The entire Good Spa Guide team was invited to sample the delights of New Park Manor's Bath House Spa in December, but sadly only three of us could leave the spa Christmas whirlwind at one time.
None of us Spies on the trip had been to New Park Manor before, and by 'eck were we excited.
After a pleasant drive through the forest and down the long drive to the Manor, we parked up. Velvety twilight was upon us, and we revelled at the magical Christmas lights sparkling inside the manor, inviting us in. We gleefully giggled with joy.
On entering, we were warmly welcomed and offered help with our luggage. We were also informed that the owner and his son were going to be flying in, by helicopter, later that evening.
We checked in and were then shown to our "Forest Rooms", which were nothing but joyous. There were lovely little touches in the room, such as the home-made biscuits on the edge of the bed, nestling next to a hand-made New Forest pony soft toy.
The Spies settled in to their rooms and were unpacking when the sound of a helicopter could be heard. We all rushed to our separate windows, peered out in to the night sky and witnessed the owner flying over the Manor (the landing pad is on the other side of the hotel).
We changed into our cossies and fluffy robes and headed down to the spa, just in time to cross paths on the stairs with the rambunctious and jovial owner.
We ventured into the spa reception, through the changing rooms and into the pool area, soothingly lit by coloured lights. It was clear that the ambience, facilities and staff were very easily a wonderful 5-bubble standard.
We relaxed in the hydrotherapy pool, as we waited for the dreamy outdoor Canadian hot tub to become free. We ordered a bottle of Laurent Perrier and made our way outside into the bitey-cold, to the hot tub. We had a glorious time being pummelled by hot bubbles, whilst supping cold bubbles, under a clear starry sky.
We could easily talk about dinner at length but, to sum up, we feasted on wonderful Fine Dining cuisine, where attention to detail was supreme. We decided to share a dessert that consisted of four mini-desserts, before rolling, fully sated, back to our bedrooms.
From reception, we hired a chick flick (cos isn't that what you do when on a girly jaunt?) but quickly swapped it for Lethal Weapon on "normal" TV. We tried.
After unanimously sleeping like a dream, we opened our thick curtains to a green world of huge trees, and sprawling fields dotted with wild deer. The Spies were in a slice of heaven.
We breakfasted upon fruits and pastries, and our waiters brought us cooked food to order. A waiter offered to bring us champers in the Jacuzzi on our way out but, sadly, we declined as we had our treatments booked. Next time perhaps!
We changed into our spa attire and took a tour around of the two floors of treatment rooms. The Spies then enjoyed a one-hour Restorative Body Treatment each, carried out by delightful therapists in candle-lit rooms. They explained everything that was happening and afterwards wrote down the exact Numbers products (exclusive to Von Essen Hotels) that they'd used.
Afterwards, we found each other again, reclining in the relaxation room on big comfy cushions. We lay in a dazed reverie.
We headed back to the spa facilities and we managed to squeeze in a sauna, steam and foot spa. As we sat with our feet submerged in the foot spa, Sociable Spy noticed that Matt Le Tissier (of England football team fame) was reclining next to me reading his book. Salubrious Spy managed a quick chat with him about where else he likes to spa, and he enthused how much his wife loves New Park Manor's Bath House Spa. He also admitted wanting to check out Loch Lomond Golf Club Spa. (We couldn't resist telling him that we'd just been!
Our time was rounded off by a tasty light lunch in the spa café, then it was time to say our sorrowful goodbyes and head back to city life.
28th February 2014
Minimalist lines; organic products; facial massage; tranquillity; interesting people-watching.
Discarded towels on loungers; steam rooms that aren't steamy; mobile phones.
Behind the scenes