Grab a cuppa. This is a biggie!
For Christmas, Dad bought me, Mum and Jo a Spa weekend. Three very lucky girls.
By taking such a long time to find a free weekend for the three of us to make use of it, the Christmas gift ended up lasting until May, which was brilliant!
Our choice of venue was Pennyhill Park Spa, “the UK’s Most Excellent Spa”, set in beautiful Surrey parkland in Bagshot, and alongside a stunning country house.
We were shown to our room, and began to settle in.
The beds were huge and it was a really big room. Jo proceeded to prove that there was certainly enough to room to fling herself, if not a cat.
We had dinner in the brasserie in the main building. It was beautifully old with charming detail at every corner.
We kicked things off with a few drinks – but with mum on antibiotics and me feeling very spa-like and ‘Zen’, we opted for Virgin cocktails. They were so refreshing and delish, as good as any boozy alternatives. Jo, of course, had a beer.
The hotel boasts a 2-Michelin Star restaurant, with the Brasserie being described as the less formal option. Given the standard of food that came to us in the more casual dining area I cannot wait to find out what they serve in the ‘better’ restaurant. It was an absolute taste-sensation!
I began with a full shell of crab meat – fleshy and tender. It was served with a sauce that I can’t remember the details of, but can still taste the flavours now if I think back to it. SO nice.
The main course was the most deliciously tender beef, with oak-smoked pieces alongside it. I wish I had taken more time to think how to describe it instead of just wolfing it down. It was honestly one of my top steaks, I just couldn’t stop for air. Hopefully the empty, scraped-clean plate says enough about how good it was for you to believe me.
After dinner we were feeling very relaxed and well into a food-coma, so popped along to reception to pick up a couple of DVDs.
Once back at our room we climbed into our huge dressing gowns and onto our big beds, and settled in for the night.
N.B. It was only a few days later that I found out they have 7 different pillows on option at reception – I’d love to hear what the variety are like, if you’ve ever been?
The morning had a bright and early start, as Jo and I headed down to a ‘Warrior Circuits’ gym class. A great way to begin the day, as we climbed, lifted, pushed and sweated our way through the next hour. This was well-rewarded with a hearty breakfast – full English, fruit, croissants. The works!
I was keen to see the large indoor pool, as it had underwater music. Unfortunately as I was trying to get through several lengths of the pool as part of my triathlon training, I was a little too splashy to get the full impact of the whale-calls but Jo says it was really relaxing and nice.
By lunch time the sun had come out enough for us to head out to the sun loungers. We made sure to stay replenished on glasses of lime, cucumber and orange-flavoured waters, available in every room throughout the spa area. So refreshing!
After a light lunch in the sun it was time for Jo and Mum to go in for their lengthy afternoon treatment. I took advantage of the peace and quiet and headed over the massage chairs. I began on the basic one that very powerfully rolls all kinds of little nobbles up and down your back. It was really great and I felt very peaceful reading my book and people-watching the pool below. But then I spotted an even more fancy-looking chair in the corner. It was an air-based massage chair. It was incredible! You sit in and put your legs into the foot holes and press a few buttons – then you’re off. Like hundreds of tiny little monkeys the pockets of air grip your arms, legs, sides and all at once you are overcome with all these little massages all at once. It is so incredibly relaxing, but also does feel like little people massaging you with their fingers. It’s so unreal, I wish someone else could have tried it to share my amazement! Unsurprisingly this chair was occupied every other time we walked past it so I couldn’t get Jo or Mum involved.
When the queue of people waiting for the magic chair got a little long, I decided I ought to share it, so hopped off and headed for my spa treatment. I opted for reflexology as I find foot-rubs one of the most stress-relieving things ever. The man who did it was brilliant and I think I fell asleep several times over the next hour. Afterwards he told me I had more noticeable irritation in my sinuses and my stomach – pretty spot on as was just getting over a cold and had been suffering with weird shooting pains in my stomach for the previous two days. Bright little button, he was.
Once we’d all finished our treatments we went down to explore the facilities further. We began in a room with heated mosaic benches. I kept my dressing gown on so that I was all wrapped-up in warmth. And nearly fell asleep again.
To wake ourselves up a bit we tried the saunas out but they were mainly just quite an average temperature which was comfortable but still sleep-inducing. There was only one thing for it – the cold room. Does as it says. Ice pours down a shoot so that there’s a little pile of icey slush to cool yourself off with. Or if that’s not enough, why not simply plaster yourself against the HUGE BLOCK OF ICE? Yeah….sure…why not….
Teeth-chattering, we headed back to our room in our dressing gowns – just as we’d done all day. I love the freedom of being able to wear ‘inside clothes’ outside.
Once warmed up we took a stroll around the beautiful estate. It was a perfect evening and everywhere we looked the place was immaculate.
We had another few cocktails to begin our evening, which we then followed with food from the bar.
Of course, in Pennyhill Park, you wouldn’t expect just your average bar food. Everything here was, as I began to realise, just a little bit more special – even the ‘bar menu’. If you can get the food right, you’re already onto a winner, in my eyes.
We ended the night back in our room, in our dressing gowns, watching another DVD. Dad was horrified to think we were tucked up in bed early rather than out working our way through the bar. His idea of hell. But it was so perfectly peaceful and exactly how I wanted to spend my evening!
And Dad, did we tell you how else we spent our time? The final day started with a spin class, followed by a lovely, stretching Pilates class. We were then free to continue our pool-dips and slow-paced relaxing. I imagine you can’t think of many worse way to spend a weekend!
I had a wonderful deep-tissue back massage in the afternoon and was in such a zombiefied state of relax by the time we packed up our bags and left that I imagine I was awful company for the journey home. I was just so perfectly content – balance had been restored.
I can’t recommend this spa enough. A perfect girls weekend away.