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Best spa hotels in Norfolk for a relaxing 2023 escape

Enjoy a massage, facial or soak in the hot tub in these wonderful wellness retreats

Martin Dunford
Tuesday 13 June 2023 17:30 BST
Make the most of indoor pools and outdoor hot tubs
Make the most of indoor pools and outdoor hot tubs (Getty Images)

Norfolk isn’t blessed with a large crop of spa and resort hotels – it’s a rural county, and most of it is relatively far from the urban folk who crave the sort of pampering spa hotels promise. Indeed, often the resort hotels here are of the old-fashioned kind that existed long before experience showers and reiki treatments were even dreamed of.

Having said that, there are a few little gems where you can enjoy all the delights of a decent spa – lots of treatments, a good pool and even a hot tub – alongside the real reasons people come to Norfolk: the beautiful coastline, big skies and the feeling of being far from the rat race. As such, it’s perfect spa territory, and nowhere delivers hot tubs beneath dark skies with quite such aplomb.

To make it even easier to find time to relax, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of the best spa hotels the county has to offer.

Best for foodies: The Hoste Arms

Location: Burnham Market

A spa cabin in the grounds of The Hoste Arms offers massages and facials (The Hoste Arms)

Several decades ago, the Hoste Arms almost single-handedly put North Norfolk on the chic coastal map, and it remains one of the county’s most popular places to stay, with a perfect location at the centre of well-heeled Burnham Market. It’s a fancy place to stay, no question, but the current owners have dialled down the swankiness a little bit, keeping in mind The Hoste’s history as a terrific country inn that serves good food in a relaxed atmosphere. Here, fresh fish and seafood are cooked on a Josper grill, and you can also enjoy Norfolk charcuterie, locally smoked salmon and local beef and lamb. The Hoste lays on other comforts, too – not least a fancy spa cabin that offers all sorts of treatments, including reflexology, facials and the sort of deep-tissue massages you might need if you have been taking advantage of the great local walks in the area, including the nearby Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path.

Best spa hotel for walkers: The Harper

Location: Blakeney

The 32 guest rooms at The Harper have access to a decent size pool (The Harper Hotel)

This is a relatively new addition to the North Norfolk hotel scene, and it’s a welcome one for walkers who like a bit of pampering, as it’s right on the Norfolk Coast Path, which you can explore in both directions from here. The quaint coastal town of Blakeney is just a a couple of miles away, while a short drive inland lies the genteel Georgian town of Holt. The hotel’s self-consciously cool coastal ambience is almost a cliché in what is unashamed Chelsea tractor territory, but it does a pretty good job of catering for the well-heeled folk who like to come to this part of the coast, with a good-sized pool, steam room and sauna and lots of massages to melt away those hikers’ aches and pains. It also has a cosy bar, a decent restaurant and 32 very comfortable guest rooms.

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Best spa hotel for shopping: Barnham Broom Hotel

Location: Barnham Broom

There are two golf courses at this hotel, which is a 20-minute drive from Norwich (Barnham Broom Hotel And Spa)

You could easily spend a weekend at the Barnham Broom without leaving the grounds, enjoying its many facilities, which include 46 rooms that have been refurbished to a high standard in a contemporary style, and fitted out with Molton Brown toiletries, free wifi and robes, Freeview TV and proper baths in every bathroom. The hotel also has two golf courses – the tournament-quality Valley Course and less demanding Hill Course – a well-equipped fitness centre and spa, and an excellent restaurant. However, the hotel’s position just outside Norwich means it’s also a terrific base for that fine city, which is only 20 minutes away by car. Norwich has all the chain stores you could possibly need but it’s also a rare haven of independent shopping, with a brilliant selection of local retailers, particularly with regard to men’s fashion. Shop ’til you drop and then relax in the hotel’s large pool, sauna or steam room, or enjoy a massage or other treatment.

Best luxury spa hotel: Congham Hall

Location: Congham

Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the indoor pool (Congham Hall )

An elegant and very peaceful small country house hotel just 10 minutes from King’s Lynn, Congham Hall features top-notch rooms, an excellent spa and other leisure facilities, and offers the sort of relaxed, weekend-in-the-country feel you may be looking for. It’s not a large hotel. A handsome Georgian manor house, it has 31 rooms and suites divided between the main house, a dozen or so rooms grouped around a courtyard garden and five brand-new and very sumptuous cabins – each has a private terrace (looking out over the Hall’s orchards), which comes with an outside bathtub that’s ideal for a spot of star-gazing.

The spa offers lots of treatments and has a lovely pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, together with a steam room, sauna, experience showers and a hot tub on the terrace outside. There’s also a tennis court and the hotel can advise on any number of brilliant circular countryside walks. A visit to the hotel’s two-AA-rosette restaurant will see you dining on ingredients from the kitchen garden and the immediate local area (80 per cent of everything comes from within a 20-mile radius). All in all, a venue for a perfect weekend in the country.

Best budget spa hotel: The Grove

Location: Cromer

The family-run Grove hotel has a massage hut in the garden (The Grove)

Tucked away among the trees on the edge of Cromer and Overstrand, The Grove is not really a spa hotel at all, but the facilities in this very welcoming and comfortable family-run establishment not only include a lovely indoor pool, housed in a separate building in the hotel’s extensive gardens, but a massage hut too, which offers, yes, a range of massages, from a 45-minute session to a full 120-minute deep-tissue workout – a perfect end to the day if you’ve been hiking the coastal path or indulging in a spot of power-swimming from the excellent beaches in the area. The hotel offers 16 lovely rooms, along with a handful of self-catering cottages and even glamping, and there’s a good restaurant too, open for lunch and dinner.

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