The well pools

Someone has to do it, so Katie Wood volunteers to test the treatments at this island's resorts.

The presence of 19 spas (with five more opening this year) on an island with a population of fewer than 800,000 tells you one of two things: either the locals are complete spa junkies or the powers-that-be have decided to capitalise on the increasing demand for "wellness tourism".

On Cyprus, it's the latter. Spas are a cosmopolitan affair here; whatever the treatment or experience you seek, you'll find it.

The Shiseido Spa

In a dimly lit oasis of tranquillity, the Shiseido Spa aims to re-balance your energies. "Shiseido" relates to the oriental concept of harmony and wellbeing. It focuses on the energy circulating in the body, known as "qi".

Qi treatments are a fusion of working on shiatsu pressure points, using "oshibori" (warm, moist Japanese towels) and Western-style massage techniques. The result regulates your energy, induces profound relaxation and enhances the radiance of the skin.

The signature treatment is called the Qi for Body and Face Massage. The spoiling starts with a body massage, with particular attention to the legs and back, using 365 movements and addressing 12 meridian pressure points. You finish with a two-hour face massage, using Shiseido products, for EUR220 ($436).

The Four Seasons Hotel, Limassol, see

Thalassa Spa


The celebrity-friendly Thalassa Spa was voted Best Spa in Europe in 2005 (by Conde Nast Traveller) and made it into the top 10 again in 2007. It's the world's first Organic Pharmacy spa, offering holistic and therapeutic lifestyle consulting, acupuncture, cuisine and natural treatments using local produce.

One treatment that stands out is facial acupuncture, followed by a pressure-point facial massage that produces a startling result on lines and sagging areas - one of the key reasons the Thalassa sees its fair share of film stars and royalty. Treatments cost from EUR137.

Anassa Hotel, near Polis, see

Anagenesis Spa

This is the place for massage of all kinds - and organic products. It's a low-key space designed for serious relaxation. Signature treatments use local ingredients such as organic olive oil, sea-salt herbs and yoghurt. Staff also use Sodashi - an Australian product range.

Try the Fresh and Radiant facial - 40 minutes of deep cleansing using fabulous natural products. The manager, Katerina, also uses a unique honey detoxifying massage treatment where pure, warmed Cypriot honey is massaged into the back and legs. It costs from EUR80 for the facial; EUR120 for the massage.

Thalassa Hotel, Paphos, see

Opium Spa

At the centre of this building is a colonnaded indoor pool reminiscent of Roman baths. Around it are 11 treatment rooms, a hydro-massage pool, jacuzzi and two outdoor pools.

Reiki treatment is undertaken by Philip Westwood, a master reiki teacher who can de-stress you to the point of jelly in just one hour. At EUR102 for 80 minutes, it's worth every cent.

If you have time for only one thing, try the Hot Stone Therapy, which uses basalt stones to re-balance and de-stress the body. I was also exfoliated, oiled, massaged and had my back pummelled. Costs EUR145.

Elysium Hotel, Paphos, see

Asphodel Spa

The sound of a miniature waterfall, combined with scented candles and ouzo-and-anise-infused incense relax you from the minute you arrive. No wonder Kate Winslet and Neve Campbell love this place. Asphodel has charming therapists, indoor and outdoor pools and spacious treatment rooms. The menu is varied, with customised facials, foot treatments, massages and wraps. Try the Elemis deep-muscle-tissue massage, followed by the exotic coconut rub and milk ritual wrap, which uses a Balinese-style recipe of coconut, mung bean, spices and frangipani.

If that's not enough, end your session by having a milk bath. While that's working on your body, the therapist gives you a facial pressure-point massage and scalp treatment. Costs EUR87 for a one-hour massage; EUR106 for the one-hour wrap.

Azia Hotel, Paphos, see