From large swimming pools to smaller hydro-pools, hot tubs to steam rooms, no spa can exist without water – gallons of it in some cases. Add to that the mountain of white towels and robes that need to go through the wash each week, and a spa really has its work cut out when it comes to being green. But, with more environmentally conscious spa-goers, especially among the millennials, more UK spas are trying to reduce their footprint. A spa may have a rooftop infinity pool with an incredible view, but if it’s not ozone-friendly or solar-heated, then its picturesque landscape will suffer. From a total ban on the use of plastic to pools cleansed by lowdosage bromide, and by employing local labour to creating vegan menus, there are plenty of ways spas can be greener. Here’s six UK spas to watch.
This adult-only, dog-friendly luxury eco retreat overlooks a pristine Cornish beach. With its ‘Cherish the World’ ethos and coveted gold status in the Green Tourism awards, The Scarlet leads the way in environmental consciousness – one scan of its ‘101 Sustainable Ways’ document online and you can’t fail to be impressed. From recycling waste water to flush the toilets to making pencils out of recycled newspaper, The Scarlet is certainly doing its bit. In its Ayurveda-inspired spa, the chemical-free outdoor pool is cleaned by reeds, while the indoor pool is treated using low-dosage bromide as opposed to harsher alternatives. The property has also developed its own range of products to be used in treatments, using local sea salt, Cornish clay and indigenous herbs.
Built in 1776, and set within 240 acres of glorious Berkshire Parkland, Coworth Park takes its eco credentials very seriously. This classic Georgian, glass-fronted hotel, restaurant and spa has its own underground energy centre incorporating a Bio Mass Heating Plant, making it the only hotel in the UK to grow fuel by cultivating willow on the estate. Quite something. For cooling, there’s a system of underground pipes known as ‘slinky’s’ which chill recycled water before redistributing it, while the building itself was created using natural materials, solar panels and thermal glazing. Partially submerged into a hill, the twostorey eco-luxury spa was built using heatretaining timber to give it a carbon neutral footprint. There’s also a ‘living roof’ where St John’s Wort, thyme, camomile and lavender are grown for use in treatments.
Part of Daylesford Organic Farm, Bamford Haybarn is a family-run sustainable farm, restaurant and shop that grows, produces, cooks, serves and sells organic and locallysourced food. The Haybarn Spa has compensated for the fact there are no wet facilities (hence top eco marks) through a natural, light-filled design that immerses you in the surrounding landscape. Here, yoga and Pilates sit beside a holistic menu of treatments based around Ayurveda. Choose from facials or massages using the Bamford Bath & Body range, made especially for the spa using natural, organic ingredients found in England. Certified by the Soil Association, and free from parabens and genetically modified ingredients, they are as clean as they are green – even the packaging is white. Staying a few days? Sign up for a cookery or floristry class and get even closer to nature.
The multi award-winning Titanic Spa was recognised as the UK’s first official eco-spa when it opened back in 2005. Set within a former working Edwardian textiles mill, visitors to this stylish, Huddersfield-based property can stay in elegant, airy and carbonneutral apartments where photovoltaic roof panels convert light directly into electricity. The spa’s eco credentials are just as impressive with its own dedicated water source set 100 metres below the ground. Not only does this provide fresh drinking water (no plastic water bottles here) but it fills the hydro-pool and solar-heated, saltregulated swimming pool. Spa treatments are both organic and results-driven, while spa menus are printed using recycled paper and ink made from vegetable dye. Even the towels are washed using the same laundry system adopted by most hospitals, with cooler washing temperatures and eco-friendly detergent.
A fitness retreat, restaurant, festival venue, event space, cookery school, hotel and spa, Lime Wood is as big as it is all-encompassing. The Herb House Spa got its name from the quantity of herbs found here, including 15 varieties of mint growing on the large sun deck, a camomile lawn and a roof-based living herb garden, where the smell of lavender fills the air. Inspired by its setting in the beautiful New Forest, The threestorey Herb House spa offers a larger-than-average hydro-pool with forest views, a 16-metre, indoor ozone-treated pool, a Mud House using 100% natural mud, and a restaurant – Raw & Cured – which serves seasonal, sustainable dishes created using resident herbs. Holistic treatments use organic brands such as Pai, Voya and Bamford.
How does your garden grow?
The facilities in the spa and health-club of Foxhill’s Club and Resort, Surrey, are admittedly from another, pre-eco conscious era, but you can see the tide turning in their newly added – and rather beautiful – spa garden. At the centre of the garden is the UK’s first outdoor natural swimming pool, with chemical free water purified by plants and minerals. It is, as nature dictates, bracingly chilly, although the dark lining will absorb heat during the summer months. We applaud the thought that has gone into the garden, and hope they will go further, reducing the use of plastic and think about building a sustainable future.