There’s arguably no finer place in Britain for a wellness break than the Cornish peninsula, where sun, sea and stunning scenery combine in a way that instantaneously lifts the spirit and soothes the soul. It’s for this reason perhaps that spa hotels in this part of the world will usually seek to supplement the restorative qualities of nature rather than replicate them: after all, what need is there for ice rooms or thalassotherapy treatments when the Atlantic is right on the doorstep?
Instead, you’ll tend to find the basics done well: cosseting treatment rooms where massage therapists can ease the aches and pains after a day of swimming, surfing or hiking the coast path; Scandi-style saunas where you can cleanse the salt spray from your skin; and clifftop infinity pools with some of the finest sea views to be found anywhere. These are the best spa hotels in Cornwall.
How we review
Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences that the hotel might have to offer (in this instance, the spa).
If it's a spa resort in Cornwall you're looking for, chances are that you're also looking to be away from children (either your own or other people's) and The Scarlet is one of only a very small circle of upmarket adults-only hotels in the UK. Comfort and relaxation are at the heart of the hotel's spaces: you’ll find under-floor heating, low lighting, indulgent sateen sheets, deep mattresses and cloud-like robes in bedrooms and the spa is so soporific it's almost womb-like. Specialising in Ayurvedic 'journeys' it has tented treatment rooms lit by lanterns, a eucalyptus steam room, cedar-barrel sauna, a reed-filtered natural pool and meditation room. The real selling point has to be the hot tubs teetering on the edge of the windswept clifftop.
Bedruthen is only a five-minute drive from Newquay airport, so a weekend 'fly and flop' spa break is more than achievable here. And flopping is made oh-so easy too, because not only are there three outdoor pools to choose from, but the golden sandy beach is only a pebble's throw away. The outdoor spa concept is quite unique: described as a 'Nordic thermal playground' you can take yourselves on a sensory journey through the spa garden. An awakening blend of 'hot' and 'cold' experiences await too – dunk yourself in ice cold water, before retreating to the sauna, then back out into the skin-prickling Cornish air and plunge into a hot tub. Finish it all off by sitting next to the firepit, clasping a mug of herbal tea.
Mullion Cove offers a light-filled, relaxed and unpretentious space, ideal for a rejuvenating break, with staggering views around the headland (overlooking the Atlantic). This is one of the most relaxing spa hotels in Cornwall for its soothing interiors, which use speckled granite and natural wood, with accents of copper or bronze warming the palette. The voyager massage is a firm favourite: a massage taking in the entire body – including face and scalp – using deliberately slow, controlled movements to (supposedly) reflect the movement of the waves. Don't plan anything else afterwards (except maybe a dip in the outdoor hot tub) as you'll probably want to doze off.
This is one of Cornwall's larger hotels, and wellbeing is a huge part of its ethos. So it stands to reason that the spa is a big deal. It lies at the heart of the hotel and has been designed with cosseting in mind: expect a hydro pool, Swedish sauna, Cornish salt steam room and treatments including radiance boosting facials, relaxing massages and couples' treatments. Heavyweights Elemis are the hero product here, so you know you're in for a top-class experience. There is also a gym with Life Fitness equipment including weights, cardiovascular machines, cross-trainers and treadmills. Regular fitness classes are also available, including yoga and Pilates.
This cool and contemporary adults-only spa hotel offers incredible sea views, an innovative cocktail menu and wonderfully fresh seafood caught on Cornish shores – so all the essential ingredients for a spoiling break. Wake on Saturday morning to the sound of breaking waves, and (depending on the Friday night activity before) order a homemade smoothie at breakfast, or take advantage of the bottomless bloody Marys, before hitting the spa. There's a vitality pool, steam room, sauna, hot tub and several treatment rooms including a room for couples. There is also a fitness suite which hosts 20 classes a week, ranging from yoga to boxercise and beach fit.
St Moritz was an original 1930s hotel that stood until the end of the 1990s before undergoing a huge transformation. Now it's one of the best spa hotels in Cornwall; think Soho House and 1920s Miami Beach with a family twist. Palm-fringed gardens and whitewashed Art Deco-inspired architecture give way to a laidback coastal style with chic interiors. It's particularly special as it houses the only Cowshed-branded spa (outside of the Soho House arena) and is a huge draw for both locals and far-flung visitors. They offer full- and half-day packages, but the latter (at £200) is just as lovely as the first and still includes two treatments. You can also add on extra treats like a chocolate plate, speedy manicure or pedicure and a bottle of champagne.
Budock Vean is a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to its health and wellbeing offering – especially when the hotel itself is a tad old-fashioned (in a charming, country house sort of way). It was the first spa in Cornwall (and one of the first partnerships in the UK) to include the groundbreaking use of CBD oil in its treatments to help reduce stress and aid pain relief. As well as its mammoth list of treatments (including a nail bar) it has a superb 15-metre swimming pool sheltered in a giant hexagonal gazebo with beautiful wooden ceiling, open-log fire, sauna, and an outdoor hot tub on a super-chic Scandinavian-style raised deck with views over the grounds.
There are no bells or whistles at The Nare's spa but that's not the point – yes it's small and unassuming (with just a simple reception and a couple of rooms), but its therapists pack an impressive punch. Locals Anne and Sarah are the stars of the show, delivering their signature handiwork to guests with years of knowledge. Anne has worked there for over 13 years and performs wonders with a mix of Thai massage and reflexology techniques to bring loyal clients back to life, whilst Sarah's facials are talked about locally. Elsewhere, each of the 40 bedrooms are individually decorated with the emphasis on feeling like home: antique furniture, printed wallpapers and Persian-style rugs all feature.
Spa'ing is taken very seriously here and it's all in the little details (for example, not only are the massage beds deliciously heated, so are the stone loungers in the relaxation area). It might not be the most cutting edge in terms of design (they are clearly big fans of neon blue uplighting), but there are over 40 treatments on the extensive menu with special sections for men and teens (the Elemis facial is popular, as is the OPI manicure or pedicure) so there really is something for everyone. The dedicated Spa Bar is an impressively large space created specifically for kicking back in your robe post-pamper, but when you want to venture further afield, Charlestown’s galleon-lined harbour – used in Poldark – is a lovely one-mile amble along the Coast Path.
Carbis Bay's situation, standing guard over pristine St Ives Bay, immediately invites a slower pace. Guests are encouraged to switch off the minute they step through the door and the newly spruced up C Bay spa embodies this relaxed attitude. It's modern in looks (in fact bobbing in the outdoor infinity pool you could be in a sleek European retreat) but also crucially has lovely natural elements to it: its treatment rooms are softly lit by candles, ingredients such as organic seaweed are used in facials, and there's plenty of wood used in the design – the outdoor barrel sauna is especially peaceful. You can even request beachside massages in a dedicated pavillion.
Contributions by Ros Belford, Jade Conroy, Sherelle Jacobs, Richard Mellor & Natalie Millar-Partridge
Frequently asked questions
Which luxury spa hotels in Cornwall are romantic?
All of the hotels included in this list could be considered romantic, however, for a really grown-up couples retreat choose The Scarlet (it's adults-only).