This was a tough ask: could I find an angle on spas, said my ed at Metro… Of course I could. And what a fun new trend there is – spas are no longer spartan, they are not about diets or health. Our time is precious, we want to be indulged, and spas have obliged, becoming more decadent, cosseting and a retreat from the outside world.
Chilling out needn’t mean doing without. These days spas are more about indulging than abstaining – so forget the kale juice, whale music and five-day detoxing cleanse, and bring on the champagne pedi, the nightclub-esque modern Roman baths and the massage with a side portion of chocolate cake.
Best for urban cool
Agua Bathhouse and Spa at Mondrian, London
This freshly-squeezed new spa is housed in the first Mondrian to open outside of the US. Bold, glam, and a bit quirky, it describes itself as a spa playground and plans to be a fun and sociable space, reinventing the idea of the Roman baths – all under the design stewardship of Tom Dixon.
You don’t normally associate club music, video installations, chocolate fondue or hedonism with the spa experience. But this spa breaks the traditional rules. Expect an eclectic array of brands including Glam Glow, Billion Dollar Brows and Lola’s Apothecary, and suitably hip treatments: try the Stiletto Booster – a tension-busting foot massage and pedicure.
Best for… Boutique spa
Weavers’ House Spa, Suffolk
Opening this winter at the !5th-century boutique hotel, the Swan at Lavenham, this bijous spa will make a blissful retreat and is much more than just a treatment room tacked on to the hotel. There are six treatment rooms and two relaxation suites and well as a mani/pedi area, aromatic steam room and hot stone sauna, and an outdoor vitality pool heated to 36 degrees, year-round. Using Temple Spa products the signature Weavers’ House Hug treatment is utterly dreamy and combines a “weaving” technique deep-tissue massage, body rocking and tapping with hot stones and stretching, plus a facial and scalp massage. We defy you to feel stressed after that.
Best for… decadence
Coworth Park, Ascot
The Dorchester hotel’s countryside bolthole Coworth Park is a sugar lump-white Georgian manor house so glamorous that Cheryl Cole, Tome Cruise and Cameron Diaz have all decamped here.
The glass spa with its living fragrant herb roof (which are used in the treatments) is as striking from the outside as it is cosseting inside. Luscious therapies come courtesy of Aromatherapy Associates, Carol Joy of London, Kerstin Florian and the 100% organic Dr Alkaitis range and you can use the pool, gym, sun terrace and relaxation room.
The decadent in-spa eatery, the Spatisserie, doesn’t just serve blood-pressure reducing melon, chicken broth to soothe irritated airways and chilli to help reduce weight though; champagne and chocolate cake are also on the menu, making this a very indulgent place to detox… or should that be retox?
Best for… blokes
Barber & Parlour, London
An all-day hangout across three floors where you can eat, drink and socialise while being primped, primed and groomed to perfection, this hot new men’s spa and salon is sure to make waves. Get coiffed at Cheeky Hair by Josh Wood; scrub up in the cool, heritage-styled barber shop, and experience timeless, no-fuss grooming courtesy of the new Neville grooming range. Top it all off with a splurge in the men’s store, catch some flicks at the new Electric Shoreditch cinema and slurp a healthy juice from House Press. Looking good is serious business, you know.
Best for… a girlie weekend
Dormy House, Cotswolds
The Veuve Clicquot nail parlour sets the tone at this chi-chi spa that’s perfect for a girlie weekend away. Shunning the notion that spas should be all rest and no play, this uplifting spa has aromas to promote happiness, a lot of fizz, and plenty to explore. There’s a candle-lit infinity pool, and outdoor hydropool, a thermal suite with a lavender-infused sauna, a hot juniper Finnish cabin and a salt steam room. Once you’ve worked your way round all of these, and experienced a Temple Spa treatment, you can regroup with the girls in the spa’s healthy café, the Greenhouse.