And when it comes to checking out and paying the bill, just remember: she’s worth every penny.
:: Spa treatments at Le Bristol start from 110 euros. Packages with overnight stay are also available, from 900 euros, including accommodation for two, breakfast and 150 euros spa voucher. Visit www.le-bristol-hotel.com or call 0033 1 53 43 43 00.
:: Eurostar operates up to 18 daily trains to Paris with return fares from £69. Visit www.eurostar.com or call 08432 186 186
Best for... Stressed-out mumsies
:: Lopesan Villa Del Conde Resort, Gran Canaria, Spain
Looking after kids, no matter how old they are, is enough to wear anyone down. Give tired mums a much-needed boost by booking a series of Thalassotherapy sessions at the sun-drenched Thalasso Corallium in Gran Canaria.
Based on the ancient belief in the natural healing properties of sea water, the benefits of Thalassotherapy include weight loss and cellulite reduction, as well as relief from joint pain and back and circulatory problems.
After stripping down to swimwear and popping on a delightful shower cap, guests begin the Thalasso Experience in the central Vitality Pool situated beneath an impressive copula.
For the next (recommended) two-and-a-half hours, underwater bubble beds, hydro body massages and neck massages are used to relax weary muscles. Afterwards, retire to the comfortable, heated beds in the Mineral Pavilion, where you can inhale seawater vapours to help with breathing.
Guests can then step through the cold water reflexology Kneipp Pool to stimulate legs, feet and the nervous system. The brave can opt to venture into an ice fountain. The circuit ends in a flotation pool with a specially designed sound and light system.
For an added treat, it’s possible to book one of the spa’s stunning Ocean View Suites with its own seawater Jacuzzi, private sun terrace and treatment couches just metres from the sea.
:: The five-day Oasis of Serenity package includes five Thalasso Experience circuits, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Facial, Stone Massage and Anti-Age Vitality treatments and costs 534 euros per person. A five-night stay in a double room at the hotel costs from 999.40 euros. Visit www.grancanariawellness.com