In need of some downtime? Pick your favourite from our selection of ultra-indulgent spa breaks, where the food is as fine as the backdrop and the treatments are simply delicious. Take a trip to an Italian paradise and try an olive oil massage, or stay closer to home and visit a luxurious Yorkshire spa where comfort food goes hand in hand with the theory of wellness.


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Alpine luxury
Das Central, Austria


Das Central specialises in relaxed luxury and has long been on the map as one of the best ski hotels in Austria, but recent renovations have secured its place as one of the most scenic spas in Europe. The 17-meter-long summit infinity pool perched on stilts is the new jewel in the hotel’s crown, heated by geo-thermal technology for a balmy experience in sub-freezing outdoor temperatures, the clouds of steam evaporating from the water all add to the other-worldly atmosphere. Gliding up and down the pool in a snowstorm and taking in the spectacular mountain scenery from every angle is an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

There’s a brand-new steam room and ten saunas to choose from, including family-friendly options and adult only textile-free areas. The brave can test out the hotel’s ice plunge bath for an exhilarating way to wake up all your senses. Taking a dip in the steaming rooftop hot tub after a long day on the slopes is the perfect way to unwind and relax tired muscles, and you’ll still have unbroken panoramic views of the majestic three thousand metre peaks that surround you.

Light flooded relaxation rooms mean you can soak in your surroundings under a blanket from the comfort of a double daybed, plus there’s a Venetian-themed indoor pool to explore in the lowest level of the hotel. There’s a variety of wellness treatments which can be tailored by your therapist to your specific request, the new spa offering does make it difficult to leave the hotel, but there’s good reason to do so.

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The half board option at Das Central is of excellent quality, breakfast includes freshly-cooked omelettes and eggs to order, a dedicated juicing room featuring every imaginable ingredient, local honeycomb, fruits, cold-meats, yoghurts and pastries. Dinner is a slightly more formal affair, with an a la carte menu as well as generous buffet starters of salads, seafood and more, plus an opulent dessert and cheese display it’ll be hard to drag yourself away from. Classic dinner menu examples include Tyrolean beef with roasted potatoes and local vegetables or salmon trout with radish and lingonberries.

Ice Q is perched at 3048 metres and is just a scenic gondola ride away, it is also featured in Spectre and it is easy to see why this striking building with unrivalled views was selected for a Bond film. The chef’s table menu here is exceptional and perfect for celebrating a special occasion, it guarantees you a window seat and you’ll be greeted with a welcome glass of champagne and canapes from the kitchen. There are four courses to follow - the ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible and transported to Ice Q by gondola. Stand-out dishes include sea bass served in rockfish soup with beans, mussels and saffron gnocchi and beef tartare with lovage and beech mushrooms, the menu is also inclusive of mineral water and hot beverages. Wine lovers would do well to sample the Pinot Noir 3000, matured on the summit of the Gaislachkogl in oak barrels it’s a speciality of the hotel and restaurant, unfinished bottles opened with lunch can also be transported back to the hotel for you to enjoy with dinner.

How to do it: Das Central Hotel, Sölden, Austria offers double rooms from €200 per person per night, based on two people sharing on a half board basis.

Renaissance Tuscany
Il Ciocco Resort & Spa


With its rolling hills, fabulous food and wine (this is the home of chianti, prosciutto and pecorino, among other Italian greats), and slow pace of life, it would be hard to be anything but relaxed in Tuscany. But at Renaissance Tuscany II Ciocco Resort & Spa, relaxation is taken to a new level. Set in the hills above the pretty town of Barga with its impressive duomo and pink and yellow-hued houses, the Renaissance has spectacular views from its huge terrace and sparkling aquamarine pool – the perfect place to sip an Aperol spritz and watch the world go by.Many of the rooms have generous balconies, as well as marble bathrooms and luxurious feather beds. But the real star is the in-house spa, with a wellness area complete with a sauna, steam room, Turkish bath and heated indoor pool with hydro-massage. The spa menu is extensive with massages, wraps, scrubs and facials, using local ingredients where possible – try the 80-minute pindas massage using Tuscan herbs soaked in olive oil (£115), and feel your stresses melt away.

