Set in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside, Horwood’s new bespoke spa, H Spa, has been developed at the heart of the hotel after undergoing a £6 million refurbishment. Enjoy the countryside location, indulgent dining and intimate lounge space
- 15 metre Indoor Swimming Pool
- Steam Room
- Heated Poolside Stone Loungers
- Jessica Nails
Our Spa Spy review
Set in the Buckinghamshire countryside, Horwood House can be found at the end of a tree-lined driveway. The 38-acres grounds - complete with mature trees, manicured Pytheas Gardens and a lily pond – were made famous by TV Gardener Percy Thrower. This Grade II listed Jacobean mansion was built in 1911 and has just undergone a £6 million transformation to preserve the manor whilst incorporating a modern extension. Park in the car park on the right hand-side and follow signs to the new light-filled hotel entrance, complete with tall ceilings and pale wooden beams.
What's on offer?
You’ll find the spa in a separate building to the right of the manor house. Follow the signs and head down the stairs to the spa reception. A shelf Caudalie products and extra towels line the walls. We were greeted by a friendly receptionist who handed us our robes, a towel, flip flops and a card to grant us access to the wet facilities.
After a tour of the spa, we entered the compact changing rooms where wood meets pale stone tiles. On the right you’ll find a small bank of wooden code-activated lockers – these are limited but there are more by the pool, if needed - and a vanity area with large mirror and two hairdryers. You’ll find a WC and four private changing rooms to your right, two with rainforest head showers, and stocked with Guide + Pepper shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Exit the changing rooms to the spa lounge on your left - all neutral panelled walls, oversized plants and a deep green sofa. Here you’ll find a few square tables as well as seating for two, perfect for afternoon tea. You’ll also find Kilner jars containing still or lime-infused water, and selection of coffee table books and magazines to pore over.
Beyond the spa lounge, you’ll find the relaxation area with four chaise chairs and pouffes in grey, each with its own side table, reading lamp and white voile for privacy. Looking out to the courtyard are two swinging egg chairs and a four loungers. A low-lit corridor from here leads to six treatment rooms, including one double.
You’ll find the pool and heat facilities on the other side of the spa reception; your card will allow you access to this leisure area – the area is accessible to hotel guests and members. Inside you’ll find two banks of wooden lockers, more toilets and changing rooms.
The main thermal facilities are to the left. Wash off in one of the two pool-side rainforest showers before planting yourself in the small wood sauna – just big enough for four, or two lying down. Opposite you’ll find an equally-sized steam room complete with grey mosaic tiles and blue lights. Post-toasting, we retreated to the two curved heated loungers to ease out any lasting muscle tension.
The 15-metre indoor swimming pool – with eye-catching H Spa gold-edged botanical logo at one end – is large enough for laps. Sunny day? Head out to the courtyard with its decking adorned and seating. Or stay indoors and lounge on one of six cushioned poolside loungers these were popular on our January visit so towels at the ready.
For active spa-goers, there's a fully-equipped gym upstairs within the spa building.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Caudalie Vinosource Hydrating & Nourishing Facial (50 minutes, £75).
Our therapist, Lauren, met us in spa lounge and led us through the relaxation area and down a low-lit corridor to one of the six treatment rooms. We discussed my concerns (dry winter skin); she then left me to disrobe and lay face up on the heated bed, relaxing to the soothing music.
Lauren commenced the treatment with a triple cleanse using Caudalie’s vegan Cleansing Almond Milk – a delicious scent reminiscent of Cherry Bakewell. After toning with Micellar Water she worked in a Vinoclean Deep Cleansing Exfoliator, gently buffing the skin with volcanic sand microbeads and hydrating grape water.
Next, Lauren began a heavenly face massage using Overnight Recovery Oil – a combination of grape-seed, jojoba and rose essential oil – to help repair the skin’s barrier. Using lymphatic drainage techniques, she focused on the jaw line and chin – releasing tension in much-used (and often neglected muscles); this felt surprisingly relaxing.
Lauren then applied a thick Moisturising Mask; while that worked it’s magic, she performed a blissful scalp massage. The treatment ended with a Vitamin C Energy Serum, Brightening Eye Cream and 3-in-1 Vitamin C Moisturiser.
After giving me a moment to gentle come around, Lauren led me to the relaxation area – advising me to drink plenty of water. My skin felt clean and nourished and I felt nicely calm.
H Spa offer a choice of facials, massages and body treatments from Caudalie and Aromatherapy Associates. For post-spa preening book in for a Jessica mani/pedi; waxing is also on the menu.
During a spa day, you can dine in your robe in the Spa Lounge. We feasted on three tiers of afternoon tea heaven. First up: coronation chicken brioche buns, pork belly and truffle sausage rolls, cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches and a sweet onion and chutney quiche.
The middle level of our tier consisted of freshly-baked scones - two plain and two cherry - with lashings of clotted cream, strawberry and rose jam or lemon curd (extra helpings available on request). The photo-worthy top tier was laden with cakes including Battenburg and carrot cake with walnut and coffee. We washed this all down with a cup of tea (of your choice) and glass of Prosecco.
If you're staying overnight, lunch or dinner at Harry’s is a must. This contemporary restaurant has panelled walls, hanging plants and zoned seating – from a large kitchen table to more intimate tables for two. The restaurant’s décor mimics to the garden’s rich history – where it once employed 16 gardeners to ensure produce was yielded all year round - and is named after head gardener, Harry Thrower.
A long panelled bar at one end offers a good selection of drinks: wines, cocktails and spirits, including Bucks Brothers gin from a distillery just a mile down the road.
On the menu: nibbles, small plates, sides, sandwiches and wraps, along with a selection of meat From The Charcoal. Carnivores will love the steaks – aged for 30 days in a bespoke Himalayan Salt Chamber.
We sunk into decadent wing-back chairs and opted for the Chef’s recommendation: a sharing Charcuterie platter with pickles and a selection of meats locally-sourced from The Buckingham Butchers.
For mains, we ordered enormous grilled tiger prawns on a skewer drizzled in confit garlic oil and dipped into Harissa mayo; finger food at its best. My spa partner devoured lamb kofta with onion flat bread, courgette and carrot salad, pine nuts and mint. The delicious and eclectic menu is due, in part, to the different mix of nationalities in the kitchen; the Egyptian, Indian and Romanian chefs all add magic and flare to the menu.
Despite our best attempt, we had no room for dessert although it was hard to resist the chocolate delice with salted ice cream and cappuccino tuille.
We loved / we didn't love
The food: from the warm scones with lashings of clotted cream to the finger-lickingly delicious giant prawns at Harry’s.
The Manor: make sure you take the time to explore the manor and its beautiful grounds. If you want a real treat book a suite in the Grade II listed building overlooking the Lily Pond.
The staff: everyone we encountered was very down-to-earth and passionate about Horwood House. Special thanks go to Alina in Harry’s, Wendy on reception and Sira in the spa.
We didn't love
Although the relaxation area is comfortable, you can hear the noise from the spa lounge and staff room next door.
Who do you think would like it?
Besties/mother & daughter duos looking to catch-up over afternoon tea.
Couples: with double treatment rooms, sharing plates at Harry's, hotel suites and romantic strolls around the 38-acre gardens, couples will be in their element.
History & garden lovers: Britain’s first TV gardener, Percy Thrower (MBE), was born at Horwood House; wander the grounds and soak up all the memorabilia lining the walls.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Travel and Parking