Natalie French

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Dreaming of escaping to a spa? Then you’re probably imagining hot footing it to a countryside retreat or a spa with far-reaching views of the Cornish Coast.

But what if you could find a sanctuary of calm closer to home? From ultra-stylish urban spas; to rooftop pools on the outskirts of towns and cities– we share some of the best hotels within easy reach.

Crowned winner of the 'Best Urban Spa' at the Good Spa Guide Awards 2021, The Lanesborough Club & Spa is a vast white, neo-classical style mansion in the heart of one of London's most exclusive areas, positioned between Knightsbridge and Mayfair.

Expect opulent art-deco design, his and hers thermal suits and impeccable customer service. You can summon a spa butler at the press of a button in the sumptuous relaxation lounge. Treatments have been exclusively designed by La Prairie, ila and Tata Harper. 

Just outside central Edinburgh, you’ll find this elegant Georgian country house hotel. The spa is separate from the main building and has an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, a bucket shower for the brave and a bubbly hydro pool to warm up after.Hebridean skincare brand, ishga, is on the treatment menu - using hand-harvested seaweed from the faraway Isle of Lewis, packed with over 86 vitamins and minerals. On a sunny day head to the sun-trap zen garden to soak up the rays.

Pennyhill Park romped home with the ‘Best Hotel Spa’ accolade at this year’s Good Spa Guide Awards and we can see why: Five-star hotel; Michelin-starred restaurant and an epic spa, located in its own wing, offering heavenly Natura Bisse treatments. Inside you’ll find the impressive 25-metre heated ballroom pool with underwater music and an extensive labyrinth of thermal rooms to play in. 

Then there’s the spa garden – with Riviera-style swimming pool, Canadian hot tubs and bubbly hydro pool. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s a choice of three restaurants. Foodies will love feasting on the intricate and amazingly-crafted Discovery Menu in The Latymer, whilst getting to grips with the extensive wine list with grapes from across the globe.

Just outside the city of Bath, you’ll find a quintessentially English mansion - home to a beautiful ESPA spa. Situated within 500 acres of Wiltshire countryside, it feels a world away from the buzz of the city.

Soak away life’s stresses in the 20-metre indoor pool or the hydrotherapy pool with arboretum views. There’s five thermal cabins so you can saunter between the sauna, steam room and Japanese salt room - or chill out in the social lounge with skincare mixology bar. Choose from a huge range of ESPA treatments – there’s even the Little Miss range, aimed at 8-16 year olds. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the contemporary brasserie to refuel.

Located in a stylish hotel in St James’ Park, So Spa is set over three sun-drenched floors, and does French chic with aplomb. Think tall arched windows, ornate ceilings and sumptuous décor. Relax in the hydro pool, jacuzzi, private hammam or chromotherapy bath – which uses underwater coloured light to evoke feelings of calm and relaxation. The spa has partnered with leading luxury spa brand, HydraFacial, to offer the ultimate skin detoxifying and deep cleansing experience - perfect for city dwellers.

Rudding Park takes full advantage of Harrogate’s spa heritage with a Rooftop Spa to rival all others. From the hydrotherapy infinity edge pool and range of thermal experiences, to the cabana with  cosy seating and a firepit. Inside you’ll find three floors of spa heaven – with glass walls to show off the stunning gardens. Facilities include an indoor pool, juniper log sauna, rasul, and four ‘mind and sense zones’. Top up vitamin D supplies in the Sunlight Therapy Room while enjoying a simulated sunrise and sunset.

This chilled out, contemporary, hotel is located between Portsmouth and Southampton – making it the perfect locale for lazy days on the South Coast. Don your fluffy robe and head to the spa to choose from a range of treatments from French brand Caudalie, who use active ingredients from the vine. The Crushed Cabinet Back Treatment incorporates a popular Vinotherapie® scrub. The spa has eight treatment rooms. Couples will love the double treatment room with private outdoor hot tub.

Just a short drive from the historic St Albans City, you’ll find The Spa at Sopwell House. Refreshed and refurbished in 2019, the spa has two distinct areas: Cottonmill and The Club at Cottonmill.  Cottonmill facilities include a 14-metre indoor pool, two hot tubs, a sauna, steam room, poolside terrace and The Sitting Room. After a heavenly treatment, you can retreat to the Rose Relaxation Room.

For optimum spa-ing, upgrade your experience to The Club at Cottonmill - the UK’s first private member’s spa - where the facilities are among the best in the UK. Popular with the St. Albans set, you’ll find three floors of saunas, steam rooms, experience showers and a relaxation space. The indoor/outdoor hydro pool opens onto the spa garden - an experience of its own where you will find cabanas, loungers and bubbly hot tubs surrounded by a Japanese style waterway.

The Runnymead on Thames is a bright contemporary spa on the banks of the River Thames. The sleek and contemporary 18-metre indoor pool, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and whirlpool, you’ll find a large outdoor pool (reserved exclusively for hotel residents) and hot tub with river views. You may spot paddleboarders gliding gracefully (or not) past and if you fancy joining them you can hire one from the hotel. Relax in the huge Eucalyptus-infused steam room, infrared cabin (heated to 40-45.C) or traditional sauna before choosing from a luxury treatment from ESPA of Guinot. 

The Garden Secret Spa is located within the grounds of the Ringwood Hall Hotel & Spa in Chesterfield. As the name suggests, The Garden Secret Spa is hidden gem, located behind the Georgian hotel and surrounded by flowerbeds and trees. The outside is bought in at every turn thanks to views from the thermal facilities. You’ll find a blossom steam room, herbal sauna and the Himalayan salt sauna with woodland views. There’s also a vitality pool, experience showers and ice fountain. After a Euphoric Balance Full Body massage with Lola’s Apothecary, unravel in either the Daydream sleep lounge or the Treehouse light relaxation lounge.

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