It may be cold outside, but don’t let the winter chill phase you. We turn to our pick of some of the best British spa sanctuaries that will indulgently thaw you right out and fill you with a ‘new you’ sparkle.
The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa
Immerse yourself in a city nourished by natural hot springs that flow through the ancient Roman Baths and the modern day Thermae Baths and hideaway at this tranquil hotel spa.
As you arrive at the picturesque crescent, the hotel ensures a speedy check-in and that your car is valet-parked for you. The stunning Relais & Chateaux Georgian property stretches across two buildings, oozing with period architecture, character and charm. Cosy features include a roaring fire as you enter, a drawing room and library, Penhaligon’s bath and body care placed in every suite’s bathroom and of course, its dedicated spa down at the bottom of its landscaped garden.
Offering British spa brand Espa to perform its face and body treatments, we were invited to experience the Deep Muscle Massage – a deep tissue treatment using long, sweeping actions to stretch and dig deep to focus on specific areas of tension and help either de-stress and calm, or energise and invigorate – depending on which blend of oil you decide to go for. Within the spa space itself, you’ll be bowled over by the design and décor: natural woods, slate and bamboo with romantically lit candles. There’s a small but perfectly formed steamy hot swim/relaxation pool and two large barrel-shaped tubs sit by the pool for you to take a cool dip or hot soak in, as well as a wet chamber for body exfoliation treatments; all making you feel as if you’ve floated off to another land.
For further-indulgence of the foodie kind, the seven-course tasting menu at the hotel’s Dower House Restaurant is another must when in Bath. During our stay, The AA 3 Rosette award-winning menu included praiseworthy seasonal dishes such as slow-cooked free-range duck egg with ham, cep, leek, truffle shaving and toasted duck fat soldiers, a mushroom tea broth served in a glass teapot and poured over gnocchi and globe artichoke and delicious deer fillets served with chestnut and a chocolate-infused jus.
Coworth Park Hotel & Spa
Booked to go on a winter sun getaway? Get your holiday prep with the Winter Sun Experience, a new offering available for a limited time only by Carol Joy at The Dorchester Collection’s Spa at Coworth Park. You’ll feel compelled to leave your stresses behind at the entrance as you drive through the scenic gardens to the luxury country house hotel and spa in Ascot, Berkshire.
Once inside, take advantage of the pool that plays underwater music and head on to the treatment room to begin the experience, starting with a prescriptive Carol Joy lifting and firming facial. The one-hour anti-ageing treatment involves a gentle steam and a collagen mask to leave your skin looking positively radiant and rejuvenated. The treat continues with a luxury manicure and pedicure using your choice of an extensive collection of Essie nail colours on offer. The result? Perfectly polished hands and feet that enviously scream ‘holiday ready’. As you say goodbye, a little gift awaits at the reception desk; a Carol Joy ‘Touch of Silk’ hand and body gloss to give you that extra shimmer and glow before you jet off.
Aqua Sana Spa, Woburn Forest
A short one-hour trip from London will whisk you into the Bedfordshire countryside to discover a Luxury Spa Break. Your time here starts with check-in to one of the six new sumptuous and spacious spa suites with views of the lake and tree-lined forest. Rooms are thoughtfully designed and suitably equipped to premium standard with a separate mini kitchen, dining and lounge, powerful shower with side jets, oversized tub and outdoor balcony area, as well as Elemis bath and body products (one of the brands of choice used at the spa).
The spa suites also give you close and direct entry into the treatment lounge and one of the most undeniably well-equipped spa facilities you will ever get to enjoy: the enthralling World of Spa. With no stone left unturned, this two-floor labyrinth invites you to start by soaking in a hot bubbling aromatherapy footbath before journeying through a myriad of sauna rooms, steam chambers, multi-sensory and relaxation rooms to unwind, detoxify, rest and recharge. The six spa quarters include Fire & Ice, Blossom, Herbal, Sensory, Mineral & Gemstone and Salt, all with varying degrees of heat and humidity, plus tropical rain walks and shower sequences to focus on clearing your mind and body of stress.
There’s also an outdoor infinity pool with indoor access and a zen garden. We also got to try the signature Elemis treatment – a top-to-toe revitaliser starting with body exfoliation and shower, followed by moisturising, express facial and choice of scalp, foot or hand and arm massage.
This highly impressive spa treat is ideal for all spa-cation lovers, especially bigger groups and those who enjoy a multitude of therapies to indulge in. The Luxury Spa Break includes this treatment, your overnight stay, plus breakfast, lunch (either on arrival or departure) and dinner.
Gazelli At The Josh Wood Atelier
Walk down a sweet cobbled mews in London’s Holland Park and you’ll find the sought-after hairdresser hidden behind a big black inconspicuous door. Press the buzzer and walk up a few flights of stairs and you arrive at the Gazelli treatment room – a decadently designed, inviting space using rich golds, creams and marble to emit a luxe escapist effect. After a thorough 30-minute skin care consultation and diagnosis lesson with the therapist to learn how to self-assess whether your skin is sensitive, dry, dehydrated, oily, circulation levels and texture.
The heated treatment
Next, settle into the incredibly relaxing heated treatment couch to get started on the Gazelli White Oil™ ritual. Found only in Azerbaijan and not available in any other product in the world. This healing ingredient works to deeply nourish, hydrate and protect the skin. An exfoliating body brush buffs away dead skin cells before a creamy nourishing wrap is massaged all over the body and cocooned like a mask using natural cloths. Once skilfully cleansed off your entire body using hot mitts and towels, a full body massage warms your skin up and fully relaxes and revitalises, using the treasured warm White Oil blend. By this point, you will be drifting off into a wonderful soporific state and one of the best ever facials is yet to come. Based on your initial Gazelli Skin Diagnostics, a facial begins to include cleanse, exfoliate, mask and ultra skin hydration. Your skin is left looking and feeling bright, fresh and raring to embrace the festivities.
If you’re looking for the ultra top-up to your ritual. There are add-ons including a focus on eye rejuvenation, extra use of the White Oil, extra back and neck massage, reviving hand treatment. Our favourite and highly recommended is a Gazelli White Oil and Caviar exquisite hair treatment. With this, you get an application of the special oil to the scalp, root and hairline, with the tips of your hair dipped in nourishing caviar and covered in a silk wrap. Once washed, your hair will come out feeling just as shiny and de-stressed as your skin.
Be sure to set aside plenty of time to immerse yourself in this highly indulgent yet wholly results-driven experience. It takes approximately 3-3 ½ hours from start to finish. This is an urban spa treat not to be missed.