Holm House Hotel is a former Arts-and-Crafts-style mansion on a clifftop in Penarth, South Wales, with views over the Bristol Channel. The spa is small but pretty, with white walls, and soft grey and teal furnishings. There is a 15-metre hydropool, a hot steam room with soothing purple lights and fresh aromatherapy scents, and a relaxation lounge with French doors opening onto a sun terrace with garden views. We loved the customer service, treatments using Sultane de Saba products and the coastline setting.
Our Spa Spy review
Holm House Hotel is a former 1920s arts-and-craft-style mansion house on a cliff top in Penarth, South Wales. Take the winding road up from town and the views of the Bristol Channel make a beautiful first impression. The white stuccoed building looks older than its age with stone mullioned windows. Inside is a modern but sympathetic renovation. The spa is pretty but small.
What's on offer?
Spa reception complements the calm and peaceful vibe of the hotel. White walls contrast with soft grey and teal furnishings. Friendly and helpful staff gave us a warm welcome.
The changing rooms are small but plush with half-size lockers, one shower, one bathroom, and a vanity mirror and hairdryer. The showers have plenty of shampoo and conditioner, but you may want to take your own facial skincare products. The spa encourages guests staying at the hotel to change in their rooms and head down to the spa in their robes and slippers.
The wet and thermal facilities are tiled in grey with large windows running along one side of the room. The 15-metre hydro-pool has a powerful swan pipe and underwater jets to massage your muscles. If swimming sounds like too much work, chill out on one of the four cushioned recliners beside the pool. The hot steam room has soothing purple lights and a fresh aromatherapy scent; it would comfortably seat four to six people.
The relaxation lounge is the centrepiece of the spa. The wooden floor, white walls and grey accents continue the calm of the spa. There are long comfortable recliners with pillows and blankets. A central wicker table holds lovely product samples to try and consultation forms to fill out before your treatment. A fridge has chilled juices and water, and the hot-water dispenser means you can make yourself a cup of tea. The relaxation room has French doors which open onto a sun terrace and view of the gardens.
The outside sun terrace has a spectacular view over the coast. On a summer day, it's a perfect suntrap; we loved lying on the outdoor loungers and soaking up the sunshine.
If you want to give your endorphins a boost, try the well-equipped gym.
Tell us about the treatments
The treatments at Holm House Spa draw on Penarth's coastal location. The spa menu offers an imaginatively titled series of five sea journeys, from "The Bay of Bengal" to "South to the Bali Sea". On arrival we had a consultation with our therapist, and chose Our Most Precious Journey (90 minutes, £95) which combined a gold massage and a gold anti-ageing facial.
Abi, my therapist, met me in the relaxation lounge and took me to our treatment room. I settled face down on the comfortable treatment bed. Abi started with the massage, using perfectly tailored pressure to melt away knots and areas of tension. She used a mixture of long flowing movements and deeper pressure on my neck, shoulders and back, then moved onto the backs of my arms and legs. I turned over and she used the same soothing mixture of techniques on my décolletage, arms, front of my legs, and feet. My muscles were blissfully relaxed. My skin was gloriously radiant: the massage oil had extracts of gold, mother of pearl and caviar so I was glowing.
Next was the facial. Abi cleansed and exfoliated my skin then applied a thick and hydrating mask. She massaged my scalp (absolutely lovely) while the mask worked on my skin. She peeled the mask off, cleansed again, then applied a finishing moisturiser. My skin felt smooth, fresh and completely moisturised.
Abi gently told me that the treatment had ended and asked me to take my time getting up and into my robe. When I finally made my way out of the treatment room, Abi gave me a cup of water and took me back to the relaxation lounge.
The treatment menu at Holm House Spa offers an around-the-world tour of La Sultane de Saba spa treatments. Choose a Japanese rice facial, a Balinese flower journey, or an ayurvedic massage. The spa also offers more traditional massages, facials, body treatments and beauty finishing touches.
Lunch is served in the two AA Rosette Welsh Room restaurant. The restaurant is bright with large French doors which open onto the hotel gardens with views of the coastline. A set menu of two or three courses runs from healthy soup and salads to larger fish, chicken and vegetarian options. Save room for desserts; our lemon tart was delicious. You can also order fresh juices, teas and coffees, and wine and bubbles. You will need to dress for lunch, though, rather than dine in your robe.
Spa guests can request to eat in the spa, but this will depend on how busy it is on the day.
We loved / we didn't love
The incredible levels of customer service: All of the members of staff we spoke to had a relaxed and flexible attitude; they knew our names and were on hand to help whenever we needed.
The tailored treatments: Being able to choose a journey that exactly suited our mood was a real treat.
The coastline setting: Whether you're in the relaxation room, a bedroom, or the restaurant, you can enjoy the fabulous views of the gardens and the coast.
We didn't love
The changing rooms are really small and not conducive to getting ready for a spa day. We chose to change in our room so we had more space.
The wet floor poolside: Our spa slippers felt a little perilous with water underfoot.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: Holm House Spa is intimate and has lovely luxurious treatments. Stay overnight and wine and dine your valentine.
Foodies: We loved the fresh and locally sourced food.
Anyone looking for a winter break: Wrap up warm for a walk along the coastline, then head to the spa for an indulgent treatment; you will have well and truly earned it.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Holm House Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles. It's a small and intimate experience but the setting, service, and quality of treatments make this a special spa. A little work on the changing rooms and pool could make Holm House a 5-bubble contender.
visited in September 2016 and awarded it .
Holm House restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with a veiws across the cliff top gardens out towards the sea. The snug bar offers 1920's inspired cocktails made by an expert team of mixologists. The Holm House Tea Gardens serves up afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks in their infamous gardens. Finally, there are private dining rooms on offer for speical occasions or large groups
There are 12 individually designed rooms on offer, from doubles to suites, with the option of garden or sea view rooms.