Top 3: UK spas for Father’s Day

Treat your dad to a gift he won't forget: a treatment at one of these top UK boltholes, handpicked by our trio of male reviewers Tuesday, 14 June 2016

By National Geographic Traveller The Collection

Treat your dad to a gift he won't forget for Father's Day: a treatment at one of these top UK boltholes, handpicked by our trio of male reviewers

Titanic Spa, Huddersfield

Zane Henry, editor, ASTA Network Magazine

Best for:

the novice spa-goer

Spas, while not exactly scary, can be intimidating to men like me. Men uninitiated in the protocol of these lavender-scented sanctums and conditioned to believe that pampering isn't a male prerogative. Titanic Spa — located in a former cotton mill in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire — stood firm and foreboding against the flinty sky, and propped up my fragile masculinity with its reassuring stolidness.

Men like me — manly men, I mean — like manly words. Words like ‘intensive' and ‘energy', that we can roll around in our manly heads while getting our faces coddled. The Decleor Intensive Energy Facial is perfect. My therapist, Rachel, starts with a Decleor Essential cleaner and toner combination. Then comes the invigorating Phytopeel Exfoliating Cream. Some other things happened after that, but I fell asleep so I don't really know. I check with Rachel and find out that Men's Aromessense Cream, Men's Eye Cream and Energising Skin Fluid were all applied to my skin while I was drooling. The upshot was I wake up with my face feeling like the inside of a Labrador puppy's ear.

I then head to the Titanic Heat and Ice Experiences, which is exactly what it sounds like: a circuit of alternating hot and cold experiences, designed to relax and invigorate. I bake in the sauna, then dunk myself in the plunge pool; breathe deep in the Herbal Infusion room before rubbing crushed ice into my skin in the Ice Room; and sweep away the perspiration from the Crystal Steam Bath with an ice bucket.

As I leave the next morning, looking back at the sun winking behind the old mill's chimneys, I feel pampered. In a manly way.

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Details: The Strictly Male package includes B&B, use of the spa facilities, lunch and evening meal, an Elemis Urban Cleanse Facial and an Elemis Deep Tissue Massage

Strictly Male (Mon – Fri) £195.00 pp. titanicspa.com

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Gary Ingham Salon & Spa, London

Pat Riddell, editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Best for:

the stressed-out media mogul

When lightweight treatments fail to loosen up aching muscles, an intense, invigorating massage is just the ticket. Leafy Hampstead village isn't short of a spa or two, but hairdresser Gary Ingham's salon and Aveda spa has remained a favourite of North London's celebrities, fashionistas and style-conscious locals for several years now. The first-floor spa is an oasis of calm – a stark contrast to the busy hair and beauty salon downstairs. A brief consultation with the therapist to establish what I was after, and ensure the right kind of treatment, is followed by a gentle foot wash – surprisingly soothing, particularly after a rather unrelaxing Tube journey.

I opt for a firm body massage with particular focus on the problem areas of neck and shoulders, hoping to avoid the pretty lightweight, ineffective treatment I often end up with. Thankfully, the deep-tissue massage, applied with a rejuvenating tangerine essential oil, is just the right antidote to the stiff muscles and stress of an exhausting few months.

Relaxing but too firm to really switch off, I think… Until I find myself drifting in and out of consciousness, the massage addressing tension and providing a certain level of tranquility at the same time. And after an hour or so — and a cup of herbal tea — I drift down Hampstead High Street, completely spaced out, wondering how long the effects of this ethereal experience will last.

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Details: Elemental Nature Full Body Massage costs from £72 for 60 mins. garyingham.com

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Lime Wood, New Forest

Daniel Almeroth, designer, APL Media

Best for:

the city slicker seeking a slice of rural life

Delivering the best in modern country-house luxury, Lime Wood is situated in the beautiful beating heart of the ancient New Forest National Park, where ponies, cattle and donkeys wander freely. Next to the regency-style manor house, the Herb House Spa follows the estate's ‘we don't do average' mantra to the letter: think state-of-the-art Technogym equipment; 10 treatment rooms, including two double — one with a steam room, garden and outdoor bath; a sauna, steam room and hydropool; and a Raw & Cured cafe offering garden-grown food and juices.

The Bamford Body Signature Treatment is the perfect remedy for my fast-paced existence in the Big Smoke. We start off with an exfoliating scrub of rosemary, lemon and cedar, washed off with a midway shower, before a full-body massage using an essential oil blend of my choice. I've had a few massages at different spas and always found them to be on the soft side, but this massage is different. My, is it different.

It really works out my commuter's knots — of which there are plenty. It doesn't leave me feeling dazed and confused, stumbling mindlessly through the gardens and mumbling to myself for the staff to find me; instead, it invigorates my senses. It inspires me to go out and soak up the expansive ancient woodland and heathland that engulfs the hotel. So I do, albeit from the comfort of the luxury hydropool that looks out onto the stirring spring buds in the dense forest canopy beyond. The light flickers through the trees, casting a kaleidoscope of colour over the bubbles… An unmissable experience.

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Details: The Bamford Body signature treatment costs £155 for 120 minutes. limewoodhotel.co.uk

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