Our spa visits – indeed any visits – have been extremely limited in 2020. But (dare we say it) as light appears at the end of the tunnel with the arrival of several promising vaccines, we are planning ahead. Giving ourselves something to look forward to in 2021.
Which is why top of our Xmas Wish List would be a spa voucher that we can cash in whenever we are able. Here are some spa days we Spa Spies have been dreaming of finding in our stockings.
After nine months of juggling work and childcare, time has become increasingly precious: choosing how to spend it wisely in 2021 has become something of an obsession. The facilities at The Spa at South Lodge are some of the best in the country. I would spend a morning just drifting from pool to pool, a plant-based lunch in Botanica and then, after a pool-side power nap, the mother of all Omorovicza facials: as much as I have tried to take care of my skin at home, nothing beats a spa-style deep clean. And with South Lodge’s sustainability credentials, I’ll be able to make my decisions with a clear eco-conscience.
I will start my day at the top! I head straight for the rooftop spa and a dip in the warm hydrotherapy infinity pool, looking out over the trees, then indoors to work my way around the steam rooms and saunas. My favourite is the huge circular steam room with twinkly lights in the domed ceiling. I lie back in the sunlight room to top up my vitamin D, then pop into the oxygen pod (pictured above) for a boost of fresh sea air. After my wellbeing workout, I find a lounger for a quiet rest, surrounded by fragrant salvia, a glass of fizz brought to my table. A perfect spa morning! And still time for a lovely lunch in the spa café, a treatment and an hour or so in the restful Escape Zone.
Take me back to Lincombe Hall's shiny new designer spa this Christmas. I'm dreaming of floating in the sleek 15-metre lap pool; pummelling my shoulder knots in the 13-metre hydro pool with its 10 different jet-stations and bubbling volcanoes; and kicking back in the heated Himalayan salt room with its twinkly ceiling. A visit wouldn't be complete without a Temple Spa treatment, and in the spirit of Christmas, I'd go for the Champagne and Truffles facial – what’s not to love about a ritual that paints your face in gold and diamonds, and ends with a glass of champagne and home-made truffles?
In the summer we decided not to attempt an overseas holiday, there were too many worries about getting stuck in another country or having to isolate for longer when we got home. So, for me, a three- or four-night break at Pennyhill Park would give me the things I missed from an annual holiday, minus the Mediterranean sun. The hotel is luxurious, the food is amazing, the grounds are well-worth exploring, the spa is the perfect place to spend an afternoon not having to talk to anyone (perhaps other than my wife). It would allow me to properly get away from it all…
I could do with some cheering up and the smiles at Carden are 100 per cent genuine. Also outdoor space is a must, and the spa has one of the most impressive spa gardens, with three hot tubs, a garden sauna, an outdoor vitality pool, five cosy pods, a firepit and a Bollinger bar all with sweeping views across the verdant Cheshire countryside. Most of the indoor facilities – the 11-metre pool and two saunas – have garden views, too, while local herbs from the garden are used in some of the treatments. It’s my indulgent, nurturing and happy place.
I imagine the Peak District in January will become a Winter Wonderland, and if I am going to be snowed in anywhere it would be at Buxton Crescent. My favourite spas in Austria and Switzerland have outdoor rooftop pools: there’s nothing better, as far as I am concerned, than wallowing in warm water while chilly winds snake through the steam. I am also a big fan of the ingenious bath treatments in their beautifully restored bathhouse, especially that they use water from the Buxton Spring which is directly under the hotel. And don’t even get me started on the food...