8 great Norfolk spas
Spas… what’s not to love? Whether it’s an hour at a day spa or a week-long relaxing retreat, having your troubles massaged away before sitting in a bubbly bath is the stuff of nectar.
Why, then, do so few women factor it into their lives like they do a trip to the hygienist or a spot of retail therapy? Research suggests that time constraints and feelings of guilt (“I don’t deserve to be pampered”) are two of the main reasons cited. There are loads of great spas in Norfolk to feel like a pampered pooch in; we’ve rounded up the best of the bunch – some in countryside hotels; others in city outlets – so that you really have no excuse. Now, repeat after me: “We’re worth it…”
Best for…. express treatments
Bannatyne Spa, Norwich
You don’t have to hole up in a hotel for several days to take advantage of a spa; Norwich has several day spas for you to pop into during your lunch break, emerging healthier and sexier, like Wonder Woman after a one-minute spin in a phone box. The Bannatyne Spa is walkable from the rail station and offers premier spa therapies in single or dual treatment rooms as well as beauty treatments by Elemis. Spa guests can also take advantage of the Health Club facilities: heated pool, sauna, steam room and café bar serving lunch, afternoon tea or an indulgent post-treatment tipple.
Best for…. bespoke treatments
Congham Hall, Kings Lynn
Picture a grand whitewashed mansion sitting proudly in acres of lush green grounds, located just a 15-minute drive from the beautiful North Norfolk coast. Meet Congham Hall, a gorgeous hotel, restaurant and spa that delivers on all levels – from its well-appointed rooms to its delectable restaurant. The Secret Garden Spa is a charming modern offshoot of the hotel offering tailor-made treatments devised using the hotel’s own herb garden. Specialist brand Elemis Herbology has used seasonal flowers and herbs found in the garden to create treatments which – the website claims – will help you get off the treadmill of life and step into the English Countryside. Spa guests can also avail themselves of the indoor pool with hydrojets, sauna, steam room and outdoor hot tub. Where do I sign up?
Read my review of Congham Hall’s signature Herb Garden treatment here.
Best for… spa + afternoon tea
Sprowston Manor Hotel & Spa, Norwich
Can there be anything more indulgent (or more ironic, perhaps) than a spa treatment followed by afternoon tea? The grand Sprowston Manor Hotel & Spa offers a 55-minute treatment of choice followed by a traditional cream tea for just £55 per person. Choose from a full body massage, a Vitamin Glow facial, a deluxe manicure or a deluxe pedicure and then settle down by the open fire to tuck into a pot of tea, homemade scones, jam and cream (fizz is extra). The deal also includes full use of the hotel’s leisure facilities, including indoor heated pool, sauna and steam room. Fan of golf? There’s an 18-hole course here too.
Best for… awards
Park Farm Hotel, Hethersett
Winner of Best Spa in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016, the Park Farm Hotel sits in 200 acres of unspoilt Norfolk countryside, yet is just a 10-minute drive from Norwich. The original Georgian country house has undergone an extensive programme of renovation to offer more rooms in an external barn and within the extensive landscaped gardens. You voted its Imagine Spa to be award-winners and you can see why – offering a full menu of massages, wraps, scrubs, lava stones, facials and treatments for men leaving no (hot) stone unturned when it comes to pampering and beauty, you really are in good hands.
Best for… groundbreaking treatments
Dunston Hall, Norwich
Built in 1859, Dunston Hall is an Elizabethan-style mansion set against 150 acres of wooded parkland, and boasting a golf-course, a health club and several well-regarded bars restaurants. A £2million investment by owners QHotels saw it lovingly restored to its former glory, with a cool £500,000 plunged in the property’s pool, sauna and gym. Spa treatments take place in The Lilac Rooms where facials, manicures, massages and treatments for mothers-to-be are offered alongside spa days and spa breaks. Try the Shrinking Violet Inch Loss Wrap, the Nora Bode OXYjet Oxygen Facial or The Ultratone Face and Body Sculpting treatments for up-to-the-minute technological advances. Manicures and pedicures take place in The Salon.
Offer: a one-night spa break including breakfast, lunch, dinner and a free spa treatments starts £105 per person throughout 2017.
Best for… historic opulence
St Giles House Hotel, Norwich
City centre hotels don’t get much more beautiful or historic than the St Giles. Tucked away on Upper St Giles Street, this Georgian, Grade II listed property retains many of its original features, with wood-panelling, ornate chandeliers, parquet flooring, coved ceilings and internal pillars. During the summer months, visitors flock to the pretty outdoor terrace for a cocktail – a suntrap with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. The property’s Spa at St Giles offers a host of treatments including pregnancy massages, Elemis anti-ageing facials, facials for men, Hopi ear candles, hair removal, eyebrow tinting, lash extensions, BareMinerals make-up applications and OPI manicures/pedicures.
Read my review of the St Giles House Hotel here.
Best for… spa-themed rooms
The Pig, Edgefield
Here’s a novel idea: place a bath outside a bedroom, heat it with a wood fire and let guests wash their troubles away while gawping up at the stars (or at the flatscreen in front of them). This is exactly what The Pig at Edgefield (near Holt) did to seven of its 19 bedrooms when it decided to create Spa Rooms. These rooms also boast external saunas, internal drench showers and a host of spa-themed lotions and potions. New for 2017 are Spa Suites, an elevation from the Spa Room with genius additions like dual bath tubs, massage benches, private gardens with fire pits and steam rooms. Nine of these fab suites will come on board this year – get in touch now to avoid disappointment.
Best for… the full package
Barnham Broom Hotel, Barnham Broom
Set in 300 acres of the beautiful Norfolk countryside (how lucky are we with all these amazing countryside hotels?), Barnham Broom might be my last entry but is by no means least when it comes to first-rate views and facilities. Perhaps better known for its two championship golf courses – which overlook the Yare River Valley – the property offers 46 well-appointed rooms and suites, a full health club, and several bars and restaurants. Plus, of course, a spa, known as The Spa at Barnham Broom. There is so much on offer here that the spa menu runs to 16 pages – from the norm to the inventive, including massages especially for golfers, reflexology, and hand and nail treatments for men – and all bolstered by ESPA products.