Category Archives: Spas

A most relaxing spa break at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire

There are some hotels with spas and there are some hotels which ARE spas. Ragdale Hall health spa in Leicestershire most definitely falls into the latter camp, making a spa break at Ragdale Hall a must for any spa fans. The moment you arrive you are greeted by the sight of guests walking around dressed in white fluffy dressing gowns (people wear these even at mealtimes) and the whole set-up is spa spa spa break all the way.

Aerial shot of Ragdale Hall
A spa break at Ragdale Hall is set in acres of beautiful countryside

If you are a spa lover you will love Ragdale Hall – it’s one of the best spas in Leicestershire and will certainly make the list of best spas in the country – and if you are not a spa fan then, well, what on earth are you doing here?

Exterior of Ragdale Hall spa
Ragdale Hall spa and hotel is an award-winning spa in Leicestershire
Continue reading A most relaxing spa break at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire

Luxury on a grand scale at the five star Corinthia Hotel London

The first thing that struck me about the five-star Corinthia Hotel in London when I stayed there was how utterly huge everything is. From the vast central lobby lounge with its soaring dome and chandelier made of 1,001 crystal baubles, to the high-ceilinged pillared restaurant, to the  enormous breakfast room, huge ballroom, conference rooms and outside courtyard, everything at the Corinthia is super-sized. Continue reading Luxury on a grand scale at the five star Corinthia Hotel London

Medieval magic with a modern twist at The Swan hotel and spa in Lavenham, Suffolk

Returning to The Swan hotel at Lavenham in Suffolk several years after my original stay, I was relieved to find that it was just as lovely as I remembered it. This time it also had the added attraction of its new (to me) Weavers’ House Spa which had been seamlessly added to the original hotel and included an outdoor hot tub and treatment rooms as well as a steam room, sauna and relaxing conservatory. Continue reading Medieval magic with a modern twist at The Swan hotel and spa in Lavenham, Suffolk

Chewton Glen hotel, New Forest – luxury from spa to treehouse

It isn’t often you plan on spending the night at a rather grand country house hotel and find yourself sleeping in a treehouse on stilts in the middle of a forest. But the treehouses at Chewton Glen, the five-star hotel and spa located deep in the heart of the New Forest in Hampshire, are about as far removed from the rickety wooden contraptions of one’s childhood (or Bart Simpson’s) as you could get.

chewton glen treehouses
Chewton Glen has 12 luxury treehouses hovering above the forest floor

In fact, they probably shouldn’t really be called treehouses at all, but maybe ‘luxury forest lodges’ probably didn’t sound, well, as much fun. The hotel’s own blurb describes them as secluded and romantic with the ‘exterior architecture in perfect harmony with the surrounding treescape’ and ‘on stilts, delicately balanced between the valley and tree canopy.’

I would probably describe them as ‘a really posh and gorgeous set of rooms which for some reason are plonked in the middle of a forest.’

chewton glen treehouses
Each treehouse has its own wood-burning stove, private balcony and hot tub

They might be on stilts but thankfully they didn’t feel at all delicately balanced and indeed once you were inside, it was easy to forget that you were hovering several metres above the forest floor.

Continue reading Chewton Glen hotel, New Forest – luxury from spa to treehouse

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

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

ALadyofLeisure’s 2015 review of Britain’s best luxury hotels

From Michelin-starred dining to London’s most decadent pancake, grand country house hotels, brand new cruise ships, boutique hotels and celebrity hangouts (not to mention cocktail classes, private cinemas and hot tubs in the Cotswolds), it’s been a life of luxury for me and ALadyofLeisure.com.

[Note: this article about ALadyofLeisure’s 2015 review of Britain’s best luxury hotels was first published in 2015 and so some of the details might now be out of date]

I’ve reviewed just under 50 amazing hotels, restaurants, bars and holidays – which were read by several thousand unique readers a month, plus shared across Twitter and Facebook – and have loved writing about the very best of the British hospitality industry, from Llandudno to the English Channel and all points in between.

Huge thanks to all the venues that made such an exciting year possible (full list of reviews below) and looking forward to reviewing the best in hotels, restaurants, holidays, bars and all things leisure-related in 2016!

