Newmarket is best known for being a global destination for horse racing, but there’s another reason why you should visit this charming market town: its fabulous spa, connected to the sophisticated Bedford Lodge Hotel.

The Spa is one of a select few in the UK offering Modern Alchemy Ritual Treatments in collaboration with luxury product house ESPA. A spa break at the hotel incorporating one of these 90-minute journeys is the perfect way to beat the winter blues and restore energy to get through the darker months.

The destination

A short trip outside of London takes you to the beautiful scenery of Suffolk, where Newmarket’s Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa are situated in an ideal location just a stone’s throw from the racecourse. Our room overlooked a neighbouring trainers’ yard, allowing us to wake up in the morning to a parade of horses out on exercise – a much more soothing start to the day than the usual sirens and traffic outside our London home.

The hotel is set just outside the town centre, secluded enough to provide a peaceful getaway whilst also being walking distance from the upmarket shops and cafes that line the high street: afternoon tea at the quaint Nancy’s Vintage Tea Shop is a must (go for the salted caramel scones!).

The spa

A lavender-lined walkway leads you to a beautiful Georgian property that houses the Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel. In addition to a light-filled hydrotherapy pool, an outdoor rooftop hot tub, and a vast steam room and sauna, there are 10 treatment rooms where guests can indulge in a broad range of acclaimed spa experiences.

I opted for the ESPA Modern Alchemy Empowering Ritual, a treatment inspired by the lunar phase of the new moon (traditionally a time to awaken the spirit, plant new desires and affirm the kind of energy you want to embody moving forwards), which focuses on the body’s chakras.

The treatment begins with a foot bathing ceremony using healing basalt magma stones and grounding crystals, which I was encouraged to hold on to throughout the full body massage which followed if it felt right to do so. The massage was an experience like no other I have ever had, with the therapist using a Green Jade Roller (known for its empowering and shifting properties) in long, flowing strokes from left to right, aiming to release tension right from the base of the muscle. The experience concluded with a purifying sage ceremony to bring my awareness back, and left me feeling blissfully renewed and at ease as I floated into a virtuous lunch of crab salad in the peaceful spa lounge.

The accommodation

Unlike most spa hotels, The Spa at Bedford Lodge Hotel is a separate building to the hotel, allowing total privacy and seclusion for spa guests (the hotel itself also boasts extensive wellbeing facilities, including a well-equipped gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam room).

Spacious, modern bedrooms provide the perfect refuge for post-spa relaxation, with fluffy robes, large bathtubs with Molton Brown toiletries, and beds that lure you in for an afternoon nap before waking up to a pot of tea and homemade lavender shortbread.

The food

In addition to The Spa Lounge, Bedford Lodge Hotel has an acclaimed restaurant serving inventive takes on classical British cuisine: highlights include “scallops” made of mushrooms paired with cauliflower tahini and pickled onion, and a pheasant trio served with parsnip puree, Jerusalem artichoke and pickled blackberries.

Roaring log fires in the neighbouring bar area are guaranteed to lure you in for a nightcap or to cuddle up with a bowl of sticky toffee pudding. For the morning after, homemade bircher muesli is a highlight of the breakfast spread for those feeling virtuous, with an extensive a la carte menu of freshly-prepared hot dishes also available for those who indulged in a few too many Newmarket G&Ts the night before.

Getting there

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is situated in the heart of Newmarket in Suffolk and is easily accessible by both road and rail. The hotel is close to both the A14 and A11 motorways, near to the city of Cambridge and just an hour’s drive away from central London and Stansted Airport.

How to book

Spa rituals are available as a standalone treatment, and as part of a spa day or overnight break:  

  • The Modern Alchemy Spa Day starts from £200 per person and includes full use of the spa facilities, a 90-minute treatment, one-course lunch, glass of prosecco and a bag & slippers to take home  
  • The Modern Alchemy Spa Break starts from £660 per couple and includes all of the above plus an overnight stay, dinner in Squires 2AA rosette restaurant (£35pp) and a full English breakfast, plus a complimentary ESPA gift worth £40  

To book, visit bedfordlodgehotelspa.co.uk

words by Rosie Sargeant

READ MORE: Hip & Healthy Guide To York

Guide to York