These spoiling spas may not be the cheapest weekend away, but they’re perfect as a decadent treat for engagements, romantic weekends, girls’ holidays or any other time you’re in need of an uninhibited pamper. Luckily, each of the spas also comes attached to a luxurious country hotel for a real away-from-it-all experience – a healthy getaway has never felt so good.
The House: This 30-room country hotel set amidst stunning Cotswold parkland offers much more than initially meets the eye. Prism crystals hang from the ceiling above cowhide seats and bright, eclectic furnishings, while papier-mâché mock hunting trophies adorn the bar. This is country living with a decidedly contemporary and playful edge, but the harmony is well handled and with 55 acres of stately parkland
The Spa: There are two pools at Cowley Manor (both heated all year round), with the outside pool transforming in the summer thanks to sun loungers, a bar and waiter service. The spa itself has 4 treatment rooms and an extensive range of therapeutic and spoiling treatments. The staff are also fantastic and will quickly help you to feel right at home.
The House: This imposing and grandiose Regency country house cuts through the stuffiness with a marked – but not overbearing – contemporary edge. All of the rooms are tremendously comfortable, and many have the ubiquitous features of luxury country living: four-poster beds, roll-top baths, wood-burning stoves. You’ll also find all the refined and cosy features needed to recover from long rambles in the surrounding New Forest – or to continue the unapologetic relaxation of one of the best spas in the country.
The Spa: With 10 treatment rooms, a myriad of holistic and Ayurvedic therapies, a technogym, a hydropool, a mud house and a steam house all within a tranquil and super-relaxing forest setting, it’s easy to see why The Herb House is held in such high esteem. Of course such luxury doesn’t come cheap, but the mind-boggling range and quality of service ensures you get what you pay for.
The House: There are clear elements of Scandic influence at this restored and expanded 17th-century farmhouse: wooden floorboards, whitewashed stone walls, retro chairs. This serenity is tempered by English country-house mainstays such as open fireplaces, Jacobean panelling and fabric cushioned walls, all of which display a characteristically colourful and contemporary element. If the interiors aren’t enough, the house is set within gorgeous gardens landscaped by a Chelsea gold medalist, and there are 3 restaurants covering all the bases from fine dining to healthy spa cuisine
The Spa:The House Spa really is something special. It has a double treatment room (for friends or partners), a mud room, a thermal suite with a Lavender Infusion sauna, indoor pool areas with an infinity pool and hyrdro bubble-bath pool, and over 50 treatments covering everything from wraps and scrubs to massages and facials. There’s even a Veuve Cliquot Champagne Nail Bar thrown in, too. The pool is open until 9pm and also limits children’s access to 3 hours of the day. The spa is popular with non-guests too, so be sure to book ahead.
The House: At the heart of this unpretentious Cotswold hotel and spa is an intact Regency soul. Sash windows, large fireplaces and a striking conservatory evoke Cheltenham’s grand past, while bold contemporary twists add a modern pace to the 61-room hotel. Eames chairs and Matthew Hilton sofas dot the lobby, walls are festooned with avant-garde paintings by students at Central St Martin’s, and a sweeping arc of steel and claret-coloured glass by Ken Shuttleworth (the architect behind London’s Gherkin) forms a distinctly 21st-century extension housing the restaurant. A brave fusion, but one that’s a resounding success.
The Spa: There are a variety of treatments offered within the 4 wood-clad treatment rooms. There’s also a steam room, a relaxation room with daybeds, and a double room for couples or friends who want to be pampered together. Treatments use products by REN, a natural skincare range based in Devon. There’s no pool, but guests are welcome to make use of the large pool at the nearby Cheltenham Ladies’ College for free.