With 2022 being dubbed the year of rest and relaxation following two years of pandemic anxiety, there’s no better time to plan a spa and wellbeing getaway.
Whether it’s a full-body massage you’re after or a bespoke pottery-making workshop, these excellent retreats will see you back on top form in no time. And with little chance that we’re going back into lockdown this year, you can be (almost) safe in the knowledge that your trip will go off without a hitch.
Topping our list is Birch Community, a perfect all-rounder where your downtime between activities can be spent lounging in the bar, taking a walk through the Hertfordshire countryside or challenging a friend to a game of ping-pong. There’s fitness facilities – everything from an outdoor pool to a yoga studio – and the customer service is beyond compare.
With each of these retreats offering something different, check out our list and find best spa and wellbeing getaway for 2022.
Best spa and wellbeing getaways in 2022
1. Best overall: Birch Community, Hertfordshire
Double (medium) room from £120 per night.
If you’re looking for a complete getaway – both mind and body – then Birch is the place for you. Set within the semi-revamped walls of an 1800s manor house, built by an illustrious baron and his extravagant wife, the retreat offers an escape by means of contemporary art, uniquely delicious food and adventure.
Other retreats may offer more in terms of massages and facials (although these are available at the Wellness Centre), but you certainly won’t find a menu of experiences like the ones at Birch elsewhere. During your stay, you have to check out the cultural programme – with the pottery-making workshop being a particular highlight. Under lighthearted instruction, you completely detach from reality by moulding and creating with your hands. No matter what you make at the end of the two hour session, it’s blown in your choice of colour and popped in the post within just a few weeks. £50 per homewares session – an absolute bargain when you consider what it would cost to buy the same crockery at Anthropologie. But if that’s not for you, don’t worry – there’s also sourdough and soda bread-making, foraging, wine and whisky tasting, plus so much more.
If you fancy stretching your legs, you can also opt for one of the several fitness classes available for free during your stay – including yoga, spinning, strength training and more. There’s a state-of-the-art gym at your disposal complete with a weights room, cardio machines and a sauna. If you’re feeling truly brave (or you’re lucky enough to have scored a weekend in the summer), head to the retreat’s own outdoor pool after your session. It’ll be a bracing dip in the colder months – but if wellness is what you’re looking for, there’s truly nothing better for you than a cold swim.
If you prefer a more chilled-out approach to your spa and wellbeing getaway, take a walk through the illustrious golf-course-turned-farm that Birch is built on and see the farm-to-table approach to food at the retreat for yourself. Birch Community boasts award-winning chef Robin Gill’s Zebra Riding Club restaurant on site. It’s the place to go for something a little more like fine dining – with their three course brunch menu starting at £38 per person – but with the simplicity of Birch’s ethos. Highlights for meat-eaters include deviled egg and lobster mayo in the snack selection and the pork belly chop for main. There’s separate vegan, veggie and kids’ menus available too.
But when it comes to food at Birch, it’s really got to be Valerie’s. Named after the zebra-riding former resident herself, you can – and should – start and finish your day here. Think poached eggs in the morning, delicious wild mushroom truffle pasta in the afternoon, coffee and CBD-infused drinks, and steak in the evening. Just remember to book in advance if you go later in the day as it fills up quickly with guests, members and their dogs alike.
In the evening when you’re ready for sleep, head upstairs to one of the 140 minimalist rooms built within the old house itself. Here you’ll find an exceptionally comfortable bed and a surprisingly retro-style pink bathroom to see you through to the morning.
The best part about Birch that makes it the number one getaway on our list? It caters for how ever you want to relax. If a boozy vacay with friends is what you’re after, book a Weekender and never be bored. Or if you’re looking for a chilled-out retreat, two days spent soaking in the fresh air on nature walks and ironing out the creases in a Power Flow yoga session should do the trick. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find it here.
2. Best location: Merchant’s Manor, Falmouth
Double rooms from £150 in the off-peak season and £165 in high season.
While kids are more than welcome at Birch, this spa and wellbeing getaway is just for the grown-ups. Situated an easy 10-minute walk from Falmouth Town in Dorset, Merchant’s Manor has an incredible vantage point for sea-lovers. From the hotel, it’s just another few minutes to the beach and you can even have your (inclusive) breakfast of avocado on toast with poached eggs and harissa looking out onto the sea view in the mornings. If you’re an early riser, take a stroll down to the front and watch the sunrise.