To sample traditional food, you don’t even need to set foot out of the hotel as the main restaurant, La Veranda, serves a menu of tempting Tuscan classics. Sit out on the terrace and order the outrageously cheesy ricotta & truffle timbale with pecorino fondue to start, followed by a light stuffed mushroom ravioli (both £14). The breakfast buffet is excellent with croissants, fruit, yogurt, eggs, bacon, Tuscan salami, local cheeses and juices. If you want to have a go at making pasta, the hotel’s cooking class is great fun. You’ll go to the local market in Barga to buy ingredients first, and while you’re there you can pick up top-quality produce to take home, including huge slabs of pecorino for £4, chestnut flour and dried pici (the local thick spaghetti). You’ll then head back to the hotel and make a three-course menu (£175 per person, includes market tour, wine, lunch and an apron).

Don’t miss the local wine. At the nearby Podere Còncori vineyard they produce biodynamic wine using traditional methods – grapes are picked by hand and locals still stomp rather than machine-process them. A vineyard tour, tasting and two-course lunch is a steal at £26. If you visit at harvest time in September, you can have a go at stomping the grapes but, as per Tuscan tradition, only women and children are allowed to set foot on them during pressing.

  • How to do it
    The nearest airport is Pisa, an 80-minute drive from the hotel. Double rooms with breakfast from £240 a night. Find out more about Renaissance Tuscany.

Hotel Crillon Le Brave


Hotel Crillon Le Brave is a luxury oasis in Provence. The golden stone village of Crillon Le Brave is perched on a hill, and the hotel has the top spot. A five-star haven of peace, it’s a unique hotel made of a cluster of nine houses linked together by the original village streets. Rooms are decorated with soothing linens, neutral tones and interesting works of art throughout the hotel.

The star of the show is the swimming pool, with 180-degree views of the rolling Provence countryside. Swim and sunbathe with views of nearby Mount Ventoux, vineyards and olive groves. The hotel restaurant, La Table du Ventoux, is equally positioned to admire the views over a long, sunny lunch, with sharing dishes that make the most of local Provençal produce. The generous breakfast buffet has everything you could want to start your day, from warm madeleines and pain au chocolat, to crêpes, charcuterie and fresh juices.

For spa lovers, there is a tiny stone-vaulted spa set in the ancient stables. Choose from a selection of facials and massages that utilise fragrant Tata Harper products. There are the signature 90-minute, deep tissue or resculpting massages, plus dedicated maternity treatments. LED mask treatments can also be added to any spa treatment, and there are manicures and pedicures available, too. Diptyque products in every room add to the luxury feel throughout the hotel.

If you can tear yourself away from the hotel, there are e-bikes to rent for exploring the nearby villages, or visit the vineyard of Chateau Pesquie for a wine tasting. Plus, the city of Avignon is a 30-minute drive away.

  • How to do it
    Get the Eurostar from London to Paris, then the train from Paris to Avignon, an approximately 30-minute drive away. Double rooms at Crillon Le Brave start at £408, massages from €180/60 minutes.

Careys Manor


Surrounded by the lush, leafy New Forest, yet conveniently close to the neighbouring village of Brockenhurst, Careys Manor is ideal for a gloriously grown-up getaway. On arrival, the reception feels quintessentially British, from the grand staircase to the cosy fireplaces. In contrast, the hotel’s Thai-themed SenSpa is invitingly exotic – and the flagship venue for the SenSpa brand. Be sure to take up the offer of a guided tour – you’ll need it to navigate your way around the sprawling network of relaxation rooms, fitness suites and yoga studios. The main swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room are available for all hotel guests, while paying spa guests are issued with a special wristband allowing access to the more extensive spa areas. Unwind in the huge hydrotherapy pool, where each section provides a different experience, with targeted massaging jets, waterfall-style showers and an intense whirlpool. Retreat to relaxing rooms with heated beds, therapeutically-lit showers, and opulent sauna and steam rooms. If you’re feeling brave, head to the ice grotto to shower beneath a bucket of ice water suspended from the ceiling. Have a light breakfast of smoothies, croissants and fruit in the Zen Garden restaurant, or head to the main restaurant, Cambium, where hot dishes can be cooked to order, and there’s an extensive buffet.

