Natalie French

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England’s West Country has earned a solid reputation for its dramatic windswept moors, windy country roads and endless sandy beaches. It’s no wonder there’s an annual invasion; the lure of the wild Atlantic coast is strong. But what of its spas? Natalie French finds out… 

If it’s Atlantic views you’re after, look no further. Perched on a hill overlooking Fistral Bay, The Headland Hotel has got the location licked. You’ll find the spa below the first-floor reception centred around the pretty spa café with yet more sea views. While there’s a pool and thermal facilities here, it’s the new £10 million Aqua Club that steals the show. With six pools situated around the Deck Restaurant, you can swim laps in the 25-metre pool, with its green mermaid tiles and Cornish slate, or bag yourself a space in the Sunset pool with floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking the ocean. 

Shoulders automatically drop on arrival at The Woolacombe Bay Hotel; this coastal retreat overlooks the three-mile stretch of golden sand that is Woolacombe Beach, in North Devon’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). You’ll find the Alchemist Spa tucked at the back of the hotel, past the funky NEO cinema and SALT Gymnasia. Along with a heated indoor pool, bubbly hot tub, sauna and steam room, you’ll also find a private mud Rhassoul and oversized copper bath. Treatments come courtesy of Natural Spa Factory and Gaia. In the summer months, the Bay Lido comes into its own; after a dip in the outdoor pool, order a cocktail from the poolside butlers and get horizontal on the cabana-style seating.

Located just outside Plymouth, on the edge of Dartmoor, this adult-only nature-inspired spa can be found at the back of the historic Boringdon Hall – once frequented by Queen Elizabeth I. Both the infinity edge pool and hydro pool offer garden views through the floor-to-ceiling glass, while thermal suite offers an array of saunas, steam rooms and bucket showers. Retreat to a poolside lounger and order a drink on the Boringdon app. Afternoon Tea at the Spatisserie is not to be missed; the Gaia Ritual treatments – from Gaiyoga facials to crystal therapy - will leave you feeling zen-like. If you’re on a spa break, book one of the brand new, super-luxe, Wellness Suites for sleek four poster beds, mood lighting and a private alfresco spa baths for bubbling under the stars. 

The Spa at Lucknam Park ticks all the boxes for countryside lovers and is just six miles from the city of Bath. Set in 500-acres, the elegant Palladian mansion can be found at the end of a tree-lined driveway; the modern, glass-front spa is set within the pretty walled gardens. The 20-metre indoor swimming pool takes centre stage, with its curved glass ceiling and wall of flickering fire. After a few lengths, bubbly away in the indoor/outdoor hydro pool overlooking the beautifully-landscaped, Mediterranean-inspired spa garden lined by loungers. The treatment menu offers a good choice of results-driven facials from 111Skin and HydraFacial while Kloris CBD takes care of the more holistic treatments. 

What’s not to love about a spa with seemingly endless beach views? Set high atop the cliffs on the North Devon Coast, the art-deco-inspired Saunton Sands Hotel & Source Spa overlooks the stunning Saunton Sands Beach, located in an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Whether you’re hanging out in the hydro pool in the marine-inspired thermal suite, being pampered in the double treatment room or horizontal in the rooftop relaxation area – Atlantic Ocean views come as standard. Active spa-goers can sign up for daily wellbeing classes, swim laps in the outdoor pool or borrow a Dryrobe for bracing sea dips. 

This adult-only beachside spa hotel - with its enviable vista over Fistral Beach - does coastal chic with aplomb. A cool palette of soft blues, greys and white paired with locally-sourced timber brings the outside in, while the menu features freshly caught seafood straight from the Cornish coast. The laid back vibe extends to the spa with its vitality pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room, along with nine treatment rooms (including one double) providing nature-inspired Gaia Skincare treatments. Opt for the Ocean Gaia Ritual for 120 minutes of stress relieving massage using Balinese and Lomi Lomi techniques, synonymous with the rolling ocean waves. 

St Michael’s Spa is set back from the soft golden sands of Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth, surrounded by sub-tropical palms. Centred around the largest hydrotherapy pool in the South West – with 21 massage stations – you’ll find an herbal Finnish sauna, experience showers and a Cornish sea salt steam room. Saunter out to the spa garden to bubble in the hot tub, toast in the barrel sauna before cooling off in the cold plunge pool. If you’re staying overnight, book into one of the four brand new Spa Garden Lodges with their cosy interiors, calming hues and private outdoor terrace with bathtub. 

This seaside spa hotel is perched on the edge of the Salcombe’s tranquil estuary in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Along with epic sea views, you can expect delicious seafood, a chilled-out bar and roof terrace and a luxury spa with pool-side cabanas. Facilities include a heated swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and relaxation area. Treatments come courtesy of British brand, Temple Spa; have your face painted gold with the luxurious Champagne & Truffle Facial. If the sun is shining post-treatment, make a beeline for the private outdoor sun terrace to top up Vitamin D supplies. 

Located on the English Riviera, part of the 630-mile South West Coast Path, overlooking Babbacombe Bay, Cary Arms and Spa has coastal charm by the bucket load. This glass faceted spa has sea views sorted and is home to a waterfall hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and experience shower. Ocean views can be enjoyed from the spa sunbathing terrace. Gaia Skincare take care of the treatments with products using locally-sourced ingredients inspired by the Greek Goddess, Mother Gaia. There’s a good choice of accommodation if you’re staying overnight, from 10 sea-facing rooms and suites to restored fisherman’s cottages and beach huts. 

This small but beautifully-formed space is the only L'Occitane spa in the UK with a scent that promises to transport you straight to Provence. Located at The Bath Priory - a five star honey-coloured Georgian house set in four acres of mature gardens - it’s just a short walk from the city centre but feels a million miles away from the bustle. You’ll find both a heated indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and elliptical steam pod in the spa. Treatments come with a little je ne sais quoi too, from the welcome ritual foot bath to the olfactory journey using L’Occitane’s essential oils to comfort and energise you throughout the experience.