Looking for a treat this Easter? Country Life has taken a look at some of the best spas to visit around England this spring, from pregnancy massages in London to moonlit jacuzzis in the New Forest.
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Milton, New Forest
Chewton Glen is the grand dame of the country house hotel and spa and I’m happy to announce that its crown isn’t going anywhere, quite yet.
For 2019 the spa has introduced it’s own vegan product range, in partnership with OSKIA – a British manufactured and multi-award winning skincare brand. The body butters, body oils, bath salts and scrubs were inspired by the surrounding landscape – make sure you explore the grounds and woodland (cedar and wild blackberry) and nearby beaches (sea salt and water mint) while you are there.
OSKIA treatments are also available in the spa – try the Glow On The Go facial for a quick, 45-minute pick-me-up – as well as Natura Bissé, my new favourite. The Citrus Essence facial is perfect for this time of year; the zingy, Vitamin C rich products leaving skin visibly plumper and brighter. They also smell delicious. For a full body experience add on the Citrus Body Scrub.
‘Luxuriate in your own whirlpool Jacuzzi on the extravagantly large terrace’
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The hotel still boasts the first and largest hydrotherapy pool of its kind, in the UK, a 17 metre Roman-themed indoor swimming pool – perfect for lounging by post-treatments – and fun extras including a crystal sauna steam room and, for the brave, cold drench showers.
If you’d rather relax in private ask for The Marryat Suite and luxuriate in your own whirlpool Jacuzzi on the extravagantly large terrace.
Interiors ere on the right side of traditional – plush red carpets, patterned wallpaper and grand, wooden staircases – and the odd creaking floorboard only adds to the appeal.
Downstairs you’ll find The Dining Room – resplendent in soft greys and fresh greens. A jewel in the hotel’s aforementioned crown, it’s been quietly serving up flawless, British food (many ingredients have travelled less than 90 metres, from the hotel’s kitchen garden) for decades. The hotel’s current executive chef, Luke Matthews, appeared on Masterchef and the dishes he created for the popular TV show are marked on the menu.
There might be a lot of new kids on the country house hotel block, but Chewton Glen proves that ‘youth is no guarantee of innovation.’
St Michaels, Falmouth, Cornwall
A devoted North Cornwall holidaymaker, it took something special to lure me into the south of the county. The world’s first Cornish seat salt steam room, to be specific.
Following multi-million-pound investment and a facelift, St Michaels reopened in Autumn last year to much fanfare. New bedrooms in a separate, standalone building feature floor to ceiling, beachy wood headboards; there are two new restaurants; a wellness walkway links the spa to a 13,000 square foot health club, for both guests and members.
I stayed shortly after the Christmas period, weary from the constant travelling and entertaining and heavy from the constant feeding. A much-needed morning yoga class set me up for the day ahead – the sea salt steam cleared my head, a rhassoul mud treatment helped detoxify my skin and the ridiculously large hydrotherapy pool with innumerable massage stations and beds ensured I emerged from my Cornish cocoon revitalised and refreshed. Elemis are the brand of choice across the ten treatments rooms, but I loved Made for Life Organics – handmade in Cornwall using local botanicals.
‘I’m already planning my return with a group of likeminded girlfriends’
As well as a fantastic main restaurant, Brassiere of the Bay, there’s the Garden Kitchen. Accessed through the main hotel or the spa, it’s more laid back and serves up surprisingly good stone-baked pizzas, smoothies and healthy salads.
The overall atmosphere is informal, light and beach-inspired and though popular with couples and families alike, I’m already planning my return with a group of likeminded girlfriends.
It’s worth getting outside to explore hotel’s sub tropical gardens and blue flag Gyllyngvase beach beyond, Falmouth itself and surrounding costal paths. In town you’ll find Rick Stein’s infamous fish and chips, retro dining at The Wheel House and harbour views at The Star & Garter Pub. Cream teas at Gylly Beach Café are also encouraged.
Bamford Haybard, Brompton Cross, London
Visited by Louise Lomax for a pregnancy massage.
Bamford’s latest outpost in London feels a world away from the city. Very well designed space, gorgeously white!
Alex my therapist was very friendly and incredibly polite. The treatment rooms all include private bathrooms so I was able to change into my fluffy robe with space to move and no time constraints – a must for a 7 month pregnant woman. Wrestling with the removal of layers of clothes with a big bump is a surprisingly time consuming task.
Once ‘robed’ I walked back out into the treatment room and Alex explained the treatment and the process; I should lie on my side with thoughtfully placed pillows for my comfort while he works on my shoulders, back and legs.
‘I’ve had a couple of pregnancy massages where pressure is too light and therapists are too terrified to do your feet in case it prompts labour – it doesn’t!’
I happened to be suffering from something called meralgia paresthetica which caused numbness and shooting pains on one side of the hip/thigh area. It’s caused by a trapped nerve and common in pregnancy. Alex spent extra time on this hip and leg area to relieve the discomfort and I really felt the benefit afterwards.
Overall the massage was great. Just the right amount of pressure and included the feet. I’ve had a couple of pregnancy massages where pressure is too light and therapists are too terrified to do your feet in case it prompts labour (it doesn’t!) so I really felt like Alex knew his stuff and I got the maximum benefit from the treatment.
Bamford uses unscented grape seed oil for pregnancy massages – it’s completely safe and leaves your skin feeling super soft for ages.
There was no hurry to leave the treatment room after the massage and there was readily-offered tea and water in the lovely store upstairs from the
An expert treatment and an experience which is well thought out for pregnancy. Highly recommended for any future mothers out there!
Meadow Spa at Thyme, Southrop, Cotswolds
Visited by Jade Bousfield.
There couldn’t be a better time to visit The Thyme estate. The hotel has been under-going exciting renovations, and their new destination restaurant, Ox Barn, (headed up by Charlie Hibbert) opened late last year.
So I rolled down idyllic winding country lanes to Southrop, with relaxation on my mind.
The Meadow spa, located in the hotel’s Greenhouse, is immediately calming – warm, but not stuffy, with fresh botanicals set around the room, instilling a lovely sense of tranquillity. On the central table (tastefully placed around the on-trend cucumber-infused water) are fresh cuttings of fragrant herbs, filling the room with a glorious scent – natural ingredients are a big focus. Thyme is renowned for its garden-to-table eating, and you can spot all the herbs growing through the greenhouse windows – you can’t get much more organic than that.
Our therapist greets us warmly and sits us down in the Meadow Cottage to talk us through their bespoke menu of Thyme treatments. Each option we were offered can be specifically tailored to your mood, and the therapist really listened to what we wanted to get out of the experience.
I opted for the Aurelia ritual for skin, body & mind (this is Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s first foray into spa treatments), an indulgent but absolutely essential 90 minutes of bliss. I found myself so completely relaxed, I very nearly forgot where I was altogether. I floated out of the treatment room, in a surreal state of mind. Later, wrapped in the softest of robes, the therapist lead me to a relaxation area, where I curled up on plump, white cushions and read the latest Country Life in peace.
Taking a dip in the new fresh spring water swimming pool brought me back to earth. The therapist mentioned the water is taken from the natural underground source that flows deep below the meadows on the farm, and is filtered without the use of chemicals.
Thoroughly rejuvenated, I head back to normal life calmer, happier and definitely more pleasant to be around.
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