Over the hills and spa away
After trekking up the fells there’s no better way to relieve aching muscles than a restorative massage. Likewise, spending a lot of your time as a local in waterproofs shouldn’t mean glamour goes by the wayside. Happily, the Lakes is well served with spas and indulgent treatments. I defy you not to find a good therapist at any of the venues listed below, they’re all friendly and professional.
Armathwaite Hall, Bassenthwaite
Best for: The full-on spa experience with excellent facilities, a vast range of treatments and a well stocked shop. It's a proper spa for grown-ups including having separate changing facilities if you're on a spa day. It's expertly organised yet unpretentious.
What's different: There are the complimentary teas, coffees and flapjack all day, and the Side Orders, 15-minute little rituals for hands, feet, eyes, scalp and neck and shoulders that you can add on to your main treatment.
Treatments: To make best use of all the facilities you need to stay overnight or be on a spa experience, which range from a half-day with 25 minute treatment (£80) to Bliss, which includes 2 hours and 25 minutes of treatment time and a two-course lunch (£199). The Milk and Honey Body Wrap (£75) is a fabulous treatment to prep your skin ready for winter, while my favourites from the Temple Spa range are the Work It Out massage and the Mediterranean Marinade facial. The Meditteranean Float 85-minute face and body duo is pretty good value at £105, as is the Luxury Pedicure at £35.
Products: Temple Spa and Bespoke Aroma for body and face, Vinylux and Shellac for nails.
Facilities: Warm indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, gym, exercise studio, thermal suite and relaxing lounges and terraces.
Another Place, The Lake
Best for: Its beautiful Ullswater lakeside location (see our main image) and stylish and comfortable interiors by Household (who’ve also worked with White Company); relaxing over a coffee or lunch in The Living Space before and after your treatment – it’s so lovely I may have over-stayed my welcome.
What’s different: Therapists wearing activewear and gentle pop songs instead of the usual whale-song tinkly music
Treatments: A full menu for face and body, including waxing and eyebrow/lash work, and they also offer ‘freestyle’ treatments to meet individual needs. Day membership is good value at £85 for a 60-minute treatment plus full use of the Swim Club facilities. Note: it’s not a full-on spa.
Recommended treatment: A deep massage with Jo – if you like a firm massage, she’s the therapist for you.
Products: Arcania Apothecary, an exclusive range developed for Watergate Bay hotel group of which Another Place is part; Jessica nails
Facilities: Stunning 20m infinity pool with lake and mountain views, outdoor Canadian hot tub, sauna, cardio room – but you only get to use them if you’re a resident, or if you book a day membership or swim & dine.
Best for: Windermere shore location; locals’ lux - valet parking, tea or coffee on arrival and free use of the pool, with every treatment.
What’s different: The chance to arrive by ferry or even steam train.
Treatments: A range of individual massage, body, facial and eye treatments for men and women and spa day packages that include either arrival drink, lunch or afternoon tea and full use of the facilities.
Recommended treatment: Purely Indulgence, excellent value at £115 for over two hours of top to toe mind and body pampering. It starts with a foot cleanse and includes a full body salt scrub, fully body massage, facial and head massage. Sheila comes across as a very experienced therapist.
Products: Aveda for body and face, Orly for nails.
Facilities: 17m indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gym.
Aqua Sana, Center Parcs, Whinfell
Best for: Spa packages – obviously these cost more than a single treatment but it makes sense to enjoy all the facilities and make a day of it.
What’s different: Since this is a full-on holiday destination, it has all the facilities and more of a resort with 14 ‘spa experiences’ to choose from.
Treatments: Lots of choice for men, women and couples, alternative treatments include hopi ear candles, reflexology and Made for Life, which are suitable for those living with and beyond cancer.
Recommended treatment: I’d go for the Brighten and Glow Spa Day (£115 weekdays) which gives you full access to all the facilities, arrival refreshments, lunch and an Elemis skin brightening facial and frangipane hot stones massage (55 mins).
Products: Elemis, Decleor, Spiezia, Shellac or CND nails, Bare Minerals makeovers.
Facilities: Indoor and outdoor pools and a circuit of numerous hot, cold, wet, dry, meditative and herbal ‘experiences’ designed to provide different therapies.
Cascades Spa, Whitewater Hotel, Newby Bridge
Best for: Value. Find me anywhere else where you get full facilities access, use of a robe, slippers and free Elemis shower samples, an hour-long Elemis treatment and afternoon tea for just £59...? It's their Spavember offer until the end of the month (2017), but they do regular special offers and the regular day packages are all excellent value.
What's different: It's huge with ten treatment rooms, including one for couples, and the Lakes' first rasul mud temple.
Treatments: The range of packages and treatments is immense. And, oh bliss, heated massage beds. I have to say it’s not the coolest place with somewhat dated decor but the spa is well established and runs like a well-oiled (sorry) machine.
Recommended treatment: The mud rasul is a unique cleansing experience, but I'm a big fan of the Elemis Visible Brilliance facial.
Products: Elemis, Jessica nails.
Facilities: Indoor pool, steam room, sauna, gym and outdoor hot tub.
I’ll be adding more to my review round-up in the coming weeks… it’s a tough job…