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TOP 10: The best boutique hotel spas making waves in the industry

Beauty and body care. Sensual young woman relaxing in outdoor sp

Rudding Park

The epic spa at Rudding Park was over ten years in the making but when it finally launched in 2017, it certainly proved it was worth the wait.

The result is a 45,000 sq ft space home to 11 treatment rooms, a rasul, steam rooms, indoor pool and outdoor infinity pool, a new Horto restaurant headed up by chef Callum Bowmer, saunas and a range of mind and sense zones that push the boundaries of a traditional spa experience.

The rooftop of the facility also boasts an extensive spa garden, designed by horticulturalist Matthew Wilson, who has worked with Rudding Park for more than a decade.

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The addition of forward-thinking and innovative new treatments such as a CBD oil experiences have helped take the spa to new levels once again.

The Coniston

The Coniston’s new-look spa launched in March and formed part of the owner’s, the Bannister family’s plans to invest and reposition The Coniston as one of the leading destinations in Yorkshire.

Just over five years since the launch of the hotel’s original spa, the new Nàdarra Spa, which means ‘natural’ in Scottish Gaelic and is a homage to the Bannister Family’s history on the Isle of Lewis, will feature a host of new facilities.

Highlights include; two infinity pools; a lake view terrace complete with fire pits and a covered outdoor bar; a 15m indoor swimming pool, a thermal experience including an infrared sauna, Finnish sauna, Himalayan sauna, aromatherapy steam room, indoor bubble pool and ice fountain; a couples suite including double spa bath and mud rasul.

A new spa garden has also been created, with relaxation pod, loungers and two outdoor baths. New spa manager Belinda Belli has been appointed to head up the new offering. She joins with a wealth of experience including stints at The Fairmont in Bermuda and most recently, The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle in Scotland.

The hotel has also become the first to partner with CBD brand OTO on an innovative new treatment menu.

Rockliffe Hall

Owned by chairman of Middlesbrough FC Steve Gibson, Rockliffe Hall in Darlington first unveiled its stunning new £1m spa garden in 2015. Despite huge success that has not stopped the hotel was investing into the facility and ensuring it remains one of the best in the country.

In 2019, Rockliffe spent £180,000 on improving facilities, with the addition of new thermal rooms, a new igloo, infrared sauna and experience showers, while the tropicarium and foot spa was enhanced, together with a salt inhalation system installed in the caldarium.

A cold drench bucket shower was also installed outside, next to the hot tub, and plans were put in place to install a spa wave treatment bed in the current salt room adjacent the spa treatment rooms.

The spa garden has two outdoor hot pools, including an infinity edge hydrotherapy pool with massage features and Jacuzzi, under-floor heated decking, lounging areas, a traditional glass-fronted sauna cabin, a fire pit, a water feature, landscaped gardens with views across Rockliffe Hall’s grounds and heated relaxation loungers.

South Lodge

South Lodge in Sussex made headlines in 2019 when it unveiled its new £5m spa.

The 44,000 square foot spa opened on March 1 2019 and draws on inspiration from the South Downs, with the building itself taking on the sweeping landscape, and floor to ceiling windows bringing the outside in and extending the spa into the grounds.

The vision of Exclusive Hotels has been brought to life by architects Felce & Guy Partnership, with interiors designed by SPARC Studio.

Guests can be transported from the hotel via stretched electric tuk-tuks to the epic new spa.

Facilities include the UK’s first heated natural swim pond, a juniper-infused sauna, two steam rooms, plus two swimming pools; an indoor heated infinity edge ozone treated pool and an outdoor vitality hydrotherapy pool.

There is also a new 2,000 square foot gym, stocked with the latest Technogym equipment, a spin studio, and holistic studio fit for 15 guests, where weekly yoga, HIIT, circuits and spin classes are held.

Fourteen nature-themed therapy rooms and one dedicated mud room hots a variety of 50 treatments, all of which have been developed with the natural philosophy of Exclusive’s bespoke product range, The Spa, in mind.

The spa is the only in the UK to offer treatments from Hungarian skincare Omorovicza.

The Ridgeview beauty bar, including four manicure and two pedicure stations, houses the UK’s first ever sparkling wine Enoflute wine dispenser.

The Mediterranean-inspired Botanica restaurant serves fresh and seasonal dishes designed to help guests feel ‘nourished and rejuvenated’, spearheaded by head chef Jonathan Spiers, while outdoor poolside restaurant The Watershed also offers F&B which changes with the seasons.

St Michael’s Resort

The St Michaels Spa, set on the ground floor of the hotel, includes 10 treatment rooms with the largest hydrotherapy pool in the south west with 21 massage stations and heated poolside loungers, as well as the world’s first Cornish sea salt steam room.

Other highlights include a rainforest steam room; a glass-fronted Finnish herbal sauna; a Moroccan Rhassoul offering a mud-steam experience and three experience showers, including an ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’.

