The UK’s Top 9 super spas
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want... a massage, mani and Jacuzzi please, and make it snappy. I'll put on the fluffy white robe and assume the position.
I can’t think of a better antidote to the dingy days of January than booking a spa break – I think we all need something fragrant and pampering to look forward to right now, no? Here are the ones I’d most like to be floating blissfully around in a fluffy white robe in the coming months – and we’re not just talking any old spas here. We’re talking the blockbuster, A list, dream destinations that everyone is talking about. Because you’re worth it, obvs.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
This New Forest 5 star retreat won Conde Nast Traveller‘s best UK hotel spa last year for good reason – immaculate, sprawling facilities (various hydrotherapy pools, outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, 17m swimming pool), top notch treatment rooms and therapists, and delicious beauty products in collaboration with Oskia. My top tip is to stay in one of the treehouses – and make sure you leave time between massages for a stroll down to the beach.
Y Spa, Beds
A half an hour drive from central Cambs, in Wyboston Lakes, Y Spa at The Waterfront Hotel opened in 2012 and has a cool, contemporary feel with different zoned relaxation areas to unwind. The thermal spa offers hot and cold experiences as treatments – up to a whooping 87° if you’re a keen heat hugger. The outdoor hydrotherapy pool is kept at a toastie 37° all year around and includes a roaring outdoor fire, and warm blankets supplied. There’s also cosy reading pods, heated waterbeds and even sleep rooms- come to mama!
Ragdale Hall, Leics
Another awards-magnet, this Leics hotspot is no hotel with a spa bolted on as an afterthought, oh no. It’s a dedicated pampering palace with the most extensive facilities in the UK, I’ll have you know. We’re desperate to dive into the rooftop infinity pool which opened last year – after all it’s not something you often see in the UK. They also have an atmospheric candlelit pool and a ‘cave shower’, which mimics being caught in a tropical downpour, complete with thunder and lightning. Full marks for creativity. Not forgetting the vast treatment menu, with 140 therapists for whom your wish is their command.
Aqua Sana Sherwood Forest, Notts
OK, here’s a curveball – this is actually part of Center Parcs which admittedly might not be your first port of call when it comes to a dedicated spa break. But, but, but… it’s just been voted best spa in its region by The Good Spa Guide so it’s definitely worth a look. The highlight is the treetop sauna with superb views of the surrounding forest and, with treatment days starting from £79 per person, it won’t break the bank in January. Center Parcs – who’d have thought it, eh?
The Langley, Bucks
All about the new, new, new? Yep, us too so we’re looking forward to doing laps of swanky pool at the new Langley hotel and spa in Iver, due to open in March (I donned my hard hat a few weeks ago and have seen the whole place – it’s a WOW, let me tell ya). It’s promising a world class wellness centre at the 41 room hotel, and will be the second biggest underground spa in Europe. Alongside the treatment rooms, mani/pedi bar, hair salon and pools, there will be a thermal area, a cryotherapy chamber (extreme temperatures are a big health trend for 2019) and a high-tech fitness suite designed and run by PT to the stars, Matt Roberts. Perhaps we’ll challenge him to a running race around the 18th century gardens designed by Capability Brown. Or, er, perhaps not.
Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire
Another sublimely chic New Forest hideaway, Lime Wood’s Herb House spa is your spot for a luxe Sarah Chapman facial – which are like gold-dust because they make you emerge resembling a supermodel (hey, get in the queue). There are indoor and outdoor pools, a hydrotherapy suite, a rooftop gym and helipad. Thank goodness, I was wondering where to park my chopper. New for 2019 are weekend fitness retreats run by – him again! – Matt Roberts and nutrition workshops with Amelia Freer.
Titanic Spa, Yorks
Fancy something a bit different? This dedicated spa in Linthwaite near Huddersfield was once an Edwardian textiles mill before it was transformed into the UK’s first eco spa in 2004. Highlights include getting mucky (not like that) in the mud chamber and lolling around in the beanbag pit – like a ballpit but without the screaming, germy toddlers. At time of writing there is a January offer for an overnighter with meals, facilities and treatments for just £119 so it’s good value to boot.
Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire
David Beckham’s favourite hangout (he lives next door) and Meghan Markle’s hen-do venue is a member’s club but book an overnight stay and you’re free to roam amongst the beautiful people. There’s an excellent Cowshed spa on site, a large gym in the basement, a hair salon and a show-stopping indoor/outdoor pool with views across 100 picture-perfect acres of Oxfordshire countryside.
Stoke Park, Bucks
So good I’ve bought a spa day here for my mum’s Christmas pressy! My full review of the five star spa facilities is here and they currently have a Winter Wonderland spa day offer running from January through to March. This includes a two-course lunch, a 55 minute treatment (options include a Margaret Dabbs mani or pedi, both beauty editors’ favourites) and full use of the pools, relaxation room, sauna, gym etc for £115. Bargainous doesn’t quite cover it.
Any utterly brilliant UK spas I’ve missed off the supers list? Let me know in the comment box below. It’s my duty to try them all.