Ready, steady, spa! Where to get that pamper, pronto
Hallelujah, spas are re-opening at last! Here's our pick of the best West Country coast, city and countryside places to book in and bliss out.
The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth
Inspired by the Ayurvedic tradition, with an emphasis on holistic wellness, the Muddy-award winning Scarlet Spa is an absolute haven of tranquility that wraps you up in a bubble of eco-decadence for the day. Set into the cliff top overlooking the secluded surfing beach of Mawgan Porth, with the hotel itself behind means you can enjoy uninterrupted garden and beach views from both inside and outside. The treatments are excellent and use their own eco-products but it is the cliff top wood fired hot tubs and cold outdoor reed pool that devotees return for, myself included. Spa days, which include lunch or afternoon tea, plus treatments, pool and hot tub session, return on the 17 May.
Fistral Spa, Newquay
Open to both day guests and residents at the Fistral Hotel, Fistral Spa is an adults only retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You are invited to simply check in, and chill out. Overlooking Fistral, Newquay’s finest surfing beach, the spa here has nine treatment rooms, a heated indoor pool, hot tub, steam room and fitness suite, allowing you to experience inner-calm and outer-beauty.
Crantock Bay Spa, Nr Newquay
This holistic, boutique spa is perched above one of Cornwall’s most beautiful north coast beaches, so you can float in the heated pool or spa bath while gazing out to sea. Head for the treatment rooms upstairs where experienced therapists offer nourishing, tailored rituals using Cornish-made skincare brand Made For Life Organics. Head outside for a glorious coast path walk to complete the relaxing effects.
Mullion Cove Spa, Mullion
The cliff-top sea view spa takes inspiration from the local surrounds using the local granite, copper, bronze and tin and includes an outdoor swimming pool lined with chic white loungers, and a cliff-top wood-fired hot tub, as well as treatment rooms using Made for Life organic Cornish products. Hand-carved Serpentine rock (the distinctive local green-ish rock found on the beaches surrounding the hotel) and lighting by Cornish-based lighting designer, Tom Raffield, completes the outside/inside natural feel.
Swim Club, Watergate Bay Hotel, Watergate Bay
Swim Club, the Watergate Bay Hotel take on a spa, was built to blur the boundary between beach and hotel. Swim in the infinity pool or have a treatment and watch the surfers in the water, relax in the Ocean Room lounge by the roaring fire or in the hot tub on the deck looking over the Atlantic. Treatments use their own Land + Water products, which smell divine, and we love the pedicure stations which have their own window so you can watch the surfers whilst you get your nails done.
Lincombe Hall Hotel & Spa, Torquay
Chances are you’ve not heard of Lincombe Hall but if you’re after a luxe coastal spa break, this shiny-new £2million pound spa in the leafy ‘burbs of Torquay might tickle your fancy. Set in the old-school glamour of a zhuzhed-up Victorian villa, its sleek lines include a 15m indoor lap pool, 10-station hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna and ice room. And woo-hoo, it’s adults only, so no dodging the ankle-biters when you’re doing a few laps before breakfast. Go for a half-day with lunch and a half hour treatment included for £95pp, or go the full-on glamourpuss and book yourself into a contemporary Signature Room for £165, with 2 hours spa time included. There’s a complimentary sparking afternoon tea if you book before 30 September. Cheers!
Gaia Spa, Boringdon Hall, Plymouth
The Ocean City on your doorstep and all the delights of a large multi-million pound spa, with bespoke wellness treatments designed to nurture body and mind? Tell me more! Boringdon Hall’s multi-award winning Gaia Spa is serenity itself, an uber-modern sanctuary attached to an atmospheric 16th century manor, with four poster beds, huge fireplaces and legendary afternoon teas. A full-day package includes your treatment, afternoon tea, use of the pool and hydrotherapy pool, fitness and spa facilities as well as the heat experience and relaxation room. Truly, spa heaven – check out our Muddy review.
Ilsington Country House Hotel, Dartmoor
Intimate and bijou, Ilsington’s Tibetan Spa has a peaceful, low-lit vibe, ideal for those who don’t like feeling too much on show when wiffling around in their waffle gown. A spa of this standard in a boutique hotel of this size is a rarity, boasting a 11x5m pool, a sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool and a quirky kubel dusche (cold water bucket to you and me) offering a Wim Hof dousing for the brave. Plus, you can avoid the kids (they’re let in at set times), work it out in the gym and lie back for a relaxing Caudalie pampering. You can see Haytor from the hotel dining room, so bonus health points if you want apres-spa stomps on Dartmoor. Need more convincing? It’s just bagged Editor’s choice for Spa in the Good Hotel Guide. Read the Muddy review here.
