Looking for a picturesque spa getaway a short distance from London? This week Healthista review The Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds
Steeped in history, the Lygon Arms is a hotel and spa that will fill you with wonderment as much with the character of the place as it does with its relaxing spa and treatment centre.
The hotel and spa lie in the centre of Broadway, a small village in the heart of the Cotswolds – a direct train from London Paddington will get you to the area in the space of two hours.
And while this town might look like something off the front of an old chocolate box, the taxi driver that drops us off outside is quick to assure us that with local pubs and coffee shops aplenty, this tiny place is thriving both in the day and in the night.
The traditional inn and three acres of grounds are rich in charm. Much of this comes from the ye olde feel of the place. The first reference to this Inn came in a local parish register in 1532 and walking inside the doorway is like taking a step back in time.
Wooden beams line the ceilings, uneven floors hark back to middle England and willow plates decorating the walls all add to the authentic feel of the place. Even the beautifully open Turkish courtyard that has been added to the property more recently adds to the rustic feel.
Cromewell stayed at the Inn the night before the decisive battle of Worcester in 1651
And this quaint village Inn not only looks like a grand home from a period drama but it also has an interesting story behind it.
Sitting at a table in front of the huge open fireplace in the huge, high ceilinged dining hall, you can imagine British historical greats such as Cromwell and King Charles I walking the halls of the place. In fact, they both did. The former actually stayed at the Inn the night before the decisive battle of Worcester in 1651 (the last battle of the English civil war).
As a massive history lover, I was delighted to be able to go inside the room that Cromwell stayed in (it’s now been turned into a conference room) and look out the window and see the view that he might also have seen, which feels hardly changed since the 17th century.
The room stays true to style filled with tartan, brass jugs, wooden panels and an open stone fireplace. Much like the bedrooms that run by the same theme.
We were met in our room by a bottle of bubbly and the most delicious raspberry pastry sweets I’ve ever tasted – this is no exaggeration, they had popping candy in the middle and we spent the next day and a half trying to get our hands on more.
The room managed to somehow perfectly balance new and old, with medieval-feeling glass windows looking out onto the picturesque town and a modern chrome bathroom adding a little bit of luxury.
The hotel has seven lounges. Enter the main bar and the smell of leather hits you. Cosy brown leather couches line this room, rugs deck the floors and old Chinese vases decorate the place.
At the back of the dining hall is another bar, specifically designed for pre and post-dinner cocktails. Relax into a luxurious velvet green armchair and indulge in the Cherry Morello cocktail (my favourite) for a deliciously sweet appetizer post-spa treatment.
If you prefer a quiet, post-treatment paddle head down earlier in the day
A back door out of one of the lounges leads to a courtyard that looks perfect for summer drinks on the patio. While we visited in the middle of winter, we couldn’t help but linger a little and admire it on our way to the spa.
The spa building sits adjacent to the main Inn. While more modern than 17th century in vibe, the charm of the main building carries through to the spa.
A spiral staircase leads up to the main treatment area and decorative bells added character to the place. We started our spa day with a lunch in the spa bar.
The food was perfect and the service second to none, however, the lunching area wasn’t particularly cosy. It was a little cold and felt a bit like eating in a bar in a dressing gown rather than in a luxe spa space, however, the treatments that followed made that feel unimportant.
As a big fan of vegan beauty brand OSKIA (celeb facialist Abigail James raves about their Bedtime Boost), I was pleased to hear that spa treatments at the Lygon Arms include OSKIA facials and massages as well as product-driven treatments by spa specialists iLu.
Both brands champion green beauty and sustainability, which we are big fans of at Healthista HQ. I opted for the 60-minute full body massage and was extremely impressed with the treatment.
Ask for Nicole for the perfect amount of pressure and attention. Nicole used a rosemary aroma blend for the massage – not only extremely relaxing but somehow also uplifting.
Then the OSKIA Renaissance Hand and Body Cream scented with rose and chamomile, which was just divine.
The swimming pool and Jacuzzi are available to use after your swim. Decorated like a Roman bath with columns, high ceilings and levels, the space is big and open and great for families.
And if you prefer a calming, quiet paddle post-treatment, make sure you head down for your swim earlier in the day to avoid the busyness as locals come in, in the evening.
Perhaps the best thing about the Lygon Arms though, is the fantastic service given by every member of staff from reception to dining hall.
They may be dressed in jeans and a shirt as they present your dinner (a nice touch which adds comfort and contrasts the grandeur of the place) but the service is silver.
After realizing that the 14th century walls in our bedroom were thin and that we could hear conversations outside of our room (I’m extremely sensitive to the smallest amount of sound), I asked at the main desk if there were earplugs I could use.
They didn’t have any earplugs on site but immediately ran out and bought some, delivering an entire packet to me within the space of 15 minutes.
I would definitely recommend this spa escape for any history buffs in desperate need of relaxation or simply for anyone looking to escape London and find a calming retreat that feels a world away from city life.