‘Superspa’ breaks for 2020
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want... a massage, mani and Jacuzzi please, and make it snappy. Here's 20 spa destinations less than 90mins from Berks.
I can’t think of a better antidote to those tough days that life throws at you than something fragrant and pampering to look forward to. Here are the ones I’d most like to be floating blissfully around in a fluffy white robe in the coming months – and we’re not just talking any old spas here. We’re talking the blockbuster, A list, dream destinations that everyone is talking about. Because you’re worth it, obvs.
Thames Lido, Reading, Berks
This year’s Muddy award-winning spa, Thames Lido, is as quirky as it is unique. Sandwiched between Reading train station and the River Thames, it’s an oasis of escapism and in a town centre location. Built in Edwardian times as a women’s-only swimming bath, the pool was fed by water from the river (er, gross), but is now a cool, stylish urban retreat with Scandi vibes at its core. The massages are a must, the pool is lusciously low in chlorine and the food is to die for. Spa packages start at £50pp (Twilight package) and goes up to £105pp.
Cliveden House Spa, Taplow, Berks
Strip down like a Sixties showgirl and get yourself to Cliveden Spa. Loved by celebs, royalty and Muddy editors, it’s a stylish, light filled space of whites and neutrals with deco-inspired touches. The Grade II listed Profumo pool – where Christine Keeler flouted the no heavy petting rule with John Profumo – is FAB-U-LOUS. Inside, there’s another pool, jacuzzi, infrared sauna, steam room and 7 treatment rooms with the most incredible water mattresses. There’s a gym for anyone suffering from spa guilt (no, me neither) and a lovely cafe. It’s grand, beautiful and a ton of packages to choose, from £140, with overnighter will set you back £367.50pp, based on 2 people sharing a room and includes a 60 minute treatment, full use of the facilities, lunch and breakfast.
Coworth Park, Ascot, Berks
Not the Jetson’s futuristic crash pad, but Coworth Park’s award-winning spa in Ascot. If you’re looking for a spa break that’ll make you feel like a new woman, I’d suggest the Luxury Spa Package. Enjoy three hours of pure indulgence – an 80-minute Carol Joy Time Defying Signature Facial, sculpting eye lift treatment and the Caviar and Collagen Cocoon body treatment. Basically you’ll come out looking 10 years’ young and 10lbs lighter. Amen to that. This spa day costs £350 (a cheeky overnighter starts at £318).
Monkey Island Estate, Bray, Berks
It may sound like something out of a Disney theme park but it’s actually a très chichi boutique hotel that opened in April 2019 on an historic private island in the middle of the Thames. The design team behind The Dorchester in London and The Carlyle in New York are conjuring up 41 rooms and suites, from £275 and all with amazing river views, of course, plus – the tour de force – a floating spa on a converted barge. Because, well, why not?
The Vineyard Hotel, Stockcross, Berks
A boutique spa one of the UK’s finest wine hotels. Sign me up and pop that cork we’re coming in. The Vineyard Hotel offers delicious overnighters from £148.50. You get to waft around in a fluffy robe, enjoy treatments, using the hotel’s red grape products and there’s 30,000 bottles nestling in the cellar ready for you to retox after the detox. An oasis of bliss and I’ve heard good things about new chef Tom Scade’s food.
Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa, Newbury, Berkshire
How does 7 hours of ‘me time’ grab you? Don’t mind if I do. Donnington Valley Spa, just off the M4, is a light, bright haven to max out on R&R. The minimalist styling, modern art and epic wine list (200 bottles, no less) will have you California dreaming before you know it. Set over 2 levels, the guest relaxation and treatment rooms are upstairs while the 18m indoor pool, jacuzzi, aromatherapy and steam rooms are on the ground. The treatments are epic – and great value for money! Packages start at £69 with bespoke pamper packages for teens and cancer patients.
Agua Bathhouse and Spa, Sea Containers London
You might not consider London for a spa break… what with it not being a particularly relaxing place to hang out, but the city can make for a wonderful wellbeing destination if you leave the kids at home and go straight to a hotel spa. Do not pass go, avoid the underground and shopping hotspots, simply head straight to the stunning Agua bathhouse and spa at the Sea Containers hotel. Think luxe treatments amid a backdrop of floaty ceiling-to-floor white silk curtains and Tom Dixon sculptures. Shall we all hide here and never go home?
Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire
David Beckham’s favourite hangout (he lives next door) and Meghan Markle’s hen-do venue is a member’s club but book an overnight stay and you’re free to roam amongst the beautiful people. There’s an excellent Cowshed spa on site, a large gym in the basement, a hair salon and a show-stopping indoor/outdoor pool with views across 100 picture-perfect acres of Oxfordshire countryside.
Cottonmill Spa, Sopwell House, Herts
Brand spanking new this year, Cottonmill Spa is the UK’s first private members’ spa located on Sopwell House’s 12 acres of gorgeous countryside (you’d never guess it’s just a one hour drive from London). The spa cost £14m *yikes* to build and is three storeys of state-of-the-art facilities including an organic sauna, a plethora of steam rooms, vitality pools and high-tech gym. Members have access to signature treatments that harness the soothing and healing powers of sand and water like thermal therapy on an Amber & Quartz Crystal Bed, and bespoke hydrotherapy. There’s also a stunning spa garden created by award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell along with luxe touches like Tom Dixon lighting, Dyson Supersonic hairdryers and sensory showers.
