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What's better than a trip to a spa?

How about a trip to a spa in Spain? I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the Intercontinental Mar Menor Hotel in Murcia at the end of last year, where I experienced a bit of winter sunshine while trying out the treatments at the top-class on site ESPA spa.

Well, it beats Zara's bootcamp experience, doesn't it?!

Situated in the middle of a quiet gated Polaris World resort, the Intercontinental Mar Menor is a boutique hotel with just over 60 rooms and suites that looks out over the mountains of Spain and the sprawling golf course that so many of its visitors (and residents) take advantage of. It's definitely designed with luxury and relaxation in mind - before I'd even got to the spa I'd had a hydratherapy bath in my room while watching TV through the well-placed shutters!

The spa itself is a far cry from the busy city spas that I've come to know. It was eerily quiet and tranquil, and decorated in the tradition of the rest of the hotel in shades of brown, cream and terracotta in tile, stone and wood. The treatment rooms themselves are private, with tiny terraces that contain outdoor showers, and have the same Moorish touches and dark woods throughout that you'll find in the rest of the building.

Here's a video I shot while I was there, showing you a little bit of what's on offer...

Treatment wise, as well as having chance to try the spa's facilities, which include 'lifestyle' showers, a swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, sumptuous changing rooms and a huge relaxation room, I had a full body massage and facial, both of which left me suitably relaxed and glowing.

The spa uses ESPA products, which means there's a big emphasis on essential oils, aromatherapy and relaxation. This is not the place to go for an intense, painful massage when you're aching all over, it's more about gentle therapy and beautifully scented oils that send you to sleep if you're not careful.

Luckily, and in such serene surrounding, this was exactly what I was after, so I happily put myself in the expert hands of my (English-speaking) therapist and enjoyed a relaxing hour of gentle massage and a gorgeous facial and head massage that left my skin glowing.

All in all, I think this is somewhere it's hard not to leave with a smile on your face. The spa seems to adopt the same outlook as the residents of the area, where everything happens mañana! You'll never feel rushed, in fact everyone is so nonchalant and relaxed that it took me a second to switch on holiday mode and forget I was no longer on the clock. I'm glad I did, as it was just what I needed...getting back on that plane to Stanstead was not easy!

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InterContinental Mar Menor Golf Resort and Spa
Prices start from €170 per night

Polaris World
Prices start from €119,800
tel. 08000 233 133