UK's best luxury spas: From Cornish seaside hot tubs to herbal massages at the Four Seasons

It's January, the most depressing month of the year. What better time to plan a day - or weekend - of indulgence at one of the UK's best spas?

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

It takes a real trooper to comb the UK in search of its 12 best spas. But I did it, and here's my verdict. 

The Scarlet, Cornwall

Adults–only hotel The Scarlet boasts a holistic spa with beach views that makes for a truly relaxing getaway. The hanging pods and tented spa look really unique, and the hot tubs overlooking the surf aren’t too shoddy either. 
Treatments from £55 

Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire

More Waitrose than Harrods, this destination spa offers great quality with a reasonable price tag and exceptional customer service delivered by friendly, down-to-earth staff. Set among rolling hills, the red-brick country house boasts a mammoth thermal spa, an outstanding restaurant and tonnes of chill-out areas, both inside and out. Unpretentious, casual and utterly relaxing. 
Treatments from £28 

Chewton Glen, New Forest

The hydropool steals the show at Chewton Glen – it’s seriously huge and utterly fabulous. The rest of this sumptuous spa isn’t short on space either and includes a large indoor swimming pool, aromatherapy saunas, steam room, outdoor whirlpool and a great pool bar with buffet. Stay the night if you can – the spa is just one part of this luxurious country house retreat.
Treatments from £28 

scarlet.jpg

Hang out in one of The Scarlet's pods

Grayshott Health Spa, Surrey

One of the few remaining old-school health farms, this should not be top of your list if you want a relaxing day of massage, finished off by champagne at the bar. Instead, this independently owned spa focuses on health, wellness and recuperation programmes, aiming to send you away properly cleansed and detoxed – in other words, a proper physical MOT.
Treatments from £35 

Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall, County Durham

Forget the usual generic global brands – this spa (one of the biggest in the North-east) focuses on natural, organic and high quality beauty products including Sundara Holistic, Ytsara and Ishga. The spa offers pool with massage stations, hammam and Jacuzzi, outdoor hot tubs and sanarium, just to name a few. We like the informal service too. 
Treatments from £65 

grayshott-2.jpg
Grayshott is the place for a proper health MOT

Centerparcs Aqua Sana, Bedfordshire

Centerparcs might not be top of your list for a spa break but this one should be, especially if you’re after value for money. Each of its six spas – Fire & Ice, Mineral & Gemstone, Blossom, Herbal, Sensory and Salt – has multi-sensory experience rooms that are just as good, if not better, than those in many five-star spas. There’s also an infinity pool, zen garden, café bar and some imaginative treatments, all set within a forest location.
Treatments from £29 

Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire

You’ve probably seen this hotel’s striking white mansion house in the movies (Bridget Jones and Goldfinger, among others) and although the Pavilion Spa building is less imposing it’s no less luxurious, making for an indulgent experience with treatments from highly experienced therapists. Plus, there’s a gorgeous new spa garden and the food in the café is memorable: think grilled sea bream and goat’s cheese, fig and red onion marmalade salad.
Treatments from £45 

stoke-park.jpg
Stoke Park's new spa garden is great for relaxation

One Spa, Edinburgh

The wow factor from this four-level spa (part of the Sheraton Grand Hotel) comes from both the rooftop hydropool and the seven different heat and water experiences. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to try them out and if you’ve still got time, squeeze in an ESPA treatment. 
Treatments from £40 

Stobo Castle, Peebleshire

Nestled in the Scottish Borders, this arguably boasts the most magical and picturesque spot of all the spas in our roundup and is frequently named "Best Spa in Scotland." The bedrooms are beautifully decorated and there’s a whopping 80 treatments to choose from. Facilities include three outdoor hot tubs, steam rooms and an “infinity ozone pool” (free from chemicals including chlorine) with glass walls.
Treatments from £15 

chewton-glen.jpg

Chewton Glen's impressive hydropool in the New Forest

The Forum Spa, Celtic Manor, Wales

A surprisingly serene spa in spite of the vastness of the hotel it sits in, this one boasts constantly updated treatments – the latest of which is the fabulous couples candlelit massage. Staff are friendly, facilities are impressive and given the hotel’s 330 rooms, several restaurants, award-winning golf course and seemingly infinite activity programme, it’s easy to make a weekend of it.
Treatments from £46 

Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire

Located in the hotel’s converted 18th century stable block, this spa has magnificent facilities and we particularly like the quaint outside area including vitality pool – perfect on a warm day. Even the changing rooms are lavish (beautifully finished with oak and every need catered for). We tried their new signature treatment, the Hampshire Herbal Massage, which cleverly incorporates local herbs into the therapy. 
Treatments from £60 

pennyhill-park.jpg

Pennyhill Park's spa has won a number of awards

Pennyhill Park, Surrey

There’s a long and impressive list of top spa awards for this 45,000 square foot retreat, which is set in 123 acres of Surrey parkland. No wonder: the spa includes a heated ceramic relaxation beds, massage chairs, ‘experience showers’, herbal saunas, steam room, ice cave, laconium, indoor and outdoor pools, and hot tubs. We recommend treatments too: the new ‘gold’ facial is incredible. 
Treatments from £55 

Comments