In the heart of historic Cirencester, this boutique hotel is very Cotswolds chic, with the spa set in a series of vaulted rooms that once made up the cellars. Modern twists adorn the Cotswold lime-stone paired with soft, muted textiles and ambient lighting. The spa has a good selection of treatments using Decléor products. There is a delightful wet zone with colour-changing Jacuzzi, infra-red sauna and emerald-hued steam room.
- Thermal suite
- Infa-red sauna
- Steam room
- Heated benches
- Relaxation room
- Couples treatment room
- Manicure suite
- Leighton Denny
Our Spa Spy review
The historic Kings Head Hotel overlooks the market place at the heart of Cirencester, a characterful town in the Cotswolds. The hotel décor makes the most of its history: think exposed brickwork, beamed ceilings and open fires, alongside brightly-coloured velvet chairs and statement sculptures.
The small Vaulted Spa at The Kings Head is in the basement, and you can reach it via a lift or stairs. The thermal facilities occupy a series of small, vaulted rooms that once made up the cellars and tunnels used by the monks to reach the church opposite.
What's on offer?
Staff warmly welcomed us in the small reception area with its original brickwork and invited us to sit on high-backed chairs to complete consultation forms.
The changing rooms are light and bright but small, though the spa limits numbers during peak times. Some L-shaped, digital lockers line one wall; you'll find your robe and a pair of slippers inside. Around the corner are two frosted showers containing unbranded shampoo, conditioner and body wash. For post-spa preening, there's a small vanity area with a large mirror, hairdryer and amenities, including cotton wool, deodorant and hair mousse (a nice touch).
The spa's thermal area is a small but inviting space with several experiences to try. We loved the bubbly Jacuzzi with its ever-changing colourful lights, and the small infra-red sauna with its gentle heat and seating for four. The emerald-hued steam room was disappointingly cool on our visit.
Relax on black-tiled benches between experiences or use the time to catch up with your spa partner. Try the grey-tiled experience shower with several settings for cooling down.
The star of the show at Vaulted Spa is the dimly lit relaxation room. Tiptoe onto one of the five over-sized day beds and curl up under sheepskin throws and brown blankets. (The only way to get on the beds is to walk on them and, as they're quite squishy, balancing isn't always easy.) With candles flickering against the brick walls, it's not hard to imagine the monks who used to pass through the cloisters. Help yourself to iced water and magazines or simply drift before or after your treatment.
The Vaulted Spa has four treatment rooms including one double, and two stations for manicures.
If you book a treatment, you can use the facilities for two hours, otherwise there is a charge.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Decléor warm stones massage (55 minutes, £70).
My therapist, Mia, met me in the relaxation room and showed me through to a treatment room with music playing in the background.
Mia asked about any areas of concern before inviting me to lie face down on the comfortable, heated treatment bed. Mia began by teasing out some tension in my neck. Using the Relax balm with ylang ylang and jojoba, Mia chased down the knots on my shoulders, walked her hands up and down my spine, and soothed the stress in my lower back. She worked with warm stones over the backs of my legs and my feet; the reflexology massage was particularly welcome.
When I turned over, Mia placed an eye pillow over my eyes and worked on my hands and arms, stretching my tight palms. The warmth of the stones encouraged my muscles to relax and de-stress. She finished with more attention to the front and backs of my shoulders, which seemed appropriate: to end where we had started. Throughout, Mia's massage was firm and effective, and I felt in skilled hands. I felt much more unwound as I wended my way back to the relaxation room.
The Vaulted Spa at the Kings Head Hotel offers a good selection of treatments including massages, facials, and Leighton Denny manicures and pedicures. The spa can also cater for men and mums-to-be. Finishing touches include waxing and eye treatments.
You'll need to dress to have lunch in the contemporary, buzzy restaurant where a two-course spa lunch is served from a menu of starters, hot and cold main courses and desserts.
Our home-made red-pepper tomato soup was fresh and tasty; smoked-salmon sandwich very generous. There are vegetarian options and choices for the virtuous: the superfood salad contains not only kale but broccoli and blueberries. You can also opt for spa packages that include afternoon tea.
In the evening, the restaurant serves traditional British cuisine. We opted for traditional fish and chips, which were done exactly right.
We loved / we didn't love
The atmosphere: Think historic, paired with low lighting and flickering candles.
The relaxation room: We enjoyed snoozing under fluffy blankets.
Our gorgeous hotel room: If you can stay over, you'll love the comfortable beds.
We didn't love:
Only having one towel: By the time we had splashed about in the Jacuzzi, our towel was pretty damp.
There's no elegant way to get on or off those day beds in the relaxation room.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples and mums and daughters: The small spa is suited to two, and you can enjoy each other's company in the various heat experiences.
Groups of friends could make the most of this spa; it offers an ideal space for an after-work pick-me-up or to celebrate a special occasion in its central location.
The Spa at Kings Head is small but pretty perfectly formed, but you couldn't spend more than a couple of hours here. You may want to combine your spa time with a stroll through the town.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Vaulted Spa at The Kings Head Hotel a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 4 Bubbles for its quaint design and friendly staff. We admired the atmospheric ambience; the spa is sensitively designed to make the most of the vaulted cellar location. The spa is small, however, and a few more luxurious touches would lift the experience.
The dining options in the restaurant and bar offer modern British food.
The Kings Head has 45 boutique hotel rooms with 5 different room categories.
The spa is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 9am-6pm; Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9am-8pm; Sunday 9am-6pm.