New Year, New You

By Rose Shepherd

New year is a time when many of us crave a wellness break, to relax and revive us as we look forward to spring. Consult the Good Hotel Guide and you will find a wide choice of excellent spa hotels, many with the added benefit to body and mind, of beautiful and tranquil surroundings. Here are a few of our favourites.

 

FOREST REFRESHER

Dedicated to natural health and serenity, the adults-only Herb House Spa at this cool New Forest hotel is at one with its peaceful setting. A sauna with forest views, a mud house and steaming hot pool, a bath house with indoor treatment bath, and a bath garden with outdoor bath, are among the facilities at Lime Wood. The rooftop herb garden is the place for a Sun Salutation. The gym has the latest techno equipment, an ozone-treated lap pool with glass doors overlooking the garden, a hands-and-feet room and workout studio. You can graze on salads and smoothies at the Raw and Cured food bar. Three-day retreats include workshops and cookery demonstrations, yoga classes, a de-stress massage, early-morning meditation and stretch sessions, and guided walks.

Lime Wood, Lyndhurst

 

PARK AND RIDE

You leave the pressures of everyday life behind you, the moment you turn onto a mile-long lime and beech avenue to Lucknam Park. An 18th-century mansion-cum-opulent hotel with Michelin-starred restaurant, just six miles from Bath (home to Britain’s only natural thermal springs), it stands amid listed parkland with equestrian facilities. Within a walled garden, in the beautiful spa, thermal cabins include Japanese salt, aromatic steam, and sauna. There is an outdoor, salt-water plunge pool, linked indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy and swimming pools, an all-day brasserie, a lounge and mixology bar. The yoga and Pilates studio overlooks the spa garden and arboretum. Spa days for aged 16 and over include ‘Saddle and Spa’, with an hour-long group ride and lunch.

Lucknam Park, nr Chippenham

 

WINTER WONDERLAND

A sublime Italianate mansion with 55 acres of Grade II listed gardens, close to the Regency spa town of Cheltenham, Cowley Manor has been transformed into a chic yet quirky hotel with Sixties-style interiors. Guests have access to all the facilities of the award-winning C-Side spa, in grounds said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, with treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and gym, an indoor pool lined with green Cotswold slate, and an outdoor pool. There are swimming times for kids in the morning and afternoon. Exclusive Green and Spring spa products were designed by the hotel’s co-owner, Jessica Frankopan.

Cowley Manor, Cheltenham

 

ESCAPE TO ARCADIA

Forty miles from London, in the Vale of Aylesbury, on the edge of the Chilterns, amid 18th-century gardens and pleasure grounds, Jacobean Hartwell House is part of the National Trust’s Historic House Hotels collection. A stroll from the main house lies the adults-only spa. Within a relaxing ambience you will find a pool lined with blue mosaic tiles, an outdoor, all-weather hydrotherapy hot tub, steam room, sauna and bubbling spa bath. Hotel guests and non-residents can book treatments, and use the all-day Hartwell Café, overlooking the pool.

#hartwell House Hotel with Spa

Hartwell House, Aylesbury

 

RIVIERA REVIVER

Above Babbacombe Bay on the Devon riviera, against a dramatic backdrop of densely wooded red sandstone cliffs, the Cary Arms and Spa centres on a Victorian inn, spreads across fishermen’s cottages and beach huts, and combines old-fashioned seaside charm with a contemporary vibe. The glass-fronted, sea-facing spa affords spectacular views from the waterfall hydrotherapy pool and decked terrace. There is a steam room and sauna, exotic experience shower and gym, while marine-based treatments are available in two treatment rooms (one a double). The South West Coast Path passes by.

Cary Arms, Babbacombe

 

A BREATH OF WELSH AIR

Sea breezes, and the views over Carmarthen Bay lift the spirits at the clifftop St Bride’s Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot. Treatments are available in four treatment rooms (one a double with sliding, full-height windows) in the adults-only (16 and over) spa. The thermal suite comprises a salt-infusion room, a sensation shower, an aroma steam room, a herbal rock sauna, ice fountain and, the star of the show, the warm, salt-infused infinity hydrotherapy pool, which melts into the vista, with air jets for a gentle massage. The spectacular Pembrokeshire Coastal Path passes the door.

St Brides Hotel & Spa, Saundersfoot

FAMILY FAVOURITE
A Victorian mansion with commanding views over the Fowey estuary, Fowey Hall, in temperate south Cornwall, is fun and avowedly child friendly. An Ofsted-registered crèche, and endless diversions for older kids, leave parents free to indulge in a deep-tissue massage, to soak up the sea views from the outdoor hot tub, or to work up an appetite on a stationary bike or treadmill in the wellness room. Special treatments have been devised for the under-16s, who are permitted in the spa under adult supervision; pools indoors and out are for family use, and an in-house instructor teaches yoga at all levels. Namaste.

Fowey Hall, Fowey

See here for more of our selections of best spa hotels.