Did you get enough downtime during our grey summer to get you through winter? Probably not, so a hotel spa mini-break might be well in order to revitalise those weary bones.
In the past, the place to go for the latest scrubs and rubs was a health resort. Now spa hotels increasingly offer specialised treatments for both body and soul, from posture correction to mind therapy, vitamin infusions to body composition analysis. Or, if you just want a break to pamper yourself, they offer that in spades, too.
‘With that level of knowledge and facilities, why would you not visit a spa in a hotel for its own sake?’ says Caitlin Dalton, editor of the Good Spa Guide. ‘As each spa hotel develops a niche, the spas become the draw.’ Here are some of the best.
The spectacular spa has a silver steel swimming pool, black mosaic steam room and a glass amphitheatre sauna
Corinthia London offers complementary and alternative medicine, nutritional advice, targeted fitness and sleep therapies
The uber-glamorous Corinthia combines the best parts of a sumptuous spa and a health clinic
Combining the best parts of a sumptuous spa and a health clinic, the uber-glamorous Corinthia offers complementary and alternative medicine, nutritional advice, targeted fitness and sleep therapies.
Its latest addition is the Elixir Clinic, with vitamin infusions.
The spectacular spa has a silver steel swimming pool, black mosaic steam room and a glass amphitheatre sauna. After a treatment in one of the 17 oval rooms (set out according to feng shui principles), relax in a sleep pod or on a heated lounger before a modern fireplace.
Top treatment: The Dr Barbara Sturm facials offer an anti-ageing alternative to surgery (60 minutes, from £225).
Cost: Double rooms cost from £609 a night (corinthia.com).
Headland Hotel, Newquay
This 95-room clifftop hotel recently opened its swish £10 million Aqua Club
There are hydrotherapy and vitality pools at Headland Hotel, one with a hot tub where you can drink in the Atlantic views, and others for training swims and for children
If you’re partial to a pool, there are six, both indoor and outdoor, at this 95-room clifftop hotel, which recently opened its swish £10 million Aqua Club.
There are hydrotherapy and vitality pools, one with a hot tub where you can drink in the Atlantic views, and others for training swims and for children.
The spa has a sauna, a Cornish salt steam room, and treatments ranging from Elemis facials and Indian head massages to a signature ritual featuring a white jade wavestone.
Top treatment: The poultice-powered muscle release is perfect for targeting all those knots and aches after walking the South West Coast Path (55 minutes, £95).
Cost: B&B doubles from £185 a night (headlandhotel.co.uk).
South Lodge, West Sussex
Natural reed beds keep the infinity pool and the wild pool clean at South Lodge in Horsham
Spa goes hand in hand with sustainability at this hotel in Horsham on the edge of the South Downs.
Curving into the natural contours of the land, it comes with a grass and wildflower roof, oak cladding and a zero-waste cafe serving plant-based food. Natural reed beds keep the infinity pool and the wild pool clean and power is provided by biomass boilers and solar cells.
It’s no wonder that this beautiful addition to the 84-room neo-Jacobean main house is the winner of the Good Spa Guide’s 2020 sustainability award. The usual fitness and thermal facilities are indoors.
Top treatment: Enjoy the best of both worlds with a bamboo back massage combined with a skin-boosting facial (60 minutes, £105-£115).
Cost: B&B doubles from £285 a night (exclusive.co.uk).
Carden Park, Cheshire
Put some sparkle into your spa at this swanky modern hotel set in 1,000 acres near Chester. Pictured is the Finnish sauna
The large spa garden comes with a vitality pool, hot tubs, the Finnish sauna, heated pods and a bar
Put some sparkle into your spa at this swanky modern hotel set in 1,000 acres near Chester. An overnight package includes a bottle of Bolly, a Bollinger robe and slippers to keep, plus two treatments and a glass of fizz in the new spa.
