The 10 Best spas

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1. ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel

10 Whitehall Place, London SW1, espalifeatcorinthia.com

The natural, holistic approach to beauty and wellness doesn’t mean sacrificing luxury, not the way ESPA does it anyway, whether you choose a ‘rush hour beauty’ treatment designed to provide maximum results or opt to enjoy the plush spa facilities. Visitors should take advantage of the thermal jet pool to warm-up muscles before a treatment, as well as the amphitheatre sauna and black mosaic steam room integrated into the luxurious changing rooms before reclining on a heated fireside bed to wait for their . Personalised facials and massages are this spa’s forte – an in-depth analysis and sensory test pre-treatment means you choose the essential oil laden ESPA products that your body most needs. You may think you couldn’t be any more relaxed after your treatment, until you are led to the sleep pods that is. The curved walls of a dark room with a central hanging fireplace are curtained off, behind which beds laden with plump cushions and super-soft blankets beckon. A well-equipped gym, hair studio by Daniel Galvin and nine metre swimming pool ensure there is plenty to experience during a visit.

Massage treatments start from £95.

 

2. The Berkeley Hotel Spa

Wilton Place, Knightsbridge London SW1X 7RL, the-berkeley.co.uk

If you’re looking to kick start a New Year health routine then look no further than The Berkeley Hotel Spa.  The state of the art gym is equipped with cardio vascular equipment and free weights; and you can even book an appointment with a personal trainer if you’re feeling motivated enough. If you still have the energy after your workout, make use of the roof top swimming pool. There’s also a steam room and sauna which provide the perfect place for sweating out post-Christmas toxins. 

There's also an eclectic range of massage treatments available to help you relax and de-stress body and mind, with an equal-opportunities focus on both sexes. The Deep Tissue Massage is perfect for deep rooted muscular aches and tension, while the Hydra Preformance Facial is ideally suited for manly skin that’s exposed to environmental stress. Feet and toes need not be forgotten either: the Fellow's Feet Pedicure tidies up gnarly toes and nails and finishes with a relaxing foot massage. You'll leave the spa fighting fit and ready for whatever life throws at you.

Packages start from £160.

3. Barnsley House

Barnsley, Cirencester, Gloucestershirt, GL7 5EE, barnsleyhouse.com

Barnsley House is a late 17 Century country house in the Cotswolds, 10 minutes’ drive from Cirencester. A breathtakingly grand Cotswold stone house surrounded by peaceful gardens, within which you will discover a winding path that takes you down to the delights of the hidden Garden Spa.

The Spa offers a wide range of treatments, from massage to reflexology. Aromatherapy Associates products are used for the more holistic and relaxing therapies, while more recently a collaboration with Rodial has introduced anti-ageing and firming treatments as an alternative to plastic surgery and chemical injections. The Spa also boasts a peaceful relaxation room with woven willow walls, an aromatic Herbivarium filled with the garden’s herbs, which hosts the sauna and steam room, and an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, which at 36C is a particularly welcome treat in mid-winter.

Barnsley House is immaculate and provides all the posh little luxuries a retreat should, yet manages to be warm, welcoming and relaxing. The food is excellent with an emphasis on locally-grown fresh produce, the staff attentive and friendly and the ambience just right for a short reinvigorating break from the rigours of daily life.

 

4. Bliss London

60 Sloane Avenue, London SW3 3DD, Blissworld.co.uk 020 7590 6146

Rightly famed among Londoners for its slick modern spa with a wide range of treatments (many perfect for speedy in-and-outs), Bliss last year launched a Triple Micro2dermabrasion super-facial (£265). For nearly two hours your face receives the attention of a cool-handed, forensically detailed therapist who administers a powerful three-stage experience: an exfoliating device, LED therapy to sort out blemishes, and oxygen blasts to plump up the skin. Even facial refuseniks will fall for this rejuvenating, refreshing experience. And there’s brownies, wine and cheese in the lounge if you fancy it. This place is seriously fun, but the results are seriously good.

 

5. Kohlers Water Spa, Old Course Hotel, St Andrews

Oldcoursehotel.kohler.com 01334 474371

 

The ‘Lavender Rain’ water treatment (£98) at this hotel is simply exceptional. Exfoliation is followed by being smothered in oils, wrapped in warm towels… and then a powerful deluge of scented rain pours over you. It feels as if every care and crinkle is being smoothed away. Kohler are water specialists, and this enterprise (their only one outside the States) is worth a detour, or persuading your other half that you’ll be fine entertaining yourself (with a wide choice of water-based and/or sumptuous facial treatments) while they play a round of golf on the famous attached course.

