If it’s pure relaxation you need, a UK high-end spa break is unbeatable. There’ll be no queueing at airports, instead, you’ll receive plenty of pampering from arrival to departure. With everything under one opulent roof, you can really take it easy; padding about in your fluffy robe and cosy slippers, popping in for bespoke treatments, soaking in the hydro pool, eating healthy, organic dishes, or splurging on traditional afternoon tea and sipping on champagne. You could choose to combine your break with some city sightseeing by opting for a hotel in Bath or London or immerse in the countryside at an out-of-town resort.
Surrounded by 163 acres of lush parkland, next to the river Maine and just 30 minutes north of Belfast International Airport in County Antrim, lies the incredible Galgorm Hotel and Thermal Village. The luxurious accommodation options are paired up with award-winning dining and its pièce de résistance is the onsite thermal village with an extensive selection of riverside hot tubs, indoor and outdoor heated pools, steam rooms and saunas. Galgorm has attracted many a celebrity with its five-stars, triple AA-Rosette restaurant, award-winning spa treatments and butler service yet it has a laid-back feel, befitting its relaxed countryside locale. We cannot rate this hotel highly enough for a break in Northern Ireland.
The Royal Crescent Hotel Bath
A spa within a World Heritage spa town, this is arguably one of the most famous in the land. The iconic Georgian building is a city landmark and has received a Grade I listing. The Royal Crescent’s spa suite includes a healing water Bath House, a Tattinger Garden, a 12-metre heated relaxation pool and a Himalayan Salt Infused Sauna. Book a spa stay here and you’ll benefit from easy access to all the city sights, valet parking, an acre of stunning landscaped gardens, a carefully curated fine art collection, your name hand-written on your bedroom door and award-winning dishes from Executive Head Chef, David Campbell in The Dower House Restaurant.
Lime Wood Hotel
Travel to the picturesque surroundings of the New Forest, and this stately home – once a 13th-century hunting lodge – in the pretty little town of Lyndhurst. The Herb House Spa has an indoor and outdoor connected pool, sun deck with forest views, Matt Roberts’ Gym and Raw & Cured café. Hartnett, Holder & Co is the deeply stylish, on-trend dining room, plus there’s The Courtyard Bar with an alfresco terrace. It’s a more intimate option with 32 rooms and two cottages (one of which treats its inhabitants to a four‑poster bed, private terrace overlooking the countryside and a roll‑top bath). Lime Wood is child and pet-friendly.
Culloden Estate and Spa
Culloden Estate and Spa is located on the slopes of Holywood Hills, ten minutes from Belfast, this five-star spa overlooks the Lough and sea. With renovations having been completed in 2020, the hotel’s spa has a new linear vitality pool with garden views, a couples’ treatment area and a Tylarium (a combination of a sauna and steam bath). Surrounded by 12 acres of private land, it’s perfect for mini-mooners and was named Best Hotel for Romance in the Readers’ Travel Awards of 2020. Guests can dine in the Drawing Room, Vespers Restaurant or the estate’s Cultra Inn (look out for The Bolly Bus parked up outside during the summer months, serving glasses of Bollinger).
The Gainsborough Bath Spa
This is the only hotel in the UK with access to naturally heated thermal waters, and as such has a treatment menu incorporating the unique benefits of its o2. There are three large pools to soak in – one is covered by a stunning vintage stained glass ceiling – all part of its Roman-style Spa Village, to which guests aged 16 and over receive access. 98 bedrooms reflect the building’s 19th-century credentials and come complete with complimentary beers, soft drinks and the use of Nespresso machines. The Gainsborough has a most convenient location, opposite the public Thermae Spa, beside the main shops, restaurants and public transport links of beautiful Bath city.
The Lanesborough London
One of the swankiest districts in the capital is a suitable setting for a luxury spa break. Named England’s Best Hotel Spa 2019 at the World Spa Awards, The Lanesborough Club and Spa (read our full hotel review here) is open to both staying guests and private members. Top beauty brands ila, Tata Harper and La Prairie are all brand partners, creating a range of unique treatments. Crystal sound healing, kundalini, mud-bathing and White Caviar Illumination for Feet, are just some of the more unusual options available to book at this exclusive Knightsbridge establishment. The 93-roomed hotel also has 24 hour Butler service and a Michelin starred restaurant.
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa
The Lucknam Park’s Spa has been crafted using wood, marble and glass – the design of which was inspired in part by its parkland environs. Award-winning facilities include a 20-metre indoor heated pool, an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool, an outdoor saltwater plunge pool, a skincare mixology bar, five thermal cabins, a social lounge, a brasserie and therapy rooms where the range of ESPA treatments take place. This 18th-century Palladian mansion house sits 8 miles from Bath in the Wiltshire countryside and is home to its own cooking school and Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as an equestrian centre, football pitch and croquet lawn.
Found in the Cotswolds close to Cheltenham, this hotel dates back to the 16th century. Offering Elemis products and treatments (including many options designed for pregnancy), this cosy spa suits those seeking a more boutique experience. It has a thermal suite with an indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and curved ‘sensation showers, as well as an outdoor pool open during sunlight hours. Formal meals are served in the 3 AA Rosette restaurant, The Beaufort Dining Room, while casual dining is catered for in its brasserie.