It’s easy to get down on Winter – the clocks going back means it gets darker earlier, however it also means you get an extra hour in bed. October 28 is a 25-hour day. That means – by our calculations – that you can have a lovely lie-in, rock up to your spa day an hour late and still get your full day or half days’ worth. If you think about it, but not so hard your brain starts to hurt, you are gaining an extra hour of quality spa time.
With that in mind, the Spa Spies have been fantasising about where and how they’d like to spend an extra hour.
Extra Snooze Time
With so much to pack into a spa day, sometimes we don’t get time to make proper use of the relaxation rooms. We often envy other guests curled up on loungers or in hanging chairs, fast asleep. So now is the time to catch up on some much-needed shut eye. Scientists have show that a 60-minute siesta can recharge the brain as much as eight hours sleep. A short sleep (15-30 minutes) after lunch can reduce stress and improve memory, according to Spanish researchers.
The relaxation room at Utopia Spa at Alexander House Hotel has reclining beds with plenty of snuggly blankets: draw the heavy curtains and fall asleep or fling them open and marvel at the breath-taking views of the Sussex countryside. We also love a cosy pod to curl up in, especially ones with faux fur cushions and blankets. The Spa at The Midland (pictured) has a sumptuous relaxation room with hanging pods, soft cocooning chairs, armchairs and beds with duvets and pillows. Imagine Spa at Blofield Heath has heated outdoor relaxation pods complete with Moroccan-style sofas and furnishings and stacks of magazines to flick through -- so you can still be warm, cosy and outdoors on an autunmal day.
A leisurely lunch
Do you notice when the clocks jump back, you get hungrier earlier? Maybe that’s just us. But at a spa, if you are steaming and swimming, you may find your stomach starts grumbling – spa-ing can be hungry work. So why not find a spa that does amazing food, book your lunch earlier and extend it – let the conversation, and wine, flow freely.
Make sure you go to a Spa that doesn’t have timed lunch slots, but also has a seriously comfortable restaurant or café ideally offering a Sunday roast or cream tea.
HORTO Café at Rudding Park Spa in Harrogate (pictured) has an ever-changing menu created by head chef Murray Wilson using produce from the Kitchen Garden, freshly baked bread and locally sourced meat, fish and cheese. It’s a pop-up, so very relaxed in feel (you can keep your robe on), with ceiling-height windows offering views of the grounds. You have to get dressed to eat at five bubble luxury Espa at Lucknam Park’s Brasserie, but it does a rocking Sunday lunch with garden views. Popular with the Cotswold cashmere set.
Spas are offering more al fresco facilities, some that are open throughout winter. Mindful of the British weather, however, they often offer blankets and outside heaters, so you can curl up and enjoy the winter sun. In its Secret Garden, The Garage Spa in County Durham has a barrel sauna and a fireplace built into the wall under an overhanging roof. Bubble away in the copper hydro-pool or gather around the fire-pit. We also love The Brimstone Spa in the Lake District (pictured); the incredibly stylish outdoor poor has a wood-burning stove, treetop views, and an al fresco sauna from which you can enjoy the forest scenery.
If the weather is kind of frightful, you can still grab some Vitamin D indoors. The Spa at Ye Olde Bell in Nottinghamshire has a Sabbia Medsunlight therapy room complete with sand, deckchairs, lights that stimulate the production of Vitamin D, seaside murals and the sound of crashing waves.
Book a class or take a hike
With more energy to burn after your lie-in, you can use your time wisely – and indeed extend your lifetime in the long run - by doing some of the zillions of activities some spas offer that you don’t normally have time to fit in. Champneys, Bannatynes, Sequoia at The Grove and Donnington Valley are just some of the spas that offer a huge and comprehensive selection of fitness class time-tables to their spa day guests. Perfect for working off that extra-leisurely lunch. Some spas offer running trails, mindful walks or you can borrow a bike and set off into the surrounding countryside.