 

6. C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor

Cheltenham, Cowleymanor.com

 

Nestled in the heart of the Cotswold countryside, Cowley Manor is on first appearance a traditional country hotel. The C-Side spa however, is located in an outbuilding that is anything but conventional; made from glass that looks as though it is carved into the hill and flanked by a slate-lined pool this spa has the wow-factor. 

In addition to an indoor pool, sauna and steam room, the spa also has a heated outdoor pool and sun-lounger area which come summer turns into a Ibiza-style hangout complete with waiter service, chill out music and cocktails.

The roster of treatments focuses on massage but you’ll also find facials, detox wraps and manicures. Not content with using ordinary beauty products for treatments, C-Side spa have created their own range; Green & Spring utilises natural resources such as herbs and spring waters which are all sourced locally for the optimum medicinal and beauty benefits. 

 

7. Spa at Blythswood House

Glasgow, Townhousecompany.com

Glasgow's Blythswood House is a relative newcomer to the area, and marks a new standard in city spas. The tagline 'Stylish, Scottish, Seductive' just about sums it up - cosily luxurious thanks to soft furnishings courtesy of the region's finest woollen mills, such as Harris Tweed and Johnston's.

The facilities aren’t huge but they give the impression of space through careful planning and inventive lay-out. A good-sized main pool is fitted out with jets and flumes along one side, and there is a separate, womb-like hydropool nearby. Add to this two saunas, two steam rooms, rhassoul and thermal suites, a relaxation lounge and a cafe, and it caters to most tastes.

Treatments come courtesy of Elemis and Ann Semonin, so there are options for all skin types. The newly introduced Visible Brilliance facial is highly recommended (especially at this time of year) for rejuvenation and relaxation, while massages, wraps and scrubs are of the highest standard too. Staff are friendly and helpful too.

It's easy enough to spend all day in the spa at Blythswood but you're well placed to enjoy Glasgow's nightlife too - just be careful not to retox entirely.

 

8. Scarlet Hotel Ltd

Tredragon road, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, TR8 4DQ, 01637 861800, scarlethotel.co.uk

 

The Scarlet hotel isn't subtle with its designer touches; oversized booths in the bar; glass walls and a desk-free reception, but the spa couldn't be more discreetly chic if it tried.

Situated in the basement of the hotel, the welcome is relaxed and friendly and you will be toured around the communal areas, including indoor pool, stream and sauna rooms, and relaxation room with relaxation beds and a sunken pit full of giant bean bags and cushions, and all this comes with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The spa also has special and Rhassoul rooms.

Outside  you can take a dip In the reed filtered pool and you'd be a fool not to book yourself for a slot in one of the two barrel like hot-tubs which perch on the cliff top so you can really soak up the beautiful  Cornish surroundings.

The treatment zone is dimly lit and tented and feels altogether otherworldly, but in a good way. The treatments themselves are quite personal, the experience aims to be all about you and how you would like to feel. They use traditional Ayurvedic methods and and offer you a spa experience that will help you regain a sense of vitality.  After, you are led to a deep relaxation room which has cushion-filled floating tee-pees, where you will almost definitely have a little nap, all that pampering is very tiring, after all.

 

9. Runnymede-on-Thames

runnymedehotel.com; 01784 220973

The riverside location of the hotel where this spa is based is divine, with the outdoor and indoor pools both looking out on to the Thames. As well as offering a full complement of adult treatments using ESPA, Guinot, Clarins and Jessana products, the Runnymede-on-Thames’s USP is that it caters for teenagers, with specially designed facials (including one for boys), make-up sessions, pedicures, manicures and massages. A great gift for difficult-to-buy-for teens, or to teach Tamsin not to apply her eyeliner with a trowel.

Teen scene - beginnings make-up and skin care £50 for 55m.

 

10. Pennyhill Park Hotel & The Spa

London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU, England, UK, pennyhillpark.co.uk

Even though it belongs to a large luxury hotel in Surrey, the spa, in an outbuilding overlooking the main house, covers a huge area (45,000 sq. ft, in fact), it manages not feel over-crowded with pamper seekers.

Once inside, it will be hard to leave the surprising comfortable heated ceramic relaxation beds in the tepidarium to enjoy one of the many facilities: for your disposal are massage chairs, herbal sauna’s, experience showers, a Laconium, steam, an ice cave, plunge pool, outdoor and indoor pool (piped with underwater music), three outdoor hot tubs, hydrotherapy pool and an indoor hot tub too. Meaning if you don't actually like lying down and doing nothing, then there is more than enough to keep you occupied.
The range of treatments is also vast, and are carried out in the suites upstairs from the communal areas. They use Elemental Herbology as their in-house product and offer everything from tanning to sports massage.

An ideal choice for couples as the facilities are not over run with large groups of women.

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