Kick back and relax at one of these rejuvenating retreats in and around the capital
If you ever needed an excuse to treat yourself and a loved one to some much-needed TLC at one of the country’s wellness retreats, the fact that National Spa Week is around the corner would be a good one. We’ve rounded up five of our favourites that are within easy reach of London, making for a perfect day out or weekend away.
Visit The Westin, London City
The Westin London City is a luxurious wellness hotel, perched on the Thames, with an expansive spa offering. The Heavenly Spa has six treatment rooms and a 12-metre indoor pool, which was carefully constructed around the archaeological remains of the Huggin Hill Roman Bathhouse beneath it. Choose from an array of treatments starting from £70, including the Eastern Facelift Ritual, which incorporates elements of traditional Chinese medicine, face mapping, acupressure points and meridians, lymphatic drainage with the help of all-natural luxurious skincare oils.
Within each of the riverfront hotel’s 222 rooms, you can enjoy the iconic Heavenly Bed, a spa-like bathroom, and refreshing amenities, including White Tea Heavenly Bath products and Sleep Well lavender balm, to promote a revitalising rest. For lunch, book a table at Hithe + Seek restaurant, which has impressive views that stretch along the river to the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and Tate Modern. Menu highlights include a grilled Galatian octopus with rice and saffron aioli, to lobster royale with tarragon and crispy noodles.
How to get there: catch the tube to Bank Station and walk five minutes.
Relax at the Nirvana Spa, Berkshire
Enjoy a restorative escape just beyond the city at Nirvana Spa in Wokingham. Perfect for groups, the spa offers an array of packages starting from £55, including the three-hour Time Out to Radiant Relaxation, with unlimited soft drinks, dinner and the Germaine de Capuccini Personalised Facial — a bespoke treatment designed to cleanse and exfoliate your skin.
Elsewhere, bathe in mud at the Rasul room, where special minerals taken from the Dead Sea are scrubbed over skin, hair and face. When you’re covered from head-to-toe, a personal steam chamber intensifies the muddy properties before you rinse to reveal super-soft skin and hair. If you’d prefer something a little less down and dirty, book the Celestial Flotation, where you can experience the sensation of floating in salty, mineral-rich Dead Sea water while looking up at the starry mosaic above.
After a session of deep relaxation, take time to refuel your body with a vegan sushi bowl, home-smoked baby aubergines and classic Welsh rarebit in sourdough.
How to get there: Take a train from Waterloo to Winnersh and walk 20 minutes or take a five-minute taxi ride.
Take a dip at The Grove, Watford
It may have a host of award-winning facilities and treatments to choose from, but the dive-in-me-now black mosaic pool is worth a visit to The Grove hotel’s Sequoia Spa alone. Plunge into the inky pool adorned with black mosaic tiles before relaxing your muscles in the steam room.
Out of the selection of treatments available — which includes facials, massages and cancer wellness — the Citrus Drench Wrap, at £180, is a stand-out. The highly concentrated Vitamin C body range removes dead skin cells and hydrates through full-body exfoliation then envelopment in the soufflé-like body mask, and finishes with full-body moisturising.
After a day of lounging and relaxing, refuel at the Sequoia Kitchen, which offers nourishing poke bowls and delicious Asian broths, while you’re surrounded in nature-inspired interiors.
How to get there: Take a train from London Euston to Watford. A taxi from the station takes 10 minutes.
Unwind at Sea Containers, Southbank
With interiors reminiscent of a 1920s transatlantic cruise liner, Sea Containers has become one of the London’s most popular lifestyle hotels, offering expansive views, eclectic interiors and delicious, seasonal tasting menus.
However, one of the hotel’s best kept secrets is its Agua spa, which adopts a slightly different approach by focusing predominantly on spirituality, wellbeing, and the mind-body connection. Inside you’ll find a multi-sensory sanctuary offering personalised treatments from £65 and an original selection of skincare. One highlight is the Core Botanicals herbal massage where you can enjoy the aromas of lemon balm, rosemary, peppermint, comfrey and marigold as therapists massage the oils into your body using techniques drawn from herbalism and aromatherapy.
After your treatment, hop on down to ground-floor bar Lyaness by the award-winning mixologist Mr Lyan. Trust you’ll be in safe hands as this bar was awarded World’s Best Bar and Best International Hotel Bar 2022 at Tales of Cocktail Spirited Award, so treat yourself to a tipple or two.
How to get there: Take the tube to Waterloo and walk along South Bank towards Blackfriars Bridge.
Escape to Down Hall Hotel, Hertfordshire
Perfect for couples, this luxurious hotel’s Eden Spa has everything you’ll need for a romantic getaway. Step into the hydrotherapy pool in the Wet Spa, which is kept at optimum, 36-degree conditions to soothe aches and pains. The Wet Spa backs onto the 110-acre estate and has a private, fenced area with relaxation beds, positioned under a grand fir tree to allow guests to enjoy the elements while kicking back (although there are also plenty of areas to relax inside during the colder months).
Couples can enjoy joint treatments like the Lava Shell massage from £60, which is designed to boost blood and lymph circulation while reducing swelling and water retention.
The Down Hotel itself has been named one of the best luxury spa hotels this year, so take time to explore the Italianate mansion and extensive estate, where you can wander through the landscaped gardens, sample a traditional English afternoon tea and enjoy dinner in the Garden Room restaurant, serving modern English fare prepared with fresh ingredients from its own vegetable garden.
How to get there: Take the train from London Liverpool Street to Chelmsford. It’s a 30-minute taxi ride from there.