Where To Find The World’s Most Fabulous Spa Hotels

In need of a little relaxation? We check into some of the world’s most fabulous spa hotels, where serenity meets luxury and design

1 Borgo Egnazia, Italy


This heavenly, luxurious beachside retreat in Puglia is home to the revolutionary 2000-square metre Vair Spa, where the emphasis is on inner beauty through wellbeing and engaging all five senses as part of ‘life changing’ experiences.

Spend the day immersed in a sensory adventure involving everything from naturopathy, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and meditation, to discovering true escapism in a saltwater floatation tank.

Massage and beauty rooms offer more traditional spa treats, plus there’s a hair and make-up area and a yoga studio. Six restaurants and weekly cookery lessons make up the gastronomic offering, their menus linked by Apulian heritage.

Bookings: From €220 per night (B&B), based on two sharing a Corte Bella Room. See here for more.  Or enjoy a 20% early booking reduction with Carrier. From £1070pp* (B&B), based on two sharing, with return flights from Gatwick and private transfers. Visit here for more.

2 Boringdon Hall, Plymouth


This beautiful stately home is high on a hill, just a short taxi ride from Plymouth train station. Latticed windows, elaborately decorated soaring ceilings  and worn flagstone floors are made cosy by giant stone fireplaces and truly lovely staff.

The Gallery Restaurant overlooks the rather grand main hall, and I’m given a detailed description of every dish on the menu – and its provenance. Recommendations are right on the money, and the food is delicious. My only regret is coming to this romantic retreat solo.

There’s also an aromatherapy steam room, a laconium, and a herbal sauna, so leave plenty of time to hop between all four. If you’restill in need of relaxation, book a Poultice Massage (£120 for 60 minutes) which uses heated muslin compresses filled with fresh herbs – both supremely relaxing and deeply exfoliating, leaving my skin as smooth as glass. All in all, the Gaia Spa experience is up there with some of the best I’ve had.

The brand-new Gaia Spa is gorgeously designed; with white, open spaces, lots of glass, and just the right amount of wood creating a warm, inviting environment. I start my spa experience with a dip in a pool that’s
long enough to make me feel like I’ve really had some exercise. I then feel I’ve earned the right to languish in the 80°C Finnish sauna supposedly improving my blood circulation and immune system.

Bookings: One night’s B&B from £141. Sublime Sunday Spa Break, including B&B, dinner for two, a spa treatment and full use of the spa, from £269. See here for more.

3 The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath 


Theres something very satisfying about actually being able to walk into one of the beautiful Grade 1-listed Georgian buildings that tourists so admire on Bath’s Royal Crescent – especially when you know you’re staying the night.

Following a recent refurbishment, the already-elegant Royal Crescent Hotel is now even more decadent; every room decorated with striped or checked pale pastel fabrics along with the odd floral. It’s all very English, and it’s terribly tasteful.

When you’re hungry, take a short stroll through the pretty walled gardens at the hotel rear and dine at the Dower House Restaurant, where Im served the most delicious piece of bream I’ve ever eaten.  Also across the walled garden is The Bath House Spa – a lovely, stone-clad building housing a 12-metre heated relaxation pool, a vitality pool whose jets give you a good pummelling, a Himalayan salt-infused sauna, and a fantastic steam inhalation room where I do a few relaxing stretches, and emerge totally rejuvenated.

When it comes to treatments we recommend the Royal Crescent Signature Treatment (90 minutes – £110).  The spa’s “Hero” offering, this Elemental Herbology experience delivers triple results by targeting three key areas – the back, the face and the scalp. The treatment includes a back exfoliation, a back massageincorporating hot stones, a Five Element facial and a scalp massage.


Bookings: One night’s B&B from £295. Click here for more.

4 The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa, Midhurst


Built in 1430 and one of England’s oldest coaching inns, The Spread Eagle in West Sussex is jam packed with authentic, olde-worlde charm. Floors slant, low-beamed ceilings hover just overhead, and narrow, panelled corridors wind in every direction – leading you to one of the hotel’s 39 quaint bedrooms or, perhaps, its well-stocked Gin Bar. If it’s here you end up, settle yourself into one of several leather wing-backed chairs for a tipple or two, after which you’ll probably not notice the wonky floors.

But it’s not all tapestries and coats of arms here. There’s also a bright conservatory where you can stop and have a coffee, and a beautiful garden where you can get a breath of that wonderfully fresh Sussex air.

You wouldn’t think that a modern spa with a Scandi-style panelled, spotlit ceiling and a cascade spa pool could join this ancient building, but the sensitively-designed additions look right. There’s a large pool, Turkish steam room, Scandinavian sauna, and a fitness room. An extensive range of treatments use Temple Spa products – I finally settle on the I’ll Be Back (£59 for 45 minutes). After a deep cleanse and skin exfoliation, warm mud is slathered over my skin, later removed with lovely hot mittens that leave my skin feeling squeaky-clean before a massage so relaxing, it has me nodding off blissfully.

Bookings: One night’s B&B from £119. The Indulgent Spa Break including B&B, dinner for two, massage, and use of the spa from £154.50. Click here for more.

5 Calcot Manor, Tetbury

Calcot Manor beckons_preview

Find everything you need for a lazy weekend of relaxation here – from squashy sofas and roaring fires to an easy-going spa. The delightful setting and friendly staff ensure you feel both at home and wonderfully pampered. Stay in one of the cosy, stone-clad cottages in the midst of the idyllic grounds, with a background of birdsong and kids playing. This hotel is family friendly, but there’s plenty to occupy little people, so they don’t spoil your downtime.

Things for your tick list? A morning walk across the 220 acres of fields, snuggling up by the fire with a wonderful cheeseboard from onsite pub, The Gumstool Inn, and sipping Champagne in the hot tub with the fire crackling close by.

With its heated outdoor hot tub and indoor and outdoor pools, the spacious spa complements this country house retreat brilliantly. Treatments include massages and facials, with products from Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates. My favourite? The Deeper Than Deep Hot Stones (£80 for 55 minutes), which worked wonders on my tense Bridezilla neck and shoulders.

The hotel’s bright, airy Conservatory restaurant has wonderful views right out across the grounds, and serves a menu centred on fresh, local produce. There are plenty of healthy options if you’re determined to stay on track, but I’d recommend indulging in the luscious Calcot organic beef and oyster pie with cabbage and mash.

Bookings: Rooms from £199 based on two sharing. The Mid-week Spa Break, including bed and breakfast, full use of the spa, and £45pp to spend on treatments, from £304. Visit calcot.co to book.

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