Lunch can be enjoyed in the comfort of your robe in the Zen Garden. SenSpa have collaborated with the founder of Spring Green London, Bonnie Stowell, to offer a special menu, full of nourishing ingredients. Mix and match to create a flavour-packed salad (£12), with ingredients such as turmeric, coconut and bee pollen. For a blow-out dinner, Cambium doesn’t disappoint. The menu is focused on seasonal ingredients and lists the local provenance of the meat and fish. Start with a chicken & chorizo bonbon with Romanesco mayonnaise (£14), followed by a Jerusalem artichoke cannelloni (£15). There’s also a tasting menu at £65 a head.

  • How to do it
    Double rooms at Careys Manor start from £199 per night, including breakfast. Spa days start from £99.

Ellenborough Park

Ellenborough Park

Ellenborough Park is a sprawling fifteenth-century stone manor house you’ll discover at the end of a winding gravel path, the hotel is situated a stone’s throw away from Cheltenham racecourse and surrounded by extensive grounds and beautiful countryside. There is something warm, luxurious and quintessentially British about this beautifully refurbished hotel, from the well-stocked boot and umbrella room to the fireplaces you can walk into, the stone floors and the aroma of wood smoke. The hotel is home to 61 rooms, some of which are situated in the main house with roll top baths, four poster beds and views of the racecourse, there are also some more modern and more economical rooms which are positioned a short and pretty walk away from the main house but with direct access to the outside pool.

There are two restaurants within the hotel, the low-key, cosy Horse Box which specialises in classic but good-quality pub food as well as a stylish and well-stocked bar, try the hotel’s own gin which includes hints of cardamom, cumin and clove. If you fancy something really special for dinner then head to the main restaurant which is set in a grand wood-panelled room and focuses on fine dining with a daily-changing menu and a combination of British and classical French dishes, the decadent à la carte breakfast is served in the same imposing surroundings, discover a hearty and locally-sourced full English breakfast, home-made granolas and perfectly poached eggs Royale.

Whether you are visiting in the depths of winter or on a balmy summer weekend the outdoor heated pool is a real highlight, on cold days the generously hot water means you’ll be swimming through clouds of steam and in the summer the walled garden is teeming with butterflies and you can enjoy drinks, sandwiches and snacks delivered straight to your sun lounger. There is also an indoor spa with a hot tub, steam room and a sauna as well as a variety of treatment rooms where there’s a wealth of relaxation and beauty treatments to choose from.

  • How to do it

Ellenborough Park has spa breaks from £135 per person, including breakfast.

Middlethorpe Hall and Spa
North Yorkshire

Middlethorpe Hall in North Yorkshire exterior shot

Middlethorpe Hall ticks plenty of boxes if you’re looking for a relaxed and comfortable break in the north of England. Set in a bucolic location on the outskirts of the beautiful city of York, Middlethorpe Hall is part of the National Trust’s Historic House Hotel group. Every nook and cranny is steeped in heritage, from the opulent lounge room to the vintage features in bedrooms. The property has a strong food offering and, as well as being able to unwind in a super plush and comfy suite, a luxury spa is thrown in for good measure.

The petite spa is built behind the facade of two Edwardian cottages, in keeping with the sensitively preserved period surroundings. You’ll find a swimming pool, steam room, sauna and sunlit terrace, complete with loungers in the summer, plus a gym and treatment rooms. Spa treatments use products by Aromatherapy Associates, a British brand – a flip through the spa brochure showcases the range of de-stressing treatments on offer. Alongside spa staples like facials, massages and wellbeing treatments, you’ll also find bespoke experiences such as the Yorkshire Rose Garden Ritual, inspired by Middlethorpe’s award-winning gardens.

The restaurant menus place a strong emphasis on local produce. You can expect a full Yorkshire breakfast to start the day, with all the hearty components you’d expect, such as local sausage and black pudding. Afternoon tea is a classic affair, featuring finger sandwiches, scones, choux buns and the welcome addition of a proper northern apple and black pudding sausage roll. In the evening, you can tuck into dishes like Yorkshire hogget and stone bass with burnt butter. Service is as attentive as can be, and guests can enjoy rural walks around the grounds and gardens, or it’s a quick journey into York itself.