Cary Arms & Spa, Babbacombe
Want a sea view with your spa stay, madam? Babbacombe Bay’s gem of a hotel neatly blends the vibe of a traditional Devon inn with a luxury spa, where you can enjoy a Thalgo marine treatment, blissed-out waterfall hydrotherapy, a steam room and sauna, then retire to a lounger on the sun terrace for a spot of seal-spotting. They’ve just added a new trophy to their numerous awards: Silver in the Small Boutique category in the Visit England Awards. Spa and Thalgo beauty treatments are open to guests from 17 May (non-residents can book in from September) or if you fancy a cosy two-nighter this autumn check out their Coastal Spa Break from £140pp. Exeter, Dartmoor and Torquay are all just half-an hour way if you’re planning a longer stay.
Monart Spa Poundbury
Located in the grand Royal Pavilion in Queen Mother Square, Poundbury, this day spa (the UK outpost of the 5 star Monart Destination Spa, Ireland), combines trad techniques and state-of-the-art technology, wrapped up in one lovely luxe package. Velvet sofas, chandeliers, embossed wallpapers and original artworks. A swanky thermal suite with eight spa experiences, including three heat rooms, a Himalayan salt grotto, experience showers which will whisk you away to Polynesia, and an infinity pool. Slide onto a chaise or relaxation pod (above) in the Bright Relaxation Room. Chill (or snooze) in the Dark Relaxation Room. Beauty and wellbeing treatments using the Pevonia spa range, Zelens anti-aging skincare, Made for Life Organics and Margeret Dabbs London. To celebrate their re-opening on Tues 18 May, the Monart Moments package gives you access to all the above for three hours, including choice of treatment, for £130. Read our review.
The Eastbury Spa & Wellness Space at The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne
Hidden away in the walled garden of this elegant boutique hotel in the historic town of Sherborne, is a hobbit-like woodland spa, with hydrotherapy tub, sauna, steam cabin and relaxation areas (with a woodburner) inside the spa and a hot tub in the garden. Two treatment rooms – one specially for couples – with a Caudalie treatment menu which includes facials, massages, and other beauty and wellness therapies. The indoor mini-gym has a Body Power upright cycle, free weights, skipping ropes with bench press and mat space as well as yoga mats. Hotel guests have exclusive use of the Spa for £25 but the Spa is also open to non-residents. Food in the two AA Rosettes. conservatory restaurant, Seasons. Read our review of the hotel.
The Spa at the Summer Lodge Hotel, Evershot
The Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa is set in gorgeous grounds in the deliciously delightful Dorset village of Evershot. Spend time in the jacuzzi, sauna and heated pool or indulge in one of their range of head-to-toe treatments – we can personally recommend the Hot Stone Massage, Elemis Superfood Pro Radiance Facial (which uses entirely vegan products) and the Swedish Full Body and Head Massage. They also offer a range of treatments with Made for Life Organics. Fancy something a little more strenuous? Slope over to the fully equipped gym state-of-the-art cross-trainer, treadmill, rowing maching, exercise bike and a variety of free weights (personal trainer on request). Lunch and afternoon teas in the restaurant are exquisite. Read our review of the hotel, restaurant and spa.
Thermae Bath Spa, Bath
Floating in the warm, mineral-rich, natural spring waters in the iconic Spa’s open air rooftop pool is one of the city’s unique experiences. Located in central Bath, the spa has six floors, 26 treatment rooms, a six area multi-sensory Wellness Suite and four thermal baths including the standalone Cross Bath, an 18th century open air bathing pool, which you can hire out for private use. Over 40 complementary wellness therapies, using Aromatherapy Associates, from body wraps and hot stones to watsu (a form of water therapy). No need to worry about money or lost keys as neat little Smartbands will access lockers , log treatments and food in Springs cafe/restaurant. A two-hour Thermae Aqua session is only £35 Mon-Fri and £40 at weekends. All sorts of treatments and packages –Thermae Treat, Thermae Re-Kindle, Thermae Re-Energise – but the Twilight (with the city lights twinkling around you) is magical.
The Spa at the Homewood Hotel, near Bath
Chill out at the quirky, super stylish Homewood hotel, restaurant and spa, set in 20 acres of grounds just outside Bath, with treatment rooms, indoor hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, outdoor heated pool with loungers and relaxation pods nearby and hot tub with views across the valley. Food in the Olio restaurant is Mediterranean-influenced sharing platters and classics created with local ingredients. Book yourself in for an holistic ila treatment, a pamper day or spa break (which includes B&B and a 60-min treatment and starts from £432 for two people). If you live in the area, an annual membership gives all-year access to the spa and outdoor pool and discounts on treatments, food, drinks and overnight stays (nice).
Elements Boutique Spa, near Bridgwater
Part of the Windmill Retreat Estate on the edge of the little village of Middlezoy on the Somerset Levels, you’re surrounded by fields, trees, sometimes some sheep, more fields, this is a truly rural, luxury spa. But with a panoramic plunge pool, steam room and sauna; four treatment rooms and a relaxation suite, you feel like it’s your own private, rural, luxury spa. Lots of treatments to tempt – facials, massage, scrubs and wraps – using Aromatherapy Associates products and their own skin and body care range. Home-cooked food in the Levels Country Kitchen. From Sunrise (from 9am) to Sundown (from 5pm) and everything in between.