The Spa at Pennyhill Park Hotel

I enter the ice cave a blushing, sweaty mess. After a 15-minute steam, I have to remind myself this is good for me as I scrub myself cold with handfuls of flaked ice. Thursday, 16 October 2014

By Stephanie Cavagnaro

I enter the ice cave a blushing, sweaty mess. After a 15-minute steam, I have to remind myself this is good for me as I scrub myself cold with handfuls of flaked ice.

I'm at the mammoth adult-only The Spa at Pennyhill Park Hotel, which is set in the grounds of a historic five-star hotel in Surrey. Covering 45,000sq ft, The Spa includes 21 treatment rooms, eight indoor and outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs, plus plenty of thermal experiences.

After changing into a robe and slippers in the luxuriously well-equipped changing room, I sip vanilla white tea while waiting for my 60-minute Vitality Massage. Though my therapist is a bit late, the rest of the treatment doesn't let the experience down.

Surrounded by gentle lighting, I hop on a comfy massage table as my therapist works jasmine, frankincense and lavender body oil into problem areas. Although the pressure isn't as firm as I requested, the Swedish techniques ease back tension and restore energy to my achy legs.

Grabbing cucumber water, I head to the tepidarium, a relaxation room with heated marble loungers. Before sinking into a deep sleep, I make my way to the Thermal Heaven, complete with a schnapps steam room, laconium (dry heat sauna), ice cave, plunge pool, footbaths and experience showers.

It takes most of the morning before I realise two single-sex doors aren't toilets, but house three additional thermal rooms. Throughout my visit, the female-only area was very quiet — perhaps a result of the ambiguous signage, or a sign that many couples prefer a steam together.

The rest of my indulgent weekend is spent in the 25-metre ballroom infinity pool, lined with Greco-Roman-style pillars, and the many hot tubs dotting the spa area. When the air is nippy, there's even an outdoor hot tub with access from inside.

As I swim out to the large whirlpool bath area, equipped with plenty of soothing massage jets and views of the hotel's 19th-century, ivy-clad manor, I feel utterly pampered and blissed-out after only two days away.

Vitality massage £95; Spa Days from £180.

thespa.uk.com

Words: Stephanie Cavagnaro

 

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