Best spa hotels in the Lake District for 2022 – Harper's BAZAAR

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The most pampering spa hotels in the Lake District for a relaxing break in England’s prettiest national park
It’s one of the most scenic hiking spots in the country – and so it’s just as well that there are some indulgent spa hotels in the Lake District waiting for you afterwards.
In this glorious national park, hike Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, visit Wordsworth’s house in Grasmere or look for Mister McGregor in Beatrix Potter’s garden at Hill Top, the cherished children’s author’s former farm.
Go hungry to Ambleside to enjoy some incredible gastronomy, at Lake Road Kitchen and the Old Stamp House in Wordsworth’s old office. Or set sail on the waters of Windermere after a trip to a tea room – holidays don’t get more British than this.
Luckily for anyone coming to this outdoorsy adventure playground to exert some effort, there are lots of spa hotels ready to soothe sore limbs post-hike.
At former hunting lodge Holbeck Ghyll, there’s a hot tub with one of the most unspoilt views in the whole of the national park, as well as a terrace to enjoy it from after your dip. Or take the waters with a tour of the thermal circuits at Lodore Falls, Low Wood Bay or Langdale.
Read on for the Bazaar edit of the ultimate spa hotels in the Lake District…
At the 35-acre Langdale Estate – which you won’t have to leave to enjoy walking trails, cycling and wild swimming – guests can choose from rooms and suites in the main hotel, and self-catering cottages with up to three bedrooms in the grounds.
The Brimstone Spa is one of the best in the Lakes, mostly thanks to its indoor-outdoor pool, gym, sauna, hot tub, array of ‘thermal experiences’ and selection of Elemis and Pure Alchemy treatments. Couples can book the Bubble, a private spa just for two. After enjoying a swim out in the fresh air, warm up by the fire or in the Finnish sauna. There’s a deli at the spa for wholesome meals, or you can unravel the wellness after a stroll up to the traditional pub, Wainwright’s Inn at Chapel Stile.
This spa hotel on Windermere is a mile from Ambleside and perfectly placed for exploring the Lakes. As well as the health club, which has a sauna, steam-room, indoor pool and Jacuzzi, Low Wood Bay has a terrace for fizz on arrival and panoramic windows to showcase the surrounding countryside in the bar and breakfast-room.
Spa packages include three-hour ‘thermal journeys’ which dip in and out of various pools, some out in the bracing fresh air. Or book an ESPA facial and manicure, sit and read in the Snug, and then head for lunch or afternoon tea at the Blue Smoke on the Bay restaurant.
Once a hunting lodge owned by an aristocratic family, Holbeck Ghyll has one of the finest views in all of the Lake District – the fells on the other side of Windermere are largely undeveloped, thanks to campaigning to preserve them by Beatrix Potter.
The hotel has a helpfully positioned hot tub and terrace to appreciate this view from, along with tasting menus and afternoon teas. The spa has more of those lakeside views, of course, along with a sauna, steam room and relaxation area. Treatments include aromatherapy massages but the star of the show is, unsurprisingly, that hot tub.
In the Borrowdale Valley and close to Derwentwater (and the namesake waterfall), Lodore Falls may be in a 200-year-old building, but it’s the much more modern spa that gets most of the attention today. It has a rasul chamber, a champagne bar and a thermal suite with a laconium, herbal sauna, salt-room, heated loungers, an ice fountain and an aroma steam-room.
It’s one for true spa enthusiasts, since there are bedrooms within the spa building. Derwentwater and the Catbells are visible from the 16-metre pool, and treatments are by Elemis and La Sultane de Saba. If you can bear to leave the spa, make the pan-Asian restaurant Mizu your first port of call.
Another hotel in the Lake District for the most ardent spa enthusiasts, Lakes Hotel has apartments set within the spa building, which means you can spend the entire time in your robe and slippers. Some of the suites have two bedrooms that are ideal for groups of four. The rooms in the chalet-style structure have a hot tub on every balcony, which are most impressive when they’re lit up at night.
The dimly lit pool area ensures maximum relaxation, as do the two hot tubs, the poolside bar facilitating free-flowing prosecco and the Elemis treatments.
On the southern shores of Windermere and accessible by boat, this country-house hotel has landscaped gardens, a lake-facing terrace for cocktails with a view and a conservatory restaurant that serves British favourites such as afternoon tea and fish and chips.
Steamers call in to take guests across to Bowness-on-Windermere or up to Ambleside, but the Aveda spa at the Lakeside Hotel has plenty to keep you busy first, including an indoor pool and an outdoor sitting area with a fire-pit. Spa days start with coffee or juice out by the lake and a stroll through the gardens, followed by your choice of treatment.
Hidden in 400 acres of woodland and deer park, Armathwaite Hall is close to Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw Mountain, and staff can arrange activities for guests that include everything from fell walking to forest bathing.
