The Candis Spa Awards 2016

When you decide to treat yourself and splash out on a spa break, you want to pick the perfect place to unwind and relax. With so many to choose from, we’ve scoured the UK for the fourth year running to select only the best spas to receive a Candis award…

Best for a girlie getaway

Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, near Stone, Staffordshire


Why… Set within 70 acres of wooded parkland, it’s the perfect place to escape the pressures of everyday life. The cosy suites each have their own personal patio area with spectacular country views and an exclusive outdoor hot tub for overnight guests.

Best signature treatment… Neom Well-Being Treatment, 55 minutes, £65. This combines the most effective elements of six techniques – meditation, shiatsu, crania, Thai massage, trigger point and reflexology. You’ll leave feeling energised,
both physically and mentally.

Best facial… Elemis Customised Facial, 55 minutes, £55. Using the best Elemis products, your therapist will assess your skin and restore its vitality through Eastern massage and deep-cleansing techniques.

Food and drink… The award-winning lakeside restaurant offers excellent à la carte fare, while the Deli makes a great place to grab a quick bite between treatments. There are both continental and cooked breakfast options available.

Must do… Spend a few hours (or all day) in the heated vitality pool with a chilled glass of Prosecco, or, if you’re feeling really decadent, try the rum hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows – delicious!

Prices and to book

An overnight Spa Escape for two people costs from £359, including a two-course evening meal, breakfast, a 25-minute tension-relieving massage or an Elemis customised facial, plus full use of spa facilities until 5pm the following day. Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, Moddershall, near Stone, Staffordshire ST15 8WF, 01782 399000,

Best mum and daughter spa

The Club and Spa at Doubletree Hilton, Chester


Why… Surrounded by 12 acres of landscaped gardens, this carefully restored 18th-century manor house is home to a state-of-the-art spa complete with an outdoor thermal pool. Rooms have ultra-comfortable double beds and well-equipped bathrooms, and the historic city of Chester is only a ten-minute drive away for a spot of shopping.

Best signature treatment… Elemis Aroma Spa Cellutox Ocean Wrap, 75min, £65 (Mon-Thurs)/£70 (Fri-Sun). Designed to help refine the appearance of cellulite and relieve the discomfort of fluid retention, this head-to-toe treatment sees you slathered in a heated seaweed body mask then gently cocooned in foil. While the wrap does its work, you enjoy a facial massage and de-stressing scalp treatment or soothing foot massage. Bliss!

Best massage… Moroccanoil Hot Stone Sensation, 75min. £70 (Mon-Thurs), £75 (Fri-Sun). This detoxifying treatment begins with a full body dry exfoliation followed by a hot stone massage using scented oils. Your hands and feet are exfoliated with Moroccanoil’s Body Buff, which contains orange peel, before a warm scalp treatment and hydrating hair mask is applied.

Food and drink… For lunch, head to the spa café, which looks out on to the terrace and into the garden. Marco Pierre White’s restaurant is a must for classic dishes with a MPW twist.

Must do… Take a swim in the invigorating outdoor pool.

Prices and to book

Midweek Retreat from £102.50 per person, includes breakfast, full use of the spa, afternoon tea and a 30-minute treatment. The Club and Spa Chester, Warrington Road, Chester, CH2 3PD, 01244 408840,

Best for couples

Armathwaite Hall Country House & Spa, Lake District

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Why… This stately home boasts stunning views of Bassenthwaite Lake, Skiddaw Mountain and Lake District fells beyond, with luxurious spa facilities and gourmet dining. The hotel is steeped in history and each bedroom has a character of its own. You can even take your four-legged friends with you for an additional charge.

Best signature treatment… Sundari, 90 minutes, £110. A relaxing back massage using warm oil, followed by a full body exfoliation to prepare the skin for a green tea antioxidant mask. To finish, a conditioning scalp massage allows the mind to de-stress and a layer of neem and blood orange hydration is applied all over to soothe even the most sensitive skin.

Best facial… Comfort Zone, 60 minutes, £75. This hydrating, personalised treatment for face, neck and décolleté replaces moisture and is ideal for dry, tired skin. The hydra balance of the skin is restored and the end result is a soft, fresh complexion with a youthful glow.

Food and drink… As the name suggests, The Lake View restaurant has stunning vistas of Lake Bassenthwaite and has been rated in the top ten restaurants in Cumbria. The Courtyard Bar and Brasserie offers a less formal dining experience.

Must do… Plunge into the outdoor hot tub overlooking the stunning grounds and enjoy a well-deserved glass of fizz.

Prices and to book

One-night breaks start at £330 per room and include a twin/double room, breakfast, a 60-minute treatment and use of the spa. Armathwaite Hall Country House & Spa, Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4RE, 017687 76551,

Best luxury spa

Pennyhill Park Hotel, Surrey

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Why… Nestled in over 120 acres of rolling Surrey parkland, this elegant 19th-century manor house boasts one of the UK’s best spas, Michelin-starred dining, individually styled bedrooms and a state-of-the-art gym. The spa features eight pools, including the impressive ‘ballroom pool’ with underwater music, alongside a variety of thermal cabins, hot tubs, ice caves, laconiums and saunas.

