Set in 123 acres of rolling Surrey parkland, this elegant 19th century manor house features 123 luxury bedrooms, a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant, a 9 hole golf course and of course – the spa.
Dating from 1849, the vine covered main building is the centre piece of the property. Most of the rooms are in the newer wings and have free WiFi, four-poster beds, quality linens and even a pillow menu. They are cosy and have an olde world feel. It’s a nice country retreat around an hour or so from London.
Renowned for its huge facilities, the Spa at Pennyhill Park scores highly in reviews online and with 45,000 sq. ft. of facilities – there’s lots of everyone. The water and thermal suite includes eight indoor and outdoor pools (one with underwater music), laconium, ice cave, plunge pools, hot tubs, experience showers, massage chairs, rasoul and 21 treatment rooms. This is spa on a grand scale.
The reception is massive and includes a large retail space and spa café. The large changing rooms have sofas – this gives an idea of how big they are. Plenty of space to change without elbowing someone as you bend over or put your socks on.
The Ballroom Pool is a 25m, deck level indoor pool featuring underwater music (which I loved) and fibre optic lighting. There is plenty of space to do laps and an adjoining hydro pool with jets. Laid out with lots of relaxation loungers, I found the whole space cavernous and rather un-inspiring, it was dimly lit and lacked any kind of warmth.
The thermal experience suite has separate men’s and women’s areas plus a mixed area for all. The herbal sauna in the male changing area was by far my favourite. It was infused with herbs and hot, hot, hot. Decorated in a Moroccan style, the laconium is tepid and a calming place to bring your body temperature back down a touch.
The plunge pool was in easy reach from the men’s hot thermal suite and I dipped in twice prior to my spa treatment to cool my body temperature. The spa has a new outdoor pool with large decking and lots of sun loungers. There’s a bar and options for healthy choices or a glass of wine and afternoon tea. Catering to everyone, the deck area comes to life in the sun and is a welcome addition to the space, ensuring great day spa choices in the summer months.
There’s plenty of room to spread out. Lots of experiences to occupy a full spa day and for overnight guests, you can return the next day to work out in the gym and then hit the spa again.
Despite its large number of treatment rooms, you don’t feel like you are on a conveyor belt – that’s well managed. What’s less successful is the spa layout. There are so many corridors, which detracts from the spa journey. It didn’t flow so well. This is most pronounced in the treatment suite.
I opted for an Elemental massage – based on the elements and using the Elemental Herbology range. After a consultation your therapist determines a selection of oils to offer and you choose from a couple. I opted for wood which was appropriate given that we are surrounded by woods in depths of Surrey.
What followed was a full body massage using hot stones for a small part of the back massage it was a wholly pleasant experience. I was soon drifting off and it was a great way to spend to spend a chilled Sunday afternoon.
THE BEST BITS:
* Facial and pillow mist at turndown (calming aromatherapy blend)
* In room ipad with guide to hotel and spa
* Moroccan style laconium
* Being introduced to Elemental Herbology
ROOM TO IMPROVE:
Remember that men are seasoned spa go-ers – my therapist treated me like I was a child which I found very patronising.
Massage: from £95
Spa days are great value and include a two-course lunch, full use of the spa facilities and you can book from one hour upwards. I think one of the best options for men is the Fire and Water Men’s Spa Day which includes a smoothie on arrival, an Elemental Herbology facial or massage and a two-course lunch for £180.