How to do it:
Double rooms at Middlethorpe Hall and Spa start at £245 a night, including breakfast. Spa treatments start at £45.

Les Sources de Caudalie


Bordeaux and its surrounding vineyards haven’t always been an obvious choice when booking a spa break. The local vintner’s preoccupation with creating impeccable wines has traditionally surpassed their desire to attract tourists beyond day-tripping tasters. But with the city of Bordeaux lately spruced up to shiny weekend break status, cemented by the opening of the landmark Cité du Vin, a temple-like museum to wine, the region is attracting a broader base of bacchanalian visitors.A 20-minute drive from the city, surrounded by pleasingly manicured rows of pampered vines belonging to the 600-year-old Château Smith Haut Lafitte winery, Les Sources de Caudalie was an early adopter of all-embracing wine tourism. With a two-starred Michelin restaurant and chic spa, this is the country lodging of Francophile dreams. Rooms and suites are peppered with antiques exuding understated elegance that make you feel both at home and somewhere very, very special. Most rooms come with a balcony or terrace offering uninterrupted views across the vineyards – bar the honeymoon lodge, which looks out over the property’s central lake – plus a generous array of luxurious Caudalie beauty products, which are based on the concept of harnessing the power of the antioxidants found in grape seeds.

Naturally, Caudalie products are used exclusively at the hotel’s Vinothérapie spa, centred around a natural hot spring. We tested out the facial (from £102), which included an in-depth consultation, relaxing treatment and product recommendations. The spa facilities are at your disposal after a treatment, which include a steam room and sauna, or you can step outside to take full advantage of the vineyard-view pool. Also available on site is a fitness centre and indoor pool, which you might want to visit after an indulgent night in the hands of chef Nicolas Masse.

At La Grand’Vigne chef Nicolas lovingly works with produce available in the immediate vicinity. The meal we experienced put one key ingredient at the heart of every unique dish as we journeyed through the Aquitaine region – from fresh mackerel and pigeon to artichoke. The wine is also put centre stage, considerately paired to each flavour on your plate. Five-course menus £116, or £223 with wine pairing. The estate’s second restaurant La Table du Lavoir and wine bar Rouge are great for lunch and bistro-style dining, complemented with the same fine wine options. If all that eating leaves you needing to stretch your legs beyond the expansive property, borrow a complimentary vintage-framed bike for a ride through the surrounding forests, or head up to Château Smith Haut Lafitte for a guided tour and tasting of the best vintages Bordeaux has to offer.

  • How to do it
    Les Sources de Caudalie has doubles from £217 a night, and is a 20-minute drive from Bordeaux, where there are direct flights to the UK (London Gatwick with British Airways and EasyJet) or take the Eurostar to Paris, which is a two-hour train ride from Bordeaux.

Costa Navarino


The hotel’s elegant Greek architecture blends into the backdrop of sprawling olive groves and azure waters that characterise the oft-overlooked region of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece. Explore the property, a beach resort formed of two hotels, a spa and countless places to wine, dine and relax. From the stunning pool area to the lush herb gardens, this is a place tailored to luxury-seekers.Whole days can be whiled away in the award-winning Anazoe spa (facials from £140, massages from £100). Take a dip in the various hydrotherapy pools, salt water pool, steam rooms, saunas, health showers and ice grotto, or book yourself in for some pampering treatments. The spa uses natural and locally sourced products where possible, such as in the signature Messinian salt and honey scrub. With 20 restaurants, bars and cafés on site, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to suit. Tuck into breakfast (included) at Pero, where a seemingly endless selection of delicacies is on offer – from made-to-order omelettes to Greek cheese and spinach pies, pastries and cakes.

