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The Candis Spa Awards 2020

 

There are more than 900 spas across the UK, varying from day spas and hotel spas to destination spas and wellness centres. And each professes to grant you the space to relax, unwind and be pampered to the level you require. The growing spa industry in the UK has countless options for anyone looking for a break where they can relax and recharge. We’ve worked hard to honour the spas which have gone that extra mile with true commitment to well-trained, professional staff and constantly improving facilities for guests. Over the last six months, we’ve rigorously tested dozens of spas to find the very best. We’ve looked at everything from the type and quality of treatments to the cleanliness and functionality of spa facilities, ambience, comfort, food and drink and, of course, value for money. With all that in mind, we’ve found the best locations with top-notch treatments to to give you inspiration for your next break.

 

BEST DESTINATION SPA: Ragdale Hall Spa

Ragdale, Melton Mowbray, LE14 3PB, 01664 434831 www.ragdale.co.uk

WHY: For its consistently high-quality treatments,facilities, food and hospitality. It’s no mean feat to be this good all of the time, but Ragdale Hall pulls it off 24/7, 365 days a year.

STAR TREATMENT: ENERGISE Me Collection, 75 minutes, £105 (includes gifts).

This holistic treatment includes a Body Balancing treatment, featuring breathing exercises, gentle massage to the feet, legs, hands, shoulders and scalp, then Reiki and a cleansing of your aura. You then move on to guided meditation with a crystal you select and hold (and get to keep) as you bring peace and harmony to your mind. You also receive a drink bottle with Red Jasper, Sodalite, Tiger’s Eye, Green and yellow Aventurine in a central core to help infuse your water with courage, peace and balance. Plus a voucher for a smoothie in the Verandah Bar.

ALSO TRY: Decléor Vital Eye Lift, 40 minutes, £48

Your face and eyes are treated to a fatigue-fighting, moisturequenching, wrinkle-smoothing half-hour of heaven. The facial massage and anti-ageing eye mask are superb and the treatment includes a wonderful back diagnostic massage – ideal for ironing out any tension areas.

FOOD AND DRINK: From breakfast served in your room to the hot and cold buffet lunches and three-course dinners, you’ll never go hungry. Everything is sourced as locally as possible and the chefs and waiting staff ensure you are happy with everything. All diets are catered for and there are now cocktails available from the Verandah Bar to go with the delicious cakes!

PRICES: A two-night-taster break inclusive of breakfast, lunch and three-course dinner, a 50-minute treatment and complimentary Ragdale flip-flops is from £364 per person in a twin room. Single occupancy from £428. Or see our two-night break offer on page 89 of the May issue.

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 65

 Therapists: 130

 Treatments: 100+

 Pools: 6

 Relaxation areas: 8

 Extras: Fully equipped high-tech gym, daily fitness classes, tennis courts, cycle hire

 

BEST COUNTRY SPA: Bodysgallen Hall

Llandudno, North Wales, LL30 1RS, 01492 584466 bodysgallen.com

WHY: This glorious Grade I listed country house is set in more than 200 acres of parkland with superb views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle. The spa is housed in the converted buildings of the original stone Bodysgallen Farm.

SIGNATURE TREATMENT:The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience Massage Treatment, 50 minutes, £64 In a tranquil treatment room, the therapist assesses your physical and emotional needs before beginning the massage at the feet and working her way up the back, neck and arms, releasing tension all over the body, leaving you relaxed and recharged.

 

ALSO TRY: Ultimate Aromatherapy Associates Facial, 50 minutes, £64 Using massage techniques to restore and recondition the skin, the blend of plant extracts and essential oils left the complexion feeling smooth and luminous.

FOOD AND DRINK: Meals are served in the late 19th-century dining room, and head chef John Williams’s menu reflects the setting. The ingredients are local – such as Welsh lamb and Welsh feta cheese – and some are from the estate itself, such as the wild garlic starter. We chose scallops and baby beetroot followed by duck and lamb – all mouth-wateringly delicious.