For more treats with your treatments, the large spa garden comes with a vitality pool, hot tubs, a Finnish sauna, heated pods and a bar. Indoors, there are relaxation rooms and thermal suites.
Top treatment: The 90-minute signature experience uses therapeutic herb poultices from the garden as part of the massage, and includes a facial, finishing with a glass of the hotel’s own sparkling wine (105 minutes, £155).
Book: The Bollinger Experience costs from £420pp for a night’s half board (cardenpark.co.uk).
Galgorm Spa, Co Antrim
The river runs through it at Galgorm’s resort, half an hour from Belfast, which has a sprawling Thermal Spa Village on the banks of the River Maine
There are sauna pods for couples, riverside cabanas, an infinity-edge vitality pool and a salt room (pictured)
The river runs through it at Galgorm’s resort, half an hour from Belfast, which has a sprawling Thermal Spa Village on the banks of the River Maine.
Sauna pods for couples have been added outdoors, along with riverside cabanas, an infinity-edge vitality pool, a salt room and more private hot tubs, some with waterfall views. A pool and thermal cabins can be found indoors, as well as a new relaxation room with heated loungers. The resort has 124 rooms plus 17 contemporary country lodges in the grounds.
Top treatment: The Taste Of Galgorm treatment starts with an aromatherapy back massage and hair-conditioning before a facial using light therapy (90 minutes, £120-£125).
Cost: B&B doubles from £295 a night (galgorm.com).
The Swan at Lavenham, Suffolk
The Weaver’s House Spa in this timber-framed hotel packs some punch, with treatments tailored to the individual
You can spend a pleasant few hours enjoying a treatment and flitting from the outdoor hot tub to thermal cabins, light-filled conservatory and relaxing quiet room
For a boutique option, the Weaver’s House Spa in this timber-framed hotel packs some punch, with treatments tailored to the individual.
When Covid worries recede, you can enjoy everything from touch therapy for those affected by cancer to specialist massages for mums-to-be. A new Repair And Restore menu is to be launched in October, but for now, a Re-invention menu offers 90-minute treatments, including Renew, which combines a pedicure or manicure with an upper-body massage.
You can spend a pleasant few hours enjoying a treatment and flitting from the outdoor hot tub to thermal cabins, light-filled conservatory and relaxing quiet room.
Top treatment: The Restore: Knotted-Up massage concentrates on tight muscles, easing aches.
Cost: B&B doubles from £145 a night (theswanatlavenham.co.uk).
Archerfield House, East Lothian
There may not be a pool at Fletcher’s Cottage Spa on the Archerfield Estate, but there are two wooden bath huts heated by wood-burners in the walled garden.
Chill out in a seaweed bath or take the waters aromatherapy-style as you lie in a candlelit roll-top bath. Then return to the spa with its comfy sofas around another wood-burner, as well as steam, sauna, salt and mud treatment rooms. The estate, 40 minutes from Edinburgh, has two golf courses and a private waterfront, with 70 rooms dotted over it, including lodges.
Top treatment: If you struggle sleeping, try the Bamford B Silent treatment, starting with a stress-reducing foot bath before a back massage, a series of assisted stretches, and massage of the neck and chest pressure points (90 minutes, £170).
Cost: B&B doubles from £205 a night (archerfieldhouse.com).
Calcot & Spa, Tetbury
Time to breathe: The peaceful courtyard hot tub at Calcot & Spa in the Cotswolds
Facelifts are the order of the day at Calcot & Spa. The non-surgical computer-aided cosmetology instrument (Caci) procedures use electrical impulses to tighten and tone
Relax in the sauna and steam rooms, or enjoy a soak in the 16-metre pool (pictured)
Facelifts are the order of the day at this hotel in the Cotswolds. The non-surgical computer-aided cosmetology instrument (Caci) procedures use electrical impulses to tighten and tone, as well as Elemis facials to pump and primp, add collagen or contour.
