One thing I love about living in the UK is that you never have to travel too far to get into the countryside. Growing up in leafy Buckinghamshire, I sometimes crave that fresh country air and saying goodbye to London by hopping on the train.
Meeting up with Laura at Waterloo Station we caught a speedy train and arrived in Ascot in about an hour where a driver was waiting to take us to our home for the night. Pennyhill Park, an exclusive hotel and spa, is a property that I’d never visited but has long been on my wish list so I was super excited to finally stay.
As Laura and I arrived we were soon joined by the other girls; Katie, Ashleigh, Bonnie and Vicky. This was a press trip but a fab one where I was joined by close friends and other bloggers who I’d met before but hadn’t the got chance to get to know until now.
Looking forward to a night at the hotel which promised a full pampering and indulgent twenty four hours, I first popped up to my room to drop my bags off.
A gorgeous princess-style four poster bed was the centre piece to the room, packed with fluffy cushions and silky soft sheets.
Each room is different and individually decorated so guests often return requesting their favourite.
The bathroom is part of the main bedroom and whilst I prefer it to be separate it did give the room a more open feeling and made a good use of the space. Popping my swimwear in my bag, I hurried back down to reception to meet the other girls.
We were led through the courtyard of the hotel giving us a quick opportunity to admire the building and the gorgeous outdoor pool. Ignore that evil black cloud, it was actually a beautifully warm day.
Next stop was the spa, the main reason for our visit to the hotel.
It’s actually one of the biggest spas in the UK with 45,000 square feet of facilities including eight indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms, laconium and even an ice igloo.
You can start your spa journey with some healthy eating at Themis restaurant, where you can relax in your robe and slippers enjoying a healthy salad or an afternoon tea. About a week before we arrived we’d filled out a questionnaire which would determine what kind of treatment we required. They’d even used this to allocate us with a particular smoothie! My low fat yogurt and strawberry was chosen perfectly for me and it was a delicious way to start our pampering session.
As you might imagine for such a big spa, the changing area was also incredibly spacious with plenty of areas to change, beautify or simply relax. The six of us were divided into two groups for treatment time slots and I have to say, I was glad to be given the later slot.
Getting into our bikinis, we walked past the indoor ballroom pool, a huge 25 metre long heated pool with under water music and fibre optic lighting.
And Katie, Ashleigh and I settled down by the open air pool ready to enjoy a bit of sun!
With a bar right by the pool and service to the sun loungers, you couldn’t ask for anymore. I mean it would be rude not to order a glass of bubbles on such a lovely day! As well as the bar and pool, there are open air hot tubs where you sit with your bubbly.
With only a limited to time to sit, catch up and enjoy the sun, we didn’t get a chance to try many of the other facilities but the spa includes pretty much everything that you can think of. I love the idea of the experience showers and you can choose from highland mist, tropical rain or falls of the spa. There’s a herbal sauna and steam room, and a dry heat sauna too. And that igloo I mentioned? It stimulates the circulation and cools the body leaving you refreshed and energised. Not only this but the spa is firmly geared to relaxation with a sensory room with warm gel filled bed and a tepidarium with heated ceramic couches. Looking to beautify? There’s nail suite with Jessica Expert Nails and make up and spray tans by MII. Looking to work out? There’s a state of the arm gym and exercise studio.
Soon it was time for me to move inside for my treatment. One of twenty-one, my treatment room was super spacious with all the facilities that I needed! From the answers to my questionnaire, I’d been prescribed a luxurious gold wrap. I was painted in gold all over with a gorgeously luxurious body wrap which would leave my skin hydrated and radiant. After showering off, I was covered in Gold Dry Body Oil which left my skin soft and smooth. The overall manifesto of the spa is holistic, helping to achieve balance in mind and body and many treatments use the luxurious signature Naura Bissé products. The other girls enjoyed facials, massages and scrubs and everyone was super happy with their results.
Heading back to my room it was a quick turn around but I was soon glammed up and ready for a very special dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, The Latymer. With wood paneling, beams on the ceiling and a dark colour palette, the restaurant itself is cosy, intimate and romantic.
Toasting to a good night, we made the rather easy decision of opting for the eight course menu with matching wine pairings.
Liverpool-born chef Matt Worswick is a big fan of bold flavours and focusses on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. He’s also a big fan of the lesser used cuts of meat which allows him to be more creative with his dishes and take advantage of his waste no want not approach. His years spent at 2 Michelin-star Le Champignon Sauvage in Gloucestershire were an inspiration for his current style of cookery but he’s led the kitchen at several other luxury hotels before taking the helm at The Latymer.
Beautifully presented canapés paired perfectly with the Taittinger champagne and whetted our appetites for the feast to come.
Out first course was Galician octopus with an Asian twist, prepared beautifully with sesame and miso.
Next came salt-baked celeriac with the decadent addition of Australian truffle.
Braised shoulder of Welsh lamb with goat’s curd, peas and mint was a big favourite around the table.
Grilled red mullet with Brixham crab and Porthilly sauce was the perfect fish course.
And locally sourced chicken from Etherly farm served with Cérvennes onion tart and truffle was the absolute winning course of the night.
Desserts were just gorgeous too with lavender ice cream containing ingredients sourced from the kitchen garden with violet gel and Pennyhill Park burnt honey crémeux.
Passion fruit cream with mango gel and coconut ice cream.
And the favourite; chocolate delice with milk crumble and yogurt sorbet.
The cheese course is optional, but never one to say no to cheese, Laura, Vicky and I headed to the one of the hotel lounges for our final course served with a glass of port.
With some of the girls leaving early for flights and work, Katie, Bonnie and I met for breakfast the next day at the hotel’s Brasserie. With a buffet and a la carte and plenty of options of both cooked and cold breakfasts – guests coming back for lunch can try interactive mobile buffet station serving fresh food including many British classics.
With a little time before we had to see our goodbyes, we decided to take a walk around the house and ground. The original manor house is around 100 years old and is not only surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens but there are 123 acres of woodland, parkland and gardens including a nine hole golf course and tennis court.
But what really caught our eye was the gorgeous gazebo, used for proposals and weddings. We actually saw it all set up for a proposal the night before.
Behind the gazebo is the kitchen garden plus plenty of unspoilt woodland and lush greenery – you may even spot some of the wildlife roaming the grounds.
All too quickly our fantastic visit to the Pennyhill Park was at an end and we returned to London feeling renewed and refreshed from our fabulous time in the spa and a breath of fresh air in the British countryside.
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I was a guest of Pennyhill Park as part of a press trip.