A couple of months after Cowley we took the opportunity of a bank holiday to visit Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa in Surrey, about an hour outside of London. Home to the English Rugby training grounds and regularly commended in the ‘Good Spa Guide’, we thought we’d add it to our list of places we’d visited.
Like many of the other grand spa’s [See our Four Seasons review] Pennyhill is an old stately home that has been redesigned, revamped and virtually rebuilt to become a spa destination for Londoners looking for a quick break. Pennyhill is a maze of wings in a variety of styles; you can be walking through a medieval stable block, turn a corner and appear to be in the corridor of a French chateau – it’s kind of charming but also slightly contrived – but one can look beyond that as at its heart is the 45,000sq ft. spa facilities.
The spa has to be one of the biggest and, perhaps, best that we have experienced. It doesn’t have the character of Cowley’s spa block but it’s huge, with an indoor and outdoor pool including a variety of Jacuzzi type “aqua therapy” pools, gyms, treatment rooms with pre and post relaxation areas, cafe serving lovely food (and wine…yes, Elldrew do go to the spa and have a wine at lunch!) a private club members area, yoga classrooms, actually the list goes on and on… It’s also designed for the UK climes with the indoor pool heated to a tropical temperature, offering a vast array of seating options so that you can comfortably spend the day lounging around it like you would in any overseas holiday resort. It’s the type of pool to spend the day at whereas for most other hotels the spa is a place to pop in to for a few hours at most.
We enjoyed our stay but weren’t wowed about the Brasserie food (we didn’t try the Michelin starred restaurant, opting to eat in the bar for our second night), it was a little lacking in atmosphere in the evenings but we suspect that most people were tucked-up in bed catching up on more R&R…Elldrew are still night owls so we were happy to leave and head off to Dorset in search of livelier evenings. Overall a lovely 2 night break, not sure we would rush back but we are definitely glad we got the chance to experience it.
Our final destination in this UK Breaks series is The Bull Hotel, Dorset.