Movenpick Spa, Sousse, Tunisia
Fancy escaping winter's snow, ice and the need for Uniqlo HeatTech underwear? Now that the Arab spring is behind us, it is time to head back to Tunisia, where we stumbled upon a real 'find'. We think the spa at the Mövenpick Hotel in Sousse will soon start to feature in all the 'Best of...' guides. With a thriving hamman culture in Tunisia, therapists take their work seriously. And with the Mövenpick (don't be put off just because it's also the name of an ice cream/coffee brand) being probably the glitziest hotel on the map in Tunisia, it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise to experience truly world-class treatments. The Thalgo spa features - of course - a hot hammam room, plus a really bath-temperature-esque salt-water pool (both indoors and out, see above), several other swimming pools, a fully-equipped gym with sea views and a stupendous menu of treatments. (Sorry the picture's of the pool, but Jo consistently forgot to take her camera into the spa itself. Take it from us: it's lovely.)
Jo went for the basics, generally - facial massage, Swedish massage, and some impeccable O.P.I. pampering for her extremities. (One particular therapist - Omsa - deserves a mention in dispatches.) The hotel itself has fantastic beds (= fantasic sleep), is right on a white sand beach - and a 5-minute taxi ride from Sousse's colourful medina, with perfume and soap shops for the beauty-hound to explore. Oh, and there's a Japanese restaurant and massive salad bar, so you could make it a low-cal spa escape if you felt so inclined (and managed to blinker yourself from the dessert buffet).
A tip we took away, meanwhile, was to add sliced cucumber to jugs of cold water. Don't quite understand how, but it seems to make it twice as refreshing as non-cucumber water...!