GOLD STARS FOR: This National Trust-owned 17th-century manor house is filled with traditional furnishings, imposing fireplaces, wood panelling and aristocratic portraits. The 18th-century gardens include a parterre and rose garden plus wooded parkland. The staff were courteous, knowledgeable and went the extra mile to make our stay enjoyable.

PRICES: A spa break in a spa cottage from £250 per person per night (Sunday-Thursday) includes breakfast, £50 towards dinner, half a bottle of Champagne, full use of spa and either a facial or a massage.

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 6

 Therapists: 12

 Treatments: 40

 Pools: 1 50ft swimming pool, 1 spa pool

 Relaxation areas: 1

 Extras: Sauna, steam room, club room /Aromatherapy Associates’ Day and

Environ Half Day

 Fitness: Gym, Aqua Fit classes

 

BEST SMALL SPA: Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa

Borrowdale Valley, Keswick, CA12 5UX, 017687 77285

lakedistricthotels.net/lodorefalls

WHY: Nestled in Borrowdale Valley, just off Derwentwater, this hotel enjoys spectacular surroundings – it even has its own 100ft-high waterfall in the grounds. Lovers of the outdoors can walk the eight miles around the lake or take a 50-minute round cruise from the jetty.

STAR TREATMENT: La Sultane de Saba Akwaterra Massage, 50 minutes, £85

For this full-body treatment your therapist uses warm, ergonomic ceramic Akwaterra tools – or pods – along with La Sultane de Saba oils to give a flow of deep, rhythmical massage motions. Each pod retains the heat and is designed to relieve and soothe areas of muscular tension. A unique and pleasant sensation, while the oils smelt divine.

ALSO TRY: Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial, 50 minutes, £85

This treatment includes cleansing, massage, toning, exfoliation and moisturising masks, to infuse your skin with the energising and detoxifying properties of nature’s superfoods. It left skin plumper and with a visible glow.

FOOD AND DRINK: Choose from a pan-Asian experience at Mizu, with its Japanese, Malaysian and Thai-inspired dishes. Or try the homely 2AA Rosette Lake View restaurant with its strong emphasis on local produce.

GOLD STARS FOR: The Falls Spa. From one of the 18 bedrooms, you’ll find five treatment rooms, a four-person rasul, Champagne bar and thermal suite. Outside there’s a 16m hydro pool with neck jets, underwater lounger  and overflow hot tub that looks out to Derwentwater and the Cat Bells fell – it’s an amazing view.

PRICES: Spa days start from £90 for a half day, £130 for a full day.

SPA IN NUMBERS:

Treatment rooms: 5, plus private rasul chamber

 Therapists: 7

 Pools: 1 infinity edge vitality pool

 Relaxation areas: 1 relaxation room plus loungers in the thermal suite and outside around the pool

 Extras: Landscaped spa gardens

 Fitness: 1 fitness centre/gym

 

BEST HOTEL SPA: Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Old Oxford Road, Donnington, Newbury, RG14 3AG 01635 551199  donningtonvalley.co.uk

WHY: This is part of a hotel in the country with a pool and sports facilities plus a golf course. It never feels formal or crowded. 

STAR TREATMENT: Sonoma Aromatherapy Massage, 55 minutes, £73 midweek/£83 weekend After discussion with the therapist, the treatment is adapted to your requirements, targeting areas you feel need attention and with your desired level of pressure. Using warm aromatherapy balms and oils blended from natural essential oils, this massage is designed to melt away tension, relieve stress, and pamper you from top to toe. 

ALSO TRY: Sonoma Jasmin Treat Facial, 25 minutes, £38 midweek/£43 weekend Under the expert touch of the therapist you may even fall asleep during this soothing and revitalising facial, which uses sweet-smelling and lavender-based Sonoma Spa products. Your skin will feel rejuvenated, tighter, smooth and moisturised. 

FOOD AND DRINK: Winepress Restaurant is 2 AA-starred and is a large, light-filled space with a great atmosphere and little tucked-away booths. Head chef Darren Booker-Wilson sources local ingredients, and the food is special. The chorizo Scotch egg from the nibbles menu is a highlight, and the Loch Duart salmon with mussel emulsion, spring greens and watercress with hand-cut chips was almost too beautiful to eat! 

