THOROUGHLY MODERN MRS: Revival Clinic, Chiswick

What’s the best present a person can get? The gift of eternal youthfulness, I’m saying. And for my birthday recently I received just that. OK, not the eternal bit, but something that seemed like a miracle just the same: something that made me look and feel brilliant, like I was years younger and full of potential with everything to look forward to. My perfect gift was in the form of a deluxe facial by the brilliant Finnish beauty therapist Tanya Christianssen at the aptly named Revival Clinic in Chiswick.

nordic beauty chiswick

I arrived looking twice my age, rackety and run-down like a clapped out old car and left looking human and radiant with a spring in my step. Bumping into a friend outside Sainsbury’s she was suspicious. How come I looked younger than when we last met?

“Facial with Tanya”, I said, nodding to the clinic across the road. My friend didn’t believe the absence of surgical intervention or a needle, so I talked her through the order of events:

Arriving at the Revival Clinic at 2a Acton Lane at the appointed time I was whisked downstairs without waiting by Tanya. Once in her calming softly lit treatment room she explained that my treatment was going to combine two of the world’s most effective approaches to skin care a CACI facial with Environ products.  This I discovered is highly unusual. CACI therapists stick to CACI products, but Environ created by a South African plastic surgeon and skin cancer specialist Des Fernandes twenty years ago, features serums that rejuvenate and condition the deeper layers of the skin.

CACI uses a tiny electrical current to lift and tone the muscles so tightening the facial contours (in a good way!). This has the added benefit of pushing the products deeper into the epidermis and so enhancing their effectiveness.

Revival Clinic, Chiswick

The facials are specially tailored for each individual and mine began with a deep cleanse using steam, AVST (advanced vitamin skin therapy) pre-cleansing oil, followed by a clay mask which gently exfoliates the skin without scratching it. This was softly removed with AVST cleansing milk.  Then came the Environ Active Vitamin A, E and C serum to rejuvenate and deeply hydrate the skin, used with the CACI Ultra ‘super lift’. I thought this might be painful and not at all relaxing, but as Tanya expertly moved the wand like probes over my face, I could quite easily have fallen asleep.  I was then treated to an Environ collagen serum that was massaged into my face using an Ionzyme machine. This uses ultrasound technology to again push the product deep into the skin, where it would help to fill fine lines, tighten the skin and even out my skin tone.

‘That must be it’, I thought drowsily, but then Tanya applied an award winning Swiss Apple stem cell Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid Mask to plump and further moisturise my skin and give it a lovely glow and whilst this took twenty minutes to do just that, she gave me a wonderfully stress-releasing head and shoulder massage. I could have had a foot reflexology massage at this point that I’d have loved, but given the state my feet were in, was far too embarrassed to take my socks off.

Well, that really must be it, I thought, finally drifting off, but no. There then followed a CACI LED red light therapy to stimulate my own collagen production and promote healing and cell renewal. This is the gift that keeps on giving. A couple of weeks later at a parents evening a fellow mum whom I hadn’t seen since the last school event before Christmas said: “You look really well! How is it we’re all looking older and you’re looking younger?” “2 hour facial with Tanya.” I said. She was sceptical. So I explained. Though there wasn’t time to mention that aside from the wonderful deluxe therapy and a range of facials, Tanya also provides anti-cellulite treatments (with a CeulluM6 machine) and Lipofirm wraps, deep tissue massage and reflexology.

2 hours with Tanya and years fall away. As Arnie so succinctly put it in his own journey through the time-space continuum, “I’ll be back.”

More information here.

Written by Thoroughly Modern Mrs, Elizabeth Kinder.

The Nam Hai, Hoi An

Of all the destinations I visited in Vietnam, Hoi An was without doubt the most charming and memorable. This Unesco World Heritage city offers many beautiful historic sites and is home to the country’s famous tailoring industry. Wandering down the glowing lantern-filled streets is enchanting, like a trip back in time.

I recommend avoiding the touristy accommodation in the centre and heading instead to the paradisical Nam Hai, a modern luxurious retreat with a private stretch of beach. Despite the close proximity to Hoi An (a ten minute drive), the spacious hotel feels blissfully isolated encouraging you to immediately relax.

The all-villa, 35 hectare resort can host up to 300 guests. There are 100 villas in total, 40 of which have their own private pool and personal butler. Many of the other 60 villas offer access to the beach, with beautiful views across the ocean. After admiring the spectacular tiered infinity pools, we were driven by buggy to our villa. Nestling among the foliage was our divine sanctuary. The decor is uniform across all villas; sleek contemporary design with cool calming colours. The central elevated area of our bedroom had elegant light drapes surrounding it which were drawn at night to give the room a cosy feel. The regal bed was topped with a voluptuous duvet and bouncy pillows for maximum comfort and decadence. Behind the bed a huge stone bath was wonderful for evening soaks. The room also included a writing desk and lounge area complete with authentic Vietnamese ornaments and artwork.

