Five stylish English spa hotels

Chris Carter reports on five of the best English spa hotels for you to revitalise your body, mind and soul when the lockdowns end.

The Gilpin

Champagne, nibbles and japes in the Lake District

The new spa lodges at the Gilpin, in the Lake District, elicit “a genuine and increasingly rare expression of ‘wow!’”, says Mark O’Flaherty in The Daily Telegraph. Each is a “big open-plan glass space”, with the decor and outdoor hot tub reminiscent of reality TV’s Big Brother reimagined by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Inside, “there is a steam room and sauna, an infrared table (no, me neither) and a state-of-the-art massage chair that I now want to introduce as a third party to my marriage”. In short, “this is a luxury playroom for couples… who couldn’t give a monkey’s about hiking around the Lakes”. It’s also a “rollicking way” to spend a long weekend – “all champagne, nibbles and japes, in and out of bathrobes”. From £495, thegilpin.co.uk.

A revamped Georgian spa in the Peaks

Buxton Crescent

© Alamy

Buxton Crescent originally catered to Georgians in search of a curative dip – it was built in the 1780s before falling into disrepair 200 years later, says Kate Leahy in The Guardian. Following a revamp, the 81-room hotel in the Peak District has reopened. The spa is still home to the original thermal pool surrounded by Victorian cast-iron pillars and there is a new stained-glass dome, casting a warm light across water naturally heated to 27.5˚C. “Nearby, there’s a relaxation pool beneath twinkling mood lights and upstairs an indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Elsewhere, there’s a salt cave (good for respiration), three saunas (Finnish, biothermal and infrared) and two steam rooms (traditional and aroma).” Treatments include therapeutic hot mud baths. From £125, ensanahotels.com/buxton.

A blissful sanctuary near Durham

Seaham Hall

The 21 suites at Seaham Hall, a hotel that is “gloriously” situated on Durham’s Heritage Coast, “are a riotous festival of pop colour”, says Annabel Sampson in Tatler. “The interiors err just on the right side of bling” and are “fabulously comfortable”. As for the “colossal” award-winning spa, the Asian-themed sanctuary is “blissful, with an expansive garden area, that is as refreshing in the winter – with bursts of icy air between dips into the steaming village of Jacuzzis – as it is indulgent in the summer”. A hydrotherapy pool, ice fountain and water beds – “everything you need” – can be found with the indoor pool. Be sure to book a “Drift Away” treatment during your visit. It is “the ultimate top-to-toe massage”. From £275, seaham-hall.co.uk.

Get cosy round the fire in the Lakes

Brimstone

Brimstone

Slap bang in the middle of the Lake District is Brimstone, says Rachel McGrath in the Evening Standard. It is “a stunning spa hotel which blends effortlessly with the landscape, while quietly offering a slice of luxury you’ll be feeling smug about for months after”. Brimstone’s modern stone-clad chalet-style buildings are part of the bigger Langdale Estate, with all its facilities, including the “all-important” spa. “The luxurious-yet-homely mezzanine loft suite boasts a two-storey stone fireplace complete with a log fire (which the staff can get going if you need a non-judgemental helping hand), private balcony and roll-top tub.” From £335, brimstonehotel.co.uk.

An imposing mansion in Hertfordshire

Sopwell House

Sopwell House

The spa is the big draw at the imposing Georgian mansion that is Sopwell House in Hertfordshire, says Ben Clatworthy in The Sunday Times. There are two options: Cottonmill and the Club at Cottonmill. The first is a spa that is open to everyone. But it’s worth upgrading to the second, the Club at Cottonmill. This new three-storey extension features an indoor-outdoor hydropool, hot tubs, infrared loungers and a large relaxation area. Meanwhile, the 16 Mews Suites, set in a former stable block, come with a shared private hot tub and hydropool within the manicured garden, designed by Ann-Marie Powell, an RHS Chelsea gold medallist. From £154 in the main hotel, sopwellhouse.co.uk.

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