If ever there’s a time of year when we need a spa break, it’s January. Yet that’s precisely when our bank balances are at their lowest, particularly this year as we struggle to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.
The solution? Forget the spa stay and opt for a spa day instead, where the price usually includes a treatment as well as lunch or afternoon tea.
Rather than booking into a swanky facility at a five-star hotel, try one of these under-the-radar places near you.
Spoil yourself: To relax on a budget this January, forget the spa stay and opt for a spa day instead. Alexander House Hotel’s Utopia Spa in West Sussex has a spa garden (pictured) featuring an outdoor whirlpool, barrel sauna and private hot tubs
Above is Alexander House Hotel’s indoor pool, with its columns and alcoves
Roman treat: Pictured is the grand pool at Rowhill Grange, Kent
Bag a bargain as well as banishing the January blues at Alexander House Hotel’s Utopia Spa in West Sussex. You can pick treatments worth £200 for the cut-price rate of £188.50 Monday to Thursday before February 12.
Included in the price is either a two-course lunch or afternoon tea, as well as refreshments on arrival. The tempting selection of treatments includes spoiling Oskia facials, a Temple Spa body scrub and hot-stone massages. There’s also time for a dip in the indoor pool, with its columns and alcoves, and to visit the spa garden which features an outdoor whirlpool, barrel sauna and private hot tubs.
Sister hotel Rowhill Grange in Wilmington, Kent, has the same offer for even less – from £169pp. Not far from London, this country manor comes with a Romanesque pool surrounded by frescos of Italian landscapes, plus a sauna and steam rooms.
The price on Fridays and weekends rises to £208 for Alexander House and £188.50 for Rowhill Grange. For details of both, see alexanderhotels.co.uk.
For something small and special, The Old Dairy Retreat in Oxfordshire can be hired exclusively by groups of two to six guests. Created by health and beauty expert Bex Fletcher in a converted barn amid the grounds of her rural home, it’s more for people wanting to enjoy time together rather than those looking for plenty of facilities, although there is a sauna and garden.
A spa day includes a 60-minute facial or massage as well as an hour’s restorative yoga or sound-bath session, and a cream tea along with fruit and refreshments.
It costs £165 per person, and you can upgrade and add a copper-bath experience, from £40pp (theolddairyretreat.co.uk).
Una St Ives at Carbis Bay, Cornwall, has an outdoor (pictured) and indoor pool, as well as a hot tub, sauna and steam room
Una St Ives offers a Dip & Dine package, which includes an evening swim and dinner from £30
It’s a balmy 35 degrees in the large hydrotherapy pool which forms the centrepiece of the spa at St Michaels Resort on the Cornish coast at Falmouth.
Spend a blissful couple of hours flitting between the pool’s 21 massage stations and the thermal cabins, or hang out on the heated loungers. The spa gardens also include a barrel sauna and a hot tub, while inside, there’s a manicure and champagne bar. Among the treatments are an Ishga seaweed wrap and hot poultice massage.
The Coastal Wellness Spa Day includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot, a brasserie lunch, hydrothermal experience and either a 25-minute Elemis facial or massage. Prices begin at £140pp (stmichaelsresort.com).
On Cornwall’s north coast at Carbis Bay, Una St Ives has just opened a year-round heated lido with underwater lighting for night swims. If the 25-degree temperature of the outdoor pool is still too chilly for you, there’s also an indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. Dip & Dine packages include an evening swim and dinner from £30, or the Elements Spa Day costs from £100, including a 55-minute treatment plus a wood-fired pizza (unastives.co.uk).
Relax: Spa days for couples and mums-to-be are on offer at Ramside Spa in County Durham (pictured)
Ramside Spa has five pools and hot tubs, including hydrotherapy and outdoor infinity pools
Cocooning days for couples and mums-to-be are on offer at Ramside Spa in County Durham, which has five pools and hot tubs, including a hydrotherapy pool and outdoor infinity one. Couples can enjoy a 55-minute massage together, plus 45 minutes in the mud rasul chamber or private infinity pool. Spend a couple of hours flitting between the saunas, steam rooms and caldarium (a room with hot plunge bath) in the thermal suite before curling up in the soundwave therapy pods. A two-course dinner in the hotel’s pan-Asian restaurant is included in the package, from £298 for two. Meanwhile, mums-to-be can enjoy an hour’s prenatal pregnancy massage and a two-course lunch from £159 (ramsidespa.co.uk).
