The best spa hotels in Devon

With its sleepy thatched villages, lush wooded valleys and sublime beaches, a spa holiday in Devon will relax you before anyone has even laid a hand on your chakras. Flanked by two epically beautiful coastlines, this sprawling province has a range of soothing spa hotels guaranteed to relax even the most pent-up visitors. It’s no wonder Victorians flocked to the Devonshire coast to recuperate and breathe the invigorating fresh air.

Recharging can mean as little as simply sitting on a sun lounger in the Devon sunshine and looking at the view, for head-to-toe treatments that will put you back on the path to tranquility. All of the shelters below offer this and everything else in between. We’ve reviewed the best of Devon’s spa offering, from hip, ultra-modern hotels and seaside escapes to grand estates, historic wonders and high-tech hideaways. These are the best spa hotels in Devon.

How we assess

Each hotel on this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, usually hosted free of charge. They stay at least one night, test at least one meal and try other experiences the hotel may have to offer.

The best spa hotels in Devon at a glance

With a £5 million state-of-the-art spa, which hotel guests can use free of charge, this Elizabethan country house offers plenty of pampering in a perfectly preserved historic setting. The Gaia spa is one of the best spa hotels in Devon, with facilities including a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, various steam rooms and saunas, relaxation room, large gym and beauty salon. The treatment list is extensive and includes a range of expertly delivered signature hot stone massages, facials, body scrubs and holistic rituals – personalized treatments lasting up to two hours using the spa’s own brand products.

• An expert guide to Devon

This sleek new spa hotel with glass and cedar facades has a commanding position overlooking South Sands beach, just along the estuary from the Salcombe yacht resort. An original mix of art deco and rustic design, it has a relaxed, earthy atmosphere, with sublime views and a good seafood restaurant. Downstairs there’s a beautiful glass-walled spa, an indoor pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a gym, an outdoor terrace with sun loungers and sea-inspired treatments (try the Soul Soother for total relaxation).

Attracting style-conscious retirees, this modern seaside hotel in East Devon offers breathtaking views of the Regency town of Sidmouth and the Jurassic coastline. There is a spotlessly clean spa, swimming pool, steam room, sauna, gym and spa offering massages, facials and holistic therapies. The party room is also a practice studio where lessons are regularly given to people over 55. Outside, overlooking the sea, is a wooden terrace and a small heated swimming pool (open from March to November). Considering the location, design and facilities versus price; it is a good quality spa stay.

Devon’s coolest seaside hotel, perched on the cliff top near Salcombe, South Devon, has rustic-chic interiors, indoor and outdoor heated pools, cinema, restaurant, sun terrace, cozy bedrooms and stylish self-catering apartments, all cleverly positioned to make the most of spectacular sea views. The small Elemis spa features a blue mosaic pool, sauna and steam room, and offers massages, manicures and facials. In summer there are yoga sessions on the cliff at sunrise, followed by brunch. The rooms share a cozy, rustic, industrial feel, with velvet cushions, pom-pom fringed throws, raw wood walls, vintage telephones and geometrically tiled bathrooms.

• The best hotels in Devon

The small spa at this beautiful hotel on the south coast of Devon has a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool. Other facilities include an aromatherapy and phototherapy shower, as well as steam baths, a sauna and a gym. Two ‘Thalgo’ treatment rooms offer sea facials, massages and body treatments. The hotel also features a collection of one-bedroom beach huts (six in total), all on the seafront, with floor-to-ceiling views of the Jurassic coastline. The best seat in the house in the restaurant during the summer is the Captain’s Table, an elevated part of the outdoor terrace that looks straight out to sea.

• The best things to do in Devon

This 50-room luxury spa hotel has stunning views of Salcombe Bay, with its enchanting waves, sandy beaches and pastel-coloured cottages. The swimming pool has a ‘children’s hours policy’; outside these times it is a fragrant oasis of peace. Treats include the blissful hot stone massage – which uses the heat of volcanic basalt stones to smooth away tension – and facial treatments at the Temple Spa. The Estuary View rooms offer surprising river scenes guaranteed to promote mindfulness. Head to one of the nearby coves for bucket-and-spade adventures or just mess around on boats on the river. Excellent seafood and a cinema complete your stay here.

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The spa is a real treat at this 1910 country house hotel, with an indoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and Kubel Dusche ice treatment. The gym is well equipped and two therapists offer massages, facials and beauty treatments using grape-based products from the famous Parisien Caudalie range. The interior has a traditional charm with original oak beams, high ceilings and country style furnishings. Lounges are a mix of modern fabrics, flock wallpapers and more traditional artwork. All rooms have countryside views and there is also a sun terrace and croquet lawn.

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The spa at this sprawling hotel five minutes’ walk from Woolacombe Beach has an indoor pool with hot tub, steam room and sauna. They are proud to work with brands that are largely vegan and cruelty-free, such as Natural Spa Factory and Dolly Lemon. Treatments include anti-aging treatments and facials for problem skin, body wraps, massages, manicures and pedicures. Other facilities include a gym, fitness classes, a nine-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, hard tennis courts, squash courts and a championship-sized snooker table. On a rainy day, the indoor pool is a godsend for families – and with set times for children, you don’t have to worry about disturbing other guests.

• The best family-friendly hotels in Devon

A luxury, family-run spa and golf hotel overlooking the rugged South Devon coastline in the South Hams, near Salcombe. Facilities at the Decléor spa include a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and fitness room. The signature Voyager massage journey is particularly popular and includes a scalp and facial massage. Many of the rooms have balconies and large windows, with Thurlestone Arch, a wave-sculpted rock formation in the sea, being the striking focal point. Dining is formal: waiters wear white gloves, even at breakfast, and jackets are required at dinner.

• The best spa hotels in Cornwall

This large stately building on a sporting estate in Dartmoor National Park has an impressive spa with heated pool and hot tub with sun loungers overlooking the grounds, plus a steam room, sauna and gym. A range of ESPA treatments are available, as well as several day packages that can include champagne and lunch, one or more treatments and full use of the spa. Then relax in your room with a complimentary carafe of homemade sloe gin and a bathroom with roll-top bath and ESPA toiletries. The silver service Great Western restaurant is dazzlingly glamorous. The food is great too: try the estate’s venison or trout.

Contributions by Anna Turns

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