Best hotels for a January Detox
by Adrian Mourby (December 2015)
After the toxic delights of Drinkcember and our Christmas bacchanalia, comes Dry January and everyone telling us ‘Tis the Season to Detoxify. For many years January was as joyless as a 31-day hangover with nothing pleasurable on our grey wintery horizon except the hope of a diminishing waistline. It was all about eating and drinking very little and going to bed early with a morally uplifting book. Fortunately all that has changed thanks to Britain’s enterprising hotels, offering healthy menus, long walks and tempting spa treatments that have actually made virtuous living attractive. So this January book in somewhere quiet and comfortable and take time to be kind to yourself. And why limit your detox to January? When the experience is this comfortable you can come back later in the year for more!
Showing below are all 9 records in "Best hotels for a January Detox"
For a truly relaxing start to the new year, stay at Lucknam Park in Wiltshire and ask for one of the bedrooms with a working fireplace. Few hotels will let you have a log fire in your room these days, which is a shame as there is nothing more soothing in the long winter evenings than sitting in front of a roaring fire with a good book in your hand. Located at the end of a very long tree-lined drive, Lucknam Park is a wonderful place to withdraw from the world. Bedrooms are in the old house or around a quadrangle formed by the stable block and the main building. Beyond the stables a new glass-roofed spa has been built with treatment rooms, a gym and a long, gracious swimming pool, which has flickering-flame gas fires along the pool’s edge at this time of year. Treatments include the excellent signature ‘De-stress Botanical Oil and Herbal Back Therapy ‘ by Anne Semonin Skincare. After this you can sip green tea in a recovery room that looks out over the hotel grounds and the outdoor salt water plunge pool. There are also horses for riding if you want to enjoy a relaxing trek through the Wiltshire countryside. Although the M4 corridor is only twenty minutes to the north, it feels a world away.
Crook Road, Bowness-on-Windermere
Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Windermere, Linthwaite radiates serenity as soon as you park your car. There’s a real fire burning in the grate at reception, comfy chairs and lake-view bedrooms. During January the hotel runs a “lighter choice" menu for those who want to avoid fat and sugar. Freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juices – a personal enthusiasm of Mike Bevans the owner - are available every morning to cleanse the system. The hotel will also arrange in-room aromatherapy detox massages and for those who feel the need for a more active form of detoxification, a book of local walks has been specially commissioned for the hotel by renowned local walking expert Marc Richards. Linthwaite began life as a family home and still has the ambience of your own personal weekend retreat. The decor is eclectic, much as you might find someone's house, but its been cleverly matched to create a thoroughly relaxing interior. The food is excellent too. The one problem you’ll have is eschewing the seven-course tasting menu in favour of something lighter.
Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath
Homewood Park began as a gentleman’s residence above the city of Bath but it’s been extended several times to create a cheery hotel where the new and the traditional co-exist harmoniously. Rooms in the main house are highly individual yet traditional, while the bar and dining room are arrestingly modern. The hotel specialises in spa breaks and you’ll quite often find mothers and daughters in their spa robes eating a healthy lunch downstairs. The spa itself is a new construction in the garden based around a delightful heated outdoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool and sauna-steam rooms. As soon as you arrive for a treatment the warm, humid atmosphere begins to relax you. For the best experience of all, book one of the twin Garden Suites – Manuka or WaterLily – which are just next door, so you can treat the spa and its pool as an extension of your bedroom.
The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, London
The Dorchester’s underground spa claims, with justification, to be the quietest address on London’s busy Park Lane. It’s also one of the most glamorous spas you’ll encounter in Britain with a chandelier of south-Pacific pearls and a beautiful – and somewhat indulgent – Spatisserie where you can lunch if you don’t want to go back up to the opulent ground level. Here down beneath one of the capital’s iconic hotels, guests can forget they are in London at all and waft through a series of tranquil white and blue rooms where prosecco is served if you ask for it. This very liberal attitude to detoxification is part of manager Sally Pedder’s belief that what you love is good for you. Suitable detox treatments include Spirulina wraps from East Asia and Moor Mud, but you can also enjoy La Prairie’s anti-ageing techniques, skincare by Kerstin Florian and Valmont rejuvenating signature facials by Carol Joy London. As with everything else at The Dorchester this subterranean spa believes in putting the guest very firmly first. All therapists have worked for a minimum of five years before starting here and if you don’t want music playing during your treatment, off it goes so you can enjoy the rare sound of silence on Park Lane all the better.
