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Best spa hotels in the UK: Relax and be pampered at a luxurious spa retreat

Jade Vincent
2 Oct 2019
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Enjoy relaxing treatments, pampering pools and the finest food at the best spa hotels in the UK

A deluxe spa hotel provides a stress-free haven for those that want to loosen up, indulge in some ‘me-time’ and escape their daily grind for a few days (or more, we’re not judging). And the best part is there’s no need to travel overseas to get there, as the UK is full of luxurious spa getaways that are all just a short journey away.

Whether your idea of R&R means treating yourself to a pampering package at the spa, relaxing in a hydrotherapy pool or enjoying some top-notch grub in a Michelin-starred restaurant, our pick of the best spa hotels will leave you feeling on cloud nine. 

Best spa hotels in the UK

1. Corinthia Hotel, London: Best spa hotel in London


A trip to the capital calls for a super-swanky spa hotel and there’s none better than the Corinthia. Its ESPA Life spa is pure luxury; spanning four floors housing seventeen treatment rooms for all kinds of pampering (there’s even a salon, beauty bar and fitness studio). More holistic types will appreciate the spa’s specialist team of traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturists, herbalists and naturopaths. We’re sure you’ll feel cleansed, buffed and polished to perfection after a treatment or two.

The Corinthia Hotel’s state-of-the-art facilities are best in class, too. Head to the Thermal Floor and you’ll find a swimming pool, vitality pool, ice fountain, heated marble loungers and, should you need an afternoon snooze, private sleep pods. The crowning jewel? Its stunning amphitheatre sauna.

How to get there: by train to London Charing Cross Station; then a 5-minute walk.

Book your stay at the Corinthia Hotel now


2. The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder in Scotland: Best spa hotel in Scotland


With an award-winning spa, the only two Michelin-star restaurant in Scotland, a mini Burlington-style arcade that flogs diamonds, and too many leisure activities to count, the Gleneagles Hotel is pure bliss (if you can afford it). Using all ESPA products to pamper, the Luxury Spa is internationally recognised as one of the best in the business thanks to its intensive menu of treatments and therapies. Try The Source body massage, which uses fresh ingredients from the waters and hills of local Perthshire for an authentic Scottish spa experience.

The Gleneagles Spa’s facilities also deserve a shout out: there’s a sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy “vitality” pool, and its relaxation areas are second to none – good luck turfing yourself out of its pillowy day beds. The hotel scores bonus points for its top-notch Scottish breakfast but there’s not a tartan fabric in sight, with the hotel and spa following a stylish, jazz-age aesthetic. Lovely.

How to get there: by train to Gleneagles Station; the hotel will organise a free transfer from the station.

Book your stay at The Gleneagles Hotel now


3. Ashford Castle Hote, County Mayo in Ireland: Best spa hotel in Ireland


The famous Ashford Castle Hotel located in County Mayo, Ireland, is just the ticket for those that want to enjoy some downtime in a glitzy setting. Its bronzed relaxation area is adorned with a beautiful "Tree of Life" mosaic mural, stunning seashell chandeliers and relaxing day beds; although the pool is large enough to simply float and loosen up, not swim lengths (which is fine with us). The Hamman room uses eucalyptus-infused steam to aid breathing and improve circulation, while the stone heated seats and walls help to raise your body temperature and rid your system of toxins. 

The hotel itself has been extensively restored by Red Carnation Hotels to showcase a traditional Irish style that feels welcoming and homely. There's plenty of facilities and activities to enjoy throughout the day, including a cinema, falconry, salmon fishing and boat trips on the lovely Lough Corrib.   

How to get there: by plane to Ireland West Airport Knock; then a 56-minute car journey.

Book your stay at Ashford Castle now


4. Gilpin Hotel Spa Lodges, Lake District: Best spa hotel in the Lake District


Looking for a romantic spa getaway? The Spa Lodges at the Gilpin Hotel are perfect for couples who value their privacy as much as a little R&R. Each cedar-clad lodge comes fitted with its own private treatment area, rainmaker shower and steam room, as well as an outdoor sauna and a hydrotherapy hot tub with views over the Lake District moors. For an additional cost, a spa therapist will provide bespoke couples aromatherapy massages in the comfort of your lodge, as well as a basket packed full of Jetty Spa products to use in your own time.

There’s really something for everyone at the Gilpin Hotel: foodies will appreciate the spa hotel’s two restaurants, the Michelin starred HRiSHi which offers modern Cumbrian cuisine, and Gilpin Spice which serves tapas-style pan-Asian dishes. Adventurers guests can venture toward Lake Windermere or explore Beatrix Potter’s home (both approximately 10-minutes away by car). Interestingly, you’ll even find a few llamas and alpacas roaming around the garden. 

