Here are the stunning spas the Spa Spies plan to visit post-lockdown. If you follow the links, you can read the full review and see why we can’t stop thinking about them. Also, on the righthand side of the directory page is a link to the spa’s vouchers – some are valid for up to 24 months, so the perfect lockdown treat for yourself or a loved one (or both).
For me, the spa at the MO is a deeply cocooning place. Walk in with cares of the world on your shoulders and come out feeling refreshed, and that little bit more able to ace your responsibilities. It’s calm, quiet and luxurious, the spa has been beautifully designed with mindful touches from the statues around the hydro pool to the colouring books provided in the relaxation rooms. The staff are genuinely caring, and treatments are nurturing and effective – both my therapists gave me great feedback and left me little notes and samples to try post-treatment. This would be my day one post-lockdown choice so I could leave the stress behind me.
I’ve really felt for my son during the lockdown period, he normally spends a lot of time outside running around in the countryside, finding sticks and walking along fallen tree trunks. He looks hopeful and then forlorn every time we encounter another toddler that he’d like to run and play with (I take him for a walk around our neighbourhood every few days). So Center Parcs Longleat Forest and the newly re-opened Aqua Sana Spa seem a perfect balance. We can explore the resort together during the day and then I can sneak off for a spa evening in the indoor/outdoor spa facilities.
If I could somehow engineer some time with my husband, I’d book an overnight stay at Seaham Hall. Yes, we’ve been together 24/7 but always in work or parent mode. It would be nice to have some time to just be us. Seaham Hall is the perfect place, the hotel is beautifully designed and run, the surroundings are gorgeous (think blustery seafront with long views and a windswept beach), and the spa works well for both of us – my husband is the least floral person you could imagine. The Asian inspired food and treatments would remind us of our time travelling through South East Asia. Bliss.
Much as I love my garden (and I am very grateful to have one during lockdown) I am so looking forward to returning to the rooftop garden at Rudding Park Spa. Just to sit among the vivid purple salvias, relax on a comfortable recliner and enjoy the sunshine and a glass of fizz will be heavenly. I will try a few lengths of the 17-metre pool to work out the kinks in my back muscles, then head for a spell in the lovely rooftop hydrotherapy pool. I might also take a ‘throne’ in the grand circular steam room to warm things up before a much-needed massage or maybe I should book a facial… I need a manicure, too. Lunch in the fabulous Horto spa café would top the day, I am so very fed up with my own cooking!
The Three Graces Spa makes you feel special. Everything about the spa is restful and elegant, from the colour scheme -- pale blue walls and soft grey furnishings -- to the sense of space and the quiet attentive service. I will head for one of the copper water-stations, pour myself a drink and then touch the coloured stones on the side of the cup which invoke peace, energy and healing. I will book myself in for the Gold Cellular Facial which combines tradition in the form of a ‘singing bowl’, with technology in the form of Ila’s ultrasonic wave device which pushes serum into the skin. I know it will make up for weeks of lockdown neglect. Last time I had this treatment my skin glowed for days.
Having been working at home in lockdown together for several weeks I am surprised to find that I actually want to go away with my husband. We will head off to Hampshire for some of the Four Seasons renowned customer service and care. I want to live up to my spa spy name and be totally sybaritic. I will support the local bee population and book the Beeutiful Rose Spice candle massage which involves my favourite rose fragrance, then we will walk in the grounds and admire the restored gardens to build up an appetite for a romantic dinner in the Wild Carrot restaurant.
One of my favourite spas: if ever there’s a review trip, I fight for it to be me. I can’t wait to drive up that iconic, tree-lined driveway and be treated like returning royalty. I find myself visiting some of my favourite Lucknam moments while in lockdown – the stables where I went for a glorious hack one morning and tried some equine therapy; drifting in the warm outdoor pool watching honey-coloured light pour over topiary and trees; the food, from seven course tasting menus to the grilled fare in the Brasserie; watching wildlife in the outdoor yoga pavilion; the blissful ESPA signature treatments. I could go on…
On the top edge of the North Devon coastline, this is quite a drive, but absolutely worth it. I don’t think I’ve been anywhere in England that is so jaw-droppingly stunning – miles of white sandy beach and AONB sand dunes under a great stretch of sky. Source Spa and Wellness is brand new, three glass-fronted stories right on the edge of the beach. You can bubble away in a spa pool, have your massage (if you book the couple’s suite) and relax on a cosy lounger with soft blankets bathing in those glorious Atlantic views. One for me and Mr Spa Spy, I feel.
Dormy is the spa I wish I could be in right now. If you are ever feeling emotionally out of sorts, it’s the perfect place to feel cocooned and nurtured. There’s the homely but stylishly-Scandi décor to curl up in, the tender Pure massage, the warm candle-lit outdoor pool, and the lavender sauna with its warmed seats and wall image of lavender fields to transport you to the M/ed. Their vegan meals and smoothies in The Garden Room are comfort foods with a virtuous twist.
South Lodge would be my first choice post-lockdown, ideally with a small group of friends as it has so much space. For me the important thing is that it has been designed – beautifully – with sustainability in mind, with a biomass boiler, natural pool and grass roof. I'd love to drift around the pools: the indoor pool with comfy loungers, the outdoor hydrotherapy pool to soak up the sunshine and then brave the cool water in the swim pond. Their spa restaurant Botanica has vegan meals and juices with herbal tinctures. The perfect place for an eco-minded spa-ista.
This brand new spa was one of last year’s most exciting launches, and our spa spy who visited came back singing its praises. I love any spa with outdoor space, and the garden is vast with an 11-metere outdoor pool, three hot tubs, five enclosed glass pods and an outdoor sauna, all overlooking the gardens and fields beyond. I would also love to try an Elemental Herbology treatment as I have been blogging about their products for a while now. I would book in for the Garden Therapy at Carden Park treatment, which includes a full-body massage, facial and a glass of sparkling wine from Carden Park’s vineyard. I literally can’t wait…
Ever since I saw the iconic outdoor infinity pool dangling over the beautiful blue flag beach, I have wanted to visit this spa – and Instagram myself in that pool! It’s a bit of a trek to the Pembrokeshire coast, but I plan to take my boyfriend on a proper post-lockdown holiday to this beautiful part of the world. There’s a dual treatment room with full height windows that slide open to let in the fresh sea air and gentle sounds of the tide. Treatments use sea-theme organic Voya products and Caudalie – I’m drawn to the Salty Fucus Luscious Body Scrub and Massage. I’ve also been told the spa food is delicious, and there is an outstanding vegan menu.