Bath's Gainsborough Spa is one of the best spa hotels in Britain
Whether you’re feeling battered and bruised with muscles that are just crying out for some TLC, or have sallow skin that’s in dire need of a pampering pick-me-up; in Britain there’s a spa hotel that caters to your every whim. From city retreats and countryside getaways, to wellness weekends, and indulgent day escapes; read on as we reveal 6 of the best spa hotels in the UK.
SEAHAM HALL, SEAHAM
Stately home meets day spa at Durham's Seaham Hall
Situated on more than 37 acres of landscaped gardens in a striking cliff top location with views out over Durham's coast line; Seaham Hall has attracted the famous and fashionable since its 18th Century origins. Case in point, Lord Byron, who chose the hall as the venue for his wedding back in 1815. And since then, this stately Georgian pile has continued to impress, most recently with its multi-awarded, Serenity Spa.
A byword for British luxury spa breaks, this contemporary Thai-influenced complex is accessed from the main manor house via a slick, running water-lined, underground corridor. Facilities are extensive and include a 20-metre pool, sauna, solarium, steam room, 17 treatment rooms, plunge pools, a hamman and outdoor hot tubs; all guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding of spa hounds. Don’t be surprised if you’re sharing space with a visiting pop star (Pink is just one of the celebs who have visited) or premier league football player or two.
The 20-metre pool that is part of Seaham Hall's Serenity Spa
Eating options span the casual pan-Asian spa lunch spot, Ozone, alongside fine dining restaurant, Byron’s, in the main hotel. For overnighters, there are 23 chic suites to choose from, the newest of which is also the most grand. Named after Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, the split-level suite features an elevated sleeping mezzanine and a sizeable bathing deck that's perfect for two.
THE GAINSBOROUGH BATH SPA, BATH
The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the jewel in the crown for Britain's most famous spa town
You can’t put together a spa hotel round-up and not include a property in the UK’s most famous spa town of Bath.
Paying homage to the Romans who first put the town on the map after they constructed a collection of buildings surrounding the thermal springs back in 43 AD, YTL's Gainsborough Bath Spa has reproduced a luxurious spa complex that wouldn’t look out of place in ancient Rome. Utilising the famed mineral-infused springs - making it not just the only hotel in the city with direct access, but also the only hotel in the entire country to use thermal waters in its spa - guests are able to "take the waters" via an array of thermal baths, saunas and steam rooms.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa uses the same thermal waters from the ancient Roman spring
Spread over two levels, the in-house ‘Spa Village’ also features exclusive spa rooms, which offer guests in-bathroom access to the healing waters, a beauty salon and 11 treatment rooms, where rituals such as the two hour-long, ‘Malaysian Experience’ - a hybrid of Malay massage, Indian scalp massage and Chinese acupressure point massage - are guaranteed to relax even the most knotted of customers.
THE CORINTHIA HOTEL, LONDON
The Corinthia London hotel features the biggest and best spa in the British capital
Set in one of the capital’s grandest Victorian buildings with an enviable location steps away from Embankment tube station and directly opposite from the London Eye, it already has a lot going for it. However, it’s the hotel’s in-house spa that really makes this place standout from the crowd.
Spread over a jaw-dropping four floors and encompassing 3,300 square metres of total indulgence, the ESPA Life Spa takes city hotel pampering to new heights. A labyrinthine collection of wavy, futuristic, black marble corridors - as cool as any nightclub - connect a large hydrotherapy pool, crystal steam room, stainless steel pool, hammam and striking flame-lined sauna.
The ESPA Life Spa at the Corinthia London hotel contains an impressive hydrotherapy pool
Unsurprisingly, the Corinthia London has become something of a go-to for visiting A-listers, with the likes of Johnny Depp, George Clooney and Beyonce passing through its marbled halls with many taking advantage of the spa’s beauty salon overseen by society coiffeur, Daniel Galvin.
ROCKLIFFE HALL, DARLINGTON
Rockliffe Hall's spa contains the UK's largest hydrotherapy pool
Standing in a quiet village on the North Yorkshire border, the Victorian Gothic redbrick stately hall of Rockliffe is the perfect jumping off point for exploring the rugged beauty of the North Yorkshire Moors. Formerly a private residence, the hall was converted into its present guise of five-star golf and spa resort seven years ago.
Rockliffe Hall in Yorkshire is one of the UK's best destination spa hotels
Containing the country's largest hydrotherapy pool, this mammoth spa needs to be seen to be believed. Don a fluffy bathrobe and drift away on sound-wave therapy beds, be pampered in one of 13 treatment rooms, laze in a heated 20-metre-long pool and soothe aches and paints in the lavish thermal bathing suite with its eucalyptus-scented steam rooms, tepidarium, caldarium, saunas and tropicarium. Spa-time aside, the hotel’s championship 18-hole golf course is the longest in the UK and its fine-dining restaurant, The Orangery, led by Michelin starred head chef, Kenny Atkinson, offers more opportunities to indulge.
STOBO CASTLE, STOBO
Scotland's Stobo Castle combines spa, hotel and historical getaway in one
The main 25-metre pool in Stobo Castle's award-winning spa
Housed in a modern extension adjoining the old castle, the contemporary spa’s first-class facilities include a large glass-fronted sauna and steam room, multi-station hydrotherapy pool and three outdoor hot tubs. Reiki, reflexology, and Kinesiology are just a few of the specialised treatments available. The main 25-metre pool is flanked by loungers and has floor-to-ceiling windows - the perfect place to watch the surrounding Scottish hills change colour as the sun dips below the horizon. A set breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually incisive depending on your room package and a cafe in the spa atrium also serves salads and fresh juices and smoothies.
PENNYHILL PARK HOTEL, SURREY
Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey has a sprawling spa complex
The ‘Thermal Heaven’ spa area in Pennyhill Park Hotel
Eight indoor and outdoor pools, including a heated 18-metre pool and even a pool with underwater music offer hours of aquatic fun. There’s also several hot tubs and jacuzzis, but the real jewel in the spa’s crown is its ‘Thermal Heaven’ area. Comprising of tepidarium, ice cave, schnapps (steam) room, laconium, experience showers. and cold plunge pool; the collection of rooms is the perfect preamble to one of Pennyhill’s organic treatments. A convenient post-treatment ‘sensory’ room comes complete with proper beds, so you can have a quick nap afterwards.