Book review: The best spas in Britain by the Good Spa Spies

It’s that time of year when a young woman’s fancy turns to the spa, post all that festive indulgence and beleaguered by coughs, colds and winter greyness. Although, to be fair, I fancy a good spa experience whenever I can get myself one…

However, just about every gym, football club and sub-standard hotel has now tacked on a ‘spa’, often charging premium prices for slapdash services and offering up crappy levels of ambience. They all have glossy PR and websites, and it’s very easy to make an expensive mistake. Well here at we hate expensive mistakes with a passion.

How do you sort the wheat from the chaff? That’s a tricky one. You can go for your own potentially expensive trial and error, you can ask around, or you can find yourself some reliable expert reviews.

I have to say that I’ve found the Good Spa Spies to be pretty reliable. This latest edition of their spa guide is not a comprehensive listing of every UK spa, it saves you a lot of time and bother by only listing the best ones. They have ‘bubble’ ratings, similar to stars, and only the 4-bubble (would go again) and 5-bubble (we want to move in and never leave) establishments are included here.

My personal visits to certain British spas all tally with their ratings, and I particularly like how they provide plenty of information about the style and type of spa, locations, treatments and products, prices, food and atmosphere. It’s pretty comprehensive but presented in a concise way. They also pull no punches about weak spots, including tired décor and lack of privacy.

If you’re a regular spa user, or you’re thinking about dipping a toe in the water for the first time, this book could save you a lot of heartache. Alongside the reviews there’s also a glossary of all kinds of treatments (it’s presented in an uncritical fashion, so I’d recommend further research if you’re looking for efficacy rather than just general pampering), plus handy regional maps.

To sum up: a trustworthy guide to the pick of the best British spas, full of useful information. Could save you a small fortune, or just save your skin.

The latest edition of The best spas in Britain by the Good Spa Spies, published by the good spa guide, has an RRP of £18.95. It’s currently available from Amazon priced £12.32, including free delivery.

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