The journey at St Michaels Spa continues into the garden with a sundeck, red cedar-wood hot tub and barrel sauna with sea views. A deep relaxation room and specialist manicure and pedicure champagne bar, with nailcare by OPI, complete the spa line up.

The new spa opened in 2018 as part of a wider £50m investment into the site at St Michael’s Resort as it looks to become one of the top wellness facilities in the country.

Carden Park

The Carden Park Hotel, Cheshire, officially opened its new spa last January with an official ceremony to celebrate what it labelled as ‘the first spa of 2020’.

The 4,500sq mtr new-built Carden Park Hotel spa has indoor and outdoor facilities including two vitality pools, a thermal suite, a beauty lounge and relaxation spaces and had been under development since 2018.

Designed by leading HB Architects and interior designers, Barr & Wray, the indoor spa includes a large hydrotherapy pool complete with a multitude of jets, while a sun terrace and outdoor spa garden comprises hidden hydrotherapy pools, thermal experiences and a bar.

There is also be an outdoor sauna, a series of warming cabins, relaxed seating and fire pits, plus a herb garden.

Upon opening, it was revealed that the hotel had inked a deal with natural skincare and body care brand, Elemental Herbology to bring bespoke products and treatments to guests.

The Headland

The new £10m swimming and wellbeing centre opened at five-star hotel in Cornwall, The Headland in July last year, when the world was slowly getting back on its feet after the first national lockdown.

A construction project for the new Aqua Club began in spring 2019 and evolved from the original indoor of just an outdoor pool for the site.

In the same month as The Headland celebrated its 120th anniversary, the hotel revealed its new addition complete with six pools, sun terrace and new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant named The Deck.

Three pools are housed inside The Aqua Club, including a 25-metre swimming pool, a children’s splash pool, and a hydrotherapy pool.
Outside on the sun terrace there is a heated sunset spa encircled by an oceanfront edge pool, and a vitality pool with a Cornish granite menhir as a central focal point.

The opening of the new centre marked the end of a further phase of investment for The Headland’s owners, John and Carolyn Armstrong, who have spent in excess of £40m renovating and improving the destination over a 40 year period.

Sopwell House

The new spa at Sopwell House opened its doors in the summer of 2019, following a £14m investment project.

Cottonmill is a new three-storey, private members spa, which offers two tiers of memberships to both hotel guests and non-residents.

Facilities include two vitality pools, a sauna, steam room and relaxation areas, as well as a gym, relaxation room, dining space and treatment rooms.

Access to the more premium, The Club at Cottonmill, is on offer for hotel residents for an extra charge.

Features within The Club at Cottonmill comprise a thermal suite with four new steam rooms and saunas, a deep relaxation room, whisper room and garden room.

Cottonmill has partnered with ELEMIS and Aromatherapy Associates, with signature treatments based around the ‘soothing and healing powers of sand and water’.

The spa is also the first in the UK to introduce treatments on an Amber & Quartz Crystal Bed, which delivers thermal therapy by immersing the body in hot sand.

Specific treatments include Cottonmill Sound & Sand, during which the bed gently vibrates while singing bowls are chimed, and the ELEMIS Quartz Poultice Massage, which incorporates warm quartz poultices to increase circulation and release tense muscles.

Water massages have also been created with the Vichy massage shower.

Cottonmill is home to the rose relaxation room, where walls are lined with acoustic ‘petals’ and zones are divided by rose-tinted glass screens.

Dressing rooms feature Tom Dixon marble wall lights, with stone heated flooring and Dornbracht showers and Dyson Supersonic hairdryers.

Award-winning garden designer Ann-Marie Powell has curated the look of Cottonmill’s spa garden.

Gilpin Hotel

Following the introduction of its spa lodges in 2016, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House opened the ‘next generation’ of this concept, with the spa suites in 2020.

At 100 sq mtrs, the Spa Suites are 25% larger than their predecessors, with an ‘outdoors / indoors’ themed décor and a display of live plants suspended from a lightwell to create each suite’s own atrium.

The first three spa suites launched in September last year, with a further two set following in 2021.

Every room of the new lodges has floor to ceiling windows and patio doors opening out onto a private garden with fountain water features, living wall of ferns, and a stone-built hot tub, all alongside a plunge pond.

At the western end of the suite, the private bedroom ‘floats’ over the plunge pond with views to the mountains, whilst at the eastern end, the spa room has a steam room, sauna, infrared lounge bed, and an automated massage chair.

The Spa Suites add to the Jetty Spa offering at Gilpin Hotel.

The Jetty Spa scatters the gardens and lake and includes an indoor swimming pool, steam, sauna, a Swedish-style double treatment suite, (with floor to ceiling windows boasting views of the lake) an outdoor hot tub and The Boat House – a cabin with a log fire and comfy day beds.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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