You could, in theory, be in and out of a spa quicker than you can say “pass me the flip flops”, but with new spas opening every year - and more splashing out on expensive refurbs – there’s never been a better time to settle in. Those set in large properties - with surrounding woodland, running tracks and open countryside – have spa breaks written all of them. So, pack a weekend bag and join us on a tour of those spas you simply won’t want to leave.
Best for… all-inclusive stays
Hoar Cross Hall
New packages at this charming countryside retreat are sure to entice guests to stay longer, with spa access, dinner, overnight accommodation, breakfast, lunch and as many classes or outdoor pursuits as you can muster included in one price. With prices for the Purity package starting as little as £169 per person - rising to £269 for an added treatment (Serenity) or £319 for two (Infinity) - everything this 5 Bubble Luxury, newly-refurbished spa has to offer is for the taking, and that’s before mentioning the stunning grounds, quirky bedrooms and finger-licking food.
Best for… foodies
The Spa at Lucknam Park
As well as an award-winning spa, guests at Lucknam Park have an Equestrian centre, tennis courts, football pitch, croquet lawn, running tracks, archery, clay pigeon shooting and sculpture tour at their disposal. You can even take a ride in a hot air balloon. Foodies will also be able to create their own dishes under the watchful eye of head chef Ben Taylor at the Lucknam Park Cooking School before tucking into exquisite dishes at Hywel Jones, the property’s own Michelin-starred restaurant. Elasticated trousers optional.
Best for… location (location, location)
Buxton Crescent Health Spa Hotel
This curved, eye-catching property is set right in the centre of the charming Derbyshire town of Buxton with its park, opera house, cobbled lanes, rows of quaint shops and several pubs a mere minute away (two in your flip-flops, perhaps). Quaint doesn’t even begin to cut it. The spa - set on four levels with a rooftop pool at its apex - prides itself on using water from nearby St Anne’s Well in its stain glass-domed thermal pool. C02 mineral-rich bath therapies and underwater hydro massages take treatments beyond the norm.
Best for… Londoners
The Club at Cottonmill
Why spend hours travelling when you can be relaxing in a hot tub? Just 36 minutes by train from London Bridge (or 15 minutes from Moorgate) will put guests at The Club at Cottonmill, a whitewashed Georgian county manor-turned stylish country bolthole. Upgrade to The Club and enjoy three floors of saunas, steam rooms, relaxation spaces and an indoor/outdoor hydropool; the spa garden – with its cabanas, loungers, hot tubs and fire pits - is a must on a sunny day. The hotel itself has a 2 AA rosette restaurant, a cocktail lounge and a conservatory bar.
Best for… families
The lure of Center Parcs for a family holiday is well documented, with all six sites regularly at 96% capacity all year round. The spa offering at all the sites is larger than average, forest-based and well thought-out with up to 25 watery experiences to try - and reasonably-priced treatments to enjoy. Book a babysitter and indulge in a Twilight Spa session with a glass of fizz. Fancy jetting off for the weekend? Book Ireland’s Longford Forest site and revel in its double-deck contemporary glass and wood spa with 21 experiences spread across four zones.
Best for eco-lovers
The Spa at Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle is the first hotel in Ireland to achieve the GREENMark Plastic Smart Standard Award for eliminating all single-use plastic from customer-facing areas. Their sustainability journey began in 2010 when they joined Green Hospitality Ireland; a decade later, they still retain the Gold standard. The two-storey, multi award-winning spa – housed in an attractive glass annex – is as ornate as it is calming, with loch views from its pool, steam room, fitness suite and relaxation room. Seven restaurants, three bars and a host of outdoor pursuits make Ashford Castle well worth the schlep.
27th September 2022
Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.
Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.
Behind the scenes