Surrey's award-winning Pennyhill Park scores on every front
Pennyhill Park Hotel and The Spa - why 'The' Spa? Why not just 'and Spa' or even 'and spa'? It bothered me all the way from the entrance, down the long winding drive, past the signs for valet parking, past the rows of Bentleys, Porshes and BMWs and into reception. I was still thinking about it as we followed the concierge down the hill towards The Spa. And then I got it. The Spa should actually be named THE SPA.
Huge does not cover it. There are indoor pools, outdoor pools, hot tubs, Jacuzzis, massage chairs and so many assorted steam rooms I had to look them up on the website once I got home just to try and remember all the different names. With treatments booked for 11am, I'd worried about how we'd fill the afternoon, and had been trawling guide books for things to do in Bagshot. I needn't have worried. We didn't even bother getting our room key until 20 minutes before dinner - and that was only because I didn't think I'd be allowed to eat in my bikini.
The rooms, should you ever make it that far, are similarly extravagant. Individually designed, you'll never know quite what you're getting until you arrive - ours came complete with terracotta floor tiles, wrought iron chandeliers, roll-top bath and more than a passing nod to a Spanish country villa.
And then there's the food. In the entire time we've been dating, I've never seen my boyfriend defeated by a three-course dinner. That was before we'd been to Pennyhill's Brasserie. Even after I'd talked him out of the 660g T-bone steak (which took the better half of both our pre-dinner drinks), he fell at the dessert hurdle. And it's not that the dishes are big, just that they're very, very rich and very, very good.
I'd love to say we worked it all off on the tennis court the next day, but of course we didn't. We rushed back to that brilliant spa and lazed in the hot tub until it got dark.
Details: Pennyhill Park Hotel & The Spa, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5EU (01276 471774, www.exclusivehotels.co.uk)
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