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Our little black book of enchanting places


The Good Spa Awards by Maggie O'Sullivan

Posted in HEALTH + WELLBEING By Maggie O' Sullivan

Practically every spa we visit these days has been commended by someone for something. But The Good Spa Guide Awards, which were announced earlier this week, actually mean something. The Good Spa Guide itself was founded in 2006 by medical and health journalist Daphne Metland. The awards were launched six years ago, and what we particularly like about them is that winners are split into two categories: those voted for by the public and those voted for by the Guide’s own ‘spa spies’ who review more than 100 spas every year. Here are five of our favourites spas selected by those spies.

Weavers’ House Spa, The Swan, Suffolk  

The cool and contemporary Weavers’ House (above) offers British spa brand Temple Spa which, though inspired by the Mediterranean approach to health and wellbeing, also works with a local Suffolk herbalist. We like the sound of the spa’s signature treatment, the Weavers’ House Hug: two hours of deep-tissue massage, body rocking and tapping, finishing with hot stones and stretching, though if we’ve only got 30 minutes, we’ll go for the AAAHHH (a leg and foot energiser) purely on the basis of its name. Read more Armathwaite Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cumbria

Armathwaite is a historic stately home, set on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake near Keswick. Its traditional exterior hides a very modern spa, with a vast pool that looks out across the deer park. There are three spa brands on offer: Comfort Zone from Italy, British Just Be and French Thémaé – the idea being to provide treatments that suit everyone. The Longevity Face and Body Treatment sounds just the ticket. Read moreCarbis Bay Hotel & Spa, Cornwall

The spa at Carbis Bay, a mile from St Ives, takes what it calls a holistic approach to skin and body therapy, using products by Aromatherapy and Voya, one of our favourite natural brands from the West Coast of Ireland. We’re torn between a Lava Shell Massage with heated tiger clam shells (the new hot stones) and Sleep Deeply, 120 minutes of massage aimed at switching off the body and mind to induce a fantastic night’s sleep. Read moreStanley House Hotel & Spa, Lancashire  

The Stanley House spa is set over two floors and designed to be a natural extension of the 17th-century manor house, set in the Ribble Valley. It’s the only spa in the North West to offer luxury brand Natura Bissé plus British organic brand Ila. Treatment of the Month in November is an Ila Kundalini Back Massage, which uses a combination of ancient healing techniques to balance the natural rhythm of the body. That will do for us. Read more Galgorm Hotel & Spa, Co Antrim

Set in 163 acres of parkland, this is no mere spa: it’s a thermal village with a whole range of indoor and outdoor thermal spa areas including a sanarium, snow cabin and four hot tubs, each named after an ancient celtic tree found in the surrounding woodland… Spa brands include Aromatherapy Associates, Eve Lom and Voya. Taste of Galgorm, a Voya massage treatment exclusive to Galgorm sounds good though we’re intrigued by the Celtic Sauna Ritual in which the heat is infused by essential oils, overseen by the spa's Sauna Master. Read more 

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