All the best,

Sarah
ALadyofLeisure.com
sarahbridge@aladyofleisure.com

Hotels

ALadyofLeisure's 2015 review of Britain's best luxury hotels

Old-style charm in a perfect country setting – Bailiffscourt hotel and spa, West Sussex
Impossible not to love it – The Pig near Bath, Bath, Somerset
Relaxed country living Huntsham Court, North Devon
Location, location, locationCompleat Angler, Marlow
A home rather than a hotel: Cheval serviced apartments
A relaxing stay in Queen Elizabeth I’s bedroom: Spread Eagle, Midhurst, West Sussex
A classic country retreatAshdown Park, East Sussex
Calm behind the commuter chaos: Amba Hotel Charing Cross, London
Fine country living: The Grove, Hertfordshire
A stay with the Downton Abbey factorHartwell House, Buckinghamshire
A classic country house with Hollywood glamourLuton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Friendly, fun hotel on a budgetQbic London City hotel, Aldgate
Fine dining and an £1,600-a-night suiteSt James’s Hotel, London
£20,000 wine and the Judgement of Paris tasting eveningThe Vineyard, Newbury
Discovering hidden treasuresThe Stafford hotel, St James’s London
Fabulous foodie heaven in a beautiful settingGravetye Manor, Sussex
An oasis of loveliness miles from anywhereYnyshir Hall, Powys, Wales
An imposing building with impressive viewsBodysgallen Hall, Llandudno, Wales
A Capital place for a cocktail masterclass The Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge, London
Unshowy but smartThe Arch hotel, Marble Arch, London
A wonderfully cosy Cotswolds hideawayBarnsley House, Gloucestershire
A family-friendly escape in the Cotswolds countrysideCalcot Manor, Gloucestershire

Restaurants

restaurant

Lunch with a view – Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, South Bank, London
A Hidden Culinary Gem – Bourne & Hollingsworth, EC1, London
High quality Italian food in Covent Garden – Four to Eight, London
Lacks Gordon Ramsay’s fireHeddon Street Kitchen, central London
Hop this way for good food – Rabbit restaurant, King’s Road, London
Posh pancakes for Shrove TuesdayThe Botanist, Sloane Square, London
New England comes to Fitzrovia – Lobster Kitchen, London
Art and food at the Saatchi Gallery – Gallery Restaurant, King’s Road, London
The friendliest tapas in Mayfair: El Pirata, Mayfair, London
Pisco Power! Getting into the Peruvian spirit – Senor Ceviche, Soho, London
A lunchtime favourite revisited: Olivo, Belgravia, London
A hat-trick of Konik’s Tail martinis at London’s best hotel bars – Duke’s, the Connaught and Claridges
An indulgent evening – Jimmy Garcia’s Secret Garden in Clapham
Lunch at London’s latest hotspotsKitty Fisher’s and Ham Yard Hotel
Smart, modern food with style – Percy and Founder’s, Fitzrovia, London
Hearty, meaty, boozyOne Sixty City, Liverpool Street, London
Loud, brash, bling and funSexy Fish, Berkeley Square, London

Holidays and spas

spa

Forget gambling in Las Vegas, it’s all about the food and drinkLas Vegas Uncork’d annual food festival
How to go solo without being lonely Mark Warner holiday, Rhodes
My first cruise – a week on P&O’s new cruise ship Britannia
A holiday for the mind and the bodySkyros holistic holiday, Greece
First glimpse of Britannia, P&O’s new cruise ship
The Queen launches Britannia
A hard day’s relaxingNirvana Spa, Reading

Films

Blue Steel and an Ikea room of pain: Fifty Shades of Grey
Bond is back! He’s bold, brilliant and bloody loud – Spectre

Interviews published in The Mail on Sunday

Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers

‘My £125 million Travelodge transformation’ – Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers
A coffee and a chat with Sir Rocco Forte on religion, politics and hotels
Sir Richard Branson on stunts, sky-diving, launching Virgin Hotels Chicago and being a grandfather

Travel pieces published in Mail Online

Photo of Paradise Beach Resort in Nevis, British West Indies.

A relaxing stay in Nevis, an exquisite island paradise
Why Gravetye is fast building a reputation as one of best foodie hotels in the UK
No coffee, no sweets, but a lot of hiking on the NuBeginnings bootcamp in Devon

 

Calcot Manor luxury hotel: a family-friendly hotel in the Cotswolds

For those who love the idea of staying in a luxury spa hotel in the Cotswolds (and who doesn’t?) and are travelling with children in tow, its sister hotel Calcot Manor luxury hotel, just the other side of Circencester, is a great choice  –  a Cotwolds hotel and spa for families but still with that  element of luxury.

[Note: my review of Cotswolds hotel and spa Calcot Manor luxury hotel was first published in 2015 and so some details might now be out of date]

While you don’t have to have children to enjoy Calcot’s charms – this Cotswold hotel has lovely rooms, good food, massages and beauty treatments and so on, all in the heart of the Cotswolds countryside – you might find your morning swim isn’t quite as relaxing with small infants splashing about, or that breakfast time is somewhat louder than usual.

calcot manor
Calcot Manor dates back from the 14th century – the main building houses the restaurant and pub and some rooms, while others are in a separate building across the stone courtyard

However the prevalence of small ones does give it a more relaxed and casual air: there is a pub on one side of the house – The Gumstool – and the bright and airy Conservatory restaurant on the other – and they are more in the ‘wear whatever you feel comfortable in’ category rather than the smarter dress code of a boutique or grand country house hotel. Continue reading Calcot Manor luxury hotel: a family-friendly hotel in the Cotswolds