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How Costa Blanca is Putting the Spa in Spain

By Zoe Dare Hall

Bea Geenen can recommend a great way to start the day. It involves covering herself - and her husband, if he's handy - in mud, then steam-blasting it off. A close second is wrapping herself in algae and sweating it out beneath a hot blanket. Then she heads off to work.

"It's a fantastic way to get going in the morning or to relax on your day off. It's great for couples too," says Bea, a house doctor (she advises people on how to spruce up their property to sell it) who lives in Alfas del Pi near Benidorm.

Bea is a spa junkie. It's an addiction she feeds at least once a month, or whenever a new spa emerges on the coast. And she's not alone as the Costa Blanca is fast developing a reputation for being the spa capital of Spain - the region that puts the spa in Spain.

In the 400km stretch between the vast Marina d'Or holiday village two hours north of Alicante airport, which boasts the Europe's largest 'scientific spa', and the new spa at La Manga Club, the famous sports resort two hours south of Alicante, luxury spas are sprouting up by the handful to satisfy the demands of the growing numbers of tourists visiting this popular eastern Spanish coastline.

In 2002-2003, passengers numbers at Alicante airport rose by 56.4%, compared with 26.5% at Malaga airport. Given a perfect year-round climate, and cheaper property prices than on the Costa del Sol, more British and Irish people than ever before want to spend holidays, and own holiday homes, in the Costa Blanca.

Combine this with our general increasing awareness of the need to keep healthy, and the fact that certain areas of the Costa Blanca, particularly around Torrevieja's natural salt lakes, are deemed by the World Health Organisation to be the healthiest places to live in the world, and you can see why spas on this coast are big business.

"We are seeing a big increase in the number of luxury spas opening on the Costa Blanca, mainly due to the huge numbers of tourists who come here and because people are far more aware of the need for 'wellness' and stress-relief," says In's Terr n, director of the Health And Beauty Centre at the five-star Hesperia Alicante Golf

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