GOLD STARS FOR: The food and the relaxed atmosphere 

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 6 

 Therapists: 8 

 Treatments: 6 

 Pools: 18m swimming pool 

 Relaxation areas: 1 

 Extras: Gym, dance studio, classes, aromatherapy room, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna 

 

BEST NEW SPA: The Harrogate Spa at the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel

Ripon Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 2HU, 01423 700306

theharrogatespa.com

WHY: The hotel sits in eight acres of landscaped gardens, near parks, gardens, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The chandeliers, murals and marble work complement the modern spa. 

STAR TREATMENT: ESPA Total Holistic Body Care, 120 minutes, £125 This is based on a Tibetan Ayurvedic massage, using ashwagandha, essential oils and herbs. It begins with a cleansing foot ritual, full-body exfoliation and an all-over body massage with essential oils. Warm poultices of coconut oils and herbs are used on pressure points for polarity balance, an energy-based healing system targeting any tensions with colour visualisation to help you relax. The scalp massage with mud concludes this treatment, leaving you calm and energised. 

ALSO TRY: ESPA Inner Beauty Facial, 50 minutes, £70 After a skin analysis followed by a triple-cleanse exfoliation and facial massage and face mask, your scalp is massaged and you are advised to keep the scalp mud mix in situ for a few hours to leave hair soft and shiny. 

FOOD AND DRINK: Carters Champagne Bar and Grill has an impressive menu including grilled asparagus and lavender-cured hot-smoked salmon. There is plenty on offer for meat and fish lovers as well as vegetarians and vegans. Desserts are sublime and there are cocktails and an extensive wine list. There is also a Piano Lounge for light refreshments, coffee and snacks. 

GOLD STARS FOR: The professional therapists, immaculate, state-of-the-art treatment rooms and amazing selection of treatments. 

PRICES: An overnight stay in a double room is from £94 or £110 to include breakfast for two. Spa treatments are charged separately. 

SPA IN NUMBERS

Treatment rooms: 2 double rooms, 4 single rooms 

 Therapists: 7 

 Treatments: 50+ 

 Pools: 1 pool, 1 small Jacuzzi 

 Relaxation areas: 1 

 Extras: Sauna, steam room with Himalayan salt wall and private rasul, Zen and Courtyard Spa Garden, patio area with garden pods, loungers, sunbeds 

 Fitness areas: Dance studio, gym 

 

BEST COASTAL SPA: The Scarlet Hotel

Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, TR8 4DQ, 01637 861800, scarlethotel.co.uk

WHY: An adults-only spa hotel in the most idyllic spot overlooking beautiful Mawgan Porth bay. The spa offers a restorative, holistic experience that’s calm, warm and tailor-made. Enjoy long clifftop walks, nearby Padstow and surfing to add to a wonderful weekend away. 

STAR TREATMENT: Scarlet Journey, 4 hours, £240 After your therapist explores your Ayurvedic dosha type, she then creates a blend of massages, oils and treatments just right for you. Choose from a hammam body scrub, a soak in the clifftop hot tub or a detoxifying rasul with luxurious Cornish mud. Be guided through meditation, preparing to relax totally with the most glorious full-body massage in the silent candlelit tented treatment spaces. A fabulous treatment to leave you walking on air. 

ALSO TRY: The Clifftop Hot Tub experience, 30 minutes, £25 For couples or individuals, soak aching muscles in warm water while gazing out across the Atlantic and listening to the soothing sound of the waves. The perfect chill-out moment. 

FOOD & DRINK: The Scarlet Restaurant serves seasonally changing European-style dishes with the gusto of Cornwall at its heart. The produce is locally sourced and ethically farmed. In warmer weather, why not enjoy an alfresco private lunch in a hidden clifftop wicker pod. 

GOLD STARS FOR: The Ayurvedic-inspired spa experience with gorgeous views across the bay. Treatments take place in silent candlelit tented areas to create a womb-like experience. We loved the outdoor natural water chemical-free pool filtered by reeds. 

PRICES: Spa days start from £175 per person and spa breaks start from £220 for a one-night break for two. 

