These glorious spa hotels are calling your name. Time to sign up for some serious pampering...
Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire
Best for… a mum and daughter break
The low-down: A steamy outdoor infinity pool, which overlooks the rolling Leicestershire countryside, is the latest jewel in the crown of this well-known spa hotel. In fact, you can't move for amazing pools – indoors and out – plus a dizzying array of saunas and steam rooms. There are also all-day fitness classes, a large gym, and health and beauty talks. Relaxation is the only goal here and with 50 treatment rooms (try the Decleor Facial Pilates – sheer bliss), three shops, coffee bar and a fabulous restaurant where you are welcome to dine in your finery or robe and slippers (yes, alcohol is allowed), it has mum and daughter break written all over it.
Out and about: If you’ve got time, make sure you visit the King Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester, built over the car park where the last Plantagenet king's remains were discovered in 2015.
Stella loves: The on-site beauty shop has an unrivalled selection of products – think Space NK but bigger!
Two-Night Taster Breaks (mid-week) start from £342 per person, including a 50-minute treatment, meals and use of facilities; ragdalehall.co.uk
Best for… stylish spa-goers
The low-down: Priestley once wrote of Cotswold stone: "Even when the sun is obscured and the light is cold, these walls are still faintly warm and luminous." It’s the perfect depiction of Thyme, a luxurious hotel and spa in the picturesque Gloucestershire hamlet of Southrop (Kate Moss married Jamie Hince in the neighbouring church). Over the past few years, houses, a farm, outbuildings, barns and the pub have been bought up by the husband and wife team behind Thyme to create a true ‘village’ property. The food is great and rooms are comforting – think roll top baths, sheepskin rugs and fluffy duvets
Offering on-site yoga classes, a cookery school and the heavenly Meadow Spa, located in an old cottage (which uses Aurelia Probiotic products – the brand’s first spa), this is a nurturing haven in which to step off life’s treadmill for a few days.
Out and about: Be sure to visit the stunning market town of Burford, 15-minutes away by car, where you can take afternoon tea at Huffkins tea rooms or something stronger at the Lamb Inn, a 15th century pub. Go walking in the Cotswolds and antiques fans will love the shopping at Stow on the Wold, a 30-minute drive away.
Spa package with an overnight stay, full use of spa facilities, 90-minute ritual and lunch at The Swan from £330 per person; thyme.co.uk
Principal Blythswood Square, Glasgow
Best for... a girl’s weekend away
The low-down: With its Georgian elegance, enthusiastic young staff and sociable spa (café, relaxation areas), the five-star Principal Blythswood Square is ideal for special occasions with friends. The spa is flatteringly low-lit with enough variety in the thermal rooms and pools to keep you blissfully occupied. Many of the treatments use Ishga products containing mineral-rich seaweed harvested from pure Hebridean waters, perfect for a skin detox. There’s a distinct Scottish flavour to the fine food and drinks menus as well (Shetland mussels, local gin, etc) best enjoyed in a swanky booth seat in the restaurant, or on tweed-covered stools in the beautiful upstairs bar.
Out and about: The best places to eat and drink are in the West End. In the Byres Road visit Kember and Jones for a better class of coffee and home-baked cakes. Nearby is Starry Starry Night, a long-established vintage shop selling everything from 30s velvet gowns to 70s lamé. In Argyle Street (the so-called ‘Finnie Strip’) you’ll find chic cocktail bars like the Finnieston and contemporary restaurants like Ox and Finch with its delicious take on tapas-style food.
Stella loves: The spa café, where you can have a light lunch in your bathrobe – making the most of your visit.
Rates for bed & breakfast start at £150; spa days from £130; phcompany.com/principal/glasgow-blythswood-square
Armathwaite Hall, Lake District
Best for... post-walk pampering
The low-down:Armathwaite Hall combines the most luxurious aspects of both worlds: the splendour of a grand country house (with plenty of beautiful, original features) and the slick elegance of a modern spa. Situated at the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake in the northern Lake District, the hotel is family-run so despite the grandeur, there’s a friendly atmosphere, too. The spa offers a full range of treatments in blissfully calm treatment rooms, which sit alongside a lovely heated pool area – the highlight is an outdoor hot tub with views across the grounds. Afterwards, dress for dinner in the wood-panelled fine dining restaurant then enjoy a cocktail in the Art Deco-style bar.
Out and about: With the Lake District on its doorstep, there are countless walks and outdoor activities to choose from nearby – the Catbells walk is particularly scenic, and if hills aren’t your thing then try the walk around Buttermere. For delicious breakfasts, lunches or afternoon teas, head to The Lingholm Kitchen which looks out to the walled garden which inspired Beatrix Potter’s Tales of Peter Rabbit. The Royal Oak and Middle Ruddings Inn offer more relaxed evening dining options in the nearby village of Braithwaite.
Spa day from £129; spa breaks from £345 for two; armathwaite-hall.com