Mooch around galleries, stroll along the river, take in a show, and a pre-theatre dinner... You can't beat a UK city break. Combine culture, cuisine, sightseeing and shopping, throw in a spot of relaxation for a perfect city spa break.
The Lowry, Manchester
Set on the north side of the river Irwell, The Lowry is actually in Salford, birthplace of the artist himself. The ultra cool, modern building surrounded by renovated warehouses gives a feel of Manhattan. A short stroll across the sexy Trinity bridge, directly outside the hotel, will take you to shops, galleries, bars, restaurants and the city centre.
The Lowry Spa: Contemporary, sleek and fresh, the aroma of scented candles hits you as soon as you walk through the door. Six treatment rooms, a manicure suite, two sauna rooms, and two relaxation rooms, one with snugly beanbags. Fully equipped modern gym. Crowned one of the UK's best day spa's by Conde Nast Traveller.
The Treatment: Elemis Skin Specific Facial. After a skin interrogation and examination, my therapist Lizzie recommended a re-hydrating and anti-ageing combined treatment. A deep cleanse using a lime blossom-based cleanser was followed by a balancing, soothing (and deliciously scented) lavender tone and papaya enzyme peel. The fruit enzymes help to naturally exfoliate the skin. A neck, shoulder and scalp massage follows to encourage circulation. An intense pro-collagen mask, containing argan tree oil is then applied to help smooth and re-hydrate the skin. The treatment finished with a pro-collagen marine moisturiser and a great pressure point face massage. £60
I'm not sure that I looked any younger but my skin definitely felt more hydrated, and it did appear that the lines on my forehead had lessened!
The room: 421, spacious and modern with a cool chaise longue, floor to ceiling window with urban river views, kingsize bed and walk in wardrobe. Ren products, complimentary water and fruit but no coffee tray! (they will bring one if you ask..). A homemade chocolate brownie welcomes you.
To eat: The River Restaurant, modern British and Mediterranean, try the classic lobster bisque. The River Bar for burgers and fish and chips. Great for al fresco riverside dining in the Summer.
Don't miss: A visit to John Rylands Library for the amazing Victorian Gothic architecture. Italian tapas at San Carlo Cicchetti.
Dog friendly (by prior arrangement)
The Deal: Throughout June, Love Your Skin at The Lowry. A full consultation with a skin specialist followed by an Advanced Elemis Facial. A £20 voucher for skin products and 15% discount for further purchases. £65
Rooms from £150
The Landmark, London.
Originally one of the last great Victorian railway hotels, a grand and imposing building set in trendy Marylebone. Glamorous rooms surround the magnificent colonial style glass atrium. Huge palm trees, old school grandeur and impeccable service, a feel of High Society.
The Landmark Spa: A hidden gem in the basement of the hotel, candlelit treatments rooms with an Asian influence. Six treatment rooms, a chlorine-free swimming pool, steam and sauna rooms. Fully equipped gym, and relaxation room serving green tea, fruit and juices.
The treatment: Espa Deluxe Facial with Firming Eye Treatment. A luxury 10 step facial. Therapist Jessica asked me to smell two different aromatherapy oil combinations. I chose floral, I always do. A double cleanse using a gentle milk cleanser to remove make up, then a deep cleanser containing bee's wax, is followed by a spa fresh floral tone with a strong scent of rose and geranium that instantly relaxes you and refreshes the skin. The firming eye treatment follows using micro algae to lift and golden root to brighten and de-puff. A facial massage and lifting mask with line smoothing argan oil and grape seed oil (a natural antioxidant) is followed by a relaxing aromatherapy shoulder and scalp massage. A protective serum is applied to finish. £90
My skin felt surprisingly firm and had a lovely healthy glow.
The room: 321, large and opulent with a marble bathroom and walk in shower. Picturesque views over the atrium. The White Company products, and complimentary water. A tea and coffee tray but instant, not fresh, coffee.
To eat: Twenty Two Twenty, relaxed stylish and quirky, a great contrast to the grand hotel, serving a modern European menu. The melt in the mouth chocolate pudding is well worth the 15 minute wait.
Don't miss: A trip along the river on The Clipper, a great economical way to see the sights. An evening at The Open Air Theatre, in nearby Regents Park.
The deal: Throughout June, The Royal Treatment. A one hour Voya Anti Ageing Facial, 30 minute Royal Hand or Foot Retreat, access to spa and swimming pool. Traditional afternoon tea in the spa. £140 non peak, £150 peak. Booking essential. Rooms from £170.