From country pads to cool-as-cucumber contemporary escapes
Great pampering is all in the planning. After all, if you’re going to set aside a little ‘me-time’, it’s worth getting a dash of inspiration first. So, to help you, we’ve put together six of our favourite luxury spa hotels across the UK. Whether you’re after the ultimate spa staycation, massages followed by mouth-watering food or simply fancy a weekend in the country, this is your go-to list.
1. FOR THOSE WHO LIKE…TREATMENTS ON THE THAMES
Swap ‘seen it all before’ for a spa with a difference at Monkey Island Estate in Bray-on-Thames. The first-of-a-kind floating spa takes its inspiration from the apothecaries’ barges once moored at Chelsea Physic Garden, and the botanicals once used by monks in the 17th-century. Opt for its signature treatment, The Monk’s Elixir, for a heady experience of herbal tonic-tasting and full body massage.
2. FOR THOSE WHO LIKE… A SIDE OF FINE DINING
Nourishing your body is about more than just massages. At Dormy House in the Cotswolds, you can relax in its award-winning, Scandi-style spa – then discover a trio of restaurants. There’s the garden-to-table elegance of The Back Garden, tasting menus at exclusive MO, and ‘pie and a pint’ elevated in the Potting Shed. Or you can take out a Dormy hamper if the sun is shining. The best part? The spa is only open to guests at the weekend, so the peace and quiet will be all yours.
3. FOR THOSE WHO LIKE… THE FINER THINGS IN LIFE
What’s a spa staycation without a little bubbly? The Greenway’s Elan Spa not only comes with its own private champagne nail bar, this beautiful Grade-II listed boutique hotel is also within striking distance of some very fine Cotswold vineyards and wineries. Once the bubbles have settled, you’ll be in prime position to explore the area’s stunning countryside, as well as the Regency – and more contemporary – charms of nearby Cheltenham.
4. FOR THOSE WHO LIKE… TO SEE AND BE SEEN
Striking turn-of-the-century architecture. Sweeping views of the Chiltern Hills. And within easy reach of London. No wonder Danesfield House is a favourite with the in-crowd (see, George Clooney). But step into the ‘come as you are’ atmosphere of its Illuminata Spa and you’ll see that relaxation is very much par for the course here. It also hosts classes such as Pilates and Chi Cong – and if you’d rather get your heart racing, head to its Matrix gym. Perfect for whetting appetites for dinner in the Michelin-star restaurant.
5. FOR THOSE WHO LIKE… A TASTE OF ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE
There’s nothing quite like escaping to the country and pressing ‘re-set.’ Cue Luton Hoo Hotel. This magnificent mansion has turned its historic stables into an exclusive spa, complete with Heat Therapy suite, fitness studio and infinity pool with views of the surrounding woodland. It also has Capability Brown-designed gardens, an 18-hole golf course and a Victorian grass tennis court.
Or you could opt for Alexander House. This West Sussex sanctuary celebrates the best of the British countryside and has a unique Jacobean heritage. But the inspiration behind its Utopia Spa is purely ancient Greek. Lower yourself into the bubbles of the mosaic-tiled hydrotherapy pool. Or breathe in the fresh country air in the outdoor barrel sauna.
TOP SPA TIPS
- If you’re after an adults-only getaway, check any pool ‘splash times’. They might be the perfect moment to pop off for afternoon tea.
- And if you’re planning a babymoon spa break, plan it for the second trimester when most spas are happy to offer mum-to-be massage.
- Want to get out and about? Consider timing your staycation with an event in your hotel’s calendar: an art exhibition, a festival, or a day at the races.
Looking to travel further afield? See our global guide to eight out-of-this-world spa experiences.