The Goodwood Hotel
Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QB
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
4 treatment rooms
Set in the heart of the West Sussex countryside, ideally positioned for the racecourse of the same name, The Goodwood Hotel screams British luxury. The Waterbeach Treatment Rooms has a relaxation lounge, four treatment rooms and a tanning cubicle. The health club has a 14-metre pool, sauna and steam room, a Jacuzzi and lots of loungers where you can sit back and relax. We love the sociable mix of hotel pool, informal cafe and bright, calm relaxation lounge.
The Goodwood Hotel is a traditional country-house hotel just a few miles from Chichester. Its setting, in the green parkland of the Goodwood Estate, is unbeatable and makes for a very peaceful stay. Their spa – The Waterbeach – is a small area dedicated to treatments within the very popular Goodwood Health Club.
The spa changing rooms are shared with the health club. Banks of wooden lockers operate with a code, so no need to carry a key around with you once you've changed into your white towelling robe and slippers. The showers have shampoo and conditioner. You also have moisturiser, a water dispenser and hairdryers to hand. There are private changing spaces and also a baby change area.
At the heart of the health club is the blue, mosaic 14-metre pool, ideal for some serious swimming, with plenty of loungers to relax on alongside. A large Jacuzzi offers a bubbly treat, while the wooden-benched sauna and marble steam room were both nicely hot on our visit. The pool has a mix of hotel guests and local health club members throughout the day so is a bright and buzzy place rather than a temple of calm. The only child-free times in the pool are very early morning and after 6pm. This gives limited opportunities for quiet relaxation on a dedicated spa trip.
The air-conditioned gym, which you can use on your spa day, has weight machines and cardio equipment.
The Waterbeach is a self-contained area with a small reception desk on one side of the corridor leading from the hotel to the health club, and a glass-walled room on the other. Four treatment rooms open directly from this waiting / relaxation area, with a further two just down the corridor. Some have showers – ideal for treatments involving wraps and exfoliation. The waiting / relaxation area has two loungers among its seats, as well as orange-infused water, dried fruit to snack on and magazines to read, but it is more suited to waiting than relaxation as people wander in and out.
We tried the five-element aroma massage (90 minutes, £115) by Elemental Herbology. This English range of natural products aims to get your body and mind back in balance by aligning you with one of its five elements: fire, earth, metal, water and wood.
My therapist, Jen, met me in the waiting area and took me through to our treatment room. She asked how I was feeling and how I wanted to feel after the treatment. After hearing about my terminally tense muscles, Jen recommended that she use products featuring the wood element. She left the room while I undressed and settled face-down on the wide, heated treatment bed.
Jen started the treatment with a massage of my back and shoulders, using her hands to "walk" up and down each side of my spine. She settled into a rhythmic pattern, not too deep, focusing on my knotty neck, and using warm stones to intensify the unravelling. After she had massaged the backs of my legs, I turned over so that Jen could continue her good work on my arms, décolleté and feet. The plant oils – rosemary, lemongrass, nutmeg – smelled tangy and strong. The final oil, used to massage my face and scalp, was reviving. The length of the treatment – an hour and a half – paid off; even a contender for World's Most Stressed Person would be lulled into languor by all this soothing ministration. I felt extremely soothed and very well taken care of.
At The Waterbeach, you can choose from a range of treatments using products from Elemis as well as Elemental Herbology. Try a facial – these include CACI facials – massage, wrap or scrub, as well as holistic therapies including scalp massage and reflexology. The Waterbeach spa menu contains treatments specifically for men and for mums-to-be. You can also book Jessica manicures and pedicures, as well as other beauty finishing touches such as waxing and tanning.
The spa also offers a range of good-value spa days and stays; the emphasis is on personalisation so that you get the spa experience you want.
Much of the food at Goodwood is local and organic, from their own farm and dairy, so the menus reflect seasonal Sussex produce.
If you're visiting The Goodwood Hotel for a spa day, you can eat your lunch in the informal Goodwood Bar and Grill just a bit further down the corridor. You get a voucher as part of your day – £10 when we visited – which will cover the cost of a light lunch. We tried the citrus mackerel salad with fennel and radish, which was healthy and delicious. So was our freshly squeezed orange, carrot and ginger juice: just right to complement a little me-time. If you prefer, you could opt for something richer and heartier, such as fish and chips, pasta, or pies made with locally reared meat. You could also combine your spa day with afternoon tea.
You can choose whether to eat in your robe or not. It's up to you.
If you're staying, the food in 2AA rosette-winning Richmond Arms restaurant in the main hotel is classic English with a modern twist. Our plaice came with charred baby gem lettuce leaves, for example, as well as peppered cauliflower: all very tasty.
Our supremely soothing treatment.
All of the members of staff we met were polite, friendly and eager to help in any way they could; personal attention always makes you feel special in a spa.
Our very comfortable bedroom; any hotel room that provides both books to read and chocolates to eat has to be pretty wonderful.
We didn't love
The spa is limited: most of the facilities are within the health club and the health club is very popular with families. This means that your time in the pool may be interrupted by children's swimming lessons, for example.
Sound carries through into the treatment rooms, not just from the waiting area but also from outside. The start of my treatment was disturbed by someone fixing a car and the end by a conversation in the waiting room. A notice announcing a "whisper zone" might help to keep the peace.
You would feel very comfortable at The Goodwood Hotel choosing to visit for a treatment on your own. You would feel equally comfortable having lunch with a friend then spending some spa time together.
If you come as a group, you receive a welcome drink in the morning and a table in The Goodwood Bar and Grill is reserved for you all day, so you can move between them as you wish.
We gave The Goodwood Hotel a Good Spa Guide Bubble rating of 4 bubbles. The spa is more of a health and beauty area within a health club than a spa in its own right. The dedicated space may be small but the treatments are excellent. The sociable mix of hotel pool, informal cafe, and professional treatments will appeal to many.
Single Spy visited in December 2015 and awarded it 4 Bubbles
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The Waterbeach, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QB
The Goodwood Bar and Grill is closest to the spa and serves casual all day dining. The Richmond Arms serves afternoon tea and an evening a la carte or table d’ hote menu.
The Goodwood Hotel has a selection of 91 bedrooms from signature king rooms to suites.
The spa is open Monday to Thursday: 9.00am-8.00pm; Friday: 9.00am-7.00pm; Saturday: 9.00am-6.00pm; Sunday: 9.30am-5.00pm.
There are no offers for this spa.