Exclusive interview with Top Spa Editor, Jo Foley

For over quarter of a century, Jo Foley has been visiting and reviewing Spas, Sanctuaries and Wellness Centres on four continents and has written about them for publications as varied as the Financial Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, the Sunday Telegraph, Vanity Fair and the Daily Mail and is currently the Spa Editor of Spear’s Wealth Management.

She has observed as Fat Farms have morphed into Pleasure Palaces and Health Centres into Holistic Hideaways, and has experienced rather more than her fair share of Ayurvedic retreats in India, Traditional Chinese Medicine programmes, Hay Baths in Austria, Inca inspired Temezcal sweat lodges in Mexico, Thai massages, Balinese baths, thalassotherapy hosings in France and detoxes in the Dolomites. Hence, she can spot a charlatan at fifty paces, and is quick to differentiate between those who can truly cure and those who merely con.

Just returned from a spa at sea, on a cruise ship, Celebrity Equinox as they have just introduced Canyon Ranch spas. Canyon Ranch is one of the iconic US spas whose original home is in the desert in Arizona, rather a long way from the Med.

I fluctuate in my favourite spas... but currently it is Scloss Elmau in Bavaria, in a beautiful valley about 90mins from Munich. It has four different choices - a hammam, an outdoor natural spa (summer only), one where families are allowed and then the main one which has great treatments and a terrific doctor who oversees the whole thing. Best of all it has a library, the largest hotel bookshop in Europe and a gorgeous concert hall where some 200 plus events are put on each year... mostly classical, some jazz. I love it because it understands relaxing and rejuvenating the mind is as important as fine tuning the body. The food is great too!

In the UK - I’m very fond of Grayshott...

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Favourite beauty product - has to be Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream plus a very new find - SkinCeuticals Resveratol BE - a gel which is doing wonders for the wrinkles on my neck.

Wherever I am, and particularly after a long flight my body needs re-aligning... and for me the best way to do that is with a Thai massage. I’m always astonished at how tiny girls can flip my body into all sorts of positions - it doesn’t matter where.. from a beach in Koh Samui or a five star hotel as pond as the therapist is good, that’s all that matters.

My new favourite treatment is with two therapists - one massaging my head and the other, my feet - it’s my idea of heaven & not available at too many places, although having them done separately is almost as good.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the best beds are found at Four Seasons Hotels - they are heavenly!

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Not many men have prayed before they have touched my body, but I couldn’t believe it when I was ready waiting for my massage (at the Oriental in Bangkok), face down, relaxed and waiting... after a while I looked up wanting to know if the therapist had disappeared - no, he was deep in prayer. Now, I know my body is a temple!


I like comfort when I am travelling... something light, which can be layered, mega comfortable and doesn’t crease so that I don’t have to look like a bag lady at passport control, which is why I was thrilled when I discovered Rae Feather - easy jersey trousers and the best T’s. All I need to add is a cashmere cardigan or wrap. Perfect PJs for daywear, evening wear (with some important earrings and heels) and fab for travel.

Luxe Cashmere Contrast Border Wrap Zoe Featherlight Cashmere TabardZoe Featherlight Cashmere Tabard
Long Sleeve Jersey Stretch T-ShirtLong Sleeve Jersey Stretch T-Shirt Easy Pleat Front Jersey TrousersEasy Pleat Front Jersey Trousers


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I’m having a little detox before Christmas at the new Lanserhof Clinic at Tegernesee in Germany, all cool lines, a fierce doctor and a terrific fitness guru. However, this weekend Ynyshir hall, Wales only Relais & Chateau - tiny, exquisite with two little treatment rooms and an amazing therapist called Thomas... plus fab food (it has just been awarded a Michelin star) - and produced the most wonderful thing to hit my tastebuds this year - wagyu fudge!!



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