The best spas in the UK: Revel in Britain’s most luxurious retreats
Everyone needs a little pampering from time to time, particularly in this cold British weather. From secluded cabins in the woods to underground spas in the city, we’ve selected the best luxury spas in Britain to help you find your your ideal destination.
Lucknam Park Spa, Wiltshire
If you find unwinding takes more than just a spa-day, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa is the spa for you. It is the complete package: an exceptional five-star hotel set in 500 acres of beautiful Cotswolds countryside with Michelin starred dining at The Park restaurant,luxurious bedrooms, fantastic facilities, friendly and helpful staff and, most importantly, a luxury spa. The elegantly designed spa is just a short walk away from the comfort of your hotel room. Like the rest of the property, there is a great feeling of space and freedom at the spa – essentials for total relaxation. Take a dip in the 20-metre indoor pool, or treat your skin to some detoxifying heat in one of the five thermal cabins. While many spas have outdoor hydrotherapy pools, most involve a teeth-chattering sprint across a cold courtyard, but, at Lucknam Park, the indoor and outdoor pools are connected; hours of outdoor relaxation are yours at the push of a button.
In summer, you can sunbathe on the terrace, and in winter, there are heated lounge-chairs and a roaring fire alongside the indoor pool. For those who prefer running to reclining, the hotel also has a gym, a football pitch, 2 tennis courts and an equestrian centre – the perfect way to explore the grounds. The spa’s brasserie serves delicious, locally sourced food all day; I particularly recommend, the chateaubriand steak paired with a glass of one of the spa’s beautifully selected wines.
As well as traditional spa treatments, Lucknam Park Spa offers a variety of wellness therapies great for both your body and mind, including Reiki, Dry Flotation and Haslauer Reflective Sunlight Therapy, Lucknam Park is the only spa in the UK to offer this rejuvenating treatment. For the best of both try Ila Kundalini.
Spa days from £85. lucknampark.co.uk
The Herb House at Lime Wood, New Forest
The Herb House at Lime Wood hotel is the archetypial luxury countryside spa with lots of rustic wood panneling, soft colours and an abundance of space. As well as an indoor pool and outdoor hot tub there is a large hydrotherapy pool with a variety of massaging jets, plus, the nearby heated stone benches mean you’re never too far away from a warm towel. There is also a caldarium, steam room and a Massive Forest Sauna, which, as the name suggests, is huge in comparison to most spas’. Head upstairs to the gym which has state-of-the-art machines and free weights, and rooftop herb garden where you can take meditation and fitness classes or receive treatments. Treat your body on the inside and out by taking lunch at Raw & Cured, which serves delicious raw meals and smoothies.
With a private Mud House, Bath House, deluxe double treatment rooms and specialty treatments for two, Herb House is a wonderful spa for couples. Couples must try the Mud House; covering your partner in mud is an experience quite unlike anything else. Once the mud has dried and worked its detoxifying magic, ceiling jets automatically activate to wash you clean before you go to the Bath House for a couple’s massage and facial. The beautifully designed space includes a private steam room and a large bath overlooking the hotel’s grounds and, best of all, is exclusively yours.
Spa days from £105. imewoodhotel.co.uk
Gilpin Lake House & Jetty Spa, Lake District
The Lake District has long been a favourite destination for those wishing to escape and reap the benefits of the clean country air. Before the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, this meant packing hiking boots and sleeping bags, but today, guests can enjoy the area from the comfort of the five-star hotel and its Jetty Spa.
The Jetty Spa is exclusively for guests staying at The Gilpin’s Lake House. With only six rooms at the Lake House, it is highly likely that you will have the cedarwood hot tub, sauna and heated swimming pool all to yourself. Cantilevered over the Gilpin Lake and raised three metres into the tree canopy is the beautifully designed Swedish-style spa treatment room; open the floor-to-ceiling windows and take in the picturesque surroundings as an expert therapist works away all your tension. After your treatment, curl up under a fur throw in the boat house while sipping on a cup of calming camomile tea. If this still sounds too crowded, book into one of the five new detached Spa Lodges. Designed for just two people, these cedar-clad lodges are the epitome of secluded luxury. Each has its own en-suite spa with a treatment area,steam room and rainmaker showers, as well as an outdoor hydrotherapy hot tub and sauna surrounded by a walled garden for total privacy.