At lunch, dine under the fluttering silk roof at beach restaurant Barbouni, serving fresh seafood, Greek salads topped with slabs of feta (£16), and grilled halloumi with flatbread (£12). For an extra-special dinner in luxe surroundings, head to Japanese restaurant Onuki. Sample platters of beautifully prepared sushi, sashimi (£38 for 12 pieces), and, if you’re feeling flush, grilled wagyu with a truffle ponzu sauce (£107). For keen foodies, there are local olive oil and wine tastings, and authentic cooking courses where you can learn to make tiganites (Greek-style pancakes), hylopites (traditional noodles) and galatopita (custard pie) with the expertise of local ladies. And if that’s not enough to work up your appetite, there are plenty of activities to get stuck into: hiking, mountain biking, tennis and various watersports. Golf enthusiasts are spoilt by two courses (and spectators by the exceptional barbecue food on offer at greenside Flame restaurant).

  • How to do it
    Doubles at The Romanos start at £248 per night including breakfast. The adjoining hotel, The Westin, is better equipped for family fun, with play areas, squash courts, basketball courts, indoor climbing and a crèche. Find out more about Costa Navarino.

Borgo Santo Pietro


Borgo Santo Pietro is something of a Tuscan fantasy. Hide out here at this bolthole borgo (hamlet), as many holidaying Hollywood actors do, and there’s all the bella vita ingredients you’ll ever need. The on-site cookery school provides classes in Tuscan cuisine led by local food legend Mamma Olga, tailored tutorials in fine dining from chef Andrea Ferrari, and pizza-making for kids.Borgo’s love of homegrown ingredients extends to the spa. Its new Seed to Skin holistic range have been crafted to aid cell regeneration (and are recently available in Liberty London). Visit the Skincare Lab, a shop-cum-laboratory, to consult Borgo’s skin scientists, and sample products made from 100% raw ingredients, including butter fat and the nectar of 1,000 Tuscan flowers. The signature massage (£195 for 90 minutes) was deeply relaxing, with shea butter leaving skin hydrated days later. The basic Seed to Skin range is found in all guest rooms, along with chandeliers, plump beds, freestanding baths, and open fires. But don’t stay put. Wander the estate’s vineyard and organic farm. The infinity pool and hot tub are equally as organic-looking, appearing to merge with Tuscan hills.

Dine on expertly crafted cacciucco alla livornese (a rich fish stew) and spaghetti alla vongole – a nod to the nearby Pisa coast – while house-made pastas with wild boar and porcini exemplifies an old-fashioned Tuscan kitchen. Meo Modo, the Michelin-starred domain of Andrea Mattei, has a farmhouse kitchen-style setting that doubles as the breakfast room, where a heaving buffet of home-baked cakes, cured Tuscan meats, fruits and yogurts are complemented by a menu of cooked dishes served against that backdrop of gardens, orchards and vines.

  • How to do it
    A double room costs from £476, including breakfast. offers a week's car rental from Pisa/Florence airports from £49. Find out more about Borgo Santo Pietro.

Titanic Spa
West Yorkshire


This spa has it all – green credentials, a cocktail bar, fabulous food and luxurious apartments – in short: everything you need for a blissful break. The first eco spa to be established in the UK, Titanic, near Huddersfield, takes being kind to the planet while pampering yourself very seriously. It has its own natural spring water source, uses renewable energy, biodegradable materials (you won’t find plastic cups here) and serves locally sourced, organic food in its bistro.

Inside the spa, facilities are top-notch. Try the heat and ice experience, which includes a herbal steam room, crystal steam bath, saunas, an ice room and invigorating plunge pool. There’s also an Egyptian mud chamber where you can slather nourishing organic mud onto your skin (maximum four people, £35 per person). Stay on-site in apartments that are just as soothing: light, airy and modern with balconies offering charming countryside views.

Indulge further with a pre-dinner cocktail at the stylish 1911 bar – we loved the kir Titanic (champagne with raspberry liqueur, £8.45). Good food is a priority at Titanic, and it doesn’t disappoint. At lunch, there are inventive salads and hearty mains, while in the evening, pick from a smart three-course menu with options including roast pork belly with burnt apple purée and quince jus, followed by a peanut & caramel torte. In the morning, enjoy a continental breakfast, or brunch on eggs Benedict in the bistro. If you want to walk it off, the Peak District is a 15-minute drive away with beautiful scenery for miles.

