Easily accessible from major cities yet consisting of delightful English countryside and coastline, the South East is a thriving area to explore. Work your way along the coast from the famous white cliffs of Dover to buzzing beach towns like Brighton, Eastbourne and Portsmouth. Enjoy a stroll through the beautifully green South Downs National Park, or visit rugged and magnificent castle ruins or tread the historical streets of Canterbury or Hastings.
With its close proximity to London, it’s no wonder that the South East has an abundance of luxurious country hotels and spas. Two of only five Good Spa Guide 5 Bubble Luxury spas reside in the area, and most of the rest are Five Bubble standard.
For an easy retreat from London visit Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire or Pennyhill Park in Bagshott. If you enjoy luxurious fine dining or wine, try The Vineyard in Berkshire, or may we suggest Ockenden Manor in Cuckfield, which holds a Michelin star? Bailiffscourt Spa near Bognor Regis combines country cocooning with seaside location, and the runnymede-on-thames sits calmly on the banks of the river just far out enough from the city to be countryside.
Rural and charming, Bailiffscourt Hotel is a classic English manor house styled in medieval stone with gothic windows. The manor house has an interesting history, it was built by Walter Guinness of the brewing family in 1927. The sea is visible from 30 acres of parkland and gardens, which you can enjoy views of through the spa pool’s windows.
The spa is housed in a separate barn-style building, and so it blends in perfectly with the thatched outbuildings and gardens. The spa is double-height with treatment rooms and a spa lounge upstairs, and the wet areas and changing rooms downstairs. The indoor pool sits under a high-beamed ceiling with hydrotherapy bubbles, and there is also an outdoor pool open all year round alongside a traditional wooden hot tub.
Near to seaside towns Bognor Regis, Worthing and Brighton, Bailiffscourt is the perfect spa retreat for those who want a peaceful spa day with beaches to visit nearby.
While Ockenden Manor hotel is Elizabethan in style, the purpose-built spa set within the manor’s 19th Century walled garden is a bold cubist block with brilliantly light windows. The building is tucked away so its ultra-modern appearance doesn’t clash with the historical manor next to it, but inside it keeps a natural tone with calming ‘woodland’ décor.
If you love to swim lengths indoors with views outside, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with the indoor/outdoor pool. Natural spring water taken from Ockenden’s borehole supplies both the pool and spa showers.
Upstairs there are eight treatment rooms, a relaxation room, manicure lounge, floatation room and six gorgeous spa suites to stay in – as well as a roof terrace. Grownups looking for countryside quiet will love Ockenden, and the accommodation is also perfect for romantics with roll-top baths and four poster beds.
Rated Five Bubble Luxury by the Spa Spies, Pennyhill Park in Bagshot is a leading spa destination in the UK. Located just 45 minutes from London in Surrey’s beautiful parkland, the Exclusive Hotel and Spa makes for a stunning country retreat with fantastic treatments, exceptional customer service, award winning accommodation and two-Michelin starred restaurant.
The spa is adult-only and covers 45,000 square feet. With eight different pools, several thermal experiences and 21 treatment rooms there is something to satisfy every spa-ista’s needs. Swim in a 25 metre ozone-treated ballroom pool accompanied by underwater music, and feel like a Greek immortal wandering through marble corridors or lounging between limestone pillars and statues lit by coloured lighting.
Treatments at Pennyhill are widely ranged from facials and massages to wraps and nail treatments, some of which use the spa’s in-house hand-made organic products. There are also single-sex thermal experience rooms if you’re feeling shy. Men will like the spa as there are men-specific spa days and treatments designed for male skin. Even the England rugby team are frequent visitors to Pennyhill!
Park House sits in an area of natural beauty within the South Downs national park. The hotel is a rural and charming country-house, hidden down a winding lane with lovely country views. PH20 spa is in a separate building under a wooden-beamed roof, and is completely modern in design.
Central to the spa is a gorgeous 15 metre pool, tiled with mosaics that give it an extra sparkle. We love the spiral-shaped shower which is made of white marble. During the summer you can float blissfully in a heated outdoor pool, reached through glass doors. Thermal facilities are in the changing room areas. There are only four treatment rooms -- this is a cosy and exclusive-feeling spa.