When you’re ready for a wind-down in the afternoon, try out a massage or facial in one of the two treatment rooms available at the manor (but be sure to book your treatment in advance as space fills up a week or more in advance). Then relax in the barrel sauna, steam room or heated pool that stretches over 13-metres long, before a dip in the hydrotherapy tub.
During the day, once you’ve had a stroll through the picturesque town and a bit of lunch (we recommend The Shack for seafood or the balcony at the WindJammer for harbour views), head back to the multi-award winning Rastella restaurant for dinner. There’s the conservatory for a more sociable, relaxed feel or the classic dining room. Both spots should be experienced at least once during your stay. As should the exquisite tasting menu at £55 per person. It’s complete with hand-picked Cornish flavours that you’re very unlikely to find elsewhere, like fresh sea greens and beef from the oldest farm in the county. With seven different themes, it’s a sensational experience. We won’t ruin it – but chocolate-lovers are in for a treat in the final course especially.
3. Best for spa deals: Frederick’s Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, Berkshire
Double rooms from £160 per night.
If the coven of dense trees and silence that surrounds Fredrick’s in Maidenhead isn’t enough to get you to relax, the spa treatments on offer just a stone’s throw away from your room are sure to do the trick.
While guests rave about the dining experiences on offer, it’s the pool that you’re after at this spa. The space starts small inside but then you swim through an open door that extends into the ground’s gardens, complete with a jet and waterfall fountain. There’s also a steam room, sauna, rain showers and a complete gym to keep you busy during your stay.
Frederick’s offers 137 rooms for overnight guests, complete with 5-star dinner service at the double AA Rosette-winning restaurant and breakfast in the morning. However, their selection of deals for day visits is certainly worth a look too. Whether you’re staying in Maidenhead and looking to escape for an hour (60-minute treatment – £75) or want to get out of the city just for the day (Tempting Tea and Treatment – £75 for midweek, £85 for the weekend), you can make full use of spa without breaking the bank.
4. Best for activities: Water Women Weekend, Newquay
From £249 per person, not including accommodation.
Organised by surfing collective Women + Waves, the Water Women Weekend is a two-day retreat to Cornwall’s luscious coastline. While another spa and wellbeing getaway on our list will offer more of a package deal, starting at £249 each, this is definitely one of the best deals if you’re truly looking to escape and do something totally new.
Along with picking up the basics (or progressing to the next level) on a surfboard alongside like-minded individuals, you’ll get the opportunity to paddle board your way through Newquay’s famous waterways and take a dip in some of the stunning wild swimming spots in the area.
Accommodation-wise, it’s a book-your-own situation. The group has links to various hotels in the area – from Lewinnick Lodge with its amazing views to the more budget-friendly Smarties Surf Lodge – alongside campsites and of course, there’s always the Airbnbs dotted around Fistral Beach. And when you’re in the area, check out The Boathouse for food – there’s everything from crab sandwiches to vegan katsu curry available to buy and eat in their picnic-style set up.
Whether you’re on your own or coming in a group, this is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the grind and into nature.
5. Best for treatments: Y Spa, Bedfordshire
Two Night Hideaway Spa Break from £488
Don’t let the dreary exterior of Wyboston Lakes put you off everything that the Y Spa at Wyboston Lakes has to offer. Once you’ve checked in, head straight to pick up your wristband for the spa and head over to the outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Here, enclosed by trees and next to a Nordic-style sweat lodge, you’ll find perfect relaxation. There’s also two different saunas at various temperatures, a steam room and salt room. So whatever stress you’re looking to get rid off, you’ll sure sweat it out here.
If not, take a look at the spa’s range of treatments on offer – they’re not to be missed. Experience an energising facial with the ELEMIS Superfood Pro-Radiance or the Murad H20 facial among others, each available with options for sensitive skin or blemishes. For the body, there’s the Neom Wellbeing Treatment Sleep – a must-have if you’re looking for an evening treat – or a traditional full-body Y Spa Massage, designed to push away tension for just £80 per hour.
Plus if you book your spa and wellbeing getaway online, you can save up to 10% on overnight stays.
In the morning, head across the road to the gym and wellness centre – which includes a decently-sized swimming pool. While it’s no state-of-the-art gym, it’s got everything you’d have in your own gym to get a good workout in before you head home.
6. Best setting: Ockenden Manor, Hotel and Spa, Sussex
Cosy rooms from £214 per night
Looking for a spa with a historic twist? Set in the heart of Sussex is the centuries-old Ockenden Manor, Hotel and Spa. While it’s a good choice for those looking to celebrate (you may even see a wedding party or two during your stay), the relaxing views and spa packages make it a good choice for a peaceful weekend away.