  • How to do it
    An overnight break including lunch, two-course dinner, continental breakfast, use of the spa with robe, slippers and towels costs from £149 per person. Discover more about the Titanic Spa.

Seaside Palm Beach & Cordial Mogan Playa
Gran Canaria

Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa (2)

Gran Canaria has long been a popular summer holiday hotspot for its beaches and family-friendly resorts, and the destination makes for an affordable spa getaway, too. Ideally located next to the Maspalomas sand dunes (which can be explored on marked trails) is the vibrant seventies-style Seaside Palm Beach hotel, with its colourful rooms, bold artworks and retro furniture. You don’t need to venture far for good food – there are three popular restaurants on-site, including La Bodega for tapas, and Esencia, serving modern Mediterranean dishes. But it’s worth a stay for the spa facilities alone, with a biosauna, salt cave (said to help skin conditions) and stone bath, all complimentary to hotel guests, as well as an extensive list of restorative treatments. The spa’s herbal stamp massage is particularly soothing for sore muscles, using warmed cotton bags of aromatic, medicinal herbs and oils to massage the body. Or, opt for one of the mud wraps or facials, before relaxing at one of the hotel’s three outdoor pools.

Cordial Mogan Playa in Las Palmas will attract parents looking for a little tranquillity; the giant chessboard, bowling alley, kids’ pool and a mini club all welcome distractions for older children while you head to Spa Inagua. The outdoor area of the spa is a peaceful setting of Balinese beds, tall cacti and the saltwater pool, while inside is a large swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna. Reflexology, aromatherapy and a volcanic lava exfoliation treatment are available if you book ahead. Conveniently, housed within the hotel is the Michelin-starred Los Guayres restaurant, described as one of the best restaurants in Spain for fine dining. The picture-perfect 10-course classic tasting menu includes marinated red tuna, goat cannelloni, and Tahiti vanilla cream for dessert, with a drinks pairing option that includes cocktails and local wines from the island (tasting menus from £80).

  • How to do it
    Stay at Palm Beach in Las Palomas (rooms from £106 a night, spa treatments from £40), or the Cordial Mogan Playa (double rooms from £281, spa treatments from £30. Use of the facilities is £25 of £16 for hotel guests). Thanks to for assistance with the piece.



Follow winding country roads to the Cotswold village of Southrop, and you’ll find the limestone hotel-hamlet of Thyme, a cluster of homely-yet-stylish converted farm buildings, housing a cookery school, lodge hotel and cottages, kitchen gardens and spa. The Meadow Spa is a haven of wellness. Try the 90-minute signature ritual facial and back massage (treatments from £65), using natural, vegan-friendly creams and oils from skincare brand Aurelia, with probiotics to soothe redness and breakouts.Treatment rooms are set in pretty Meadow Cottage, with the addition of a hot tub, sauna and space for yoga classes expected imminently. For lunch, stroll over to The Swan, a cosy pub and restaurant, sit by the fire and try the chicken, leek & bacon pie with roast potatoes & greens (£33 for two). If you’re lucky enough to stay in the lodge’s English Rose room (possibly the most opulent room of all), take advantage of the bathroom’s log fire and take a long soak in the huge freestanding bath.

The attention to detail continues into the communal areas: the hotel’s new Ox Barn restaurant is filled with with marble-style tables, wooden beams, and large standing ‘sheep’ that can be used as seating. Breakfast is taken here, with standouts such as buck rarebit & eggs. In the evening, there are seasonal dishes using garden produce such as cod, onion, leek & anchovy, from £40 for three courses and a glass a wine. Arrive back from dinner to a night cap infused with ingredients from Thyme’s herb garden, and you should be more than ready to sink into bed, pre-warmed with hot water bottles.

  • How to do it
    Double rooms from £285 a night, breakfast included. Discover more about Thyme.

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Have you been to an amazing spa with incredible food? Leave a comment below...

All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of December 2018 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out-of-date information in this guide please email us at

Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to.


Accommodation & assistance was provided by Les Sources Caudalie, Titanic Spa, Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa, Carey’s Manor, Costa Navarino, Thyme, Borgo Santo Pietro, and

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