Families can be wonderful, but they’re also great for raising stress levels: whether it’s your competitive siblings, demanding toddlers, moody teenagers, or indeed your own inner teenager when your mother tells you how well her friend’s daughter is doing compared to you. So why on earth would you want to take your family on a spa break? And how can you possibly relax and still get the most out of your spa time?
In fact, there are so many positive reasons to spa en famille.
One, the neutral, relaxing environment is the perfect ‘safe’ space for a family get-together.
Two, you can always escape to your treatments every time you can feel your blood beginning to boil, massage away any tension, and return a nicer, calmer person. As Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” The same can be said of a good massage.
And three, if you are young parents learning that a “holiday” with toddlers is about as relaxing as training for the Olympics, you absolutely need spa time for the sake of your own sanity and your family.
In this instance, thankfully there are plenty of resorts and hotels that offer family holidays and have activities for the kids, as well as an adult-only luxury spa where you can escape and recharge. If it has a kids’ club even better: you can book in for a couple’s treatment and remember what it’s like to relax together!
If that makes you feel guilty, just remember that a healthy marriage makes for a happy family. Tell yourself when you’re blissing out in the rasul or sitting in a Jacuzzi sipping bubbly together: you’re doing this for the team.
Calcot Manor is a 14th Century Cotswold stone boutique hotel & spa in a huge countryside estate with stacks of outdoor activities, a children’s play zone with a wooden pirate ship, nature trails and – in a quiet corner of the grounds – a lovely, light and modern spa. The highlight is the gorgeous lavender-lined outdoor hot tub which has its own log fire. Just apart from the spa is a 16-metre indoor pool and toddler pool with a cathedral ceiling and countryside views. There’s also a steam room and sauna, plus in summer a heated outdoor pool, and a host of treatments on offer, including Aromatherapy Associates massages, Elemis and CACI facials, plus treatments tailored for men, cancer patients and mums-to-be. While you skip off for your me or we-time, your children and/or grandchildren will be well looked after in the Ofsted registered crèche or, for eight and older, there’s the Mez, with PlayStations, Xboxes, books and games. Then after, you can gather together to enjoy cycling, tennis, walking or the fabulous on-site restaurants.
Ribby Hall Village’s adults-only spa is the perfect playpen for grownups. Book into a holiday cottage with some friends (some with their own hot tubs) - the kids can enjoy the animal experiences, woodland trail, archery, swimming pool, adventure playground and other outdoor pursuits, while the parents indulge in the spa’s fantastic aqua journey and a range of treatments from Elemis, Neom and Ishga. There are two AA Rosette restaurants on site, plus Blackpool and Manchester nearby.
The utterly luxurious Sequoia Spa attached to a fabulous hotel has so many advantages for those spa-ing with young families. Firstly, it is moments from Harry Potter World. Secondly, there are 300 acres to explore, on bike or foot, with a walled garden ‘beach’, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a football pitch, plus golf for all ages. Most usefully, the hotel provides a babysitting service, and there’s an on-site day nursery to keep the little ones amused while you (and your over-12s) head for the black tiled swimming pool in the spa, or enjoy a pamper with Natura Bissé and ESPA treatments.
Lucknam Park is super for young families - making it an ideal family-friendly getaway. There are pools, bikes, nature trails, and adventure play, plus a cookery school, pony riding for all ages, and spa mini-treatments for ages eight and over. The fine dining restaurant is open for children over five, but if you fancy some alone time there is a nanny service, too. Escape to the fabulous spa and enjoy its indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, thermal cabins, fireside swimming pool, and wellbeing classes.
Cowley Manor is chic manor house in 55 acres of Grade II listed gardens, and is for the seriously laid back and groovy. The hotel is fitted with modern art paintings, sculpture and contemporary furniture handmade by British designers. Children can use the spa facilities between 9am and 5.30pm each day including the 17-metre indoor and 15-metre outdoor pools. Adults can also use the sauna, steam room and gym.
Situated in the picturesque village of Midhurst in the South Downs National Park, beautiful countryside is at your feet. The historic hotel offers games, books and challenges for little ones, as well as muddy walks and bike rides through the glorious countryside. The 14-metre pool even has an eagle mosaic which budding young ornithologists will love. The modern spa with its pretty garden is a retreat of peace and quiet for grownups. Take time out in the Turkish steam room and Scandinavian Sauna, and gaze upon the outdoor spa garden from the Jacuzzi before a trying the signature 'South Downs Soother' 90 minute treatment from Temple Spa - which ends with a glass of sparkling Sussex wine.
With cycling, den building, zip wires, climbing, swimming and softplay, kids that love to go wild will adore Centre Parcs. Whole families flock here in the school holidays. Meanwhile, you can check the smaller children into a creche and escape to the Aqua Sana spa and enjoy the spa experience. With steam rooms and saunas themed by different elements and the natural world, you can find a sensory sanctuary to suit your every mood. A spa treatment will help you to relax, de-stress and revitalise your skin, or you can simply float away in a hydrotherapy pool - either way it is all about the pampering.
L’Horizon is perched right on the edge of the stunning St Brelade’s Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Island. Jersey itself is like a giant playground for families with clear waters, white sandy beaches and castles galore. If the little ones ever tire of playing on the beach they can head to the pool, explore the gardens or play one of the many outdoor games. The hotels babysitting service will give you an evening to yourself to relax in the stylish four bubble spa.
Perfect for catch-up’s away from the kids - Stoke Park Spa, Buckinghamshire
This white washed Palladian mansion is surrounded by 300 acres of grounds with excellent sporting facilities. The hotel offers a crèche, kids club and babysitting service so the grown-ups can catch up in the blissful spa. Swim in the high-ceilinged pool, with arched windows overlooking the beautiful spa garden, or head outdoors to the pretty hydro pool and hot Scandinavian sauna. There’s also a 4,000 square foot gym if the kids haven’t worn you out yet!
If you're looking for a spa that caters for teens, you can read more about this in our spas for teenagers feature This article was updated in November 2018