There’s something about spending a day in a fluffy white robe that’s incredibly good for the soul; an opportunity to do very little other than sit comes rarely, but when it does I’m totally here for it. My location allows me the benefit of being surrounded by opulent countryside retreats and beautiful spa destinations, often only a stone’s throw away from somewhere designed with relaxation in mind, but one place I’d never ventured before was Stoke Park – despite it being only a short drive away (and located close enough to Windsor Castle to throw in a visit on your way home.) Created as the first country club in Britain in 1908, it boasts an opulent hotel and golf course alongside a dedicated spa building for those wishing to indulge in a little pampering; I’ve been to a lot of spas and country houses in my time, but Stoke Park definitely trumps them all in terms of surroundings and scale.
As soon as you drive up to the grounds of Stoke Park you know it’s one of the best hotel and spas in Buckinghamshire: the main building is reminiscent of the White House, while the extravagant cars parks alongside the huge gold course reaffirms the fact this is a special destination. The spa building itself is set a little apart, greeting you with a somewhat understated reception area that hides the real treasures behind. As soon as you step out of the changing rooms the vastness of the swimming pool is a sight to behold, with windows reaching all the way up to the ceiling to capture the light and create a feeling of pure relaxation – and what’s better is that the majority of the time it’s a ‘kid free zone’, with specific slots when they’re welcomed, so nothing will kill your vibe.
My favourite part of Stoke Park was undoubtedly the exterior garden, which hides the most tranquil hot tub that we spent most of the day enjoying. Much bigger than the usual hot tub and surrounded with tropical plants that made us feel like we were back in Bali, it never got too busy; we slipped from pool to tub to steam room and back again more times than I can remember, as was the lure of the steaming hot bubbly waters. The gardens are also a real sight to behold, transporting you away to somewhere else entirely and making the exterior of the building seem all the more exotic, and provide a real sanctuary away from the main building. With so many little nooks, hideaways and places to relax it’s easy to daydream away an afternoon snuggled up in a fluffy white robe.
The lunchtime restaurant is located on the second floor, looking over the art deco swimming pool, and serves the most delicious of healthy food; I had a salmon salad which was almost enough for two, while my husband enjoyed a chicken supreme followed by a brownie (probably not the healthiest of options to choose in a spa!) I was also treated to a Thalgo facial, which was relaxing and enjoyable even if not the best treatment I’ve ever had; I like my facials to involve a lot of massage or targeted processes, but this was more of a relaxing experience for those just wanting an hour out of their day to get some pampering. However, the relaxation areas were a real treat and provided a momentary escape from the rest of the spa – the perfect place to decompress before going back into the hot tub!
Every member of staff we encountered couldn’t do enough for us, while the grounds were maintained to an incredibly high standard. Many spa locations can be somewhat pokey and feel overcrowded as soon as there are more than a handful of you in any one location, but Stoke Park offers up so much space that every moment can feel private and relaxing. I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will no doubt be back to make the most of the gardens with the women in my life sometime soon.
We were guests of Stoke Park, but all opinions are my own.