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 6 

 Therapists: 20 

 Treatments: 30 

 Pools: 2 

 Relaxation areas: 2 

 Extras: 2 outdoor clifftop seaweed baths and hot tubs, an outdoor sauna pod, Aroma steam room and library with pool table 

 Fitness: Complimentary spa classes and daily yoga 

 

BEST CITY SPA: Spa at Blythswood Square

11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, G2 4AD, 0141 248 8888 kimptonblythswoodsquarea.com

WHY: The spa is part of the stately Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, built in the early 19th century and which still retains its classic Georgian town-house feel. A multimillion-pound restoration has resulted in 21st-century elegant luxury that retains all of its original charm but with a thoroughly modern spa. 

STAR TREATMENT: La Rue Verte Massage, 55 minutes, £94 The massage, using trademarked Canna Essence technology CBD oil, is a lymphatic drainage massage to get rid of toxin build-up. It incorporates reflexology body mapping, where CBD balm is applied during the massage to targeted areas to promote homeostasis and work on key concerns for the mind and body – the epitome of holistic therapy. 

ALSO TRY: Invigorating Massage, 55 minutes, £89 A full-body massage to remove tension and relieve stress from muscles. The seaweed-based oil with lemongrass, juniper and rose geranium, designed to detoxify, lifts your spirits too. 

FOOD AND DRINK: Food is served in the spa lounge from noon until 8pm, with a delicious afternoon tea available between noon and 4.45pm. Hot and cold drinks are available from 7am until 9pm. 

GOLD STARS FOR: The therapists – welcoming, informative and highly skilled, they explained the treatments in great detail, ensuring you feel relaxed, well cared for and truly pampered. The relaxing lounge to enjoy after treatment. 

PRICES: Spa days for two start from £165 per person, including two treatments each and afternoon tea or a two-course lunch. 

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 9 

 Therapists: 9 

 Treatments: 26 

 Pools: 2 

 Relaxation areas: 2 

 Extras: A thermal suite, a relaxing lounge and cafe area. 

 

 

BEST DAY SPA: Rena Spa at The Midland

16 Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS, 0161 932 4086

themidlandhotel.co.uk

WHY: Set in the basement of the iconic Midland Hotel in the centre of Manchester, the Rena Spa is a beautifully calming space with Asian-inspired decor, low-level lighting and friendly, knowledgeable therapists who make you feel truly welcome. 

STAR TREATMENT: Caudalie Relax in the City, 50 minutes, £80 This is pure heaven as your tired body is rejuvenated by an exfoliation using crushed Cabernet wine grape seeds. After a quick shower, any tension and stress is completely eliminated from your back with a divine massage. You then are treated to a pressure-point facial massage and cranial scalp treatment to ensure that you leave with no tension whatsoever and beautifully glowing skin. 

ALSO TRY: Lifting and Firming Eye, 25 minutes, from £45 Treat tired eyes with this brightening treatment involving delicate massage, a hydrogel patch to smooth wrinkles and puffiness and diminish dark circles. 

FOOD & DRINK: The food is amazing. The light lunch is far more than the word implies. You choose from delicious sandwiches or a healthy platter (highly recommended) with a selection of mouth-watering savoury and sweet delicacies. If you prefer afternoon tea you’ll be in carb heaven with scones, cakes, sandwiches and macaroons to sate your appetite. We’d come for the food alone! 

GOLD STARS FOR: Everything – the day flowed seamlessly. The staff ensured everything was as it should be with no mishaps. The relaxing areas are beautifully futuristic with sound-cancelling pods, beds and secret alcoves with plenty of fruit waters and teas to stay hydrated. 

PRICES: The Indulgence Day is a real bargain for the quality you get: £99 (Mon-Thurs) or £119 (Fri-Sun), including robe, towel and slippers, a glass of Champagne, a light lunch or afternoon tea, a 50-minute treatment and use of the spa and relaxation facilities. 

SPA IN NUMBERS:

 Treatment rooms: 8 

 Therapists: 25 

 Treatments: 50, not counting nails/waxing 

 Pools: 1 pool, 1 Jacuzzi 

 Relaxation areas: 1 large one 

 Extras: Fully equipped gym, steam room, sauna 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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