Common types of spa

Part of the Spa FAQs guide

What are the different types of spas?

There’s so much variety available when it comes to a spa day or break. You can choose from spa days, spa breaks, afternoon tea, health, wellbeing, group getaways, romantic mini breaks, babymoons, babyshowers, hen parties and stag dos - the list goes on. On the face of it, lots of people think that there’s really only one kind of spa break and one kind of spa destination. At however, we know that the options are almost limitless, and our goal has always been to share that - pairing you with the perfect spa experience and destination at any given time. You can have a spa day for £20 or £2,000, at destinations across the UK and around the world, all of which have their own unique character and charm as well. So how do you know what’s the right spa break for you? How do you choose?

Adding to the range of spa package options, spas themselves come in all shapes and sizes. Typically, at we break this down into categories that help define the destinations themselves. These are: leisure venues, hotel spas, day spas and destination spas or health spas. This is key to the type of spa day or break you are going on.

Day spas

A day spa probably needs little or no explanation - it’s a spa that simply does not offer overnight accommodation - like The Spa at Dolphin Square in London. So enjoy it for the hours in which it is open, and if you want to go back for another day, you will need to find separate accommodation. The others may need a little more subtext...

Leisure venues

A leisure venue tends to focus on essential wet facilities such as a pool, sauna and steam room as well as a gym, and will offer spa treatments, however it does not offer specialised therapies or wellbeing experiences. They may also have other people visiting in addition to spa goers, such as gym members. Often they are family friendly as well, which you may want to be mindful of when using facilities like the pool (The QHotels group with destinations across the UK). For example, you may choose to organise your spa treatments during children’s swimming times. It’s best to plan your day before you visit to make sure your experience is as you want it, and if you want to visit at the quietest times, it’s best to go outside weekends, half terms and school holidays.

Hotel spas

A hotel spa is of course a very good place to have an overnight spa break. They tend to be a little bit of a mix of dedicated or luxury spa as well as leisure (gym, exercise pool etc), depending on the hotel itself. Some will offer classes in the pools and have children's swimming times, but most tend to restrict them. Again, not everyone at the hotel is there for the spa, so it is not a dedicated spa in the purist sense of the word. They are often geared towards pampering but tend not to incorporate the full specialist health experiences that a destination spa might offer. Hotel spas are perfect for romantic breaks (take, for example, Rudding Park in Yorkshire), time out with friends (The Spa at Carden Park), and some allow for the flexibility to have the children with you if they have creche facilities or family friendly facilities. Many of them are perfect for longer holidays as well, as you might expect!

Destination spas

If you’re looking for a pure spa experience, you are looking for a destination spa or health spa. This is where the whole experience is about the spa itself. It’s about health and wellbeing facilities, treatments and knowledge. Invariably, these are adult-only spas and there are definitely no children’s swimming times. They can also be either day spas, like Cloud Twelve Club in London or offer overnight experiences such as Grayshott Spa in Surrey (where you can also go for the day).

Sometimes some facilities will be separated for men and women, and the expertise of therapists and health experts is always at an extremely high level. The objective at these is always health and wellbeing at its core, nutrition often plays a big part as well as treatments, therapies and experiences.