Best signature treatment… Elemental Massage, 60 minutes, £95. The therapist gives a relaxing massage using an aromatherapy infusion tailored to your needs: wood for rejuvenation, fire for zest, earth for balance, metal to detox or water to soothe.

Best facial… Diamond Energy Facial, 90 minutes, £190 (Mon-Thurs)/£200 (Fri-Sun). The skin is massaged with antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract, followed by a carboxi-style exfoliation to oxygenate the skin. Next, Youth Elixir serum is gently applied using a magnetic tool before a rhythmical manual massage to smooth and invigorate. A chromo rejuvenating mask is then applied, followed by a refreshing mask for luminosity. The experience is finished with a head, hand and face massage.

Food and drink… In the hotel, The Latymer, which has two Michelin stars, rivals any top London restaurant. The Ascot Bar offers delightful afternoon teas and a selection of cocktails. In the spa, The Thermis Restaurant serves delicious healthy dishes and organic smoothies.

Must Do… Play a round of golf or get involved in the many outdoor activities on offer.

Prices and to book

One-night breaks start at £252.50 per person, including breakfast, a 60-minute treatment and £25 to spend at The Brasserie Restaurant. Pennyhill Park Hotel, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU, 01276 471 774,

Best dedicated spa 2016

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa, Leicestershire


Why… This secluded and luxurious retreat envelops you in a sense of indulgence from the moment you set foot in the door. With a relaxation area, spacious pool or cosy nook around every corner, it’s the perfect place to escape from the cares of everyday life – without a mobile phone in sight.

Best signature treatment… The Golden Indulgence, 155 minutes, £160. This begins with a foot soak and scrub using caviar extracts, before you are cocooned in a full body wrap of Champagne and grape extracts. You will then be treated to a relaxing face and neck massage, anti-ageing gold and plant collagen mask and massage using hot stones.

Best facial… The Miracle Facial, 50 minutes, £57. Combining a Clarisonic brush cleanse, natural lifting techniques and an anti-ageing mask, this signature facial will reduce fine lines, wrinkles and puffiness and leave you feeling ultra pampered.

Food and drink… From the extensive and healthy breakfast selections, which are delivered to your room, to the buffet lunch and three-course evening meals, the food is both nutritious and delicious. Make sure you check out the new Verandah Bar and terrace for drinks, which opened in February 2015.

Must do… Make the most of the thermal area. Chill out in the candle pool, be inspired in the thought zone or invigorate your senses in the scented room.

Prices and to book

Overnight prices from £211 per person including meals, one 50-minute treatment and use of the spa, all pools and facilities.
 Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa, Ragdale Village, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 3PB, 01664 434831,

Best hotel and spa

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

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Why… This five-star hotel offers beautiful rooms, bar and restaurant and a 19m pool, gym and fitness studios, plus a stunning rooftop pool. The thermal suite experience is pure bliss with its gently heated laconium, scented aroma grotto, a cleansing hammam, rainforest showers and rock and bio saunas.

Best signature treatment… Time, 2 hours, £160*. Time is a completely tailored package inspired by Ayurvedic tradition, the ancient Indian belief that wellness depends on balance between mind, body and spirit. We opted for a heavenly hot stone treatment plus a scalp mud massage and mud wrap.

Best facial… Advanced Skin Radiance Facial, 90 minutes, £110. Suitable for all skin
types, this combines an exfoliating cleanse with Espa skincare, a deep Clarisonic
brush cleanse and brightening mask to remove dead skin cells. A relaxing massage using rose quartz crystals follows, finishing with a lifting mask and intensive serum treatment to powerfully brighten, firm and even skin tone.

Food and drink… The chic One Square restaurant and bar, with a terrace, offers classic British food, afternoon tea and an impressive 70-plus varieties of gin and a wide range of cocktails.

Must do… Explore! The hotel is ten minutes away from Edinburgh’s many theatres, shops, boutiques, restaurants and attractions.

Prices and to book

One-night spa break from £212 per person, including a salt and oil scrub, mud treatment, facial, Escape at One, Scottish breakfast and gift. Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3 9SR, 0131 229 9131,

Best day spa

The Spa in Dolphin Square, London


Why… Hidden away in Pimlico, a small, charming part of central London brimming with Grade II-listed buildings, The Spa is a Moroccan-themed tranquil haven combining authentic Moroccan hammam, rhassoul and salt-infused steam rituals. Essentially a day spa but serviced apartments are available.

Best Signature Treatment… Argan Arabian Back, Scalp & Face Ritual, 70 minutes, £119. Using exotic Moroccan fragrances and Arabian influenced movements, this treatment starts with a warm oil back massage, followed by a full facial with a hypnotic face, scalp and foot massage. Perfect for generating energy.

Best facial… Argan Facial, 25 minutes, £47. This powerful treatment rejuvenates the skin using vitamin E-rich Argan to maintain natural youth.