Luxuriate in the landscape in the Coniston Hotel near Skipton, where two infinity pools make full use of the lake view in this stunning part of the Yorkshire Dales.
Warm up by the fire pits on the terrace and bathe amid the beauty in the private spa garden. Pick from three saunas inside plus an aromatherapy steam room, a fitness area, and 15-metre indoor pool.
Soak up the Dales views at The Coniston in Yorkshire (pictured), which has two infinity pools
A range of treatments feature Natura Bissé, Aromatherapy Associates and Ishga products. On selected dates, a 60-minute treatment, £15 lunch credit and two-hour thermal journey costs from £99 (theconistonhotel.com).
Over in the Lake District, the spa at Low Wood Bay is right on the shores of Windermere. You can drink in the watery vistas as you wallow in either the indoor or outdoor pools and hot tubs.
The thermal facilities include a coconut steam room and dry-salt sauna, while outside there’s a sauna looking over the water, a firepit, and, of course, the breathtaking scenery. A 30-minute Espa treatment plus two-course lunch or afternoon tea and three hours in the thermal spa costs from £125. Or pay an extra £50 to receive a 90-minute treatment plus a glass of prosecco with your food (englishlakes.co.uk).
Ludlow’s Fishmore Hall Hotel (pictured) has a standalone woodland spa within its grounds
Above is Fishmore Hall’s outdoor hot tub, where guests can gaze over the Shropshire countryside
Can’t decide between a facial and a massage? This one’s for you. Ludlow’s Fishmore Hall Hotel has a standalone woodland spa within its grounds, where you can enjoy two 55-minute Elemis treatments on the Full Spa Day Experience – as well as a two-course lunch in the hotel restaurant.
The rest of the time is yours to relax in the outdoor hot tub as you gaze over the Shropshire countryside, or heat up in the sauna and steam room. The day costs from £160, but you can cut the price in half by opting for two shorter 25-minute treatments along with a light lunch (fishmorehall.co.uk).
Should you prefer a pool as an intrinsic part of a relaxing day, take a look at The Malvern Spa in Worcestershire, which has an impressive indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool that can be used year-round. You can warm up in the crystal steam room or the herb sauna, feel the healing properties of the salt grotto and dip into the foot spa.
A 30-minute treatment is included in the day price of £119, as are a glass of prosecco, £10 towards any products you buy and lunch worth £10. You might also find yourself tempted by some of the other therapies on offer, such as the Caci non-surgical facelift facial, from £45 for 25 minutes (themalvernspa.com).
The Breedon Priory Spa in Derbyshire (pictured) offers spa days with lunch and a 60-minute treatment from £205pp
Zen zone: Above are the relaxation beds at The Breedon Priory Spa
For a secluded spa for couples, The Hideaway is a separate area within The Breedon Priory Spa in Derbyshire, with a private outdoor hot tub, firepit and double treatment room. The swish new day spa in a bucolic country setting comes with a relaxation pool and vitality pool, thermal cabins and a range of rituals and wraps to leave you feeling top-to-toe perfect.
A half day in The Hideaway with either a two-course lunch or afternoon tea plus a 60-minute treatment each costs from £575 for two. Otherwise, spa days with lunch and a 60-minute treatment cost from £205pp (breedonprioryspa.co.uk).
If you want to stay nearby, the spa has partnered with Breedon Hall five minutes’ drive away, with ten per cent off the price of a room, which costs from £100 B&B.
Happy valley: Lake Country House (pictured) in Powys offers a midweek spa day for £150pp
Lake Country House’s midweek spa offer includes lunch at the spa with a glass of prosecco and cream tea at the hotel, plus 90 minutes of treatments
Spa days at Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff include a 50-minute treatment and cost from £85.50, but you can upgrade with a night’s B&B in the modern rooms from £170
Slope off for a Wednesday spa day at Lake Country House in Llangammarch Wells, Powys, to benefit from a midweek special.