Rooms from £215 per night. thegilpin.co.uk
Calcot Manor, The Cotswolds
Calcot Manor Spa is a wonderful destination for families; even toddlers need a little r’n’r. Housed in a converted fourteenth-century barn, you enter the spa through the restaurant and bar which has large floor-to ceiling windows overlooking the courtyard and outdoor hot-tub; a must! In winter, the seats by the open wood fire are the perfect spot to keep yourself warm as you sip on a glass of champagne. The pool and shallow baby-pool is open to children everyday for an hour and a half in the afternoon with additional times on the weekend when there are fun floats for children to play with. For those that are a little less child-friendly, upstairs is an entirely child-free zone: enjoy peace and quiet in the relaxation area, sauna and steam room. They offer a range of treatments, from Elemis facials to longer therapies by CACAI whose ‘non-surgical face lift’ will leave you feeling and looking rejuvenated.
The award-winning hotel has 35 rooms, including 13 family rooms with connecting suites for children. In the day, there is an Ofsted-registered crèche for children, and in the evening, baby-sitters will watch over your little ones while you dine in The Conservatory restaurant or Calcot’s own country-style pub, The Gumstool Inn.
Spa days from £65, rooms from £199 per night. calcot.co
The Scarlet, Cornwall
The Scarlet Hotel & Spa is a world away from the stresses of urban life. Perched on a cliff top overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean, it is a haven of serenity. The Scarlet Spa is adult-only and has all the essentials of a luxury spa. There is an aroma steam room, an outdoor barrel cedar sauna, meditation room and several atmospheric relaxation spaces: be sure to try the cocoon-like pods swinging from the ceiling in the deep relaxation space. As well as an indoor swimming pool, there is an outdoor pool designed to look like a natural lake with incredible views of Mawgan Porth Beach and the Atlantic.
The Scarlet Spa prides itself on being eco-friendly and taking a holistic approach to health. Their therapies are based on Ayurveda, but with a unique Cornish twist, that benefits the well-being and nourishment of your mind, body and soul. Take an Ayurvedic treatment in the candlelit, tented treatment room, or try a seaweed therapy that uses hand-picked organic seaweed which is great for detoxifying and firming the skin and is rich in anti-oxidants. They also offer a number of classes including Vinyasa, Tai Chi, Hatha yoga, and, for those that like faster-paced exercise, the spa’s personal trainer Jess holds fitness classes down on the beach.
Spa days from £225. scarlethotel.co.uk
ESPA Life at Corinthia, London
ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel is the next generation of luxury spas; a pioneer of innovative treatments. ESPA Life brings together an unrivalled team of fitness, nutrition and beauty experts, as well as working with leading naturopaths, traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturists and herbalists, physiotherapists and osteopaths to develop their signature treatments. Alongside ESPA’s traditional spa treatments, ESPA Life has an incredible variety of spa packages that focus on mindfulness and wellness to restore and rejuvenate your entire self. In partnership with Wellness for Cancer, ESPA Life has recently launched Nurture & Support for clients being treated for cancer. Their Mindfulness treatments have been designed, and proven, to relieve stress and increase happiness and wellbeing. For the more active, the Mindful Fitness package includes a tailored exercise class followed by Yoga Nidra guided relaxation. Alternatively, the Mindful Sleep package is a wonderful way to relax; it includes a personalised hot stone massage, scalp massage, a session of Yoga Nidra and the in-house nutritionist has even created a bespoke menu for the treatment.
Spread over four floors, the spa has incredibly beautiful and chic interiors inspired by Chanel. The private sleep pods are the perfect place to rest after a treatment or session in the state-of-the-art gym. Alternatively, recline on the Ottoman-style beds around the pool or let the massage jets in the vitality pool work away any tension before using one of the several saunas or steam rooms. For a complete head-to-toe treatment (quite literally), be sure to visit to the Margaret Dabbs nail studio and Daniel Galvin Hair Salon.
Spa days from £225. espalifeatcorinthia.com