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With our busy lives, it can be hard to take time to simply relax. By relax, we don’t just mean watch a bit of telly before bed or indulge in a weekend lie-in. We mean really get away from it all for a day or two, switch off from the daily routines, and leave distractions (such as email and social media) behind. Escaping for a dedicated relaxation retreat can work wonders. Not only will you enjoy a break from day-to-day stresses, but a retreat can also be extremely mentally and physically restorative.
While not a substitute for professional help and advice, a relaxation retreat can help to alleviate burnout, reduce stress, promote a calm mind, and restore some balance to your life. The peaceful ambience combined with gentle activity, plenty of downtime, and the opportunity to do the things you love can work wonders. There are all kinds of retreats available that encourage relaxation. Read on for our tips for achieving total relaxation and to discover a few great options for your next escape.
At SpaSeekers, we offer a range of spa breaks at some wonderful rural, coastal and city locations that combine pampering treatments and access to facilities such as swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Many of our properties are located amid tranquil grounds and boast excellent on-site dining, as well as offering easy access to surrounding areas. So, however you like to relax, there will be a much-needed retreat waiting for you.
Maybe you’d prefer a spa retreat that offers a wide selection of treatments, such as facials and massages. Or maybe you’d rather have full access to the communal spa facilities, such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis and the thermal suite.
Some of our spas have great fitness options, with state-of-the-art gyms and organised classes, so you can enjoy a little yoga or a sweaty cardio session.
For more, take a look at our guide, Luxury UK spas with gyms.
To really relax, it’s important to disconnect from the world. So, leave that mobile phone or tablet in your hotel room and really engage with your environment. The great thing about a spa retreat is that spas are electronics-free zones, so you’re forced (in a nice way, of course) to digitally detox!
If you’re seeking a true relaxation retreat, choose a spa in a lovely location that offers superb facilities and a calming environment. For example:
Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House in St Albans, Hertfordshire: One of our luxury spa hotels, this countryside property boasts facilities across two areas, including The Club at Cottonmill, access to which is available on select spa packages. Book now.
Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa in Climping, West Sussex: Located near pretty Climping beach, this superb luxury spa hotel offers a relaxing coastal retreat with facilities that include a heated indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Book now.
If you’re a food lover, a relaxation retreat is the perfect excuse to indulge in fine fare. Choose a location with great on-site dining options, or one in a location with lots of restaurants nearby, so you can look forward to innovative dishes, traditional favourites, locally-sourced ingredients and a choice of cuisines.
While a retreat can offer the chance to eat your favourite comfort foods, they can also be an opportunity to sample something new or to kickstart a healthier eating regime. Maybe you’d like to dress up and sample some real fine dining with excellent service in an upscale dining room? Whichever you choose, a relaxation retreat can ensure your great escape is complemented by great food.
Many of our spa locations feature award-winning dining. For example:
Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa in Turners Hill, West Sussex: Another of our fine luxury spa hotels, here you’ll find not one but two award-winning restaurants. The 2-rosette 'Reflections' and the 3-rosette AG's. Book now.
Rena Spa at The Midland Hotel in central Manchester: In addition to the luxury spa, the landmark Midland hotel is home to Adam Reid at The French, a multi-rosette restaurant that is one of the city’s favourites. Book now.
If you’re seeking a retreat located in an area renowned for its food and drink offerings, just two of our favourites are:
As well as a stunning landscape, the Lake District in Cumbria is home to lots of characterful towns and villages that host cosy pubs and cafés which offer a welcome sanctuary for relaxation after a day of exploring. Head for the larger tourist towns of Windermere and Keswick or simply hit the road to discover the area’s delights, such as the lovely village of Bassenthwaite, which is home to a charming 16th century pub. You can also visit the town of Kendal to sample its famous Kendal Mint Cake, which is traditionally enjoyed by climbers and walkers who need a burst of its sugary energy to keep them going!
