With winter well underway and the nights drawing in, this is the perfect time to hunker down for a massage, cosy up on a lounger, or sip warm herbal tea as you read your book and gaze out at misty, burnt-orange countryside. So for a slice of self-care, here’s our pick of the best spa hotels near London, all within an hour’s rail journey from a station in the city.
How we review
Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences (in this case, for instance, the spa) that the hotel might have to offer. We will earn a commission if you book via the links below, but this never affects our rating.
At a glance
Sopwell House, St Albans, Hertfordshire
The Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House is a light-filled haven of squishy day beds, cubist fireplace blocks, and a beautiful spa garden designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold-medallist, Ann-Marie Powell. For spa days near London it’s ideal: the property is only 10 minutes from the M25, but you wouldn’t know it, save for the odd whoosh of cars barely audible over the trickling fountains, bubbling hot tubs, moon shower, and pond-like water features inspired by the nearby River Ver. Sofas, cabanas and fire pits are set around a warm indoor-outdoor pool framed by large oak trees. Inside, there are two saunas, one organic, another with panoramic views; two steam rooms, one briny, the other herby; thermal experiences and relaxation rooms. Muscle-melting treatments are by Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates.
Cliveden, Taplow, Berkshire
This National Trust property, situated among 376 acres of verdant greenery on the banks of the Thames, is one of the top luxury spa hotels near London. The house dates back to the 17th century and is infamous for its role in the Profumo affair. The outdoor pool, where the affair started, is surrounded by loungers and two hot tubs. Inside, there’s an indoor pool, whirpool tub, and orangery-style relaxation room, plus seven treatment rooms. Cliveden offers sumptuous Oskia treatments as well as Sarah Chapman Skinesis facials, which involve the global beauty expert’s signature ‘gymnastics’ for the face movements and award-winning products.
Beaverbrook, Surrey, England
An elegant country house in the Surrey Hills just 18 miles from central London. Beautifully styled interiors were designed by Susie Atkinson and staff walk around wearing 1920s apparell. The house was the popular haunt of Lord Beaverbrook who entertained world leaders and literary greats including Sir Winston Churchill. The Coach House Spa has a very different feel about it, though it is as equally arty as the rest of the property, with a design by stained-glass artist Brian Clarke, whose colourful installations add vibrance and personality. There are six treatment rooms and a thermal suite, plus beauty room, salon and relaxation lounge. Treatments span the gamut from classic body massages to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
South Lodge, Horsham, West Sussex
From the natural dipping pond to the bubbling vitality pool, South Lodge is worth getting out of London for. The 19th-century neo-Jacobean beauty borders the chalky hills and grasslands of the South Downs, grazed by sheep and cows and fringed with honey-scented orchids. Inside, it’s all oversized fireplaces, original embossed wallpapers and bronze pillars. The spa is a newer addition, featuring a marble-lined salt steam, jasmine-infused steam room and 14 treatment rooms that offer muscle-melting massages and facials.
• The best hotels in England
Glass House Retreat, Upminster, Essex
This bold, cubist Essex retreat claims to be the UK’s only detox, fitness and plant-based diet retreat. The large white property is surrounded by hedgerow-lined fields within several acres of green Essex countryside. The concept is based around distraction-free (no phones) progressive fitness facilities and classes (think boxing, yoga, Pilates and HIIT), spa and wellness treatments (including cryotherapy), and plant-based diets, along with motivational talks and activities such as early morning guided walks, cooking demonstrations and gong baths. An indoor swimming pool and Himalayan salt block sauna complete the picture. Most of the 21 rooms have countryside views.
Shortest journey takes 22 minutes from Fenchurch Street to Upminster by train (from £6.30), plus a 15-minute taxi from the station.
Read the full review: Glass House
Contributions by Sherelle Jacobs