Super spa breaks
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want... a massage, mani and Jacuzzi please, and make it snappy. Whether you’re going with your romantic other, bezzie mates or gloriously solo, here’s our pick of the very best spas near you.
I can’t think of a better antidote to those tough days that life throws at you than something fragrant and pampering to look forward to. Here are the ones I’d most like to be floating blissfully around in a fluffy white robe in the coming months – and we’re not just talking any old spas here. We’re talking the blockbuster, A list, dream destinations that everyone is talking about. Because you’re worth it, obvs.
Bowood Hotel and Spa, Calne
The Spa at Woolley Grange, nr Bradford on Avon
This beautiful hideaway on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, 15 minutes from Bath and a short jaunt down into artisan Bradford on Avon, has a family friendly spa hidden in the walled garden where fresh vegetables and children grow healthily alongside each other. They’ve just launched a whole host of new spa treats, including ‘Time for Mum 2 Be’ (think peaceful pregnancy massage, a gentle swim in the oh-so-warm pool and a nutritious two course lunch or scrummy afternoon tea) and ‘Time Together’ for mum and child, where little ones enjoy an hour of fun play in the Woolley Bears Den whilst you revel in an Elemis spa treatment, followed by a relax with the paper. For a more grown up treat the hotel has just launched their ‘Morning Half Day Refresh’ and ‘Afternoon Revive’, both including an Elemis or Jessica treatment, food and full use of the pools, sauna, steam room and beautiful grounds.
C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham
Beloved by locals and out of towners looking for a des-res slice of contemporary luxury in the countryside, the spa at this stunner of a country house hotel will make your jaw drop with its floor-to-ceiling picture windows overlooking the immaculate Cotswold surroundings. The holistic treatments on offer are cutting-edge – using Green & Spring, their very own range – seriously, it’s proper ‘ta-da’ stuff! Indoor and outdoor pools, drench showers, sauna, steam room and eye-catching spots to relax make it perfect for an escape with your besties, your lover or just you.
Elan Spa at The Greenway Hotel & Spa, Cheltenham
An opulent hideaway on the edge of Cheltenham, Elan Spa tucked away in The Greenway, a luxury Elizabethan manor house, offers up a multitude of delicious pampering opportunities in distinctly glamorous surroundings (we are in Cheltenham after all!). The come-to-me hydrotherapy pool soothes away aches and pains, stress and anxiety, and gives your muscles a pleasing pummelling while you luxuriate in the warm water – that’s my kind of exercise! There’s also an al-fresco hot tub, sauna, steam room and sanarium to complete the aqua experience, and stylish treatment rooms and a champagne nail bar to leave you feeling properly preened and refreshed. Bliss.
Whatley Manor may be an über luxe, 17th-century, Grade II-listed country manor house in a knockout Cotswold setting but it’s also got one of the best spas in the country, which makes it possibly one of the nicest places to visit in the world. (Yes, Muddy LOVES Whatley!) The impossibly lovely Aquarias Spa will take you close to heaven with their hydrotherapy pool complete with airbed, air tub and neck massage jets, tepidarium with heated stone recliners, salt scrub showers, thermal cabins and wave dream sensory room. Spa days are on offer for those looking to rejuvenate quickly but we recommend a spa break for ultimate relaxation.
Calcot Manor, nr Tetbury, Gloucs
This is a nice idea to chase away Monday blues – Calcot Manor in the Cotswolds offer a Sunday Spa deal for two including an overnight stay, breakfast, a treatment each and use of the spa facilities. I can think of worse ways to start the week.
Dormy House, Broadway
While there’s a time and a place for oneness and wellbeing, House Spa at this luxury Cotwolds hotel is all about making you feel absolutely fabulous. Step into a sensory sanctuary to beautify the body and soothe the soul. The House Spa has been winning awards since the day it opened, offering guests an indoor/outdoor blend of soothing therapies, serene pool and terrace hot tub, and Scandi-style thermal suite. But be warned: The Dormy brand of well-being can be highly addictive…
Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, Chipping Camden
This boutique hotel in the extremely lovely market town of Chipping Campden is a bit of a gem with its stunning architecture – a row of four properties on the high street with a fabulous Regency edifice at the centre – fine-dining restaurant Fig, brasserie-style eatery Bistro On The Square and award-winning spa. It looks gorgeous inside and out and when it comes to service, well, you get treated like royalty! The spa is tucked away in a former coach house at the end of the hotel’s secluded landscaped garden has seven treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool with jacuzzi, steam room, hammam and a cosy private space for couples. The garden is divine and also has myriad romantic possibilities with secret spaces divided by yew and box hedges, and a terrace which is the perfect spot to take tea.
The Spa at Lucknam Park, nr Chippenham
Traditional, relaxing and quite frankly downright gorgeous. It’s a tad spenny but for the price you get it all – award-winning spa and wellness centre, Michelin-starred restaurant, 500-acre estate and stables home to 35 glossy-flanked horses. Tennis courts, croquet lawn, football pitch and a cookery school are further feathers in this handsome hotel’s hat, while picture perfect Castle Combe is a mere 10 minute skip away. Oh, go on then, see you there this weekend…
Cliveden House Spa, Taplow, Berks
Strip down like a Sixties showgirl and get yourself to Cliveden Spa. Loved by celebs, royalty and Muddy editors, it’s a stylish, light filled space of whites and neutrals with deco-inspired touches. The Grade II listed Profumo pool – where Christine Keeler flouted the no heavy petting rule with John Profumo – is FAB-U-LOUS. Inside, there’s another pool, jacuzzi, infrared sauna, steam room and 7 treatment rooms with the most incredible water mattresses. There’s a gym for anyone suffering from spa guilt (no, me neither) and a lovely cafe. It’s grand, beautiful and a ton of packages to choose, from £140, with overnighter will set you back £367.50pp, based on 2 people sharing a room and includes a 60 minute treatment, full use of the facilities, lunch and breakfast.
Southampton HarSPA, Southampton Harbour Hotel, Hants
For something a touch cosmopolitan, then head to Southampton for the urban cool of HarSPA at the 5* Southampton Harbour Hotel. This waterside spa features seven treatment rooms, a lap pool, hydrotherapy pool, mud rasul, sauna, and steam room. The vibe here is very modern and chic, with the central city location makes it perfect for a post-retail therapy detox. After you finish up your treatments make sure to head to the rooftop HarBAR for a glass of fizz.
Chewton Glen, New Milton, Hants
Yeah baby. Floor-to-ceiling windows, natural light and heavenly hydrotherapy pools at superluxe, 5* Chewton Glen spa in the New Forest. Lose yourself in the sprawling facilities, including an outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, 17m swimming pool, and choose from 50+treatments that use delicious beauty products in collaboration with Oskia. Top top: save up for a stay in one of the treehouses – and make sure you leave time between massages for a stroll down to the beach.
Lime Wood Hotel, Lyndhurst, Hants
A sublime chic New Forest hideaway, Lime Wood’s Herb House spa is your spot for a luxe Sarah Chapman facial – which are like gold-dust because they make you emerge resembling a supermodel. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a hydrotherapy suite, a rooftop gym and helipad – phew, I was wondering where to park my chopper. For New Year there’s a special package for two (Jan – Feb, Mon – Thurs) which includes an overnighter, use of the spa and Champers, from £299.
Any utterly brilliant UK spas I’ve missed off the supers list? Let me know in the comment box below. It’s my duty to try them all.