Food and Drink… Overlooking the pool, the Dolphin Bar and Grill offers a reasonably priced menu. The rib-eye steak and sweet potato fries with a glass of wine works a treat. For breakfast you have a choice of a full English or healthier options.

Must Do… The salt-infused steam room mimics the benefits of the sea air, which is reported to help heal skin and respiratory conditions by drawing out toxins and producing negative ions to fight free radicals. Relax after in the tepidarium room, which has complimentary refreshments and heated curved beds.

Prices and to book

Arabian Nights spa break from £229 per person for one night, including use of facilities and an Argan Arabian Back, Scalp and Face Ritual. The Spa in Dolphin Square, Dolphin Square, Chichester Street, London SW1V 3LX, 020 7798 8000,

Best city spa

The Spa at the Midland, Manchester


Why… Deep in the basement of the historic Midland Hotel, this state-of-the-art oasis in the heart of the city is ideal for anyone wanting to steal time for themselves without paying over the odds. Compact and innovative, the fabulous relaxation room earns five stars by itself!

Best signature treatment/best massage… Any of the 50-minute Espa spa rituals included in the package. We chose the Relax in Manchester Face and Back Holistic Ritual, which started with a gentle exfoliation and aromatherapy back massage to the pressure you request and finished with an nourishing face and scalp massage, to melt away tension. Heavenly!

Best facial… Lifestyle Facial, 55 minutes, £75. Worries about sagging and wrinkles will be swept away with this targeted and rejuvenating treatment for mature skins. Espa products are targeted massage techniques are used to address hydration, pigmentation, large pores, elasticity and redness, which leave the skin noticeably smoother and radiant.

Food and drink… Arguably the top reason for a return visit. The spa lunch menu is devised by Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan and is an absolute taste sensation. Our inclusive evening meal at Mr Cooper’s House and Garden restaurant was truly magnificent and a perfect way to end an indulgent spa day.

Must do… Zone out in one of the hanging pods after a treatment to maximise your de-stressing experience. Or if total relaxation is your thing, sink into one of the invitingly soft beds heaped with covers and enjoy the luxury of a mid-afternoon snooze.

Prices and to book

One-night spa break from £129 per person, including one Espa treatment with full use of spa facilities, spa lunch, dinner in the Mr Cooper’s House and Garden restaurant and a twin or double room. The Spa at The Midland, Peter Street, Manchester M60 2DS, 0161 932 4086,

Best for first-time spa-goers

Appleby Manor Country House Hotel

Appleby Manor & Spa

Why… A Victorian manor house with breathtaking views of the Lake District fells and North Pennines. Inside, original oak-panelled walls and grand fireplaces give it the appearance of a stately home, yet the feel is laid-back and relaxed, with guests wandering around in towelling robes fresh from their treatments in its ultra-modern Garden Spa. While the décor of the hotel is pretty traditional, in the spa it’s totally sleek and modern.

Best signature treatment… Lava Shell Relax Massage, £60. A deeply relaxing treatment in which marine polished seashells or handcrafted porcelain shells glide smoothly over your body providing a seamless massage of heat and touch. The shells become an extension of the therapist’s hands, giving therapeutic relief to where it’s needed. They also offer Glacial Shells, which deliver an ice treatment to complement Lava Shells and are used in combination to deliver Lava Shell Rescue and Glacial Shell Detox treatments.

Best facial… Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial 70 mins, £70. Using leading brand Elemis products, the therapist gently cleanses and massages, using natural lifting and firming techniques. This anti-wrinkle facial leaves your skin glowing and rehydrated and is proven to improve firmness by up to 57 per cent.

Food and drink… Dinner at the main restaurant is a slightly formal affair, with no jeans or trainers allowed (and definitely no towelling robes!) and you do feel like an extra in Downton as your order is taken at the bar, and you are ushered to your table. The food is of a standard you’d find in a leading restaurant – top-quality ingredients, cooked with flair and imagination, and beautifully presented. I had pressed terrine of sea trout to start, which was so fresh it could have swam on to the plate, followed by a meltingly delicious roasted rump of lamb. Pudding was an inventive chocolate and beetroot cake, with parsnip ice cream – an inspired pairing. There’s a more informal 1871 Bistro, which serves main meals as well as sandwiches and snacks.

Must do … The big draw here is the Aqua Thermal Journey, in which you progress through six different heat experiences, including the aroma salt inhalation room, pedidarium, steam room, sauna, monsoon shower, hydrotherapy pool and outdoor spa baths (all heated to 35 degrees) – you lose track of time as any tension just melts away. One of the outdoor spa baths has a relaxation area and a fire pit, so you can relax in a hot tub gazing at the stars. A wonderful way to end to the day…

Prices and to book

A one-night spa break, including dinner, bed and breakfast, from £99pp; or £139 including a 30-minute treatment. For more information and to book visit or call 017683 51571. Appleby Manor Country House Hotel, Roman Road, Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, CA16 6JB.

One Response to Spa Awards 2016

  1. Lisa Dwyer says:

    Fantastic opportunity for a brilliant weekend to relax & relax & invigorate

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