A grand spa and health club within 300 acres of county house estate with a championship golf course and tennis courts. The impressive multi-storey spa and health club is set in a former stable block with a stunning 22-metre indoor swimming pool tiled in black, and a 25-metre outdoor pool for summer. The 18 therapy rooms offer some delicious body, face, beauty and results-driven treatments with ESPA and Natura Bissé products. The female changing rooms have their own thermal area and some mesmerising art.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- Child care facilities
- 18 treatment rooms
- Male and female relaxation rooms
- Relaxation room
- Steam room
- Experience showers
- 25m outdoor swimming pool
- 22m indoor swimming pool
- Exercise studio with fitness classes
- Volleyball court
- Tennis courts
- Croquet lawn
- Golf Course
- Natura Bisse
Our Spa Spy review
Although minutes from the M25, The Grove is set in 300 acres and looks over a sweep of undulating parkland to uninterrupted countryside. The driveway winds through golf courses and gardens taking you to the hotel entrance and valet parking. The lobby is white and modern, light from the enormous sash windows gleams on polished marble floors. Rooms are modern and stylish; ours overlooked the ornamental gardens dotted with striking sculptures.
The Sequoia Spa is at the rear of the hotel. Head down concrete steps, past a dramatic silver water-wall into the gleaming white reception. Cool contemporary chairs and lamps and striking swirly panels in the juice bar create a groovy-glam vibe. The facilities span two floors with various levels of access.
What's on offer?
If you're visiting the spa for the day, you go down a mirrored corridor to the exclusive women's or men's "treatment" changing rooms. (Health-club members and hotel guests use a different changing room; just as stylish, but busier and larger.)
The décor is chic, all-white, with square-panelled wooden lockers and a glamorous white leather day-bed. Vanity areas have straighteners, hairdryers, dental and shaving kits, deodorant, body cream – everything but cleanser and moisturiser. ESPA shampoo, conditioner and body wash are in blue glass shower cubicles.
Through a door from the changing rooms is a women's thermal suite. This is a striking space with polished marble floors, dramatic lighting and potted trees. Along one side is a backlit curved wooden bench for resting, shelves of towels, and water. A wooden sauna, heated to 80 degrees, has two benches for four. The steam room has a grey mosaic L-shaped seat designed to seat eight: it was kettle-hot steamy on our visit. Between them and behind an LED-lit glass panel is a square experience shower with overhead and side jets.
A large, square vitality pool has its own room. Floor, walls and pool are tiled in dark grey slate, apart from one glass wall. A 60s-style curvy white bench is at one end, and there are hooks for robes, but the pool fills the space. Bubble on jet beds or massage your shoulders under the swan-pipes.
The 22-metre swimming pool is tiled dramatically in black beneath a wooden beamed ceiling. A warm, bubbly rectangular Jacuzzi is at one end of the pool, and a door leads to a shared steam room for six.
Several loungers sit around the pool with bottles of water and magazines to help yourself to. Windows look out to the large spa terrace which has artificial hedges and stylish seating: picture-perfect for sunny-day selfies.
There is also a gym which has recently had a lavish refurbishment, a private nail and grooming suite, and a studio offering a range of classes all day to spa goers. The 22-metre outdoor pool, faux sandy beach, volleyball and tennis courts are in the walled garden outside the hotel, and only available in summer.
When you're ready for your treatment, head to the women's relaxation room. A tropical fish-tank in the centre of the room glows in the darkness. Help yourself to herbal teas or water and magazines.
As men don't have a relaxation room, however, couples wait in the Panzai room, filled with plants, designer chairs, magazines, and a selection of hot and cold drinks.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the ESPA Blissful Rest Massage (£145, 120 minutes) followed by the Natura Bissé High Definition Face Lift (80 minutes, £170).
My therapist, Stephanie, collected me from the relaxation room and led me to a large treatment room with modern white-panelled walls and soft lighting. We chose my ESPA Oil: Fitness, which has uplifting citrusy notes with warming clove for aching muscles. Stephanie went through my facial in detail; billed as an alternative to micro-injections, it involves some powerful peels, finger brushes to stimulate circulation, and a syringe full of inhibitor serum. (No needle, it's purely for dramatic effect.)
Stephanie left me to disrobe, slip on disposable pants and lie face down on the warm treatment bed. After making sure I was comfortable, she began with a deep back massage using the heels of her hands, arms and elbows to give very deep and intense strokes. She stretched my arms and legs as she worked and ironed out all tension. The massage was perfect, just what I needed. Stephanie then wrapped me up warmly and began the facial.
After a double cleanse, Stephanie applied the Diamond hyaluronic acid mask (mildly tingly) followed by a firm sculpting massage. She painted on a powerfully scented second mask, then placed a cloth on top. As this hydrating concoction worked its magic, she massaged my arms and hands. The mask lifted clean off.
Stephanie stroked my skin with the micro-circulation finger brushes, turning them over to create mini suction cups to stimulate circulation. Stephanie dabbed on the inhibitor serum with the syringe and massaged it into my wrinkles. She applied Radiance moisturiser and eye cream, and finally a tinted SPF Factor 50 -- very sensible.
I have to say, I was stunned by the effect of this facial; it stripped years off me and continued tightening for 24 hours, so I woke up looking radiantly airbrushed. If I were to return for two more weekly top-ups, the effects would last three months.
Sequoia at The Grove has a menu of targeted facials, body treatments, rituals, mindfulness therapies, and men's treatments using ESPA and Natura Bissé products. They also offer Wellness for Cancer treatments and Jessica manicures and pedicures.
Lunch is a mix-and-match bento box; choose a starter, main dish, side salad and pudding from the menu when you arrive for your spa day. Head to The Garden Room in your robe at the assigned time and find the table with your name on it. We had carrot soup, halloumi tabbouleh and Caesar salad with fresh anchovy and egg -- very crisp and tasty -- with fruit and yoghurt to end.
There are many dining options in the evening: The Glasshouse if you want a lively food court, Colette's for fine dining, or The Stables with its selection of grilled fish, meat, and vegetarian options plucked from the garden: we had a delightful watercress and vegetable soup here, followed by a risotto with mozzarella and peppers.
We loved / we didn't love
The grounds and gardens are a work of art: quite literally as they are dotted with sculptures, topiary, and delightful hideaways. It's hard to believe you're in Watford.
Jogging along the canal on a bright misty morning; and swimming in the velvety water of the black tiled pool; it felt like a midnight dip.
Our treatments: An ESPA massage and Natura Bissé facial are perfect for us ladies of a certain age.
We didn't love
Leaving Sequoia and The Grove without having time to try a class, the new gym, or the woodland walk... so much to do!
Who do you think would like it?
Solo spa-istas: With plenty of quiet spaces and things to do alone, Sequoia at The Grove is the perfect escape for someone who wants top-end treatments in a glamorous setting.
Fitness fiends: Besides the championship golf course, swimming pools, gym and classes, there are tennis and volleyball courts, biking and running trails, as well as delicious healthy food and drink options.
Couples and friends: We saw plenty of friends enjoying a spa day, and lots of couples. There are children's swim times, but the spa is adult only.
Those in recovery: Staff are nurturing and welcoming, and Sequoia at The Grove offers Wellness for Cancer treatments.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Sequoia at The Grove retains its Good Spa Guide 5 Bubble Luxury status. With above-and-beyond customer service, high quality treatments, and beautiful facilities that have kept their age well, Sequoia is a luxurious spa in a delightful setting.
Spa lunches are served in the Garden Room.
Monday - Friday 6.30 – 10pm; Saturday - Sunday 7.30 – 8pm