Serene Spy tries Oskia treatments at Rowhill Grange
Take me with you…
Built as a summerhouse in 1868, Rowhill Grange is a 38-room red-brick and white-timbered English country manor house. It sits in 17 acres of pristine gardens, just minutes from the M25 and the Dartford tunnel. The hotel's Utopia Spa spans two floors and offers treatments from Temple Spa, Oskia and Jennifer Young.
Shall we spa?
The spa reception is light and bright, with a retail area selling Temple Spa, Oskia and Jennifer Young products. Staff greeted us and invited us to take a seat while we selected our lunch and read through our itinerary. We were then shown down to the limestone-tiled changing rooms.
The changing rooms are well lit with banks of large lockers, each containing a white waffle robe and towel; change beside one of two padded benches. There’s a separate room next door for showering and preening, with four showers stylishly tiled in natural stone, and equipped with shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
Vanity bars contain everything you could wish for including hairdryers, straighteners, and Temple Spa cleanser, toner, serum and moisturiser. Both male and female changing rooms benefit from their own sauna.
Swing doors lead from here to the Roman-themed thermal area and pool, with its frescoes and columns. Enjoy a steam, a bubble in the Jacuzzi or a wallow in the round hydropool fed by a waterfall. At 11 metres, Utopia Spa's pool is just long enough to swim a few lengths; relax on wicker-style loungers or chairs afterwards.
The Relaxation Lounge is extremely inviting, with mood lighting and twelve contoured beds; grab a soft, woollen blanket from the basket and snuggle down. Or climb into one of four large wicker swivel egg chairs and twist away whist reading a magazine.
Fitness lovers can make good use of Utopia Spa's well-appointed gym and exercise studio. In need of more indulgence? Head to the Hair Spa or the Nail Bar for a cut and blow dry (or colour) or a manicure and pedicure.
We tried the Oskia Deep Cleansing Back Recovery (75 minutes, £125) followed by Oskia’s Signature Nutri-glow (70 minutes, £120).
My therapist, Sophie, met me in the treatment waiting area and led me to Chamomile, one of 17 spacious treatment rooms complete with fern-patterned wallpaper. For the back treatment, Sophie discussed my areas of concern – the usual tight shoulders and achy lower back – then left the room so I could disrobe and lie face down on the heated bed.
The treatment began with the application of oil on my back, neck and shoulders before a thorough exfoliation using a Renaissance Body Scrub - a gentle Himalayan salt scrub rich in 84 trace minerals. Sophie used a warm damp muslin cloth to remove the exfoliator and then buffed away any excess. Next came a toxin-eliminating warm clay mask; while this worked, Sophie massaged the backs of my legs and feet using hot stones.
Mask removed, Sophie applied a serum to my back before asking me to turn over so that she could complete the treatment with a chest, shoulder, neck and head massage.
For the facial, Sophie performed a long cleanse in preparation for an exfoliating scrub containing fine grains, which was wiped off with a warm muslin cloth. A rose oil was then smoothed over my face, neck and décolleté, and a facial steamer turned on.
As the steam penetrated my skin – ridding my pores of dirt - Sophie massaged my head. Next came an AHA mask – while this worked, Sophie scrubbed and massage my hand and arms. The treatment ended with a good dollop of moisturiser and some eye cream.
How did it measure up?
The muscles in my back and legs felt much looser; my skin felt smooth - and looked radiant.
Spot of lunch?
If you visit for a spa day, you can choose between a two-course lunch or afternoon tea served in the colourful Elements Bar and Lounge. Lucky with the weather on our visit, we took a seat on the outside terrace, with its permanent canopy-style cover, and grey chairs and tables.
The lunch menu changes with the seasons and offers a choice of four starters and four mains. Our Chalk Farm Rainbow Trout ceviche lived up to its name – a vibrant and refreshing dish. For mains, we chose roast lamb kofta served with a flatbread and a delicious Moroccan spiced couscous. You can opt for a glass of wine (as we did) or indulgent fizz for a little extra.
Dessert is available for an additional charge but, as it was my spa partner’s birthday, we were served a complimentary pink macaron and a chocolate with Happy Birthday written on it – a nice touch. Evening meals can be enjoyed in the Rowhill Grange's 2 AA Rosette restaurantRG's.
Got all day?
Head to the thermal area and bubble away in the atmospherically low-lit chrome Jacuzzi before cooling off with a few lengths in the pool. After an OSKIA treatment, tuck into a two-course lunch or afternoon tea with a glass of fizz.
Short on time?
Book a treatment – ours were excellent – leaving time for a quick snooze in the relaxation room before heading back to reality.