Which are the top luxury hotel spas around? Here’s some of the best to get you in the mood

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Spas in luxury hotels are big business and over the last few years owners have been making multi-million pound investments in providing the latest in pampering experiences.

But like hotel bedrooms, hotel spas come in all shapes and sizes and if you’re expecting a proper swimming pool then a hot tub and a massage table just really isn’t going to cut it. So here are some of the best luxury hotel spas I’ve been to – proper swimming pool guaranteed!

Lucknam Park near Bath

The 20 metre indoor pool at the spa, with the sauna and other rooms off to the right and the outdoor area straight ahead
The 20 metre indoor pool at the spa, with the sauna and other rooms off to the right and the outdoor area straight ahead

The owners invested millions in the spa at Lucknam Park and it shows. There’s a 20 metre indoor pool which leads to an outside hydrotherapy pool and sunbathing terrace, while back indoors alongside the pool are a whole variety of little cabins housing the sauna, steam room, tepidarium and even a Japanese salt room and an amythest room. There’s a restaurant and bar next door where you can pad about in your fluffy robes feeling all warm and cosy.

Chewton Glen, near New Milton, New Forest 

Best luxury hotel spas
The indoor pool at the spa at Chewton Glen – yes, it is this nice

Constantly making the ‘best spas in the UK’ lists, the hotel’s leisure facility boasts a 17 metre indoor swimming pool, one of the largest hydrotherapy pools in Europe, a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi and various treatment rooms offering anything from reiki and hot stone massages to oxygen facials and Manipura body treatments. I had an extremely pleasant full body massage (one hour, £96) and what made it memorable was the womb-like warm and dark treatment rooms which were incredibly relaxing.

Danesfield House, nr Marlow, Bucks

best hotel spas
The 20 metre pool in the spa at Danesfield House

On beautiful summer’s days you can sunbathe on the vast lawns at Danesfield House, on more typical British weather days you can lounge by its vast indoor pool, with jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and bar. There are treatment rooms, smart changing rooms and G&Ts just a few minutes away. A spa break the weather really can’t spoil.

Dormy House near Broadway, Cotswolds

best hotel spas
The pool at Dormy House is just a short walk from your bedroom

Unusually for a hotel spa which is actually part of the main building, rather than in a far-off extension, the spa at Dormy House is a decent size, with a sleek 16-metre indoor infinity pool, outdoor terrace and hot tub, salt steam room, tropical shower, glass-fronted Finnish sauna and outdoor hot tub.

Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield, West Sussex

best hotel spas
The pool at Ockenden Manor is ultra-modern compared to the traditional main hotel

The smart, ultra-modern spa provides a luxurious contrast to the older hotel building, and you can even choose to stay in suites just above the spa instead. Purpose-built inside a 19th century walled garden, the spa has eight treatment rooms, a heated indoor swimming pool with swim-through to the outdoor pool, a gym and a lot of loungers for simply doing nothing.

Bailiffscourt hotel near Littlehampton, West Sussex

The spa building next to the hotel itself is modern with a traditional touch
The spa building next to the hotel itself is modern with a traditional touch

It’s no surprise that Ockenden Manor’s sister hotel Bailiffscourt boasts a similarly luxurious spa, again in a separate, purpose-built spa complex, this time with an impressive beamed roof over the indoor pool and with an equally large heated outdoor pool. There are hot tubs indoors and out, plus treatment rooms and an abundance of magazines to read while you relax.

Hartwell House near Aylesbury, Bucks

pool

It isn’t often you arrive at a hotel spa and find top British actors enjoying the facilities, but my stay at luxury country hotel Hartwell House was certainly made more memorable by finding Imelda Staunton and husband Jim Carter in the jacuzzi. However it would have been memorable anyway with a beautiful indoor pool, hot tub plus outside sun-bathing space.

One Aldwych, The Strand, London

You can swim with the fishes, listen to music underwater...or just snooze away next to the pool underneath the hotel
You can swim with the fishes, listen to music underwater…or just snooze away next to the pool

It’s often hard for London hotels to compete in the spa sector as there are many more restrictions on space, but One Aldwych is a surprising exception. The luxury central London hotel has an 18-metre swimming pool with mood lighting, video screens and even underwater music (which made me feel as if I was a Harry Potter mermaid) as well as a sauna, steam room and treatment rooms.

Luton Hoo near Luton, Bedfordshire

luton hoo hotel and spa
The swimming pool in the spa complex

Next to the hotel’s championshipe golf course and clubhouse, the spa at Luton Hoo hotel contains everything you need for a relaxing or energetic day, depending on how you feel, with a vast indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, treatment rooms, outside loungers, tennis courts and a gym.

Special mentions go to:

Cliveden, near Taplow, Berkshire

Yes, it's *that* swimming pool...
Yes, it’s *that* swimming pool…

The spa offering is in the process of being refurbished and updated and so it might soon have the various steam rooms, saunas, treatment areas expected by regular luxury spa-attendees, but even so, the famous outdoor swimming pool in the walled garden could hardly be left off the list. Even without the air of history it is a beautiful pool and whiling away the day here in the sun will certainly make you feel like you’ve hit the big time.

Center Parcs, Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire

The really rather plush spa at Woburn Forest with six separate health and wellbeing zones
The really rather plush spa at Woburn Forest with six separate health and wellbeing zones

Not a convential hotel stay, hence not making it onto the main list, but the Aqua Sana spa at England’s newest Center Parcs at Woburn Forest is seriously impressive. As well as several pools, hot tubs, hydrotherapy pools and jacuzzis, there are six differennt ‘worlds’ including ‘fire and ice’ steam rooms and saunas, herbal spas, ice-showers, tropical rainfalls and basically a whole day’s worth of exploration and indulgence.

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
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