UK spa breaks: Wish upon a spa
Relax and recharge with a rejuvenating UK spa break, reports Katie McGonagle
Everybody needs a little lift now and then – so how about boosting your commission while making clients feel better about themselves?
Spa breaks offer a much-needed escape from everyday stress to unwind with family and friends or enjoy a little ‘me’ time. But did you know they could also top up your earnings too?
If regular clients are booking spa breaks direct, you’re missing out on the chance to earn extra customer loyalty – and extra cash – by offering to take the stress out of booking.
Whether they like their massage light as a feather or firmer than firm, the UK’s top-quality spa hotels can oblige – just make sure you pick the right one.
It sounds clichéd, but there are few better excuses for a girly get-together than catching up between facials and full-body wraps, especially at one of the UK’s luxurious country house hotels. Superbreak has added Coworth Park in Ascot (pictured below), offering 70 rooms across a Georgian mansion house, converted cottages and stables, plus a Best of British menu, croquet or polo on the lawn, and horse-riding through 240-acre grounds.
From one racing town to another, 16th-century Cheltenham manor house The Greenway is English through-and-through, from its ivy-clad exterior and eight-acre grounds overlooking the Cotswolds to the exposed brickwork and wooden beams in its Elan spa.
Treatments range from anti-ageing and Egyptian massage to manicures with a glass of bubbly in the Champagne Nail Bar (from £94 for a night’s accommodation, English breakfast, cream tea and 30-minute treatment when booked with Great Little Breaks before the end of March).
Fancy getting pampered without having to leave the room? Offering the ultimate in stress-free spas, St Mawes Retreats – five Cornish properties sleeping four to 12 people – has introduced in-room therapies from £60 per hour.
The spa doesn’t have to be the sole focus of a break. Do Something Different offers a flexible add-on spa day in 29 locations across England, Scotland and Wales. At £99 for two, the Bannatyne’s Girls Day Out for Two includes an Elemis ‘pick me up’ facial, manicure, and spa access.
Ribby Hall Village in Lancashire also combines top-flight facilities – hydrotherapy pool, rasul mud chamber, outdoor sauna and pool – with the flexibility of self-catering and beachfront fun in nearby Lytham Saint Annes or Blackpool. Hoseasons offers a week in Ribby Cottage for up to six from £1,220 in August.
Couples’ treatments are de rigueur for honeymoons, but some chaps are still tentative about a UK spa. Tempt them in with other facilities such as a gym – Do Something Different has two-for-one discounts on Virgin Active Reviver Pamper Days, £59 per couple – or the hydro spa pool, Turkish steam room and aromatherapy or ice caves at Warner Leisure’s Thoresby Hall (a two-hour spa pass costs £30 for two).
The five-star Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa also entices couples with its fine dining – a Michelin-starred restaurant and champagne lounge – as well as offering access to a two-floor spa packed with steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, sensory showers and fully-equipped gym.
For many properties, golf is the answer to avoiding arguments. Five of QHotels’ properties combine golf and spa facilities. Choose from a £99 golf offer covering a night’s accommodation with breakfast, evening meal and 36 holes; or £99 spa stay, which includes a one-hour treatment.
The four-star Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in East Sussex similarly offers an Ultimate Relax Package from £147.50 with breakfast and dinner, which includes either a 25-minute beauty treatment – pick from back, neck and shoulder massage, mini-facial, or hand and foot treatments – or a round on the 18-hole course.
Iconic golf retreats Celtic Manor Resort and Gleneagles strike a similar bargain. The Welsh resort has two health clubs featuring Elemis, Payot and Clarins products, with commissionable packages including the Sunday Spa Rollover for an overnight stay, dinner, and 50-minute treatment from a choice of facial, salt scrub, pedicure or cellulite therapy from £115.
Gleneagles also encourages Sunday stays with a package comprising accommodation, breakfast, and either a round of golf on one of three championship golf courses, or a 55-minute spa treatment for each person (from £295 per room up to May, £360 thereafter).
If anyone needs to recharge, it’s a mum – the only problem is finding the time. At Butlins Skegness, £20 buys a three-hour escape to the on-site hydrotherapy pool, crystal steam room, sauna, pool, fitness suite and relaxation lounge, while £60 provides unlimited access. If there’s only time for a quick treat, manicures and mini-treatments start at £15. At Butlins Bognor Regis, choose from an outdoor hot tub or snow cave.
