Borrowdale is the beautiful Lake District setting for a cool new must-stay spa with more than a hint of Scandi. Kathryn Armstrong took the plunge...

There are few things as life-affirming as a bubbling outdoor spa pool nestling amongst snow-topped mountains.

Tumbling snowflakes add an alpine edge and blue skies reflected on a still-as-glass lake only add to the near-perfect scene. The Falls Spa in the Lake District’s Borrowdale overlooks Derwentwater and the scene-setting Catbells mountain range.

It’s about as good as it gets when it comes to your fresh air quotient, especially when there’s a smattering of snow gloriously combined with wintry bright skies.

The Falls Spa is housed in a contemporary new building alongside the well-loved Lodore Falls Hotel, itself a longtime landmark hotel in Cumbria. The new spa and its suites are in a Cumbrian-slate building with cedar cladding and lots of glass. It certainly fits the alpine bill – and makes the most of the setting – with a little bridge over the (trickling tamely) Lodore Falls themselves, connecting old and new.

The spa reception has a real Scandi feel with blonde wood chairs and a huge window flooding the place with light. There are neat low, comfy chairs designed by Tom Dixon and Graham and Green, made from custom-made velvets, tweeds and dobby weaves, showcasing elegant British design.

There’s an easy feel from the earthy hues of the spa bring the outside in with a khaki/aqua/chartreuse colour palette complementing the environment and giving a fresh and contemporary feel, for a definite sense of ‘relax’.

In the spa area itself you can lose yourself in the airy Relaxation Room which bridges the gap between interior and exterior through its floor-to-ceiling windows filling the room with natural light and breath-taking panoramic views.

Cossie on and you’re ready if not to take the plunge and jump beneath the powerful jets, then to just rest awhile and drift between the do-you-good sauna and salt and steam rooms.

The treatment rooms complete the Scandinavian revival and Nordic retreat feel. Walls and floor have a modern, functional take on limewashed wooden planks and Faux Shagreen ceiling. Featuring ambient lights designed by renowned designer Moooi, with adjustable settings to tailor the mood of the room to the treatment being offered.

Artisan spa brand La Sultane de Saba brings a new and natural product range to spa lovers who love something different. We tried the 50-minute Akwaterra full body massage. If you’ve had hot stones treatments then it is a similar concept of heat penetrating the body.

Rather than using hands to apply pressure, your therapist uses perfectly warm, ergonomic ceramic Akwaterra tools (which look like little pots with a cork in the top).

Rich La Sultane de Saba oils give a continuous flow of deep, rhythmical massage motions as the ceramics pummel and massage the stressy bits. Your therapist will adjust the pressure of touch to suit, but having a firmer massage will definitely remove knots in the muscles caused by stress and tension.

It’s a memorable treatment which reaps rewards in removing tension. Afterwards, lie back in the relaxation area as you come round and contemplate a reviving dip in the infinity-edge vitality pool.

For obvious reasons we loved the concept of the champagne bar within the spa area. Often you have to leave the spa to go for a snack or a drink but the bar area is perfectly placed within the spa suite, making it a treat of a place to relax or rejoice.

Spa days include dining at Mizu, the hotel’s pan-Asian restaurant which is already making a name for itself.

This relaxing light-flooded contemporary space has an open kitchen where you see fresh sushi being prepared by true masters in the art – it tastes sensational, highly recommended.

Dishes are healthy and packed with Asian flavours – as well as the set menus with delights such as fresh sushi, katsu curry and fiery Thai curry there are some impressive-looking sharing platters that would be ideal for a group of spa-day pals.

The new spa building is home to 18 impressive spa suites which boast spacious balconies and panoramic views of the lake or surrounding forests. A highlight of our trip was snuggling beneath fur throws on the lakeside balcony, glass of wine in hand watching the stars and forgetting about everything.

It’s easy to rest in the spa suite rooms. Settle down in a big chair with a book before jumping in to crisp white sheets on luxurious Sealy beds.

Without doubt The Falls Spa is a perfect player when it comes to the wellbeing game with its gorgeous setting, attention to detail and irresistible amenities. You’ll fall hard.

Stays at Lodore Falls Hotel & Spa start from £190 on a bed & breakfast basis based on two people sharing a standard room. The new Spa Suites start from £460 a night on a bed & breakfast basis based on two people sharing. The 50-minute Akwaterra treatment is £85.


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