Fancy doing something different this Christmas? Our spas and retreats expert Caroline Sylger-Jones has picked out a range of resorts, retreats and spa hotels where you can escape the family rows and washing-up, and just focus on yourself.
Choose to be cosseted for one, two or three nights between 24 and 27 December at this privately-owned, peaceful health spa just an hour’s drive from London. Set in 47 pretty acres adjoining National Trust land, the gorgeous manor house and its extended buildings have an indoor swimming pool with small hydro pool, a separate steam and sauna area and all manner of holistic and beauty treatments on offer. Included in Christmas packages is mulled wine, a champagne reception, carol singers, a traditional Christmas lunch and a Grayshott Classic massage, but if you want come alone and just detox that's fine too. From £275 per person per night.
The London Buddhist Centre's popular winter retreat is held deep in the countryside at the relaxed and peaceful Adhisthana centre. It's suited to those new to meditation, as well as those who want to take their practice deeper, and provides a refreshing feeling of community and peace for everyone, of any faith or age. The retreat runs all the way from 22 December to 1 January 2015, and you can choose to come for 5 or 10 days. There are group meditation sessions and talks on Buddhist philosophy, healthy food, time for walks in the Malvern Hills and on New Year's Eve a big bonfire. More meaningful than staying up into the early hours and guzzling champagne? You decide. From £290 per person for a 5-night stay.
This white-painted, 16th-century manor house near Machynlleth in Powys is set in 14 acres of pretty gardens, near the energising Cambrian mountains. Come here to enjoy total peace, brilliant walks, gourmet meals and expert treatments. Owner Joan Reen has a firm belief in a holistic approach to life and is keen to offer her guests more than just pampering. Their three-night Christmas package starts with a champagne cocktail party on Christmas Eve and leaves plenty of time to go walking or just snooze in front of a roaring log fire. Around £1000 per room for three nights.
A remote and thoroughly relaxing venue set back from a quiet road in the Yorkshire Dales, the Orange Tree is a homely and comfortable eight-bedroomed guest house which offers yoga or relaxation retreats. The owner, Edward Harpin, a yoga and mindfulness teacher, is easy to be around and has a calm and straightforward approach. Join them for their New Year yoga retreat, 29 December–1 January, and enjoy delicious vegetarian meals, yoga asana and meditation sessions, therapeutic treatments and soaks in the hot tub. From £345 per person.
This posh and lovely hotel in New Milton is just a step away from both forest and beach. It has fantastically secluded tree houses and a brilliant, spacious spa – you'll want to be sure to save lots of time to hang out in their massive hydrotherapy pool each day. Their New Year House Party runs from 31 December to 2 January and is a full-on luxury affair with champagne, gala dinners, cocktails and canapés and a brunch accompanied by a live jazz band. You can expect impeccable service, an enriching, peaceful atmosphere and a massive choice of good treatments. From £2,450 per room based on two sharing.
Long-standing holistic holiday company Skyros has its HQ at a charming converted Georgian house on the Isle of Wight, and runs warm and welcoming New Year retreats, consisting of four days of singing, dancing, games, workshops, coastline walks and fabulous food, all hosted by creative team Alison Goldie and Jo Wood. From £425 per person.
Author and journalist Caroline Sylger Jones travels the world checking out spas, retreats and healthy holidays and is founder of healthy travel website, queenofretreats.com, which features reviews of spas, wellbeing breaks and healthy holidays.