The Langley, Bucks
The Langley opened last summer after a mega five-year build and it really is a stunner (read my review here). Head underground and you’ll find a luxe superspa, the second biggest underground spa in Europe, with 1600 sq m of luxury, plus the only hotel hammam outside of London. The spa also features exclusive VIP suites, an amethyst crystal steam room, female only areas, heated relaxation loungers, plunge pool, ice fountain, five treatment rooms, two thermal areas, a remarkable Himalayan salt sauna. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s drop dead gorgeous and, well, you’ll want to stay forever. A treatment list to boot including a range of massages, facials, hair treatments, manicures/ pedicures, waxing, men’s services and fitness counselling. FYI fitness guru Matt Roberts has a gym here too if you want to book in for some buns of steel (yours not his).
BSpa at Brooklands Hotel, Surrey
Set inside the modernist glass hotel, BSpa follows the hotel’s super stylish lead with lashings of 1920s and 30s art deco glamour. The spa is tucked away on the third floor of the hotel, with a relaxation rooms and a 12-seater hydrotherapy hot tub on a balcony overlooking the iconic Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit. As well as 11 treatment rooms there are his and hers sauna and steam rooms and a relaxing meditation room with warmed water beds (a space for 4 people to basically zonk out in the dark), and a sunlight therapy room. There’s also a comfortable lounge area where lunch and afternoon tea is served. Ready, steady, relax.
Stoke Park, Bucks
One of world’s must-visit spas, according to Vanity Fair and pretty damn fine – the spa is situated in The Pavillion with it’s own set of 28 bedrooms if you fancy a relaxing weekender, plus top-notch facilities – an indoor heated pool, Italian marble steam rooms, Scandinavian Suana, hot tub, nail bar and five meter tropical aquarium because why the hell not? Running from Jan – Mar is a Sensory Spa Retreat including full use of the spa, a full body aromatherapy massage with the option of a warming lava shell (alright, go on then!) and two course lunch (cost: £135, £170 if you want a facial thrown in).
Southampton HarSPA, Southampton Harbour Hotel
For something a touch cosmopolitan, then head to Southampton for the urban cool of HarSPA at the 5* Southampton Harbour Hotel. This waterside spa features seven treatment rooms, a lap pool, hydrotherapy pool, mud rasul, sauna, and steam room. The vibe here is very modern and chic, with the central city location makes it perfect for a post-retail therapy detox. After you finish up your treatments make sure to head to the rooftop HarBAR for a glass of fizz.
Bowood Hotel and Spa, Calne, Wiltshire
Fancy an idyllic escape surrounded by endless views, wildlife and remote Wiltshire countryside? Oh, and a luxury spa too? Yes please! Take a dip in the infinity swimming pool, detox in the sauna or steam room, or pamper yourself with a treatment. Beat those post-Crimbo blues. Their new relaxation area looks utterly fabulous – it’s a recipe for pure tranquility.
House Spa, Dormy House, Broadway
How utterly heavenly does this infinity pool look? House Spa at luxury Cotswolds retreat Dormy House has top-notch facilities (and a bucketload of awards to boot) including soothing lavender sauna and salt-infusion steam room. Treatments all come from cutting-edge brands Natura Bisse, Temple Spa and Pure Massage plus you can have a pop at golf or, erm, quad biking afterwards if that’s what floats your boat. Individual treatments are available to guests only, but you can book onto a spa day if you’re not sleeping over.
Calcot Manor, nr Tetbury, Glocestershire
Calcot Manor is about as quintessentially Cotswolds as it gets – all that gorgeous honey stone and rolling countryside and fit young farmers forking hay with their tops off (hey, just go with it). The spa is a tranquil retreat with headline facilities including an indoor heated 16m pool, sauna, steam room, seven treatment rooms and relaxation lounge but you’ll find us mainlining the outdoor fireside hot tub in the pretty lavender-lined courtyard. The spa’s also kitted out with the latest gym equipment, plus a full timetable of classes from gentle pilates to HITT (tried it once, couldn’t walk for a week). There’s also the option to borrow a bike to cycle around the 220 acre grounds or a racket to hit the tennis courts.
Bamford Spa, Daylesford Farm, Gloucs
Located next to Daylesford Farmshop (spa and shop, anyone? Me, ME!), Bamford Haybarn Spa is an absolute corker of a space and, like everything at Daylesford, has been created in the best possible taste. The spa has an extensive programme of activities in the stunning studio – yoga, meditation, pilates, sound healing, HITT, personal training – and treatments that have a holistic approach, using Bamford’s own range of natural body-care. I have some in my bathroom, it’s divine.
C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor, near Cheltenham
Beloved by locals and out of towners looking for a des-res slice of contemporary luxury in the countryside, the spa at this stunner of a country house hotel will make your jaw drop with its floor-to-ceiling picture windows overlooking the immaculate Cotswold surroundings. Indoor and outdoor pools, drench showers, sauna, steam room and eye-catching spots to relax make it perfect for an escape with your besties, your lover or just you.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
Yeah baby. Floor-to-ceiling windows, natural light and heavenly hydrotherapy pools at superluxe, 5* Chewton Glen spa in the New Forest. Lose yourself in the sprawling facilities, including an outdoor Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, 17m swimming pool, and choose from 50+treatments that use delicious beauty products in collaboration with Oskia. Top top: save up for a stay in one of the treehouses – and make sure you leave time between massages for a stroll down to the beach.
Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire
A sublime chic New Forest hideaway, Lime Wood’s Herb House spa is your spot for a luxe Sarah Chapman facial – which are like gold-dust because they make you emerge resembling a supermodel. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a hydrotherapy suite, a rooftop gym and helipad – phew, I was wondering where to park my chopper. For New Year there’s a special package for two (Jan – Feb, Mon – Thurs) which includes an overnighter, use of the spa and Champers, from £299.
Any utterly brilliant UK spas I’ve missed off the supers list? Let me know in the comment box below. It’s my duty to try them all.