The Mere Golf Resort and Spa sits on the banks of the lake after which the luxury resort is named. The elegant hotel offers excellent modern accommodation and a choice of casual or gourmet dining. The health club and spa provide guests with exceptional wet and thermal facilities, a range of delicious treatments from Carita and Aromatherapy Associates, and a dedicated spa lounge and bar.
Seven treatment rooms, including a dual room
Rasul mud room
Aroma steam room
20m swimming pool
Fitness studio with classes
Our Spa Spy review
The Mere Golf Resort and Spa opened in 2011. Originally a nineteenth-century hall, it was converted into a country club in the 1930s, then renovated between 2010 and 2012. Different areas of the hotel and spa show the historic hall -- including some beautiful brickwork -- and the very modern renovations. The Mere now has a hotel, golf course, two restaurants and a very lovely spa.
What's on offer?
The spa reception at The Mere is dramatic; the double-height room is coloured with turquoise on two of the walls and central chandelier. At the dark wood desk, friendly and helpful receptionists check you in. The Mere is quite a feminine space with blush colours, aubergine and taupe used throughout. In the relaxation and treatment areas, the colours are complemented by dark woods and velvet; in the wet and thermal facilities, it's all about white, light-filled space.
Both spa day guests and leisure members use the changing rooms, so they can be busy depending on the time of day. Two open changing areas have seating and banks of lockers, alongside four private changing cubicles. The showers are stocked with Aromatherapy Associates shampoo, conditioner and body wash; the loos and hand basins are just around a corner from the changing area. Step into the aroma steam room before your shower; it's big enough to comfortably take eight. There's a separate changing room and shower for families. Vanity stations are scattered around the space with hairdryers, cotton pads, tissues and cotton buds.
Follow a long, light-filled corridor to get to the wet and thermal facilities, housed in one large, white, glass-sided room. The 25-metre pool is at the heart of the facilities. The pool is curved along one side so you can drift and paddle, or swim lengths in the roped-off section at the back. The vitality pool at the far end has two strong swan pipes, bubbly air-beds, and Jacuzzi-style seating.
The thermal facilities start with the large, pale slate hammam. You can steam with your feet up on the hammam table or take one of the seats either side. The other thermal experiences are centred around a tiled circular bench. The aroma steam room is very hot, dark and lit with colourful spotlights; it's the largest of the rooms and would comfortably take eight. The caldarium has a tepid temperature but very hot tiled seats -- take a towel to sit on! The traditional wooden sauna is also super-hot. Both caldarium and sauna would take five or six people. The salt inhalation room is petit but pretty with white tiles and a feature wall of salt bricks; it's relatively cool and would only take two or four, if you were friendly. Try the drench shower, experience shower and ice fountain when you're ready to cool off.
Around the edge of the pool are purple and taupe loungers, comfortable sofas and individual seats. You can order drinks -- both alcohol and non -- here. Around a quiet corner are four tepidarium beds, lie back and feel the warmth radiating through your body...
Just outside of the wet facilities is a sun-trap terrace with wooden loungers and seats.
The treatment area is at the far end of the spa, through the reception and spa café. When you're ready for your treatment, head to the light relaxation room which has a long bank of velvet seating and two separate bucket chairs. A candle burns The Mere's signature fragrance -- Amber Noir. Next door is the deep relaxation room with four loungers, each with blankets and a pillow. Individually controlled lighting and sound means you can set up your own space. Help yourself to the fruit-infused waters, fresh fruit and magazines.
Just off the reception is The Boutique for manicures, pedicures, brow treatments, and a spot of retail therapy.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Carita Ideal Solutions Cinetic Facial (85 minutes, £120) and the Bamboo De-stress Massage (90 minutes, £75).
Hollie, my therapist for the facial, took me through to our treatment room, Bergamot, which did indeed have bergamot oil burning. We discussed my skincare concerns (oily and dehydrated – very confusing!) and she also explained the treatment in detail: it uses a mixture of product and machine techniques to deeply cleanse, stimulate and plump the skin.
