By James Dunford Wood, Editor of The Hotel Guru
We all love a good weekend away, and in this article we explore the best hotels with hot tubs in the UK. In recent years we've seen an explosion in the quality and choice of hotel getaways in the UK, from country house hotels to luxury B+Bs. We are also becoming ever more discriminating - and for many of us it's the hot tub or jacuzzi that makes the difference, especially if it's romance we are after... So here's our guide.
First off, lets start with those 'all singing all dancing' luxury country house hotels within easy distance of London that have hot tubs. Here I am thinking of hotels like the wonderful Vineyard at Stockcross, with its magnificent health centre in lovely grounds. The hot tub is inside, so good for all weathers, and can seat up to six comfortably. It's a great place to sip a glass of ice cold champagne before dinner. Other country house hotels with hot tubs near London include Walletts Court near Dover, with their award-winning Garden of England spa, where treatments and massages are taken gazing out on fields and lawns, or looking out to sea from on top of the cliffs, and where the hot tub is again part of the indoor pool area. There's also Bailiffscourt, along the coast in Sussex, which boasts a hot tub as well as a steam bath in it's magnificent spa.
Sumptuous country escape. A 23,000 strong wine cellar in a luxury hotel with a 2 Michelin Star restaurant.
Old Jacobean manor house in country setting. Views over sweeping landscape towards white cliffs. Rustic bedrooms, spa, restaurant.
Climping, West Sussex
Atmospheric mock medieval house with award winning spa set amid 30 acres of private parkland with direct access to Climping Beach.
But for the ultimate private hot tub experience for romantics, check in to Lower Slaughter Manor in the Cotswolds. They don't have a health centre as such, but two of the garden suites have outdoor hot tubs in their private gardens, making for a very romantic short break. The hotel has lovely grounds as well as a gourmet restaurant, the Sixteen58. Even the surroundings of the hotel are romantic – the sleepy village street, Copse Hill Road, having been voted the most romantic street in 2011.
Another hotel with hot tubs in the suites is Maison Talbooth near Colchester – this place is quirky, to say the least, with it's piped music and faux log fires, and it's a popular spot for hen parties. But it's in the heart of Constable country, so great for walking and local exploring – with those hot tubs to come back to!
Of course, any list of hotels with hot tubs in the UK would not be complete without properties like Cliveden, which boasts Canadian cedarwood hot tubs as well as a whirlpool jacuzzi. This spectacular country house hotel is just half an hour from London and close to Heathrow airport, so is often used as a first night stopover by newlyweds on their way to a honeymoon in the Seychelles. It's also famous – or infamous – as the place where Christine Keeler seduced John Profumo in the early 1960s. But whether you are getting married or not, seduced or not, Cliveden provides the most spectacular location for a romantic break within easy reach of London, for hot tub aficionados. And if you don't want to leave London, jump in to the hot tubs in the spa of the Atheneaum Hotel on Piccadilly – not cheap, but a great experience after a hard day's shopping and tea in the Ritz.
Lower Slaughter, The Cotswolds
Manor house hotel country escape. Gardens, lawns. Elegant public rooms, individually decorated bedrooms, restaurant.
Colchester, Suffolk and Essex
Quirky Essex hotel and spa in the heart of Constable country, with a pool and tennis. Luxurious suites, some with hot tubs. Popular for hen parties and exclusive use.
Grand country house hotel close to London, expensive but luxurious, with history
However, it's perhaps not surprising that some of the most memorable hot tub experiences in the UK can be found further afield, along the wilder extremities – Cornwall, the Lake District, Yorkshire, West Wales and Scotland.
Cornish hotels with hot tubs include the Nare Hotel, on Carne Beach on the south coast, with it's hot tub looking right out to sea, and The Scarlet, a relaxed, adults only (a rarity in Cornwall) eco-friendly designer hotel overlooking Mawgan Porth beach. The hot tubs here are very special indeed – they come heated by real log fires, and are outside, for fabulous sunsets, and star-gazing at night. Of all the many hotels with hot tubs in the UK, this is one of our favourites.
Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
Relaxing, purpose-designed eco-friendly hotel overlooking Mawgan Porth beach, for fabulous sunsets. No children.
Further north, the Lake District boasts two excellent luxury hotels that offer the hot tub experience. The first, Gilpin Lodge, offers a tempting offer of 'us and them', because if you splash out you get the much more private Lake House Suites, which have exclusive use of their own spa, as well as a romantic cedarwood hot tub on the lake edge. For romantic liaisons where you want absolute privacy amongst the finest landscape nature can offer, Gilpin Lodge is near unbeatable. Second, The Samling above Lake Windemere has long been a favourite of foodies and romantics – it's a small and charming country house hotel set amidst lovely walking country, overlooking the lake. Their outside hot tub is another with panoramic views.
Immaculate, spoiling Relais & Chateaux country house hotel, with luxurious bedrooms, private suites in the grounds, top notch service and well reviewed dining. Separate Lake House with suites, pool and spa.
Charming hotel located in the hills surrounding Lake Windemere. Beautiful views, Michelin chefs, separate cottage.
In Wales, the Lake Country House Hotel is beautifully located on the idyllic banks of – you've guessed it - a lake, with a 15 swimming metre pool and full service spa offering a range of treatments. Here the outside hot tub is sunken into a balcony terrace, with views overlooking the shoreline. While at the Sychnant Pass Country House, a rural hideaway on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, there's a large outdoor hot tub that takes up to eight people. It's framed by some of the most dramatic scenery in the UK.
Llangammarch Wells, South and Mid Wales
19th century hunting lodge. Luxury country retreat in heart of Wales. Lawns, riverside walks, spa, golf course, tennis court. Award-winning restaurant, beautiful rooms.
To the north east, in Yorkshire, the one hotel with a decent traditional hot tub is the Feversham Arms, who's award winning Verbena relax centre boasts a 'man spa' (these Yorkshire types...) as well as an outdoor hot tub. In Whitby, Raithwaite Hall has a separate jacuzzi hot tub alongside it's indoor pool.
Lovely old York stone inn-hotel in a picturesque village with chic, modern interiors, and a welcome heated pool and spa. Fine dining, a luxurious stay for local exploring.
Lastly, hotels with hot tubs in Scotland include the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews, which has a roof top tiled hot tub, from where you get a partial view of the golf with the binoculars kindly provided by the management. Loch Ness Lodge has a cosy indoor whirlpool hot tub for romantic tete-a-tetes, while the lovely Duisdale on the Isle of Skye has a truly magnificent outdoor hot tub on the terrace for some of the best star gazing in the UK: the light pollution here is practically non-existent.
Inverness (Loch Ness-side)
An elegant and intimate exclusive-use retreat in the heart of the Scottish Highlands overlooking the beautiful Loch Ness.
Oh, and there's one other hotel we should mention – Ardencote Country House Hotel in Warwickshire. This boasts an enormous outdoor hot tub made of stone which seats ten, in addition to a smaller jacuzzi hot tub by the indoor pool.
So, to sum up – there are plenty of hotels with hot tubs in the UK if you look carefully, but it's clear that one man's – or woman's – hot tub is another person's jacuzzi. By which I mean it's not hard to find whirlpools and jacuzzis masquerading as hot tubs (and billed as such by the hotels themselves) attached to indoor swimming pools – you know, the sort where that overweight old bloke sits for hours picking his toenails. No, if you want the real hot tub experience you need to go further afield. The whole point of the true hot tub experience is the view – so they need to be outdoors, and you won't find the best of those anywhere near London. You need to go to the sea or the mountains, or the magnificent lakes of Cumbria, where you'll not only find an inspiring place to sit in bubbles drinking bubbles, but also a place far from the lights of the city, so that you can come out here at night, under the stars, with your loved one. If that doesn't do it for your romantic life, I don't know what will.comments powered by Disqus