How to get there: by train to Oxenholme (Kendal) Station; then a 20-minute car journey.

Book your stay at the Gilpin Hotel Spa Lodges now


5. Barnsley House Hotel, Cirencester in the Cotswolds: Best spa hotel in the Cotswolds


Wander through a stunning fairytale garden – complete with Barnsley House’s lily ponds, vegetable patch and iconic laburnum walk – to get to the Barnsley Spa. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be greeted by a heated outdoor hydro-pool, sauna, steam room and a luxurious spa lounge that leads to five comfortable treatment rooms. Put your trust in Elemis and indulge in a rejuvenating spa package that will leave you feeling relaxed from head-to-toe. Or try a bespoke facial using the latest CACI face technology. This non-invasive treatment is tailored by your therapist to help with acne, wrinkles, sagging skin and more.

The food is in a league of its own, too. Offering garden-to-plate dining, The Potager serves simple and seasonal cuisine, most of which is picked daily from the kitchen’s garden, while The Village Pub offers no-fuss pub-grub. What’s more, if you get bored of rolling hills, beautiful gardens and luxurious spa days (sounds unlikely), Barnsley House Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Cirencester, often dubbed the “capital of the Cotswolds”. Here you’ll find a charming market town with pastel-hued shops, cobbled streets and a grand cathedral.

How to get there: by train to Kemble Station; then an 18-minute car journey.

Book your stay at the Barnsley House Hotel now


6. The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath: Best spa hotel in Bath


If you fancy bathing like the Romans, the Gainsborough Bath Spa is the only spa hotel in Bath with access to the city’s natural thermal waters – in fact, the Roman Baths are located just across the street. These mineral-rich waters are free from pollution and bacteria, which means they’re pure enough to soothe skin conditions, and other conditions like arthritis and joint pain.

Drawing influence from the city’s traditional thermal water heritage, but with a South East Asian twist, the Spa Village has three ‘baths’, a sauna, steam room and eleven treatment rooms spread across two floors. There are traditional body scrubs and organic facials on the menu, as well as Malaysian massages and aromatherapy, and with a marble, pillared-design and atrium roof offering natural light, the Romanesque spa looks the part, too. Overall, we think the Gainsborough Bath Spa provides a welcome respite from exploring a city steeped in history. And what’s better than loosening up and soaking your achy feet in a soothing thermal bath?

How to get there: by train to Bath Spa Station; then a 6-minute walk.

Book your stay at The Gainsborough Bath Spa now


7. Ragdale Hall, Melton Mowbray: Best spa hotel in the Midlands


Do you enjoy lazing around a pool? If yes, you’ll be pleased to hear there are pools aplenty at Ragdale Hall in Melton Mowbray (the home of pork pies). The Thermal Spa is a sensory paradise thanks to a calming lazy river, complete with waterfall features and hydrotherapy jets that guide you to volcanic salt baths, a rose-scented sauna and a candlelit pool that’s heated to a toasty 34 degrees. If you can tear yourself away from the pampering pools, Clarins, Decleor and Elemis are among brands used for top-notch treatments; try the Luxury Mineral Mud Infusion or Tropical Coconut Flotation for an experience that’s exclusive to Ragdale.

The best part: Ragdale Hall is great if you’re looking for a true spa experience. Your days will be spent relaxing in a fluffy white dressing gown – guests even wear their gowns for cocktails and dinner. The spa retreat is also great value for money since it offers all-inclusive packages that include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a complementary treatment you can choose from a pre-selected menu.

How to get there: by train to Leicester or Loughborough; then a short car journey. 

Book your stay at Ragdale Hall now


8. Eastwell Manor, Kent: Best spa hotel in South East England 


Nothing beats a getaway in the countryside when you’re suffocated by the city. And where better to take a breather than Eastwell Manor, a Grade-II Listed spa hotel that’s nestled in the “Garden of England”. We’d start the day with an indulgent pamper courtesy of Champneys in an idyllic treatment room overlooking the Kent Downs. With bespoke facials and pregnancy-friendly massages on the menu, there’s plenty of spoiling spa packages to choose from. Then, head to the Health Spa and while away the day in the 20-metre indoor pool, sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool, or enjoy afternoon tea as a delicious post-pamper treat in the Manor House – the choice is yours.

But there’s more to Eastwell Manor than its spa. If you’re blessed with glorious sunshine, venture outdoors and explore the manor’s beautiful grounds: you’ll find a nine-hole golf course, tennis court and outdoor pool. Overall, Eastwell Manor has plenty to offer city folk who fancy a change of pace and a breath of fresh air.

How to get there: by train to St Pancras International Station to Ashford International; then a 17-minute car journey.

Book your stay at Eastwell Manor now


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