Sister brand Haven also offers a spot of pampering at selected sites: Rockley Park in Poole, Haggerston Castle in Northumberland, and Devon Cliffs in Devon. Rockley Park’s newly refurbished spa offers salt-brushing, black mud wrap, and deep cleansing, with each treatment over £40 also earning an extra hour enjoying the sauna, hot tub, sun terrace and relaxation zone.
A three-hour spa experience at Devon Cliffs costs £25, while the Princess Package at Haggerston Castle means girls aged four to 13 can be pampered just like mum, with ‘funky fingers’, ‘tantalising toes’ and make-up (from £12).
Parents are more likely to choose Hoseasons’ Go Active park Cheddar Woods Lodges in Somerset for its activities – horse riding, windsurfing, sailing, climbing, caving and abseiling are just a few – but after all that activity, they can soothe aching muscles in the heated pool, sauna and steam room. A week-long stay starting on August 9 costs £1,325 based on four sharing a Cheddar Lodge Premier.
Alternatively, if one parent can leave the kids with their partner for the day, they can take advantage of the discounted Spa Day for One from Attraction World. Reduced from £59 to £39, the package includes a choice of a back, neck and shoulder massage, energising facial, or Elemis exfoliating body polish, plus a full day at the Bannatyne spa to use the the gym or take exercise classes, swim, or simply relax in the Jacuzzi.
Joanna Booth had a Haute Couture Facial at the luxury Hampshire spa retreat
With my sensitive skin – it can be oh-so-touchy about any number of products – I tend to steer clear of facials and choose massages, wraps or other treatments for the body, but I knew I was in safe hands in the award-winning spa at Chewton Glen. My therapist Anneli was comfortingly expert, and tailored my facial by selecting certain products from skin-care guru Linda Meredith’s state-of-the-art range. After an hour of her time I felt rested, rejuvenated, and clearer-skinned – no telltale, angry, post-facial redness for me.
The extensive spa at this countryside retreat is perfect for pampering, with a grand, pillared, 17-metre indoor pool, hydrotherapy spa pool, outdoor whirlpool, aromatherapy saunas, steam rooms, and 10 suites where a wide range of treatments are on offer using products from both Linda Meredith and Ila, an English brand that has created a range using natural ingredients sourced from the hotel’s own gardens.
Chewton Glen is a real special-occasion hotel, with an exquisite restaurant, understated yet impeccable service and beautiful New Forest setting (see review page 69). A spa break here would be the perfect treat for Mother’s Day or an anniversary – there’s a nine-hole golf course for spa widowers – or even for mothers-to-be, with its range of treatments designed for pregnant women.
Book it: Prices per room per night start from £325 and include use of the spa facilities. A Haute Couture Facial costs £92.
Katie McGonagle enjoyed a spa stay with friends at a mid-range Winchester hotel
A spa break is supposed to put you at ease, but it’s surprising how many guests feel the opposite when faced with stuffy surroundings or supercilious spa attendants.
Not here – the total lack of pretension at this QHotels property was delightful, from the warm welcome at the spa reception to a friendly masseuse who chatted cordially as she began a Q Spa signature treatment comprising a gentle foot rub and neck, shoulder and scalp massage using Espa products.
I left refreshed and ready to explore the rest of the spa. It’s not huge – the pool was busy with children at first, although it soon settled down – so this could be tricky when all 10 treatment rooms are in use, but the heated loungers, sauna and soothing eucalyptus-scented steam room made a worthy escape, as did the well equipped gym.
The welcoming atmosphere extends across the 175-room property, which has a spacious terrace for al fresco drinks and dining, a beautifully-restored original barn and manor house, plus 54-acre grounds with a lake and conservatory, ideal for sunny days.
Nearby cathedral city Winchester is packed with quintessentially English spots too, reinforcing the impression that this hotel is an English rose in the midst of the countryside – and it won’t break the bank either.
Book it: Prices start at £51.50 per person, or £30.90 with a current offer of 40% off two-night breaks until June 30. The Head and Feet Wake Up Ritual costs £50.