10 minutes away from Haywards Heath station, you’ll need a car to navigate the tight country roads – or grab a taxi. But with Brighton just 16 miles away, it’s a great choice for locals or those looking for a side of the seaside with their pampering spa and wellbeing getaway.
Come in the winter and a real, open fire will greet you at reception on arrival. Before heading up to one of the Tudor-style rooms, complete with roll-top baths and deep oak panelling, have a drink in the bar. If wine’s your thing, there’s an ever-expanding wine list to choose from – or your standard selection of spirits, beers and soft drinks – along with complimentary canapés.
For the spa alone it’s worth the £200+ fee per night on the weekend. After a short walk from the main house, you’ll arrive at the contemporary treatment centre – a stark contrast from the dark wood finishing of the manor. There’s a pool with an open hatch so you can swim out into the outdoors, along with whirlpool tubs, steam rooms, saunas, rainforest showers and lounge area. Along with signature treatments that range from the signature massage to “floating therapy”.
7. Best for a city break: Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
1 Night Spa Experience from £628
Wellness, 5* spa treatments and city breaks can, believe it or not, go hand in hand. And if you’ve got a spare weekend in your diary designated to doing something new, why not take a trip to Scotland’s cultural capital?
While a two-night stay at The Balmoral is something out of a gothic fairytale, at hundreds of £ per night, it’s not an option for everyone. Luckily, you don’t have to stay to enjoy the retreat-like urban luxury of the hotel and spa. Perfectly placed on Prince’s Street, a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Waverley Station and just around the corner from Edinburgh Castle itself, this hotel takes relaxation to the next level. Along with a range of classic treatments, including a 50-minute Swedish massage (a must-have if you visit), there’s a heated pool, sauna, steam room and sizeable walk-in shower room.
Afterwards, make a reservation for tea in the iconic Palm Court room. Soothing in style with flashes of green decor, its menu features scones, sandwiches and cakes, along with the option for a champagne-infused alternative to traditional afternoon teas. If you’re going in the afternoon, book a spot for dinner in the Michelin star restaurant, Number One, set within the historic building itself for their signature 7-course menu.
Also during your stay in the city, we also recommend visiting The Witchery by the castle for an incredible Sunday lunch before a walk through the Old Town.
8. Best for food: The Pig, New Forest
From £195 midweek to £215 at the weekend
While there’s technically no spa at The Pig, you can experience everything from a powerful full-body massage to a hydrating facial in one of their scenic cabins on-site – complete with your choice of aromatherapy oil. Set within the New Forest and multiple other locations around England, The Pig has been a huge hit with those looking to get out of the city since 2011.
While the newly-opened spa and wellbeing getaway in the South Downs, close by to the ancient market town of Arundel, boasts incredible customer service and a stellar food experience, we’ve picked the original New Forest retreat for our list. All because of the food.
Bringing a farm-to-table approach to all their hotels, ingredients for the ever-changing menu here are all sourced within a close 25-mile radius and much of the vegetables come from patches scattered around the site itself. There are, of course, pig-themed dishes and nibbles like cuts of cured meat, terrines and succulent pork belly to enjoy in abundance – and you definitely should make the most of these. Breakfast is served throughout the morning and includes the essentials like juices, yogurt and cereals, pastries, cakes and more, alongside hot dishes made-to-order. The Eggs Benedict are the winners here, arriving piping-hot and on a bed of delicious sourdough toast.
Once you’ve eaten your fill, you can explore the surrounding areas of the New Forest.
9. Best for camping: Fforest, South Wales
Price dependent on experience and accommodation choices
On a farm near the River Teifi, by the coast on Penbryn Beach or in Cardigan town? That’s the only question you have to answer when choosing your experience with Fforest. The retreat company offers total detachment from reality with their three different experiences – all set within the deep countryside of South Wales.
Take on challenges with this spa and wellbeing getaway like Gran Ffondo – a four-day cycling adventure with pub pitstops, sauna stations and films round a firepit. Dive into a community of women with the women’s-only Fforest Glow retreat. Or bring the whole family along for Fforest Gather – a two-week long celebration of the simple pleasures in life, including music, tree climbing and arts activities like ceramics and printmaking.
Where you’ll sleep at night all depends on the option you choose. If you go for the Farm experience, you have eight incredible spots to pick from – including a stunning Georgian farmhouse. While the Town stay will have you sleeping in vintage granary lofts. By the coast, you’ll stay the night in cabins or glamping-style domes.