The best spa hotels in the UK for rest and relaxation

Zoe Gunn

9 February 2022

Relax, unwind and let your troubles melt away at these beautiful British countryside spa retreats

9 February 2022 | Zoe Gunn

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hen it comes to the best spa hotels in the UK, some things are a given. There should be pools plural (ideally at least one outdoor and heated, and one indoor). There should be luxurious products and an extensive treatment menu. There should be beautiful bedrooms and elegant restaurants serving seasonal produce.

And, while the bar is set high, there are still some that truly stand out. Whether it’s thanks to acres of rolling parkland to explore pre-massage or a Michelin-starred chef offering up health-conscious treats post-yoga, these are Britain’s finest hotels for some serious R&R.

Cameron House, Loch Lomond

Perched on the edge of Loch Lomond, amid the dramatic scenery of the Trossachs National Park, Cameron House enjoys what is surely one of the UK’s most tranquil locales. A popular destination for everyone from hikers, fishermen and golfers to couples tying the knot, it’s also a brilliant place to spend a week drinking in the fresh air and leaving the worries of city life behind.

Accommodation is across a series of rooms and suites in a restored 17th-century Baronial mansion or among a collection of self-catering lodges and cottages designed for families. There are also 10 restaurants and bars on-site, including the fine dining Tamburrini & Wishart, seafood-focused Boat House, a cosy tavern and the Great Scots’ Bar, featuring a whisky list in excess of 300. The spa, meanwhile, takes its inspiration from the nearby loch with an entire space dedicated to hydro and thermal experiences, including a rooftop infinity pool, hydrotherapy pool, relaxation pool, hammam, tepidarium, and aromatherapy room.

Signature spa day: Rebalancing Ritual (from £179 per person) – an overnight stay for two, full use of the Cameron House spa facilities and a personalised treatment combining a facial, scalp massage, exfoliation and deep foot massage.

Rooms from £295 per night, spa days from £109, cameronhouse.co.uk

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Chewton Glen, New Forest

Chances are, at some point during the pandemic, you found yourself wandering around a National Trust home or English heritage property wondering what it might be like to live in such as place. With its magnificent 18th-century country house set in 130 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside, Chewton Glen may just give you an idea. Choose from stately suites with views over the croquet lawn, rooms with private courtyard hot tubs, cosy coach house apartments or even luxurious treehouses with their own concierge.

An extensive children’s offering – including supervised activities such as treasure hunts, arts and crafts, and sports – also means you can make the most of the spa in complete peace. Join a yoga class or ease aches and pains in the hydrotherapy pool before treating yourself to a luxurious facial, massage or beauty treatment using products from Oskia, Natura Bisse, Mii Cosmetics and Chewton Glen’s own vegan range.

Signature spa day: Tailor-made Spa Break (from £590 for two people per night) – an overnight stay in your choice of room or suite, continental breakfast, one 60-minute spa treatment per person, lunch at the pool bar, unlimited use of the spa facilities and complimentary workout classes.

Rooms from £355 per night; spa days from £130, chewtonglen.com

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Cliveden House, Berkshire

If Cliveden meets Meghan Markle’s pre-wedding pampering needs then that’s proof enough for us that it ranks among the UK’s finest spa hotels. Built for the 2nd Duke of Buckingham in 1666 and set on 376 acres of National Trust grounds, the Grade I-listed stately home has a suitably regal history and gives guests the royal treatment courtesy of lavishly decorated suites, award-winning restaurants and a thoroughly warm welcome to man’s best friend.

The spa, where memberships are available for lucky locals, boasts the last listed outdoor pool in England (better known as the Profumo pool for the role it, and the hotel, played in the infamous scandal). Elsewhere, hot tubs and an indoor pool, alongside a full suite of thermal facilities, will have you suitably relaxed to enjoy Oskia facials and massages, as well as treatments from a roster of guest brands.

Signature spa day: OTO sleep experience (from £823 per night) – created in collaboration with CBD brand OTO, the package includes an overnight stay in your choice of room or suite, breakfast, a 90-minute OTO massage, use of the spa facilities, a 60-minute yoga class or sound healing session and an OTO sleep gift.

Rooms from £445; spa days from £305, clivedenhouse.co.uk

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The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath

Unlike most of the hotels on this list, whose spas are undoubtedly impressive but arguably added extras to already world-class hotels, the spa at the Gainsborough is its entire raison d’etre. Built in the 1800s and spanning two Grade II-listed Georgian and Victorian buildings, it is the only hotel in the UK to have exclusive access to natural mineral-rich thermal waters, supplied by Bath’s famed Hetling Spring.

All guests who book a spa treatment at the hotel’s Spa Village are also treated to an hour-long ‘Bath Circuit’ inspired by the ancient tradition of social bathing. This ritualised tour takes in the spa’s thermal baths, steam rooms, sauna, ice chamber and relaxation rooms and will leave you feeling every inch the Roman noble. Refreshed and rejuvenated, retire to one of the hotel’s 98 classically style rooms and suites, curl up with a cocktail in the Gainsborough bar or indulge in a lavish lunch at the Canvas Room restaurant.