For more, take a look at our guide, Discover the best places to stay in the Lake District.
Scotland is rightly proud of its national cuisine. Traditional fare incorporates such ingredients as haggis, potatoes (or tatties), seafood and game. If you’re over 18, you can relax over a glass of Scotland’s most famous export – Scotch whisky. Also, don’t miss out on a hearty Scottish breakfast, which may include such tasty treats as Lorne sausage, tattie scones, and black pudding. Kippers are popular at coastal locations, while vegetarians can tuck into traditional Scottish porridge. Head for one of the cities, such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, for a wide choice of restaurants serving all kinds of cuisine (including vegan!).
One of the great advantages of relaxation retreats is that they offer time to enjoy hobbies and activities that we often can’t fit into our day-to-day routines. Choose a location and venue that features the things you love and you will get far more from your time away.
As well as re-igniting your passion, you might even be tempted to try something new. For example, if you love walking, you might rent a bike and explore on two wheels. Likewise, a city venue offers the chance to see shows and concerts. Retreats give us the chance to just be in the moment and enjoy what we’re doing without feeling guilty.
Hopefully, engaging with or re-discovering an activity that makes you happy will encourage you to make space for it when you get home, so you can incorporate relaxation time into your everyday life.
Here are just a few activities that can help you to unwind and relax.
Breathe the fresh air, enjoy some gentle exercise, and engage in a little friendly competition with a relaxation retreat at a venue that has an on-site golf course or one nearby. Many of our venues, such as The Belfry, feature Championship-standard courses, so you can get in 18 holes as part of your relaxing escape.
Head to an area renowned for its lovely scenery and you can relax in the very best of nature, whether that’s gentle walking, challenging hiking or exploring by bicycle. Choose a base where you can find wonderful trails and open space on your doorstep, such as The Imperial Hotel Torquay, located on the 630-mile South West Coast Path – perfect for walkers.
Of course, not everyone’s idea of relaxation is spending time in the great outdoors! If retail therapy is more your thing, then maybe your perfect relaxation retreat is one with loads of shops to enjoy browsing, with plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way. For example, the Macdonald Manchester Hotel & Spa is within easy reach of the huge Arndale Centre, as well as all the other shopping districts.
A great way to unwind is to enjoy some live entertainment. Book ahead or simply choose a location with lots of options and take pot luck! London is a wonderful choice for world-class shows and music, from big-name productions to more intimate gigs. The Baglioni Hotel London is a short Tube ride away from the West End, while the Royal Albert Hall is within a few minutes’ walk.
For more, take a look at our guide, The Best Locations for Spa and City Breaks UK.
If relaxation to you means combining elements of activity and rest, we have some fantastic venues that offer a blend of options to offer the ultimate 'all-in-one' retreat.
The Mere Golf Resort & Spa is a great choice for a relaxation retreat. Stroll in lovely Tatton Park, play 18 holes on the hotel’s superb Championship golf course, and enjoy the 262 acres of grounds. There is also a sumptuous spa with terrific facilities and excellent dining options. Located less than 20 miles from Manchester, the lakeside hotel offers easy access to all the shopping, dining and entertainment options the city has to offer. Book now.
The Malvern Spa offers a wonderful retreat for anyone seeking to enjoy the best of the English countryside but with access to city attractions and amenities. The luxury spa hotel is located on the edge of Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty yet is less than 10 miles from Worcester. The tranquil spa is ideal for some downtime and pampering, while the hotel also offers great on-site dining, with the charming town of Malvern right on your doorstep. Book now.
Located between the massive Westfield London shopping mall and tranquil Holland Park, the trendy K West Hotel & K Spa in upmarket West Kensington offers a wonderful base for a relaxation retreat that is both active and restful. The hotel features a chic bar, great dining and a luxurious spa, perfect for unwinding. You can hop on the Central Line at nearby Shepherd's Bush station and be in the city centre in minutes, while the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire is an easy walk. Book now.