TRAVEL: 3 Of The Best Spas In The South Of England


One of the most under-reported 21st century crimes is the fact that good spas only really get the adequate amount of press coverage they deserve during the run up to Valentines Day. I find this to be quite devastating as I love a spa. So much do I enjoy a swimming pool and sauna that I actually refuse to be a member of a gym that does not have one. Does that mean I pay £50 a month to go once a year? Yes. But really, is there a better pleasure in life than sitting in the sauna reading about Deborah from Hull getting stood up at the alter in Pick Me Up? It’s a no from me.

So in celebration of the fact that spas don’t get much recognition as places you can go when it isn’t Valentines Day or a Hen Do, I thought I would give you the list of my three favourites, just because I can.

So where are the best spas near London?

Picking three was actually a difficult task. The spas I have visited in and around Essex have all really impressed me in my years as a professional towelling gown model, but there have been three that I have visited that have really stood out for me.

Best for Luxury – The Chelsea Harbour Hotel

This one is in London, you’d never have guessed, in Chelsea. Trust me if my Mum can make the journey from Essex to central London swearing and ignoring every single instruction her sat nav provider her with, then you can too. The Chelsea Harbour Hotel is a little slice of paradise in the metropolis of the capital city. One of the things that really makes this place appeal to me is the view from the balcony. Bag yourself the right room and you will be able to see the whole of Chelsea Harbour while enjoying a coffee from the Taissimo in your room.

The spa at the Chelsea Harbour isn’t overwhelming but the rooms and the food make up for it. We ordered dinner to our room because we basically couldn’t be bothered to dress in clothes rather than our dressing gowns. The spa has an indoor pool, a sauna and a steam room – however the spoiled brat in me does prefer the option of a jacuzzi. Either way this place really is worth a visit. The room and the hotel is so nice you will probably end up spending little time in the spa anyway.

Best All Rounder – Lifehouse Spa

There is a reason that Lifehouse pops up on so many lists on my blog  – it’s amazing. Tucked away in Frinton-on-Sea, it isn’t the most accessible or obvious place but it is well worth it when you get there. The bedrooms are quite modern, and cosy. If you are lucky like I have been every time I go then you could end up with a room that has a balcony overlooking the lake. Lifehouse is set in the grounds of an English Heritage site so if you get bored of being pampered (why would you though) you can take yourself for a stroll. They even have wellies you can borrow if the weather isn’t on your side.

The real star of the show for me is the spa itself. It has a standard swimming pool and a thermal heated pool which is a nice choice and something a bit different to what other spas offer. As well as being treated to a sauna and steam room there is also a salt inhalation room. I have no idea what it does, but it feels good when you sit in it. Complete with a freezing cold plunge pool, foot spas and sun loungers around the edge, it really is the little extras that make Lifehouse stand out. The fact that the entire building is purpose built, modern, and clean is what makes the whole experience special for me. They also have an amazing restaurant that serves well cooked, locally sourced food. It is so good I actually recently included it in my Top Five Places to Eat in Essex post.

Best Budget – Best Western Ufford Park

The Best Western Ufford Park is one of my favourite spas. They had the USP of a thermal pool long before other spas started doing it and the room it is in also contains two different types of sauna, a steam room and a relaxation room. The relaxation room here is one of my favourite places, mostly because they have herbal tea on tap. They also have a standard swimming pool that has a sauna and steam room so you are spoilt for choice. The rooms are not ultra modern but one great thing about them is that they are incredibly spacious. Literally space to do a forward roll if that’s what floats your boat. Like Lifehouse, the grounds of the spa are also really pleasant as Ufford Park also hosts a golf course.


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