Picturesque villages, chocolate box cottages and endless rolling countryside, all within two hours of London. Switch off, chill out and head for a relaxing spa break in the enchanting Cotswolds.
Calcot Manor, Near Tetbury, Gloucestershire
A beautiful 14th century former farmhouse, with converted barns and stables, nestled amongst pretty courtyard gardens set within 220 acres of countryside. The luxury cottages, some with private gardens, which surround the manor, are a great option for families, and the wonderful ‘Playzone’ barn gives the grown ups time to spa. Friendly, homely and luxurious, a perfect spa retreat for the whole family.
The Calcot Spa: Seven treatment rooms and a manicure suite. Indoor pool with sauna and steam rooms, and a well equipped gym. A stunning outdoor hot tub set next to a roaring log fire. Children are welcome to use the spa before 6pm.
The treatment: The Aromatherapy Associates Rose Indulgence Facial begins with a relaxing back, neck and scalp massage using essential rose oils. A cleanse and gentle exfoliation is followed by a mask of organic Damask Rose to hydrate and smooth the skin. The treatment is finished with a facial massage using pressure points for relaxation.
Although essentially a facial I found it to be a combined facial and massage, my skin really was positively glowing and I literally crawled out of the treatment room.
The room: Woodchester, twin baths, walk in shower, a separate cool kids room with bunkbeds, and a private terrace.
Nice touch: Homemade shortbread, fresh fruit, fresh coffee and Aromatherapy Associates products in the rooms.
To eat: A choice between The Conservatory, for elegant Mediterranean dining or the informal Gumstool Inn which offers a great mix of traditional and gastro pub food.
Don’t miss: An evening dip in the outdoor hot tub. Order a glass of Prosecco at the spa bar and they’ll bring it to you while you soak. A cycle ride along the three mile trim trail which starts just outside the spa.
The deal: Sunday spa, bed and breakfast, (best available double or twin room) dinner in The Conservatory and a £90 spa voucher. £380 per room.
Cotswold House, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
A stunning Regency townhouse and gardens set in the heart of the quintessential (and my favourite) Cotswolds village of Chipping Campden. This is the home of the chocolate box cottage. Cotswold House is cool, stylish and modern but still maintains a laid back cosy feel. A walk through the magical walled gardens will take you to a scattering of quaint cottages, some with real fires and outdoor hot tubs. A truly stylish retreat.
The Cotswold House Spa: Seven treatments rooms, a manicure suite and an impressive multi-jet hydrotherapy pool with an adjoining Turkish hammam.
The treatment: Vesper Drift Away full body massage, takes place on a specially designed water therapy bed. A blend of lavender geranium and camomile are massaged in the skin to relax the muscles and work away tension. The treatment is completed with a face and scalp pressure point massage using a ‘resting cream’ which contains jojoba, hops and relaxing essential oils (a secret blend!) to promote restful sleep.
Probably not wise to book in the afternoon, as I did…zzz.
Nice touch: Complimentary fresh fruit, real coffee, mineral water and juice in rooms. Turn down service with chocolate brownies.
To eat: Hicks Modern Mediterranean restaurant and grill offers an extensive steak menu with good fish and vegetarian options. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge. Alfresco dining in the garden café in the summer months.
Don’t miss: The 4.5 mile circular walk along the Cotswolds Way. It starts right outside the hotel and takes you around some of the most breathtaking Cotswold countryside.
The deal: Winter Escape, two nights bed and breakfast, dinner on the first night and £30 spa voucher. £295 per room.
Barnsley House, Barnsley, Cirencester
A grade II listed manor house set in 11 acres of breathtaking gardens designed by former owner and renowned gardener Rosemary Verey. Walking straight in to the cosy hall and sitting rooms (the reception desk is cleverly placed downstairs) with roaring log fires, gives a real feel of home from home. Unpretentious, intimate and luxurious, this really is the ultimate romantic spa retreat of the Cotswolds.
The Garden Spa: Five treatment rooms, sauna and steam rooms, a relaxation suite and a stunning outdoor hydrotherapy pool with views over the fields and gardens.
The treatment: The holistic Aromaflex begins with an invigorating back neck and shoulder massage using your choice of uplifting aromatherapy oils. A reflexology treatment follows, using pressure points to re-balance various parts of your body.
There is some controversy as to whether reflexology is beneficial. I believe it is, I felt completely rejuvenated and raring to go.
Nice touch: Aromatherapy Associates products, Nespresso machine, and mineral water in rooms. Turn down service, with little lettuce seed packages to take home.
To eat: The Potager for intimate Modern European, or The Village Pub, just a short stroll up the road, for great gastro dining.
Don’t miss: The delicious homemade cream tea served with Pimms, by one of the cosy log fires and a stroll around the beautiful gardens.
The deal: Winter Break, bed and breakfast, dinner at The Potager, and £90 spa voucher. Mon-Thurs throughout February. £399 per room. The Village Pub offer bed and breakfast and two 25 minute treatments in The Garden Spa from £160 per room.