From the latest al fresco offerings from some of our top UK spas, it seems today’s spa-goers want to feel alive, ignite their senses, plunge into cold waters and bask in the elements (rather than pass out smothered in oils to whale music).
Want to send your senses zinging in a Nordic outdoor ice bath and sauna or go wild on a luxury estate, try ‘earthing’ or a spot of wild swimming? Or maybe you fancy your own deluxe outdoor spa cabin, far from the madding crowds? Savant Spy finds five thrilling new summer vacay spa experiences good enough to make you stay at home.
No need to fight for a pool-side lounger, you can book a private, luxury all-day cabana (more of a glamorous outdoor room) at this glorious Five Bubble Luxury Spa. Each one is named after the scented herb planted around it – Bergamot, Lemon Thyme, Sorrel and Peppermint – used to flavour drinks. Mod cons for each include your own coffee machine, kettle with tea bags, fridge stuffed with soft drinks, a copper bathtub with spa jets, upholstered bench and lockable drawer. Order lunch from the comfort of your cabana before relaxing on your cushioned lounger, drawing the blinds for extra privacy or wheeling them out to the deck for some serious sun worshipping.
Much has been written about the benefits of cold-water therapy; it’s said to trigger your immune system, improve circulation, reduce inflammation - and give you a delicious buzz, like Champagne without the hangover. South Lodge spa is famed for its natural outdoor swimming pool surrounded by fragrant herbs and flowers, and cradled by woodland. Maximising its tranquil and verdant locale, The Spa is offering outdoor yoga on the Mind & Body Terrace. After, pummel your muscles in the outdoor hydrotherapy pool, take a bracing dip or relax in dappled sunlight on the deck. In mornings, watch the sunrise over the South Downs; poolside snacks and drinks are served in the evening.
For a cold-water adventure without having to climb a mountain, head to this stunning spa’s new Nordic Spa Garden. You’ve seen celebs immersing themselves in baths filled with ice - now it’s time to see if you can take the chill. Turn up the heat in the outdoor sauna (think ultra-modern Scandi tunnel with glass walls either end) and enjoy views of the surrounding grounds and pool. When you are toasty enough, plunge into one of two bespoke ice baths and try not to scream. Never will you feel so awake – and so proud of yourself! It’s good for you, too, honest...
On the verge of quiet quitting? Say goodbye to some of that work-related tension and burnout with a spa day at Eden Hall. Extending from its generous day spa, Eden's impressive new outdoor space includes a 20-metre hydrotherapy pool with 14 hydrotherapy treatments. Plant yourself at one of the four standing stations and let the water jet pummel your achy bits. Or recline on a massaging air-lounger with headrests and experience utter bliss. Sixteen benches offer jets aimed at aching calves and sore lower backs. The garden also includes a Reflect and Relax Room, outdoor sauna and firepit for year-round enjoyment.
Fancy getting back to nature without forgoing luxury? Try one of the famous al fresco wellness breaks at this fashionable spa lodge set in 20,000 acres of countryside. All the boxes are ticked – forest bathing, wild swimming in the lake, yoga, meditation and mindfulness in woodland hammocks. ‘Earthing’ in the spa garden involves going barefoot – a simple way to ground yourself (literally) which is said to improve sleep, reduce stress and pain, and connect with the earth’s magnetic field, if you believe in that sort of thing, that is. If you need a little extra comfort, head to the outdoor spa with its natural swimming pool and soft loungers – the kind of wild we like.