Signature spa day: Spa Village Day (from £150 per person) – your choice from a selection of 60 or 90-minute treatments, a personalised aromatherapy blending session, the Bath House experience, welcome drink and post-treatment tea, and a two-course spa lunch or afternoon tea with a glass of wine.

Rooms from £250 per night; spa days from £150, thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

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Coworth Park, Ascot

As part of the Dorchester Collection, Coworth Park has become renowned for its ability to replicate the exacting standards and five-star service of its London sister hotel in the bucolic surrounds of the Windsor countryside. Expect long strolls in the 240-acre grounds, polo matches on the two on-site pitches, sundowners on the Drawing Room terrace and fine dining from the Michelin-starred Restaurant Coworth Park.

A short walk from the main hotel (expect to see guests leisurely strolling the grounds in robes), Coworth Park’s state-of-the-art spa is housed in a futuristic semi-circular building that has been built into the hillside and covered in grass so as not to interrupt the stunning views. Inside you’ll find a vast swimming pool, gym, nail salon and restaurant as well as a suite of stylish, spacious rooms offering high-tech treatments from Ishga Organic, Valmont and Germaine de Capuccini, alongside specialised treatments for expectant mothers and cancer sufferers.

Signature spa day: Signature Spa Day (£335 per person) – full use of the spa facilities, two-course lunch at the Spatisserie and a 110-minute treatment plan including a deep cleansing back treatment, seaweed clay mask, massage and organic exfoliating facial.

Rooms from £625 per night; spa days from £90, dorchestercollection.com

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Gleneagles, Perthshire

Gleneagles may rightly be best known for its world-class golf course but, for those more comfortable with green tea than greens and tees, its brilliant spa is the perfect place to hole up while you wait for travel companions to return from the course. Envisioned as a 360-degree temple to all things wellness, you’ll find a gym bursting with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, a fitness studio offering 58 weekly classes, adults-only and family pools, and an aquathermal suite with Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and alpine onsen.

As well as a full menu of signature Glen Spa treatments, including hot stone massages, body rituals using Scottish sea salts and jade stone facials, Gleneagles has also enlisted the experts from Tata Harper and Dr. Barbara Sturm to deliver their renowned massages and facials. Rested and rejuvenated, complete the experience with a trip to the glamorous Art Deco Beauty Lodge for OPI manicures and Kerastase hair treatments.

Signature spa day: The Long Exhale (£285 per person) – Full use of the spa facilities, 120-minute signature Glen Spa treatment including jade wavestone massage, jade comb facial, full body stretching and scalp massage, plus a two-course lunch in the Wellness Cafe.

Rooms from £495 per night; spa days from £210, gleneagles.com

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Lucknam Park, Wiltshire

If the Palladian mansion that forms the centrepiece of Lucknam Park wasn’t so grand it might get lost among the 500 acres of parkland that the hotel calls homes. Happily, being large enough to house 43 uniquely styled rooms and suites, two restaurants (one of which sports a Michelin star), four functions rooms and several outbuildings, you’re always likely to find your way back in time for a sundowner.

Prising yourself away from the spa, however, is another matter entirely. Surrounded by walled gardens for complete privacy, start your day with a yoga or pilates class in the wood-panelled studio before taking a dip in one of the three pools, unwinding in the four thermal cabins, taking in the sun in the spa gardens or fixing yourself a drink in the relaxation lounge. Managed by Espa, treatments are also of the highest standard, with a full menu of body rituals, reflexology, men’s treatments, facials and pregnancy therapies available.

Signature spa day: Spa Break (from £1,398 for two people) – two-night stay in a room or suite, tasting menu at Restaurant Hywel Jones, dinner at The Brasserie, breakfast each morning, a 60-minute treatment per person, full use of the spa facilities throughout your stay.

Rooms from £350 per night; spa days from £95, lucknampark.co.uk

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Rockliffe Hall, County Durham

Truly an English country house hotel that manages to be all things to all people, there are few who won’t find themselves well catered for at Rockliffe Hall. Love golf? It’s got 18 holes for that. Searching for fantastic food? Take your pick from five bars and restaurants. Travelling with kids? Book a purpose-built self-catering home and make full use of the 365-acre grounds, tennis courts and bikes.

Do be sure, however, to save some time to enjoy Rockliffe Hall’s spa. Designed to make the most of the hotel’s panoramic views, much of the spa action takes place outside – with al fresco facilities including an infinity pool, sunbathing deck, sauna and tepidarium beds. There’s also an indoor lap pool and hydropool, mind therapy room and rhassoul, while treatments come from Neom, Comfort Zone and OPI.

Signature spa day: Ultimate Indulgence (from £340 per person) – breakfast on arrival, full use of the spa and wellness facilities, lunch in the Nu Sana restaurant, Mud Rasul Steam Bathing Ritual or Spa.Wave Mind Therapy experience, two 60-minute treatments of your choice, £50 to spend in the spa boutique.

