Ockenden Manor has launched a new spa menu featuring a range of treatments from Elemental Herbology and it’s a match made in spa heaven. Ockenden Manor is a cosy Elizabethan manor house with exposed wooden beams and low ceilings situated in the picturesque village of Cuckfield, East Sussex. The spa is built inside a 19th century walled garden and the modern design of the building is a complete contrast to the main hotel building. And as a stand-alone spa it’s is one of the South East’s most impressive. It’s a true countryside setting which benefits from nine acres of parklands and gardens plus all the mod cons you would expect from a contemporary spa.
I visited in November 2016 to experience the new partnership with Elemental Herbology. The team at Elemental Herbology has developed a brand new treatment menu, connecting guests with the five elements through a series of bespoke treatments which feature its award-winning products and unique rituals.
Elemental Herbology at Ockenden Manor
The crowing glory on the spa menu is the bespoke new signature treatment, The Elemental Rebalancing Ritual. It’s a 120-minute face and body treatment which has been created in partnership with the team at Ockenden Manor. The ritual involves a series of stretches and acupressure to energise the body’s flow of Qi, whilst also releasing muscle tension and promote a general sense of wellbeing. The signature treatment begins with an inhalation of oil and a gentle massage with flowing continuous movements on the back and legs. This also includes the use of warm poultices filled with herbs which helps to relieve muscle tension. Turning over, the treatment features a combination of massage and stretching. Fully relaxed, an express facial that follows is a welcome treat, cleansing, massaging and smoothing the skin in hydrating serums and creams. The treatment concludes with a foot scrub and cleanse to help bring you back to reality. But it’s not over. Guided to the relaxation room you receive a treat of handmade chocolate and the local (and excellent) sparkling wine from Ridge View Estate. Delightful.
You also get to take home the poultices, my therapist advised me to run them under hot water and take a relaxing bath when you are home which brings the spa vibe back in an instant. A two-hour treatment can sometimes be hard going – it’s a long time to be in a treatment room and sometimes the time seems to drag on and you can invariably get bored. The sequences and rituals need to be varied and interesting, and and not included just for the sake of it. I think that the Elemental Rebalancing Ritual gets it right. There’s enough variation in terms of speed, motion and action, balanced with moments of calm. The stretching was an interesting addition and perhaps more could be done with this and the poultices – I thought they could have been used a touch more too.
A spa break to experience Elemental Herbology at Ockenden Manor
There are lots of accommodation options at Ockenden Manor and for the traditionalist, you may prefer the rooms in the main building. Dating back to Elizabethan times, it provides a glimpse back in time with homely comforts, dark woods and cosy rooms. My money is on the modern suites located above the spa. They are large, modern, tastefully decorated and ensure that you have seamless access to the spa pretty much anytime of the day. Well, within reason, when the spa is open of course. Don your robes and slippers and in a less than a minute you can be bathing in the outdoor hot tub or swimming a few laps in the indoor/outdoor pool.
The rooms feature massive free standing bath tubs with enough room for two and sky lit bathrooms with large walk in shower. The suites are really spacious (with a large sofa for lounging around), a desk to do some work (forget it) and it’s tastefully decorated with a modern palette and quality soft furnishings. There’s an outdoor terrace for the warmer months and these lead onto the outdoor hot tub too. And of course there’s the countryside view. Perfection. It was a great stay and to top it all off the food was fabulous. Whenever I’m asked for a spa recommendation about an hour from London, Ockenden Manor is always top of my list, and for good reason too.
The best bits
Experiencing the signature Elemental Rebalancing Ritual
Staying overnight in the spa suite
Sipping Ridge View Estate bubbles post-treatment
Dining in the restaurant on seasonal locally sourced ingredients
Elemental Herbology at Ockenden Manor – it’s a match made in spa heaven
2-hour Elemental Rebalancing Ritual is £185
Spa suites are from £399 B&B per night, based on two sharing.
A standard room starts at £179 B&B per night, again for two.