Britain's best spa hotels

Where to relax, get fit, or be pampered in style

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The Independent Travel

It's at this time of year that a boost to mind and body has special appeal. There are dozens of hotels with luxury spas, gyms, saunas and pools, where lovely scenery, fresh air and walks are free. Here’s The Good Hotel Guide's Editor’s Choice lists the top ten UK spa hotels for relaxing stays and pampering days, guaranteed to pep you up.

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Hartwell House

HARTWELL HOUSE, AYLESBURY, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

This Jacobean stately home with fine Georgian interiors, in 90 acres of parklands, was once a refuge for the exiled Louis XVIII. Escapees from London can be here in an hour. The spa, in the style of an orangery, has a mosaic-tiled pool, steam room, sauna and whirlpool bath, gym and treatment rooms. Health and beauty days with lunch in café bar, £215 (£225 Fri-Sun). Doubles £205-£700. 01296 747444, hartwell-house.com

 

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Barnsley House

BARNSLEY HOUSE, BARNSLEY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

A winding path leads from this William and Mary House through gardens designed by Rosemary Verey, to the spa with outdoor heated hydrotherapy pool. Such natural elements as stone, beams and plants are used to harmonise the interior with its surroundings, seen through floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounge. Pay £115 for a half-day package with lunch at the Potager Restaurant. Doubles £200-£310. 01285 74000, barnsleyhouse.com

 

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Park House

PARK HOUSE, BEPTON, WEST SUSSEX

A marble shower is the entry to the spa at this country-house hotel with views of the South Downs. Inside you’ll find a mother-of-pearl pool, saunas, steam room, gym and fitness studio. A Signature Spa Day costs £110 (weekends £125) including lunch. A personal trainer is available on request, plus, yoga and Pilates. Doubles from £160. 01730 819000, parkhousehotel.com

 

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Dormy House

DORMY HOUSE, BROADWAY, WORCESTERSHIRE

“Switch off your mobile and come to your senses” exhorts a sign in the spa at this family hotel overlooking a Cotswolds village. A candlelit infinity pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, lavender-infusion sauna, hot juniper cabin and salt steam room are among the enticements. There are two gyms – and the Greenhouse Lounge for refreshments. Top-to-toe days (Mon-Thu) £195. Doubles £230-£280. 01386 852711, dormyhouse.co.uk

 

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Lime Wood

LIME WOOD, LYNDHURST, HAMPSHIRE

Gaze out at the New Forest from the sauna in the state-of-the-art spa at this upmarket country-house hotel. Practise yoga in the rooftop herb garden, work out in the Technogym, indulge in Ayurvedic therapies, then have lunch in the Raw and Cured food bar. A Perfectly Pampered day costs £250. Double rooms from £315. 02380 287177, limewoodhotel.co.uk

 

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The Scarlet

THE SCARLET, MAWGAN PORTH, CORNWALL 

This environmentall-conscious hotel with thrift planted roofs offers a perfect away-from-it-all sanctuary. Here are beach views, cliff-top hot tubs, a chemical-free pool, a hammam for scrubs and wraps, hanging canvas pods in the relaxation room, couple suite with double bath, and an emphasis on holistic wellbeing. A four-hour “Scarlet Journey” costs £210. 01637 861800, scarlethotel.co.uk

 

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Chewton Glen

CHEWTON GLEN, NEW MILTON

The spa is very much a part of this country-house retreat in the New Forest. The Pool Bar, with buffet, overlooks the ozone-treated pool. There are aromatherapy saunas, a hydrotherapy pool, crystal steam room, invigorating drench showers, outdoor whirlpool, fitness sessions and, throughout, an ambiance of luxury. Spa days £225. Doubles £325-£1,595. 01425 275341, chewtonglen.com

 

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Seaham Hall

SEAHAM HALL, SEAHAM, CO DURHAM

The Serenity Spa at this 18th-century manor house turned hotel is approached by an enticing underground walkway. Here you find a pool with massage stations, hammam with snail showers and whirlpool bath, sanarium with crystal-light therapy, outdoor hot tubs, aerobics studio, ice fountain, plunge pools and much more. Half-day £95 packages include lunch or tea. Doubles from £265. 0191 5161400, seaham-hall.com

 

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Calcot Manor

CALCOT MANOR, TETBURY, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

The spa occupies converted outbuildings in the grounds of this 14th-century manor, surrounding an open-air hot tub, beds of lavender and a log fire. There is a small pool for children, and a crèche. Grown-up facilities include steam room, sauna and high-tech gym, with classes from power hoop to Pilates, from yoga to Nia dance. A £150 spa day includes £20 towards lunch in the Conservatory Restaurant. Doubles from £250. 01666 890391, calcotmanor.co.uk

 

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The Lake

THE LAKE, LLANGAMMARCH WELLS, POWYS

Kaiser Willhelm II came to drink the waters from the barium spring in the pump room in the gardens at this lakeside hotel – foul-tasting but salubrious. Today’s visitors settle for a dip in the outdoor hot tub on a balcony overlooking the lake, a swim in the indoor pool, a gym work-out, or therapies from reflexology to aromatherapy to hot-stone massage to Indian head massage. Doubles from £155. 01591 620202, lakecountryhouse.co.uk

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