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Treading Lightly: Spa Stays with a Conscience

Spanning rural Somerset, to Bhutan’s emerald expanses, these restorative escapes boast applause-worthy eco credentials

Spanning rural Somerset, to Bhutan’s emerald expanses, these restorative escapes boast applause-worthy eco credentials


The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland 

Segueing into the raw, volcanic landscape on Iceland’s snow-laced southern coast, this impeccably turned-out escape has a futuristic feel. Guests can descend straight into the lagoon’s geothermal waters from the knock-your-socks-off spa, and the stellar line-up of therapies that takes cues from the otherworldly surroundings. Performed in the warm, milky-blue depths, the in-water massage is profoundly calming, and the ritual – a do-it-yourself treatment that involves slathering yourself head-to-toe in skin-softening silica and algae – leaves limbs oh-so smooth. 

Rooms begin at £1026 per night; visit 


Borgo Santo Pietro, Italy 

A place of heart-fluttering beauty – with gurgling fountains, arches entwined with painterly roses and pistachio-toned bicycles for two-wheeled whooshes through the sprawling grounds – Borgo Santo Pietro is a superlative take on the classic Tuscan idyll. Days begin with sunrise yoga on the lawn, the pool couldn’t be more glorious for a few lazy lengths, and treatments in the spa feature bounty from the herb beds and honey from the organic farm’s lovingly tended hives. 

Rooms begin at £565 per night; visit 


Six Senses Thimphu, Bhutan 

High in the vapour-shrouded hills above Bhutan’s burgeoning capital, Six Senses Thimphu is captivating to say the least. Incense tinges the air in the artfully lit spa, where sure-handed therapists breathe life back into weary bodies with nurturing Abhyanga – Ayurvedic massage with warm oil – and all manner of herbal scrubs and wraps. A gentle dousing of aura mist heralds the end of each treatment, there’s a glorious, inky-blue pool should a restorative swim appeal, and those keen to unfurl further can join balancing meditation sittings in the airy, forest-gazing yoga space. 

Prices on request. Visit 


The Newt in Somerset, England 

A vision in butterscotch stone, this West Country offers a decidedly refined take on rural rusticity. Thanks to its bucolic backdrop and free-flowing cyder (crafted with apples hand-picked in the gardens), slowing the pace is remarkably easy here, and the spa’s carefully considered bill of therapies, which includes purifying facials and salubrious stints in the hand-tiled hammam, will make light work of any lingering tension. 

Rooms begin at £375 per night; visit 


Santani Resort and Spa, Sri Lanka 

Soundtracked by chirruping birds and lassoed by patchwork-like rice paddies, Santani is a triumph of form and function in the most spirit-lifting Sri Lankan setting. Whether you feel like fine-tuning your asanas, or you’re after a full-blown mind and body detox, the tailor-made programmes here – governed by time-tested Ayurvedic principles – are just the ticket, and the seasonal, dosha-specific spa cuisine is anything but punitive. 

Rooms begin at £331 per night; visit

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