Along with four resident alpacas, the stately home is the proud owner of an impressive spa. It’s set over two floors, with an infinity pool, an outdoor hot tub that overlooks the surrounding forest, 10 treatment rooms and a mani, pedi and make-up area. Post-treatment relaxation areas include chairs circled around a fireplace and the aptly named Tranquillity Terrace, which has a covered section, but also leads out to the rockery, with a view of the spa gardens.
At the Swan near Windermere, it won’t take long to realise which vista the Vu Spa has been named after. ESPA treatments on offer include entire rituals dedicated to the back of your body, Indian head massages and restorative facials.
The rooms are adorned with prettily patterned headboards with matching cushions, floral wallpaper and colourfully upholstered sofas and armchairs. The loft suites have marble bathrooms, roll-top bath tubs in the bedroom, super-king-size beds with magically appearing televisions and electric log burners. For couples, the ultimate room choice is the Love Nest, a cottage in the grounds with a fireplace on the terrace and double walk-in rain showers.
Set on 67 acres of glorious fells, The Samling has views out across Windermere and the Old Man of Coniston. While the hotel doesn’t have a spa per se, it has one magnificent spa feature: guests can book in for soaks with a view at its perfectly positioned hot tub in the woods throughout the day, but the best slot has to be dusk, with some accompanying champagne.
The estate also includes ornamental water gardens, a wildflower meadow, woodland trails and a Georgian arbour. Book in for some glamping in the grounds to continue to enjoy the seclusion and don’t miss dinner with your choice from one of the best wine lists in the Lakes.
On the shores of Grasmere and named after the Lake District’s favourite flower (thanks to a certain Wordsworth poem), the Daffodil Hotel & Spa has a spectacularly scenic backdrop. Unsurprisingly, the views keep coming, especially at the lake-edge restaurant, where the chef creates dishes that look almost too good to eat.
At the spa, guests can book in for facials with products by European skincare brand Germaine de Capuccini, OPI manicures or Delilah Cosmetics makeovers. Other treatments include chocolate body scrubs and couples’ mud therapy where the mud gets festively flavoured with ginger and chocolate orange at certain times of the year.
This Grasmere hotel is home to the Riverside Spa, which will be just the tonic you need after days out walking the famous fells. Rothay Garden Hotel is open to hotel guests only, which means you’ll have all of the facilities – which include a hydropool where you can watch the river flow past, a herbal sauna and two monsoon showers – to yourself.
There’s also an aromatherapy room to warm up in with under-tile heating, soft lighting and essential oils scenting the air. And for anyone who overdid it on the hiking, there are heated loungers ready to ease those aches.
This Great Langdale spa hotel, on the same estate as Langdale Hotel, is perfectly placed for anyone hoping to book in for some pampering once they’ve scaled nearby Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England – and they can expect equally spectacular scenery, only this time from the comfort of the hot tub or indoor-outdoor pool. A log fire warms up the outdoor relaxation area so you can enjoy it regardless of the weather; indoors, there’s a Himalayan-salt steam-room and Roman laconium.
Couples will love Brimstone’s Duet Suites, which have a double shower, two freestanding slipper bath tubs, twin sinks and even (for extra harmony) two televisions. Or keep the spa theme going with a Spa Suite, each of which has a lounge with a wood-burning stove, a huge bath tub and an emperor-size bed.
On the shores of England’s largest lake, this spa hotel in Windermere has lots of Elemis spa days to choose from, including morning packages with lunch, afternoon-tea-enhanced options and twilight treatments with dinner afterwards. Facilities at Macdonald Old England Hotel include an indoor pool, thermal suite and relaxation room, and visitors can also unwind on the veranda or with a stroll along the banks of the lake.
The Cumbrian countryside is also showcased through the Lakeside Restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel has partnered with Jennifer Young, who founded Beauty Despite Cancer, and all Elemis treatments can be swapped for one of these treatments instead.
One of the Lake District’s finest luxury hotels, Gilpin also takes the art of the spa very seriously. Its Spa Suites are set between silent fells and woodland. Each has floor-to-ceiling windows, a garden with decking and a hot tub, a fireplace, cocktail bar and circular stone bath tub. They also all have a steam room, sauna, infrared lounge bed and massage chair.
You’ll be perfectly happy staying within your suite, but you must venture out to experience the rest of the facilities, which include the Jetty Spa at Gilpin’s Lake House building – a treatment cabin set three metres above the water’s edge.
With a backdrop as beautiful as the Lake District, there are lots of places in the area with amazing views – but few can beat the pool at Another Place, where the surrounding countryside is showcased through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Swim Club spa, on the shores of Ullswater, includes the show-stealing 20-metre pool, an outdoor hot tub, a sauna and several treatment rooms.
Visitors can borrow wetsuits to go out swimming in the lake – and anyone wary of the water’s temperature can venture out by paddle-board instead. Accommodation options so you can stick around overnight (you’ll want to) include shepherd’s huts with roofs that facilitate stargazing, cottages in the grounds and a contemporary two-bedroom treehouse.


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