Home to the England Rugby training ground, Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa in Surrey, is the ultimate luxury retreat and spa. In addition to spending time with my wonderful friends and family for my birthday, I was also treated to a wonderful spa weekend at the highly recommend Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa, located close to Reading. Here is what we got up to during our overnight spa weekend at Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa….
The hotel itself dates back to the 19th century and after many owners was bought by Exclusive Hotels in 1982 who expanded it considerably from its original 17 bedrooms. The hotel now has 120 bedrooms, ranging from doubles to suites and junior suites, some with four-poster beds, balconies, private patios and even a Roman-style marble bath.
We booked in for an overnight spa detox, staying in one of their beautiful suites, complete with double bathtub, walk-in showers and four-poster bed. We also had a small lounge area to sit, with super high ceilings, and a decadent feel. The room got a thumbs up from me for containing lots of information about the hotel itself, a full list of spa treatments and a walking map of the grounds. I certainly needed the map to find my way across the hotel complex to the spa and to find where we were to go for Afternoon Tea.
During our stay we spent the two days exploring the hotel, eating all the afternoon tea, getting massaged and sunbathing in the sunshine in their wonderful outdoor pool area. We also dined in their restaurant in the evening where we were treated to a wonderful dinner, and the best Gin & Tonic I’ve had in a while. I really enjoyed our two days here and can’t wait to return!
DETOX SPA RETREAT
The spa is immense, covering 45,000 sq ft, with eight indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, bubbling hot tubs, ice-cold plunge pools and a salt scrub ice cave, the spa at Pennyhill Park is one of those places where you could happily spend a whole day. And for those who want to work a little harder, there is also a state-of-the-art gym, nine-hole golf course, tennis courts and 120 acres of parkland for walks on a Sunday morning.
The attraction was definitely the spa and it’s got to be one of the best I have been to in the UK, alongside my other recommendations here. And if you’re staying in the hotel, you get spa access as part of your visit included within the cost, which is a really good deal. Inside you’ve got the standard spa facilities including an array of heat and ice rooms, and the Ballroom Pool. Outside is another jacuzzi with double bubble beds, and the hydrotherapy pool and outdoor pool.
The outdoor pool has just been renovated and is usually heated, and in the glorious weather we’ve had over the past few months, it was great to sunbathe in the sunshine. The pool bar service around the pool was also lovely, and they even bought round some slices of orange for all guests to have on the hot day.
In terms of treatments, there are soooo many on offer here. I opted for the Energising Massage, as part of my detox spa package. The massage is used to invigorate and energise with this tension relieving prescriptive massage, incorporating traditional Swedish massage techniques to boost circulation and restore vitality. My tense muscles were quickly soothed with the aid of Purifying Seaweed oil and I left feeling extremely relaxed. 60 minutes | £105 (Mon – Thurs) | £115 (Fri – Sun). I found the spa staff to be lovely and afterwards we were treated to some relaxation time on the waterbeds in the sensory room upstairs!
In keeping with Pennyhill general air of indulgence, we decided to skip lunch and instead treat ourselves to head to Afternoon Tea in The Ascot Bar. They are well-versed with delivering a great experience, being winners of the Tea Guild’s Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award. We joined them for a homemade afternoon tea served in a traditional style on a tiered cake stand with a real sense of occasion, and even opted for the Champagne to go with it.
The Tea Menu was my favourite; as a bit of a self-confessed tea lover, I was completely overwhelmed by choice. With so many artisan teas to choose from it was hard to come to a decision, but in the end I opted for a fragrant peppermint tea which was delicious! The waitress was great at telling us all about the different types of tea, and also made sure any dietaries for the rest of the experience were taken care of too.
We were presented with our cake stand of treats, including a generous plate of sandwiches (which could be replenished) including smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise, ham and mustard, and cheese and chutney, and as soon as the sandwiches were demolished we tucked in to our sweet treats. On the sweet tray we had an assortment of homemade goodies including a blood orange and chocolate macaron, a choux pastry ball stuffed with a passionfruit and vanilla crème, a chocolate tart and a blood orange mousse. The final treat was the plate of freshly baked scones with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry preserve. This has to be my favourite part of any afternoon tea and I was delighted to find the scones warm, fluffy and baked to perfection!
DINNER IN THE BRASSERIE RESTAURANT
After a relaxing day by the pool, and an indulgent afternoon tea we headed back to the room to relax before dinner in The Brasserie that evening. The hotel also has a more formal restaurant, the Latymer, which is the fine dining restaurant and formerly held 2 Michelin stars under previous chef Michael Wignall.
He has since been replaced by award-winning chef, Matt Worswick. Matt gained his first Michelin star at the age of 26 and has also held numerous AA rosettes. He has appeared on BBC1’s MasterChefs: The Professionals in 2010 and most recently BBC2’s Great British Menu in 2015.
We opted for food at The Brasserie as it was a little more relaxed but was still first class food and service. We had a couple of lovely cocktails at the bar before dining at The Brasserie overlooking the spa garden and outdoor pool.
We started with Pea and ham soup, with ham hock croquette and mint oil and Theo had Fillet of beef carpaccio with onion gel, shoestring fries, mushrooms, watercress and a gorgeous béarnaise sauce. Both dishes were light yet tasty, and set the standard for the rest of our meal.
For our mains, I opted for the 10oz ribeye steak with sides, whilst Theo went for the Dorset chicken breast with black garlic, asparagus and potato terrine. Both dishes were incredible, with so many flavours! Then to finish we shared a malted milk chocolate mousse, Anzac biscuit with caramelised milk ice cream. It was the perfect end to our great experience!
Pennyhill Park hotel and spa, London Rd, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5EU