After enjoying a luxurious treatment, snuggle under a duvet in the Quiet Room and slowly drift back to reality. If you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful spa, Park House is for you.
Situated in a picturesque Sussex market town with beautiful countryside surroundings, Spread Eagle Hotel has traditional features such as wooden beams, leaded windows and quaint fireplaces.
In contrast the spa is a modern addition, with a beautiful 14 metre blue mosaic pool at its centre. Floor-to-ceiling windows let in an abundance of light, and high ceilings give the spa a sense of space. There’s a Turkish steam room and a Scandinavian sauna to take you away from everyday life, and a Jacuzzi with views over a lovely spa garden where you can sun yourself in the summer months.
A grand white mansion on the outskirts of London, Stoke Park is set within and overlooks sweeping park grounds containing a luscious green golf course and iconic Humphry Repton bridge.
The spa is separate from the main house, and contains a glass windowed 16 metre pool area --delightful for those who love to swim. If you’re spa-ing as a family, there are children’s ‘splash’ sessions and an on-site crèche and babysitting service. The Spa Atrium is only accessible to spa guests and has comfy sofas, refreshments and a delightful fish tank wall.
Treatments include facials by Thalgo and Aromatherapy Associates, as well as massages featuring Lava Shells and body wraps. The menu is thoughtful and includes treatments for men and mums to be. If you prefer alternative therapies there are complementary treatments on offer as well.
Just 15 minutes’ drive from Heathrow Terminal 5 and close to the M25, the runnymede-on-thames is incredibly easy to reach from London. Despite its proximity to major transport routes, Windsor Great Park lies nearby and the hotel is directly on the banks of the river Thames -- a lovely location to enjoy.
The spa is an extension of the hotel, with a dedicated entrance from the car park. Inside, glass doors and floor-to-ceiling windows keep the décor bright with a relaxed tone. The corridors are candle-lit and the changing rooms offer Elemis shower products, a small sauna and plunge pool for extra spa treats. Then venture into the indoor pool area for swimming lengths, massaging your muscles in the whirlpool bath, and using the main sauna and steam rooms.
Treatments are particularly personal and cover a wide variety of types. However the runnymede is known best for its anti-ageing treatments, and caters well for families by offering treatments for teenagers, mums-to-be and men.
The Vineyard used to be a small manor house and is luxurious and sleek, while the spa is compact and elegant and set inside a round, glass-roofed building.
Inside the spa is a circular pool with a ‘current’, so if you move against it, swimming can be more of a workout than normal; there are also massage jets also give your muscles a blissful pummelling. When you’re ready to cleanse, head downstairs to a hot steam room and sauna. Or relax on poolside loungers or bubble in the hot tub. There is no health club at The Vineyard so the atmosphere is extra peaceful. The spa also feels exclusive – only eight people maximum are booked on spa days so you will feel completely indulged.
Treatments include Darphin facials (some of which are exclusive to The Vineyard), body treatments, and VitaMen products for treatments designed specifically for men. Food is also highly regarded at The Vineyard Spa. Order yourself a bento box to eat on your spa day or dine in style with five courses from the 20 course Discovery Tasting dinner menu complete with matching wines.
A beautiful red brick mansion house, Alexander House Hotel sits in 120 acres of wood and park land. The Utopia Spa is reached through an arched colonnade from inside the hotel, and the scene is immediately set by a water feature in the corridor.
The spa is positioned over three floors, with ‘changing suites’ containing steam room, sauna and monsoon showers for single-sex spa-ing. Beyond is the impressive Grecian-temple thermal facilities. Swim between columns in a 15 metre pool, or enjoy the swan pipes and Jacuzzi in a circular hydrotherapy pool. For sunny days there’s also a decked spa garden with loungers and a square hot tub where you can float in the bubbles and enjoy views of the shrubbery and open sky.
Treatments range from facials and massages, to reflexology and Indian Head Massage. Men have a section on the spa menu, as do mums-to-be. Afterwards you can enjoy a snooze in the relaxation room with comfy loungers and blankets and views of the garden.