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Top Ten Spa Hotels UK

The best hotels for spa breaks in Europe

Lefay Resort & Spa, Gagnano, Italy

Situated on Lake Garda, Lefay combines Chinese medicine with modern Western therapies to reactivate our internal energy system while saving the environment. Their approach to dieting is to make changes to eating habits that are psychologically as well as nutritionally sustainable. The “light menu” is tasty low-cal Mediterranean fare that takes the strain off the digestive system. Fill your time having anti-cellulite massages, body wraps, doing tai chi and cycling round the lake.

Four Seasons Firenze, Florence

The Four Seasons has the only hotel spa worthy of the name in central Florence. Housed in an ochre-yellow pavilion giving onto an 11-acre park, it has 10 treatment rooms – two of them doubles – and in a nice touch, uses the products of historic (but these days state-of-the-art) body care and beauty lab Officina Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Signature treatments include a Chianti wine massage, and a full-body treatment based on iris root powder.

Read the full review: Four Seasons Florence

Rome Cavalieri, Rome

The Cavalieri’s huge, opulent Ancient Rome-themed Grand Spa Club covers more than 25, 000sqft of indoor and outdoor pools, Turkish baths and saunas, treatment rooms (there are 10, with exclusive La Prairie products used in the more high-end facials and body treatments) and fitness facilities, as well as pilates, yoga rooms and two clay tennis courts. The only downside to this cornucopia of riches is that even hotel guests have to pay for it – €31 (£22) a day for access to the whole Club, €20 (£14) to use the parts of the Club without the outside pools, and €18 (£13) to just use the outside pools – with a whole sun-lounger generously included. Be aware too that locals can also join the club – from 5pm to around 8pm, the gym in particular tends to be full of Romans working out after work.

Read the full review: Rome Cavalieri

Relais Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany

The Borgo’s lovely spa is basically a whole Tuscan farmhouse in the garden, with exposed stone walls and an exclusive, intimate feel, helped along by the fire which burns in the grate of the warmly elegant reception area on cooler days. There are only two individual treatment rooms, plus an al fresco ‘room’ on the terrace, but in this 15-room hotel there’s rarely a booking bind. They specialise in holistic treatments based on organic ingredients, including several Ayurvedic therapies. Spa manager Tracey Mallallieu is one of Tuscany’s top wellness professionals, and the Borgo has an Italian exclusive (so far) on products by UK firm Heaven Health & Beauty, as used in the spa’s signature ‘Bee Sting Facial’.

Read the full review: Relais Borgo Santo Pietro

Fonteverde Resort, Tuscany

The spa is what most people come for, and it certainly delivers. Many of the treatments revolve around the natural thermal waters, rich in sulphur, calcium and other essential elements, that have been known and appreciated since Etruscan times. They are recommended for a series of ailments, from skin complaints to respiratory problems, but in reality, given the elevated target of this luxury resort, Fonteverde is equally geared towards beauty treatments, indulgent massages, Ayurvedic therapies, fitness and other non-medical spa activities. In cooler weather (and this is very much an all-year resort) it’s a joy just to luxuriate in the main thermal pool, or massage and tone various body zones via the resort’s Bioaquam circuit.

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