Relaxing spa hotel staycations will soon be back on your travel agenda in the UK and it should be a part of your travel plan. While the spa experience will be different – expect increased cleaning frequency, therapists wearing PPE, and the ability to book treatments, pool, and relaxation area slots ahead of time – the silver lining is that limited guest numbers will aid social distancing, resulting in an even more tranquil environment. Here are the top UK spa hotels to book, whether you’re looking for a leisurely rural getaway or a city-slick urban refresh…
The Scarlet, Cornwall:
Your travel plan should include the adults-only Scarlet is a breath of fresh air for the soul, with its cliffside setting over Mawgan Porth’s butterscotch sands, eco-architecture, and a superb spa. Each of the 39 apartments, which have pale wooden floors and are furnished in mossy green and dark blues, has a view of the sea, whether from a full-facing window or from an upper-level sitting area.
The indoor pool, outdoor natural pool (freshwater, filtered by a living reed bed filtration system), and two clifftop hot tubs all have views of the sea. Six treatment rooms offer hour-long Ayurvedic treatments (tasters of the regular four-hour excursions) and hot herb and oat-filled poultice massages. After that, relax in slumber-inducing hanging canvas pods, practice yoga or tai chi outside, or go surfing. It’s a must to stop by the restaurant for a cream tea (just be sure to layer jam before clotted cream, in keeping with the Cornish tradition).
Price: Double rooms start at £345 per night, including breakfast and access to the spa.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath:
Bath is a fantastic wellness break destination, with its gorgeous honey-hued Georgian architecture as well as the ancient thermal waters on which it was established. The Gainsborough Bath Spa, which offers 99 rooms with calm monochrome palettes and is the only hotel with a spa directly supplied by Bath’s mineral-rich spring water, is the best travel plan location to rest your head. The thermal water is also piped directly into roll-top bathtubs in a few spa suites.
A spectacular sapphire mosaic-tiled thermal pool flanked by Romanesque columns is the focal point of the Spa Village. An energetic self-guided bathing circuit is formed by combining this with two smaller soaking pools, an ice alcove, and a rest deck. In ten treatment rooms, untangle aromatherapy and Swedish essential-oil massages, while the gym and complimentary weekend yoga lessons will keep active types satisfied. The spa’s trademark watsu-style aqua therapies are currently on pause.
Price: Doubles start at £231 for a room-only stay that includes access to the spa.
Lime Wood, New Forest, Hampshire:
Lime Wood is possibly the ideal rural hideaway, set in the New Forest National Park, where wild ponies meander through woods and violet-tinged heather scrub. The 13th-century lodge, which has been converted into a country house hotel with beautiful gardens, features warm lounges with roaring fireplaces, an Italian restaurant run by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, and 33 rooms with botanical artwork, antique furniture, and bloom-festooned couches.
The Herb House spa has a 16-meter indoor lap pool (with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, front crawl has a side of woodland views), two hydro pools, and ten treatment rooms for unknotting massages (using seaweed-infused VOYA or Bamford products), reflexology sessions, and OPI manicures and pedicures. Matt Roberts personal trainers are on hand in the Technogym to help clients get more out of their workouts, there are al-fresco pilates and yoga classes in the herb-filled rooftop garden, and delicious, healthy meals at Raw and Cure restaurant – think freshly-pressed greens and ginger juices, as well as nori rolls.
Price: Doubles start at £465, including spa access.
Rudding Park, Harrogate:
Spa junkies searching for a modern, unpretentious escape will like historic Rudding Park, which is just a short drive from former spa town Harrogate. The 90-room Georgian Hall boasts pleasant rooms with color-pop touches, 300 acres of gardens, a cinema, two golf courses, and the 3 AA Rosette Horto, which serves delicate Japanese seven-spice tempura courgettes and flower-strewn desserts.
The true show-stopper is the unique spa, which is partly fueled by natural spring water. There are audio meditation pods, an AV relaxation area, and a Mandala color therapy zone in addition to an indoor pool, juniper log sauna, rasul (for mud masks and cleanses), nail studio, and gym. There’s much more on the shrub-filled rooftop: a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, glass-fronted sauna with breathtaking views of the Yorkshire countryside, sunlight treatment room, and oxygen pod. Elemis and hot stone massages are among the treatments available, as are floral wraps and CBD experiences for something altogether different.
Price: Double rooms start at £280 B&B and include four hours of spa access.
Chewton Glen, New Forest, Hampshire:
Chewton Glen was one of the first country house hotels to build a purpose-built spa in 1990, long before it became fashionable, and it has been receiving awards ever since. Many of the products used in the Dining Room come from the hotel’s kitchen garden, which is set in 130 acres of grounds on the edge of the New Forest National Park. Traditional rooms have mallard-print cushions, mahogany furniture, and rose color palettes, while crazy high-in-the-canopy tree house suites with hot tubs on balconies are also available.
The 1,350-square-meter spa contains a 17-meter Roman-style indoor lap pool, a hydrotherapy pool, and an outdoor whirlpool, all of which have recently been renovated. Jessica mani-pedis, Mii make-up sessions, and oil massages are all available at the spa. Can’t make up your mind? When you book a time slot, the therapist will create something unique for you. Chewton is also a wonderful choice for families because it offers junior spa treatments, a nine-hole par 3 golf course, and tennis courts.
Price: B&B, including spa access, from £419 for doubles and £1,150 for tree houses.