Relax in the sauna and steam rooms, or enjoy a soak in the 16-metre pool or the courtyard hot tub. There’s a new outdoor gym, as well as an indoor one, or you can borrow a bike to explore some of the 220 acres in which the 35-room hotel sits.
Top treatment: An Aromatherapy Associates Immune Support boost massage has been developed in response to the pandemic, using tea tree, eucalyptus and pine essential oils (55 minutes, £100).
Cost: B&B from £309 a night (calcot.co).
Lanelay Hall, near Cardiff
There are only three treatment rooms at the Tribes Spa in this Victorian mansion but it is about quality, not quantity here.
Its ethos comes from the brand Tribe 517, which uses planet-friendly products. Double therapy rooms come with open fires and chrome lighting, and there are warm float beds and an oversized hydrotherapy pool with underwater massage. It’s not just the spa that is boutique: the hotel has just 17 elegant bedrooms.
Top treatment: The Calibrate 517 realigns your body during a 60-minute massage. The treatment plus afternoon tea or lunch costs £99.
Cost: B&B doubles from £160 a night (lanelayhall.co.uk).
Rockliffe Hall, co Durham
If the pandemic has been playing with your head, book into the Mind Therapy Room in this neo-Gothic mansion
Once the mind is sorted, get rid of muscle tension in the infra-red sauna, wallow in the 20-metre pool or visit the spa garden, which has a hydrotherapy pool (pictured) and glass-fronted sauna
If the pandemic has been playing with your head, book into the Mind Therapy Room in this neo-Gothic mansion, which aims to reduce stress and improve sleep using technology originally developed to combat post-traumatic stress disorder.
The SpaWave bed has warm water cushions and gently vibrates as a headset plays binaural beats – a soundwave therapy made up of low-frequency tones to guide you into deep relaxation.
Once the mind is sorted, get rid of muscle tension in the infra-red sauna, wallow in the 20-metre pool or visit the spa garden, which has a hydrotherapy pool and glass-fronted sauna.
B&B doubles at Rockliffe Hall cost from £220 a night. The spa garden is £30pp extra
Top treatment: The Neom massages blend shiatsu, meditation, reflexology, Thai massage and more (60 minutes, £90).
Cost: B&B doubles from £220 a night. Spa garden £30pp extra (rockliffehall.com).
Buxton Crescent, Derbyshire
As well as Bath, the Romans created another spa town: Buxton in Derbyshire. Centuries later, Mary Queen of Scots visited its thermal baths to treat her rheumatism, and you can enjoy a water cure, too, at this elegant new hotel in a listed Georgian building.
The Ensana spa combines traditional hydrotherapy with luxury treatments and lifestyle programmes. The refurbished Victorian thermal pool is the main affair, but there is also a relaxation pool and an indoor-outdoor rooftop pool. Or you can book a private bath with added CO2, said to help the body’s micro circulation – the blood vessels that supply skin tissue.
A series of thermal suites and a salt cave, gym and yoga studio complete the set-up.
Top treatment: The bio-balance massage is performed by a physiotherapist and helps aid posture correction (50 minutes, £75).
Cost: B&B doubles from £155 a night (ensanahotels.com).
Grantley Hall, Yorkshire
Seriously spoiling treatments from Ila and Natura Bisse feature alongside cutting-edge equipment such as an underwater treadmill and altitude training spin room at this 47-room property on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
Reboot and recharge with its recently added wellbeing packages. The three-day Kickstart Retreat includes body composition analysis, three fitness sessions, including one in the freezing cold cryotherapy chamber (designed to increase cell rejuvenation and reduce signs of ageing), electrical muscle stimulation, a consultation with a nutritionist and three spa treatments.
As well as an 18-metre pool, there are sauna, steam and snow rooms.
Top treatment: Try reflexology using heated basalt and cooled marble as well as crystals for energy healing (60 minutes, £120).
Cost: Three-night retreats with meals cost from £1,845pp (grantleyhall.co.uk).