Surrounded by idyllic Cotswold countryside, the Lygon Arms is a former coaching inn; turned luxurious hotel and pretty spa set within three acres of private gardens. There’s a 13-metre indoor pool with a retractable roof for summer, a hot tub, saunas and a eucalyptus steam room, but the real highlight is the roof terrace with cushioned recliners and hanging cocoon chairs to snuggle up in. After an Oskia or Decléor treatment, enjoy lunch in the Spa Kitchen & Bar or cosy up around a roaring fire in the hotel.
- Indoor swimming pool
- Steam room
Our Spa Spy review
Broadway is a traditional Cotswold village. Mellow yellow brick cottages line the wide high street and you can almost imagine ladies in bonnets strolling along. Broadway was an important staging post on the long, and no doubt uncomfortable, stagecoach journey between London and Wales.
The Lygon Arms was originally a coaching inn. You get a sense of its history in the stone fireplaces, heavy wooden doors and uneven flagstone floors. Thankfully, the hotel now also has plenty of modern comforts, including sofas and chairs around the seven fireplaces, large beds, top-quality linens and modern bathrooms.
The Lygon Spa is across the courtyard from the main hotel and is decorated in restful greys brightened up with occasion flashes of white and blue.
What's on offer?
The 13-metre swimming pool is in a large, bright room with a central transparent roof. The roof can open on sunny days to let the sunshine stream in. This double-height room has a veranda around the edges at first floor level, which gives a Victorian feel. You can look down on swimmers as you walk between the relaxation room at one end and the Spa Kitchen & Bar at the other.
The Spa Kitchen & Bar has comfortable tables and chairs, and leads through to the outdoor terrace. This has more seating, a large hammock seat and warm sheepskin seat-liners to keep you snug on cooler days. The terrace has large white latticework floor lamps and candles which illuminate the area in the evenings. These same lamps are used throughout the spa and give an almost Moroccan feel. There is waiter service here for drinks and food.
The eucalyptus-scented steam room beside the pool is nicely hot and has space for half a dozen people. There is an overhead shower next to the steam room.
The "spa bath" or hot tub is at one end of the pool. It is warm, comfortable and popular, with room for six or more people. Under the veranda, beside the hot tub are reclining seats and soft chairs.
A small sauna is tucked away in each changing room with space for four people, or six if your feeling friendly. The changing rooms themselves are on the small side, long and narrow but well equipped, with padded seating. The showers have combined shower gel and shampoo, as well as conditioner. Hunting for a hairdyer? Try a drawer in the vanity area.
A warm and cosy lounge on the first floor, with armchairs and bright cushions, is where you wait for treatments. A tray of cold drinks and a range of Oskia products were available to try out while waiting. A nail bar is in a small room next to this lounge.
The separate post-treatment relaxation room has four recliner beds with grey covers, patterned cushions and warm grey throws. The lighting is low, so you can slip into a snooze. There were jugs of cold drinks and a bowl of fruit in this room.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed the Oskia Signature Glow Facial (90 minutes; £110).
Nicole began the treatment with gentle stretching of my legs to align my body and make sure that I was comfortable on the treatment bed. She put a lovely warm cloth on my face and followed that with a cleanser with tiny grains in it to exfoliate my skin.
Nicole then used a "candle" of Rose de Mai. She lit the candle, releasing the gentle smell of roses, then dipped a wide brush in the oil and quickly spread it onto my skin. The oil was hot when it went on, but cooled rapidly as my skin absorbed it. Nicole felt my skin was rather dehydrated and that using the rose oil would help before the steam treatment.
Nicole used warm steam and some aromatic compresses to gently open my blocked pores, then did some extractions around the congested areas on my nose and chin. The warmth and steam meant that the extractions were not painful.
Facial massage is a central part of the treatment and includes lymphatic drainage and some acupressure. Nicole worked hard on my jowly jawline, using lifting massage techniques which made a noticeable difference.
This Oskia facial includes two face masks, one using the warm rose oil, the other a mask that includes fruit enzymes and AHA, designed to accelerate cellular renewal. While this face mask was on, Nicole gave my hands and arms a good massage. She then removed the mask and finished the facial with a moisturising day cream.
The final part of the treatment was a "back to reality" back massage. For this, Nicole helped me sit up, massaged my back, then used hot cloths to remove the layer of oil; a lovely end to an excellent treatment.
The Spa Kitchen & Bar offers smoothies, and hot and cold drinks.
Staff make salads to order. Choose your base salad, then add your choice of protein; salmon, trout, chicken, tofu. Our salad bowls were generous and very fresh with a delicious lemony dressing.
Desserts were healthy -- zingy marinated strawberries -- or indulgent -- tiramisu, pancakes, or a cheese board.
In the hotel, the room that was once the Great Hall is now The Lygon Bar & Grill. It's still pretty grand with a high barrel-vaulted ceiling, huge oil paintings, and a minstrels' gallery. Despite the grandeur of the room, the restaurant itself is quite relaxed and has a good range of modern British dishes.
I had a rack of Welsh lamb which was tender but not properly trimmed. My spa partner had a delicious chicken, mushroom and tarragon pie followed by seasonal fruit crumble.
You can also eat in the wine bar or have afternoon tea in one of the lounges -- perfect for a winter afternoon. Wherever you choose to eat, don't miss the Champagne cocktails from the bar. My strawberry and elderflower Bellini was a pale pink stunner!
We loved / we didn't love
The peaceful atmosphere in the spa: Those soft grey floors and walls make a perfect foil for the occasional brighter colour.
The Victorian-style pool: Just watching swimmers from above felt restful and looked like a painting by an Impressionist.
The fact that the pre- and post-treatment relaxation rooms are separate means you can really relax after the treatment without people coming and going.
The outside terrace: Soak up the sunshine over a glass of bubbly and treat yourself.
We didn't love
The Lygon Spa is quite small and in places does feel a little cramped. The spiral staircase which takes you up from the changing area to the lounge and spa bar is quite tight. An alternative straight staircase goes from the spa reception area to the pre-treatment lounge, so anyone with mobility issues can use this, but you may have to ask about it, as we did.
The changing rooms are narrow and the sauna is squeezed into a corner. These are the limitations of an old building; they have sensibly given as much space as possible to the relaxation areas and the Spa Kitchen & Bar.
The spa offers a limited choice of product houses: Oskia for facials and Decléor for the body. Both are excellent product ranges, but some spa guests may prefer to have a wider choice.
Who do you think would like it?
Anyone of a certain age who wants a facial that really makes a difference
History buffs who want to step back into a Jane Austen set, yet enjoy good food, comfortable beds, and an afternoon in the spa.
Walkers: Broadway has plenty of interesting walks in the area and you can always head for the warm "spa bath" afterwards to ease any aching muscles.