Rooms from £289 per night; spa days from £60, rockliffehall.com

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Sopwell House, Hertfordshire

A big hit with Londoners thanks to its proximity to the city, St Albans’ Sopwell House became a hotel in 1969, having previously been owned and lived in by a succession of nobility, including Princess Alice of Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Now operated by AB Hotels, the building’s Georgian charm is in evidence throughout the elegant mews suites, landscaped gardens, grand ballroom and two-AA rosette restaurant.

The spa, meanwhile, is actually comprised of two distinct spaces: the Cottonmill and the Club at Cottonmill. The result is a rather dizzying array of facilities, including a Technogym fitness space, yoga studio, five pools, three saunas, three steam rooms, a spa garden, a nail salon and two relaxation rooms. The adults-only Cottonmill is also the hotel’s destination for Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates treatments categorised by five intended outcomes: vitality, peaceful, detox, harmonising and nurture.

Signature spa day: Club Countryside Classic (from £320 per person) – one night stay, one 60-minute treatment, three-course dinner at the Brasserie, lunch at the Pantry, frull use of the Cottonomill and Club at Cottonmill facilities, breakfast.

Rooms from £229 per night, spa days from £80, sopwellhouse.co.uk

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Careys Manor Hotel & Spa, New Forest

A former royal hunting lodge gifted to John Careys by King Charles II in the late 17th century, Careys Manor has been operating as a hotel since the 1930s, offering a cosy country escape in the heart of the New Forest National Park. Dining is a big draw here, with three restaurants waiting to greet guests after a long day traversing the forest. Alistair Craig’s Cambium is a must-try, offering modern British fine dining and elegant afternoon teas, while Le Blaireau promises a little slice of Parisian flair and finesse (and seriously good coffee).

In the on-site SenSpa, meanwhile, you’ll find the Zen Garden – a Thai restaurant with a menu designed to complement the traditional Eastern treatments taking place next door. Spanning 22,000 square feet, the SenSpa is also home to a serene hydrotherapy pool, crystal steam room, herbal sauna, laconicum, tepidarium, private-use rhassoul and the sci-fi looking Alphasphere Deluxe – a multi-sensory chamber designed to recharge both mind and body. Signature Thai massages and Espa treatments are delivered in 18 sumptuous rooms so you’ll never be left waiting for an appointment.

Signature spa day: Siam Spa Break (from £470 for two per night) – overnight stay, breakfast, full use of the health club facilities, two-hour SenSpa hydrotherapy session, 30-minute treatment each and dinner at your choice of Careys Manor restaurants.

Rooms from £217 per night; spa days from £149, careysmanor.com

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Beaverbrook, Surrey

Love the thought of a relaxing spa break but know in reality you’ll have had enough pampering after the first morning? At Beaverbrook boredom is never an issue. The hotel puts its 470-acre estate to good use with everything from driving experiences and lawn games to cocktail masterclasses and fishing on offer, while kids can be left to run wild in the outdoor adventure area or dropped off at the Sharky & George kids club. There’s even an on-site branch of the Bear Grylls Academy if you feel the need to really earn your massage.

And what a massage it will be. Beaverbrook’s vast Coach House spa is a beautiful, uplifting space designed by contemporary artist Brian Clarke and complete with an outdoor relaxation pool, indoor lap pool, kids pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, ice fountain, relaxation space and deli. Treatments, which include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, naturopathy and vitamin infusions, as well the usual massages, facials and beauty treatments, use organic and eco-conscious products from Sussex’s A.S. Apothecary, Kure Bazaar and Pinks Boutique.

Signature spa day: The Winter Warmer package (£966 for two people per night) – overnight stay, one 90-minute treatment each, full access to the spa, dinner at the Garden House restaurant, in-room cocktails and breakfast. 

Rooms from £580 per night; spa days from £195, beaverbrook.co.uk

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Calcot & Spa, Gloucestershire

Nestled among the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, Calcot & Spa is housed in what was once the tithe barn of Kingswood Abbey, a 13th-century monastery handed to the Estcourt family by King Henry VIII during the dissolution. Still privately owned, the modern hotel spans several historic buildings and offers the quintessential country house experience, with stylish, cosy rooms, upscale dining and even its own pub.

The real draw here, however, is the spa. We highly recommend starting your day in the al fresco fireside hot tub (also a perfect sunbathing spot on hot days) before taking a few laps of the indoor pool or sweating it out in the steam room, sauna or gym. There are also seven treatment rooms offering rejuvenating, nourishing therapies including Elemis and Caci facials and Aromatherapy Associates massages.

Signature spa day: Tailored Spa Day (£255 per person) – use of the Calcot spa for a full day including two 55-minute treatments of your choice and a two-course lunch at the spa restaurant.

Rooms from £364 per night; spa days from £95, calcot.co

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