SPA OP THE MONTH
Calcot Manor, Spa : Cotswolds. It’s rare that a hotel manages to be both a luxury bolthole and a haven for family fun. But this idyllic country retreat pulls it off with style. Just a few miles’ drive through rolling Cotswolds countryside from the market town of Tetbury, Calcot Manor is a beautiful, honey-coloured 14th century farmhouse that’s been lovingly transformed into a luxury hotel and spa.
Crunching up Calcot’s drive, we find our home for the weekend set in a lavender- lined courtyard, surrounded by fields and woodland. Ducking through the porch (thoughtfully stocked with well-used wellington boots and umbrellas) and into the warm interior, we instantly want to check in for the week. All squishy sofas, roaring log fires and country-house chic, Calcot’s drawing rooms urge you to snuggle up and forget the outside world. It’s stylish but relaxed and friendly with a warm, talented team of staff who make you feel totally at home.
Luxury Spa Hotel in The Cotswolds Photo Gallery
The hygge vibe continues into the bedrooms. One glance at the sumptuous bed, huge walk-in shower and deep, freestanding bath stocked with Aromatherapy Associates goodies and I’m Tempted to ditch our plans for an active weekend and surrender to decadent laziness. Calcot has 35 individually decorated bedrooms of all shapes and sizes – from 12 adult-only rooms in the main house to two-storeyed cottages for families, overlooking the courtyard and gardens. They are all gorgeous.
It’s just a short stroll over to Calcot spa, housed in an airy converted barn. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, we spot the main attraction – a garden courtyard with bubbling, eight-seater hot tub and roaring wood fire. Inside, there’s a serene 16-metre, slate-lined pool (and smaller children’s pool), a gym equipped with Technogym kit and personal trainers, plus treatment rooms, sauna and steam room.
Seven treatment rooms – all individually designed – offer the full range of pampering body and face treatments from Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates; holistic therapies such as reflexology; high-tech CACI facials, plus a menu of treatments for men and even teens. My Elemis Hot Mineral Body Boost does exactly what it promises – the hot mineral balm, combined with expertly delivered massage, eases out my neck and back tension and ends with revitalising facial and scalp massage.I pad along to the cosy heat suite and relax with a herbal tea before trying the sauna and steam cabins. Then, my friend and I take a deep breath and dart outside into the chilly, winter night to jump into the steamy hot tub, luxuriating in the heat under a starry sky.
Next morning, I wake to sunlight streaming through the window and creep out of bed for a pre-breakfast swim. The spa is flooded with light and I have the pool to myself for some laps. Afterwards, I can’t resist another dip in the hot tub, steam billowing around me in the frosty morning air. It’s the perfect start to the day, completed by Calcot’s delicious breakfast.There’s no shortage of al fresco exercise here – from tennis courts, croquet lawn, outdoor pool, running trails and even an outdoor gym hidden in the woods, to mountain bikes and walking maps – Calcot has thought of it all. It’s lovely being able to hike straight from the front door into the countryside, and even better returning to Calcot roaring fireplace for afternoon tea. Leave your children to enjoy the Ofsted-registered Playzone creche with crafts, games and even a 12-seater cinema!
Calcot’s pretty Conservatory restaurant focuses on local, seasonal produce, all packed with flavour. We dined on delicious homemade gnocchi with salsify, oven roasted brill, and a sublime blood orange sorbet. The restaurant is relaxed and friendly rather than stuffy, but the hotel’s gastro pub, The Gemstone, is a good spot for families or chilling out with the papers. In the spa cafe, you can refuel with juices, smoothies and lighter options.
A stay at Calcot costs from £209 per room per night, including breakfast and use of the spa facilities. Visit calcot.co.
We do love a relaxing soak in the bath, so were happy to hear about AA Skincare’s new range of five plant- inspired shower and bath gels that can also be used as bath foam. Combining essential oils and natural extracts with healing Ayurvedic herb powders, such as rejuvenating brahmi to help cleanse and hydrate the skin, vitamin C-rich amla to promote skin health and tulsi, which works to stimulate blood flow, the problem will be which to choose.There’s invigorating Cedarwood & Peppermint; nourishing Rosemary, Sage & Burdock; balancing Amla & Clary Sage; hydrating Peony, Bay & Brahmi; and soothing Ylang Ylang, Argan & Rosemary. The range is free from parabens and artificial fragrances. Each gel costs £5.95 for 250ml; aa skincare.co.uk.
‘IT WORKED FOR ME’
H&F beauty writer Yanar Alkayat tries a luxury face and body treat
What? Katherine Daniels Velvet Skin Face and Body Combination Treatment; £55 for 55 minutes.
Where? Y-Spa, Wyboston Lakes, Cambridgeshire (yspa.co.uk) Y Spa is within easy reach of Peterborough, Milton Keynes and London, making it a popular, convenient spa spot. Book a day package to enjoy your time here. After I’d spent the morning in the thermal spa, outdoor hydrotherapy pool, garden-view saunas and salt-infused steam room, I headed up to the cosy therapy rooms for my treatment, a top-to-toe treat exclusive to Y-Spa. Katherine Daniels Cosmetics is a British brand that uses plant, marine and collagen technology with a holistic approach. First, my skin was indulged with Katherine Daniels Oil & Salt Exfoliator (£25 for = 200ml; katherine daniels cosmetics. com) containing a cocktail of sea salts and essential oils, so irresistible you’ll- want to take one home.
The facial that followed included ahead, neck and shoulder massage anda deep cleanse using a hand-held gadget. The oscillating magnetic heading combination with a massage gel helps unclog pores and exfoliate. I left with polished, beautifully glowing skin. After the massage, there was time to chill in the relaxation zones where ergonomic loungers, waterbeds and duvets await. Lunch was at the =Waterfront restaurant overlooking the lake. The spa menu offers treatments for pregnancy, men and couples so you and a partner will be well catered for. Plus, there’s a daily cap on visitor numbers so you’ll never feel rushed or overcrowded.’
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