The price of £150 includes lunch at the spa with a glass of prosecco and cream tea at the hotel, plus 90 minutes of treatments. There are plenty to choose from – among them an Indian head massage, facial, manicure and reflexology. This mock-Tudor fishing lodge, by the River Irfon, also has a hot tub overlooking the lake as well as a 15-metre pool, sauna, steam rooms and a gym (lakecountryhouse.co.uk).
Or swap country views for a cityscape any day of the week from the rooftop spa at the newly opened Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff. Gaze out at the city skyline from the hydrotherapy infinity pool, enjoy a 90-minute thermal suite session, then kick back on one of the heated beds.
Spa days include a 50-minute treatment and cost from £85.50, but you can upgrade with a night’s B&B in the modern rooms from £170 (theparkgatehotel.wales).
The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket, Suffolk, is located in a ‘dramatic’ modern glass structure (pictured)
Bedford Lodge Hotel has a spa day package for £200, which includes an Elemis’s Modern Alchemy treatment, one-course lunch, a glass of prosecco, and a complimentary bag and slippers
The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket, Suffolk, is already a deeply relaxing place. A dramatic modern glass structure in the grounds of a Victorian hunting lodge, it’s perfect for a swim as you gaze out at nature.
With glass-fronted sauna and steam rooms and a rasul mud cabin, it also has a hot tub on the decked roof terrace. If all of that doesn’t leave you in a state of zen, it has just added Elemis’s Modern Alchemy rituals to its spa days. These 90-minute harmonising and empowering rituals incorporate jade rollers, foot bathing, crystals and moonstones. One of these treatments is included in the day price of £200, along with a one-course lunch, a glass of prosecco, and a bag and slippers to take home (bedfordlodgehotelspa.co.uk).
If you fancy something a bit more active, the Glass House Retreat in Upminster, Essex, includes fitness classes – from boxercise and water aerobics to yoga and studio classes.
Day guests at Glass House Retreat (pictured) in Upminster, Essex, can hit the gym before relaxing in the Himalayan salt sauna, the outdoor swimming pond and the steam room
Hit the gym before the Himalayan salt sauna, the outdoor swimming pond and the steam room. Day guests can tuck into a healthy lunch, followed by a vegan cooking demonstration with free tasting.
The price for a day, with classes, lunch and a 25-minute treatment, starts at £111pp (glasshouseretreat.co.uk).
Scotland and Ireland
A new double treatment room at Fletcher’s Cottage Spa on the Archerfield Estate in East Lothian, 40 minutes from Edinburgh, is the perfect excuse to book the Made For Two Experience.
Start with a mud rasul experience together, then move to the treatment room for either a 60-minute facial or massage. Relax with a glass of bubbly in the welcoming lounge with its exposed brickwork and wood-burner before enjoying the marine steam room and lavender sauna.
Fletcher’s Cottage Spa on the Archerfield Estate (pictured) in East Lothian has a couple’s spa experience from £350
Above is the lounge area at Fletcher’s Cottage Spa where guests can relax before their treatments
The experience for two costs from £350. There isn’t a pool, but there are two wooden bath huts heated by wood-burners in the walled garden. Alternatively, a beach-hut experience, where you can relax in a candlelit roll-top bath with guided meditation followed by a massage, costs £160pp (fletcherscottagespa.com).
In Northern Ireland, the Rabbit Hotel’s Relaxation Burrow couldn’t be better named. This cosy riverside retreat in Templepatrick, Co Antrim, has an outdoor Roman bath next to a flickering fire.
Sip a cocktail at the beach bar and warm up in the waterside hot tubs, along with the sauna, steam and salt chambers. When you’re done, the relaxation cabanas have waterbeds to collapse on to. A day spa experience from 8am to 2pm, including a one-course lunch and a 60-minute spa treatment, costs from £135. Or enjoy a clay ritual for two instead of the treatment and the cost drops to £85pp (rabbithotel.com).