Choosing the right spa can be irksome. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to a serene and luxurious pamper and preen, only to arrive to find a sweaty old gym, packed Jacuzzi and a lowly treatment room stuck behind a curtain. Beware: there are lots of spa-lartans out there; common sports clubs in a spa-guise. The good news is state-of-the-art luxe spas are now abundant in the UK - you just have to know where to find them. So we turned to Lisa Stokes of www.the-spa-spy.com for her top ten favourites to ensure a perfect pampering experience...
1. Lucknam Park, Bath
The Lucknam Spa is set in a pretty, walled rose garden at the back of the Manor House. Its piece de resistance is an impressive indoor and outdoor saltwater hydro-pool with a hypnotic flickering fire-feature wall! Other facilities include thermal cabins, an aroma steam room a modern gym, nine treatment rooms and an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Top Treatments: Made-to-Measure Massage and Pro Lifting Facial.
Spa Products: Carita and Anne Semonin.
2. Bovey Castle, Dartmoor
The Sundari Spa at Bovey is housed in a beautiful Orangery. A glass surround swimming pool overlooks the magnificent views and rolling hills of Dartmoor National Park. Facilities include steam and sauna rooms, a Jacuzzi and seven treatment rooms.
Top Treatments: The Sunduri Healing Facial and Reflexology.
Spa Products: Sundari.
3. The Scarlet, Cornwall
This stunning state-of-the-art eco-spa has a clifftop outdoor pool and hot tubs with panoramic views across the ocean. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, a serene tented treatment zone, a meditation room, Hammam and a Rhassoul for mineral mud treatments!
Top Treatments: Ayurvedic Therapy Massage and The Journey (a three hour super-treatment, including a bathing ritual, body scrub and massage).
Spa Products: Tri Dosha, Voya and The Scarlet Range.
4. The Scotsman, Edinburgh
Located in the city centre on the North Bridge between the new and old town, and housed in a beautiful old newspaper building, The Scotsman is renowned one the the most luxurious boutique hotels in Scotland. The uber-cool Scotsman Spa is situated just around the corner from the main hotel, facilities include a stunning stainless steel swimming pool, hydro-pool, steam room, seven treatment rooms and a relaxation area.
Top Treatments: An Oxygen Blast, A purifying oxygenating facial to protect against pollution and harmful free radicals. Marine Prelude, a detoxifying mud and marine body scrub and wrap to invigorate and improve circulation.
Spa products: Thalgo
5. Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa, West Sussex
Set in an impressive wood and glass eco-building with woodland inspired interiors that bring the outside in. Facilities include a spring water indoor and outdoor swim-through pool, rain showers, an outdoor hot-tub, manicure suite and yoga studio.
Top Treatments: Ila Chakra Wellbeing, a lymphatic drainage massage and Isopod Floatation.
Spa Products: REN.
6. Calcot Manor, Gloucestershire
Surrounded by lavender, rosemary bushes and the sprawling Cotswolds countryside, The Calcot Spa circles a bubbling outdoor hydro-pool and real fire for cosy winter spa-ing. Facilities include an indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and steam rooms, a manicure suite and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.
Top Treatments: The Aromatherapy Associates Rose Indulgence Facial and Volcanic Hot Stone Massage.
Spa Products: Aromatherapy Associates and The Calcot Spa Brand.
7. Lime Wood, New Forest, Hampshire
Favourited by the rock royalty, and it’s easy to see why. Set on the edge of the New Forest the scenery at Lime Wood is simply breathtaking. The Herb House Spa is inspired by its forest surroundings. Facilities include an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools. A swimming pool, aroma-steam room, mud treatment room and large sauna with woodland views.
Top Treatments: Forest Escape, an Ayuverdic herbal massage and Tri-Dosha Holistic Glow.
Spa Products: Bamford, Voya, Tri-Dosha and Aromatherapy Associates.
8. The Lowry, Manchester
An urban-chic, buzzing city spa overlooking the river Irwell. The aroma of scented candles hits you as soon as you walk through the door, creating an air of calm to banish away the stress of the bussling city life outside. Facilities includetwo sauna rooms, a manicure suite, six candlelit treatment rooms, and two relaxation rooms with snugly beanbags.
Top Treatments: Elemis Skin Specific Facial and Lowry Signature Total Body Care.
Spa Products: Elemis, Ren.
9. Armathwaite Hall, Cumbria
A contemporary state-of-the-arte spa set in a 400 acre deer park overlooking the breathtaking Bassenthwaite Lake. Facilities include an outdoor hot-tub, thermal suite, hydrotherapy pool, wallow pool, aroma steam room, sauna, a manicure suite and ten treatment rooms.
Top Treatments: Thermae Ritual an all over body and facial hydrating therapy. Tranquil Lakes Signature Ritual, a whirlpool bath session followed by a full body and scalp massage.
Spa Products: Comfort Zone, Just Be.
10. The Grove, Hertfordshire
Known as ‘London’s Country Estate” and a favourite with The England football team, the Sequoia Spa is set in a tranquil walled garden within the estate. Facilities include a dimly-lit black mosaic swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms and a saline vitality jet pool. Twelve Asian-inspired treatment rooms and indoor and outdoor relaxation rooms.
Top Treatments: Rose Ritual, a rejuvenating rosehip scrub followed by a warm rose and geranium oil massage. Cellular Renewal Enzyme Facial.
Spa Products: Espa.