Hollie started the treatment with a scalp massage, asking me to relax and let go. She cleansed my skin twice with a creamy cleanser, then used the first machine element; a small, flat metal bar which vibrates at very high speeds, exfoliating the skin. She passed the tip over my skin from my forehead all the way down to my chest. I could feel the vibrations but it wasn't uncomfortable. Next, Hollie applied a purifying serum and massaged my face, neck and décolletage; the serum felt and smelled beautifully fresh and cooling.
Using a brush, Hollie painted a thick mask on my jaw and t-zone. She explained that it was very clearing so just applied it to the oilier parts of my face. She placed hydrating gel pads under my eyes and massaged my hands and arms.
When the mask had set, Hollie removed it and moved on to the next two machine elements. The first used a galvanic current, which runs through gloves the therapist wears. Hollie cupped, held and ran her hands over my jaw, cheeks, eyes and forehead. Again, I could feel the current but it wasn't uncomfortable.
The final step of the facial included a very bright LED light. Hollie placed two little protectors over my eyes then ran the white light over my skin. She finished by applying a serum and a mattifying moisturiser. My slightly dehydrated skin felt fresh, balanced and much more supple without being clogged with products. Perfect!
Aneesha was my therapist for the Bamboo Massage. She explained that she would alternate bamboo sticks and hot stones in the full body massage.
Aneesha started the treatment on my back. She used her hands at first, then introduced the cool bamboo sticks, running the length of the wood along my back, finding all the knots and tension. She followed with her hands and hot stones to balance the cooler bamboo. Aneesha continued the pattern down my legs and soles of my feet. I turned over and she used very fine bamboo sticks to manipulate pressure points on my feet. Then, using the original sticks, she repeated the bamboo, hands, hot stones rhythm up the front of my legs and arms. To finish the treatment, she massaged my décolletage, neck and scalp.
The variations in heat were very interesting and lovely; this massage wasn't a fall-asleep treatment but my body felt content and relaxed.
Aneesha took me through to the deep relaxation room and gave me a sorbet to enjoy while I continued my zen.
You can eat in the spa lounge in your robe. The lunch menu includes salads and wraps, soups, pastas, grilled meat and fish, and indulgent desserts. Our pepper, avocado and goats cheese wrap was hearty and pretty delicious. Afternoon tea is also very popular in the spa.
If you're staying at The Mere overnight, you have two dining options. The informal Club Lounge serves gastro-pub-style food. Browns is the fine-dining restaurant which has two AA Rosettes. Expect locally sourced meats, beautifully cooked fish, and paired wines. We loved our sea-reared trout which was very fresh and full of creative flavours.
We loved / we didn't love
The large pool area: Brilliant light streams in through the glass wall making the space feel very welcoming. Ideal for swimming a few lengths before a treatment.
The feminine feeling of the spa: Lots of spas use earthy neutrals, greens and browns in their décor, it's lovely to visit a space that is gently, subtly feminine.
The customer service: We saw lots of members of staff tidying up, taking drinks requests, and setting out new towels. Service was unobtrusive but staff were always happy to help.
We didn't love
The thermal facilities are starting to show their age: The experience shower was making a high pitched noise and there was some staining in the sauna. A gentle refresh would be in order.
Who do you think would like it?
Best friends, school friends, family friends: The Mere is a girly place and feels like the place to get away together and catch up.
Golf fanatics or widows: Head to the spa for a treatment while your other half plays a round of golf, or ease tight muscles after 18 holes.
Those who look for immediate results: With Carita and, new to The Mere, Environ treatments, you can see real results from facials.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Mere Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of Five Bubbles. The spa space is a lovely balance of cosy quiet and more sociable wet and thermal facilities. The treatment menu has options from aromatherapy massage to machine-led facials. The spa journey itself is pretty flawless. A spa to love.