CW SPA: Luxury retreats less than an hour from London
Leave city behind to indulge and unwind without too much travel time at the best spas near London - tried, tested and loved by us.
THE LOWDOWN: Once the home of lords and ladies, and a Roman Catholic school for girls, Coworth Park is now a contemporary-designed 5-star hotel that’s set in 240 acres of picturesque parkland in the heart of Berkshire. It’s where Prince Harry stayed before his big day and the only hotel in the UK with a polo club, fields and an active tournament schedule. Plus it offers incredible Michelin-starred food by Adam Smith (we were tipped off by Michel Roux Sr who called him the ‘one to watch’ and we couldn’t agree more). They have an array of visiting dignitaries: look out for events including talks with designer Sophie Conran and broadcaster Nicholas Owen. Plus, there’s a brilliant kids club that houses seven rooms of entertainment, should you wish to leave the little ones.
THE SPA: A short distance from the main house, the spa is an absolute architectural masterpiece, submerged in a meadow and topped with a living roof of thyme and lavender, with floor-to-ceiling glass paneling that lets the light flood through. It has eight treatment rooms, a heated indoor, blue-lit swimming pool with underwater music, a steam and relaxation room, a gym (imagine a treadmill with an epic view of the grounds), mood showers, and a terrace for when the sun does shine. Plus there’s a salon that employs the uber-efficient OPI ProSpa manicures and pedicures, as well as a curated list of treatments on offer from the divine Kirsten Florian, Carol Joy and Aromatherapy Associates. There’s access to cucumber water and cookies to keep energy levels up throughout your stay, along with the ‘Spatisserie’ – a wellness café that offers a delightful selection of soups, juices, smoothies, wraps and salads. We loved the choice of 13 flavoured teas and the sugar snap pea, glass noodle salad with fermented cabbage and sesame.
TRY: Coworth Park Signature Treatment, £145
A top-to-toe ritual that begins with your back, with the therapist using moor mud to exfoliate, followed by a rub-down with smooth basalt hot stones to relieve spinal tension. Next up is a Kerstin Florian Prescription Facial, where two different massage techniques and acupressure are employed to tone, lift and increase blood flow, while the fragrant products get to work beyond the dermis. The final touch? A hot stone foot knead that is quite frankly the icing on the treatment cake, and a fast track to total relaxation. So much so, you might just need to be airlifted home.
THE LOWDOWN: A five-star country house hotel in Berkshire with an exuberant history; think duelling Earls, aristocratic affairs and the Profumo saga, along with visitors such as Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill and the Beatles (who filmed part of the movie Help here). More recently it’s where the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and mother Doria Ragland stayed the night before the wedding.
THE SPA: A beautifully designed, renovated spa space that combines a luxurious grand style with a modern, airy feel. It comes complete with 7 treatment suites fully kitted out with bespoke flotation massage tables, along with facilities that include an infra-red sauna, infused steam, state-of-the-art Technogym, and a fitness room. The spa kitchen serves healthy delicacies – we tried the home-made spiced pumpkin soup, and the seared tuna served with plenty of freshly plucked garden leaves and a side of kale, celery and mint juice. There’s an indoor and outdoor pool with hot tubs (although not quite warm enough for our liking during the cold snap) and a Jacuzzi on the inside if you don’t want to brave the UK winter temperatures. Modern British beauty brands Sarah Chapman, and Oskia are a highlight, along with access to the 376 acre National Trust estate.
TRY: Oskia Glow on the Glow Facial, £75
Oskia is the British beauty brand that is taking the world by storm. Their high-tech formulations are made from patented actives & nutrients at efficacious percentages, which deliver clinically proven results. Be prepared to float away on the water massage table, while your therapist cleanses, scrubs, and gets to work at ridding you of dry skin. Acupressure and a lymph drainage massage technique – combined with Oskia’s incredible masks – hydrates, de-puffs and streamlines your visage. You’ll leave feeling completely refreshed, rejuvenated and glow rein-stated.
THE LOWDOWN: Eastwell Manor sits amid 62 acres of private grounds at the heart of the Eastwell Estate in the rural Kent Downs. It was the home of Prince Alfred in the 1800s, during which time his mother, Queen Victoria, was a regular guest. Since then, it has been a haven for Oscar-winners, models and sports stars. It’s only around a 15-minutes’ drive from Ashford International which means you can escape to the country in super quick time.
THE SPA: The spa is vast, bustling and jolly – housing over twenty treatment rooms that make for the perfect place for spa-ing with friends. It also houses a 20-metre pool, complete with daybeds, sauna, steam room and hydrotherapy pool and gym. There are plenty of fitness options on offer, from high-energy aqua fit, Zumba and boot camp – to personal training sessions and mat-based Pilates. There are also visiting practitioners from Harley Street offering alternative treatments like acupuncture, alongside a hair salon and mani and pedi room. In warmer weather conditions there’s an outdoor pool, as well as tennis courts and croquet lawns. Products are from the efficient and lovely Elemis, Clarins and Aromatherapy Associates, sat alongside the Champneys homegrown range, which is surprisingly good. The food is also excellent – both in the Spa Café and in the restaurant for dinner – with offerings like miso cod and hand-dived scallops, with enough cheffy intervention to add interest without weighing down the locally sourced and market-fresh ingredients.
TRY: Champneys Personalised Massage, from £55
Your therapist will discuss any areas of tension or concern, and guests can create their own tailored beauty experiences, devising a treatment plan accordingly. They utilise manual lymphatic drainage and Swedish massage techniques, and it’s a sure-fire way to ease tense muscle, relax weary limbs, and lift a gloomy mood.
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