Stratford Road, Dedham, Colchester
For a healthy, active weekend in attractive rural surroundings it’s hard to beat Maison Talbooth, a converted nineteenth-century gentleman’s dwelling within easy walking distance of Dedham, one of Essex’s prettiest villages. The new outdoor swimming pool is open all year round so no matter how chilly January may prove, you can take a plunge before breakfast and see your breath rise in cold vapour on the waters in front of you. Dinner at Maison Talbooth is taken down by the River Stour at Le Talbooth, one of the best restaurants in the county, but you can enjoy healthy breakfasts and light lunches at the Maison itself in the Garden Room. In between times the hotel can help you hire cycles and canoes to explore the local area and build up an appetite. The essence of an effective detox is not just self-denial but also taking time out to live life at a quieter pace. In this respect Maison Talbooth is a perfect place to unwind and doze on a dark winter afternoon under a not-too-demanding book.
Northcote Road, Langho, Blackburn
For a different kind of January detox go to Northcote hotel and restaurant just outside Preston. This remarkable rural retreat in Lancashire has become famous for its Northcote Obsession, an annual festival of food that each year hosts more and more top chefs from around the world cooking for the hotel’s excited guests. At one point during the last Obsession (No. 15) there were eleven Michelin stars in the kitchen at the same time, including the Galvin brothers, Angela Hartnet and Ken Hom - and the car park was awash with Porsches (the only way a top chef is able to travel). Outside the Obsession fortnight, Northcote provides a tranquil background where you can relax, eat healthily – thanks to the superb cooking of chef/co-owner Nigel Haworth – and go for invigorating walks that will help you get away from all the post-Christmas stresses. The hotel has provided a delightful booklet that details nine walks, ranging from the moderate to the strenuous that take in the Ribble Valley, Marles Wood, Pendle Hill, and the historic village of Downham.
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, Princes Street, Edinburgh
The “Caley” or Caledonian – known today as the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – is a Scots institution for fine dining and exemplary service. It’s hardly surprising that it boasts a five-star spa by the French skincare house, Guerlain. There are six tranquil treatment rooms offering personalised facials or "Body Sublimination" programmes for pampering the fragile guest. Best of all however is the spa’s "Transforming Experience", which includes top-to-toe care and grooming plus a glass of Champagne. Who said that being kind to yourself was bad for you? The spa also offers a 19-metre pool for those who feel they could do with some exercise and a thermal suite which includes a steam room, sauna and spa pool aim to melt away any remaining stress. Edinburgh is famous for its chilly Januaries but not inside the Caley’s Guerlain Spa.
Old Minster, Minster Lovell, Witney
The lovely Cotswold-stone Old Swan in Oxfordshire is a tranquil spot at any time of year with its low ceilings, open fire places and welcoming sofas, but in the new year it will running a special Detox Yoga Weekend from 14-17 January. This three day event will be under the tutelage of Sarah Tucker, travel journalist and author of The A to Zen of Yoga. She’ll be focusing on vinyasa, a flowing, dynamic form of yoga, that concentrates on breathing and a sequence of poses. It’s an ideal course for beginners and intermediates who want to get their systems working in a more healthy way this January. As well as morning sessions concentrating on detox postures that nurture all those organs which have become sluggish through overindulgence, there will be an invigorating two-hour hike after lunch followed by yet more yoga in the afternoon. Meals over the weekend will be based around core superfoods with dishes such as spelt risotto, poached organic salmon, polenta with steamed vegetables, and avocado mousse. By June 2016 The Old Swan and Minster Mill will have completed its ambitious new spa, offering residents the chance of year-round healthy living in Minster Lovell.
You don't have to go to a spa to detox but if you do there's nowhere quite as dramatic as Rowhill Grange’s "Utopia",which is an architectural fantasy on the last days of the Roman Empire with columns, porticos and ballustrades and two pools on different floors. The uppermost is for swimming while below is a hydrotherapy pool and a bubbling hot tub. There are also monsoon showers, which are a less Roman innovation, but the whole place has such a fantasy atmosphere you’ll be inclined to grab a toga and find a few slaves to rub you down. For £139.99 this January the hotel is offering a Spa Day Experience, which includes a 55-minute massage or treatment, two-course lunch (or afternoon tea) and use of the spa pools all day. In contrast to its very dramatic spa, Rowhill Grange itself is a homely mid-Victorian house that once belonged to a retired Lord Mayor of London and has been converted in a colourful but restful way, making it an ideal place to relax in the Kent countryside.
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