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Our expert writers are usually hosted on a complimentary basis in order to gain the first-hand experience necessary for their review.
In 1966 the Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the 16th such district in England and Wales (there are now 46 AONBs). And it’s with good reason that this supremely popular region in the UK remains hugely acclaimed for its natural splendour. Many of the top hotels of the Cotswolds combine this utopian setting with first-class spas, offering a winning mix of relaxation, revitalisation and fabulous scenery. Below we’ve selected a range of top-quality accommodation with state-of-the-art spas worthy of being considered destinations in their own right. Here’s our pick of the best spa hotels in the Cotswolds.
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 that the hotel might have to offer.
At a glance, the best spa hotels in the Cotswolds
- The best Cotswolds spa hotel for couples – Dormy House, Broadway
- The best luxury Cotswolds spa hotel – Calcot & Spa, Tetbury
- The best Cotswolds spa hotel with a private hot tub – Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, Chipping Campden
- The best Cotswolds spa hotel with an outdoor pool – Thyme, Southrop
Dormy House is a complete treat of a hotel with very stylish and deeply relaxing décor, terrific food and impeccable service. Its state-of-the-art spa has won armloads of awards, not surprising given its lavender sauna, salt-infusion steam room, infinity pool and more. Treatments are from cutting-edge brand Natura Bisse, whose facials are said to have a better effect than Botox. Rose Cottage is best for romantics and has its own hot tub, while the Courtyard suites particularly emphasise Scandinavian design, and bathrooms are stocked with Temple Spa goodies. The Garden Room offers a fabulous afternoon tea.
This splendid country house hotel just across from Cheltenham Racecourse has a wealth of history (spy the musket holes from the Civil War on the front door), a great setting and bags of style. The 61 bedrooms are very much in keeping with the relaxingly rural-chic style of the place – some have stripy wallpaper, others sport chintz and pelmets. A highlight is the dreamy outdoor pool and a large, well-devised spa with a hot tub, sauna, steam room and juice bar. The extensive range of treatments is based on Ila and Monu skincare products made in the Cotswolds and also on Ishga seaweed lotions from the Hebrides.
This much-loved 17th-century Cotswolds house is about to be taken over by THE PIG hotel group, so expect changes to happen in 2024. However, the bare bones and spirit of the place will undoubtedly remain the same. This is an ultra-chic and immensely relaxing retreat with magnificent gardens and an excellent wellness centre. The glorious spa is set in a cow parsley-fringed dell in the garden and is suffused with the scent of drying herbs. It offers an appealing range of facilities, from a soothing outdoor hydrotherapy pool to a steam room and a sauna. There are four acres of greenery including a knot garden and a potager to explore after a treatment.
Conversations about the spa here have flown slightly under the radar. This is not surprising given that the reopening of Cowley Manor, the Italianate beauty near Cheltenham, was all anyone in the Cotswolds could talk about last summer. But it is surprising given what a great wellness space the C-Side Spa is and has always been. The bones – that gorgeous glass-sided, low-slung modernist building, the sun-trap swimming pool, excellent therapists – only needed a little spruce, a light touch by brilliant designer Dorothée Meilichzon. A few smart sofas, locally made and natural Monu Skin products lining the shelves and cheery parasols on the terrace have given it a frisky new lease of life.
This beautifully devised haven near Tetbury provides outstanding facilities, all in glorious 220-acre grounds. Calcot blends soothing contemporary looks with the appeal of a classic country house hotel – think dreamy cream furnishings, soft sofas and crackling fires. The staff evidently love the hotel, and their enthusiasm is charming. Top marks go to the spa team for creating a calming mood while managing a flow of many guests. They come for the Elemis and Aromatherapy Associates treatments, the indoor pool, whirlpool tub, sauna and more.
Set in 100 acres of Oxfordshire countryside, Soho Farmhouse offers a bucolic setting (no troublesome things like mud and farmyard smells here), spacious Nantucket-style accommodation, the facilities of a Center Parcs [sic] on steroids and indulgent food and drink. The result? The ultimate ‘country-lite’ retreat. The facilities are without peer – from the Cowshed spa with sauna, hammam, hot tubs and a broad range of treatments, to the luxurious cinema, cookery school and spacious gym and spinning studio. The sizeable bathrooms are a highlight with an array of full-size Cowshed toiletries and roll-top baths. You must be either a Soho House member to book or a Soho House ‘Friend’ (£100 a year).
Thyme is a cluster of honey-stone properties in postcard-pretty Southrop, about eight miles from Burford. It’s a ‘village within a village’ says owner Caryn Hibbert, who has devised it as a dreamy, other-worldly haven. There’s a great sense of zeal here, in part because this is very much a family enterprise, with Caryn’s son Charlie masterminding the kitchen (he’s ex-Quo Vadis in London’s Soho). Facilities are first-class, from the Meadow Spa with eight treatment rooms to the heated springwater swimming pool, tennis court, topiary-filled garden and ample grounds beyond. The cookery school offers a year-round programme of day classes, such as breadmaking and seasonal dinner party dishes.
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This large and historic inn, situated in picturesque Broadway, has been soothingly restored and exudes a cosy-chic appeal, 86 stylish bedrooms, smart dining and a terrific spa. The latter boasts an elegant indoor pool with retractable roof and spa bath, a steam room, a sauna and a fitness centre; a choice of treatments includes hot stone massages, body scrubs, pedicures and facials, using products such as Oskia. It provides perfect respite for walkers keen to take advantage of the hotel’s bucolic surroundings. Rooms, meanwhile, are decorated in warm colours with tartan headboards and beds are supremely comfy thanks to handmade organic Naturalmat mattresses.
This handsome honey-stone hotel is in the very centre of heart-stoppingly picturesque Chipping Campden. It’s a gloriously rambling establishment, partly housed in a landmark building. The garden is exceptional, a beautifully planted series of semi-secret spaces divided by box and yew hedge. There’s a serene terrace at which to take tea or have a drink on sunny evenings. At the far end, a former coach house is home to the spa, which offers aromatic Decléor treatments and has a steam room and hydrotherapy pool. The 28 bedrooms, meanwhile, are all shapes and sizes – two have a hot tub in their own small gardens.
Contributions by Harriet O’Brien, Charles Starmer-Smith and Issy von Simson