Breakfast was my favourite meal of the day at The Nam Hai. Every morning there is an endless array of Eastern and Western favourites, with an open kitchen for hot a la carte dishes, champagne on ice and a variety of tropical fruits and juices. Needless to say I saw it as my duty to sample the full menu, enjoying long lazy brunches every day, which embarrassingly began to feel like the norm. Highlights included the fluffy pancakes with berry compote, and the deliciously creamy omelettes. Coffee was rich and flavoursome and the freshly squeezed orange juice was amazingly sweet.

The signature restaurant serves fusion cuisine with a strong Indian influence and the more casual beach restaurant offers light lunches in the daytime and Vietnamese classics accompanied by traditional music in the evenings. After ten days of Vietnamese food it was strange to be eating Indian inspired dishes at The Nam Hai. Considering the warm climate, I found the curries heavy and opted instead for one of the international dishes. Pressed terrine of vine ripened tomatoes with whipped mozzarella, basil oil and leaves from the hotel’s organic garden was a stylish and unique take on a classic salad. The tomatoes were brilliantly sweet and red and the leaves had a vibrant aromatic flavour. The Punjabi lamb kebab with beetroot yoghurt, cucumber was also delicious, a spiced caramelised kebab with a complementing yoghurt dressing.

The Nam Hai spa is one of the hotel’s greatest assets. There are eight treatment pavilions which sit serenely overlooking the lotus flower covered lagoon. It is a fairytale setting which makes the treatments here feel extra special. After a refreshing rose water foot soak I was treated to a Vietnamese massage. The highly trained therapist kneaded my weary muscles using a fragrant pine, lemon, cedarwood and orange oil. While I felt my skin being rejuvenated, I could hear the sounds of nature outside the pavilion. This destination spa is a miraculously beautiful place and should definitely be part of your Nam Hai itinerary.

When you feel the need to work off some of those deceptively calorific Vietnamese spring rolls there are plenty of active options at the resort. Swimming in the glistening turquoise pools is a must, the view they offer is second to none. There is also a small gym, bikes to ride, a tennis court and complementary daily yoga classes.

The hotel staff are on hand to help make any excursions as close to perfect as possible. They provide free shuttle bus transfers to and from Hoi An throughout the day, so guests can visit the culturally rich city as often as they wish. There is also the option of day trips to the Marble Mountains or Hue, a sacred and historic town.

Hoi An is not an easy place to reach from the UK, travellers need to get an international flight to one of the major cities before transferring onto a local flight to Da Nang. Despite this The Nam Hai is a very popular option for English and European jetsetters and after spending a few days here I can see why. This immaculately stylish hotel has faultless facilities and stand-out service, all just moments away from Vietnam’s most captivating city.

More information and book a stay at The Nam Hai here.

Mia Resort, Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang has been voted one of the ten best beach destinations in the world, with year-round warm waters and long stretches of sand. Mia Resort is the ideal place to enjoy this sunny part of central Vietnam. Just outside the main city, this seaside hotel is accessible yet blissfully isolated. A daily complimentary shuttle takes guests to and from town for city exploring though most prefer to take advantage of the idyllic Mia sanctuary.

After a hellish 11-hour train journey we were more than relieved to pull up to the Mia entrance. The staff at the front desk were warm and welcoming and my stressful day instantly became a distant memory. A no-fuss check-in was complete within seconds and we were whisked away to room 507, a peaceful cliff villa.

With 70 rooms, of varying sizes, and more multi-bedroom villas on the way, Mia is a popular and burgeoning resort. A recent refresh of all rooms has brightened the décor with splashes of colour and pattern without complicating the chic simplicity of the design. Our room was the perfect holiday home, extremely comfortable with indulgent touches. A giant four-poster bed was topped with stripy pillows and surrounded by elegant drapes. The furnishings blend in appropriately with the rugged natural backdrop, particularly charming are the rustic stone wall and wooden details.

The spacious bathroom was a refuge for relaxation, with a grand granite bathtub, indoor and outdoor showers and own brand toiletries. I adored the cornflower blue linen dressing gowns, made especially for Mia by designer Gary Fell. On the private terrace there was a spectacular infinity splash pool, a sheltered lounge area with a hammock, and deck chairs for soaking up the tropical rays.

I was happy just enjoying the villa, but when hunger struck I eventually ventured out for some sustenance. Breakfast is served at Sandals, a breezy open plan dining area with views of the ocean. The endless array of Vietnamese and Continental dishes was a little overwhelming, and there is the a la carte menu to choose from too! After a round of exotic fruits and pastries I opted for the homemade orange and cinnamon infused pancakes with almond crumble, balsamic marinated strawberries and rosemary honey – a creative and tasty morning treat.

Leave time to experience the impressive Xanh Spa, a magical cliff edge pavilion for pampering. A 45-minute relaxing body massage is all you need to get your body into holiday mode. The therapists are intuitive and kind, kneading away at tense knots and warming the muscles with nourishing essential oils.

With warm weather year round Nha Trang is a great place to escape Europe’s chilly winters. Mia translates to sugarcane, a local Vietnamese crop, and everything about this beachside resort is sweet, from the devoted staff to the superb facilities and accommodation.

More information and book a room at Mia Resort here.