Picture a five-star white Georgian manor house hotel with impressive eco-credentials, more than a dash of high-end glamour and a superb spa to boot. The countryside cousin of The Dorchester, Coworth Park is set in 240-acres of Berkshire parkland with its own equestrian centre and polo fields. The interior is delightfully opulent and amusing; giant beds adorned with metal birds and freestanding copper baths come as standard. You’ll find fabulous food in the restaurants and Spatisserie, and treatments that are as decadent as they are effective.
Shall we spa?
Yes, please. While it’s a quick stroll from the hotel to the separate spa building, we loved donning our robes and being whisked door-to-door in one of the speedy resident golf buggies. Submerged into the landscape – all floor-to-ceiling glass - the spa is a destination in its own right. From the pool lined with stunning amethyst sculptures to the "living roof" herb garden, this is eco-spa is luxury at its finest. The therapists are friendly but professional; the gorgeous spa uniform deserves a mention, too, complete with a stylish sash designed to emulate the hotel’s own flower meadow with its swathes of cornflowers and poppies.
We tried the ishga Sound treatment (90 minutes, £230)
Ishga has collaborated with Coworth Park Spa and DJ and Sound Therapist, Brian D’Souza, founder of Swell sound wellness, to create a soundscape experience in the spa. Forget your standard spa music, here the soundtrack and treatment have been developed to work in unison.
My therapist, Corrina, collected me from the light and airy relaxation room and led me to the modern treatment room. Rather than feeling clinical, the all-white room is ultra-high-end and soothing to a busy mind. The statement lighting is impressive, hanging from the ceiling like icy stalactites.
Corrina completed my consultation on the iPad (very Coworth) and the treatment commenced with a heavenly footbath – with a sprinkling of sea salt and Hebridean seaweed. Corrina dried my feet and left me to disrobe and lie face down on the comfy heated bed.
The chiming of the singing bowl signified the start of the treatment and the soundtrack began. As I listened to the soothing sounds, Corrina used sweeping movements from my feet up my whole body in a Balinese-style massage. She applied hot oil to my legs and smoothed it up over my body which felt incredible. This process was repeated on the other side before working out the tension in my shoulders.
As I turned onto my back, Corrina covered my eyes and worked on the front of my body, up to my neck. Finally she poured warm oil onto my scalp and completed the most heavenly head massage. At this stage, the soundtrack reached a crescendo and I felt my body and mind simply let go and surrender.
Corrina signified the end of the treatment with a chime of the singing bowl and a spritz of ishga body spray - which felt like spray from the sea. She then let me come to, handed me a carton of water and led me back to the relaxation room in my blissed-out haze.
How did it measure up?
As someone with an extremely buzzy mind – chockful of ideas and ‘to-lists’ - I was intrigued to see if Ishga’s Sound Therapy treatment could bring me some much-needed calm. Could a combination of sound therapy, music composition and biophilia work its magic and transport me to the Hebrides?
As it turns out, yes. This sound healing treatment, combined with the hot ishga oils and soothing massage left me deeply relaxed and curious to learn more.
So, how does sound therapy work?
Even when we’re in the womb, we learn to listen and search for rhythms in everyday life. Not only can sound take you on a journey into consciousness - and promote deep relaxation - it can be used to aid mental health issues too. By unpacking music into different frequencies, you can lower the heartbeat and affect mood.
The soundtrack is designed to dig into negative emotions too. By layering sounds over each other you can bamboozle the brain and, unable to find patterns in the sounds, it simply relinquishes – which explains what happened to me.
To ensure the piece was authentic, d’Souza took a group of musicians to the Western Isles to record the sounds. If you listen carefully, you can pick out the Scottish harp, fiddle, flute, whistle and even a faint sound of bagpipes (don’t worry, this is very faint) - plus very subtle Gaelic singing.
Spot of lunch?
Head to The Spa at Coworth Park for afternoon tea at The Spatisserie. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the green grounds – making the space light, airy and tranquil. We feasted on a special royal-inspired afternoon tea (available until 3 July 2022) with finger sandwiches, delicate cakes, strawberry and vanilla pavlova, Victoria sponge with raspberry jam, and freshly baked scones with gooseberry and elderflower jam and thick clotted cream. This a great spot to sip a glass of Verve Clicquot and watch the very regal-looking Egyptian geese wandering around the manicured garden.
Got all day?
Dinner at the Michelin-starred Restaurant is a must. Presented by executive chef Adam Smith, we feasted on a starter of English asparagus with pickled seaweed and goat cheese, a delicious braised Halibut main with sea vegetables and pickled cucumber, and the prettiest poached apricot, vanilla and oabika dessert that almost looked too good to eat.
On balmy evenings, order a sundowner and head out to the grounds to play giant chess on the lawn, stroll in the rose garden or wander between the bronzed sculptures – some life-size - created by local artist Carol Peace.
Short on time?
Make sure you book one of the treatments - you won’t regret it.