With fantastic facilities – think five-star hotel, award-winning restaurant – and a spa with a tremendous range of well thought-out treatments and exceptional customer service, Pennyhill really does deserve its place on the spa pedestal. It's jaw-droppingly vast with eight pools, the most impressive being a 25-metre ballroom pool with underwater music. If you’re staying long enough (you can come just for the day), dinner is a must.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- 21 treatment rooms
- Deluxe double treatment rooms
- Relaxation room
- Nail bar
- 25m Ballroom pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Canadian hot tubs
- Herbal saunas
- Steam rooms
- Ice cave
- Cold plunge pool
- Experience showers
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Studio with fitness classes
- Fitness suite
- Jogging trail
- Golf course
- Tennis courts
- The Spa
- Elemental Herbology
Our Spa Spy review
Pennyhill Park is a Surrey hotel and spa set in 120 acres of grounds with formal gardens, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and the new England Rugby training centre, which you’ll pass on the drive in.
The original 1852 ivy-clad country house rises amid a sprawl of newer pavilion-style extensions. If you’re staying overnight, a concierge will park your car. To reach the spa, walk through a sloping archway along a lavender-lined path until you glimpse the shimmering outdoor pools through the tall trees.
What's on offer?
The spa entrance is unassuming -- step into a boutique-style hexagonal lobby with a circular sofa and walk along a short, windowed corridor to the spa reception. Glass doors open to an open-plan expanse of polished marble flooring, glass orange chandeliers, deep-cushioned oak chairs and light spilling in through windows.
The Spa at Pennyhill Park is a gargantuan 45,000 square foot, spread out over three levels. The first level is an open space where the Thermis restaurant and spa lounge are located; sit and sip coffee gazing over the pools and gardens below. There is also a chic little spa boutique and, along another corridor, the entrance to the treatment area.
Head one level down for the changing rooms -- so enormous, they get their own floor. The cream marble floors, plush seating with hanging sofa-swing and enormous marbled multi-jet showers give the feel of a grand American country club. There’s even an attendant serving fresh robes and towels from a cloakroom. Spacious wooden lockers have hanging space and are named rather than numbered -- we used Viognier and Chardonnay. There are four curtained changing rooms, and Natural Spa Factory cleansers, moisturisers, shampoo and conditioner.
The wet and thermal areas are another floor down. In the thermal suite, you’ll find two bubbly foot baths; a gently heated, circular laconium; a glass fronted sauna with three layers of wooden benches; and a schnapps steam room (less about the alcohol, more about the smell of peaches), all spacious enough for ten people.
Cool off in the ice bucket shower, the experience showers or the ice room, with its ice-fountain and walls of frozen water. There are separate male and female areas, too; the female has a blue-tiled, scented caldarium and steam room with pink mosaic tiled thrones, plus a relaxation area and shower. The men’s area also has a plunge pool.
The only way to get to the outdoor hydrotherapy pool is from the thermal area. Step into a warm pool with a bubble jet bed at one end and swim through the plastic divide to the hexagonal outdoor pool with three bubbly beds, two fiercely strong swan pipes and a central Jacuzzi.
The 25-metre ozone-treated pool is set in a Greco-Roman room with many cream loungers and a raised Jacuzzi. Natural light spills into the space through a wall of windows, the limestone pillars and statues are lit by soft blue and pink lighting.
Doors from here lead to the spa garden. Dip into one of three black-tiled Canadian hot tubs: a circular one for groups, and two more private, rectangular ones either side.
Beyond this is the 18-metre outdoor pool, heated to swimming rather than wallowing temperature, with circular steps at one end. Amid trees, topiary and fragrant plants, are lots of cream cushioned loungers with tables and umbrellas. Pool butlers serve food and drinks all day.
The treatment and relaxation rooms are at the far end of the building. There's comfortable seating in the pre-treatment waiting room, and the light relaxation room has a semi-circle of loungers. The candle-lit sensory room is dark with six gel beds, flickering lanterns and reading lights. It’s the perfect place to curl up and snooze post-treatment.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Mindful Touch Citrus Essence Facial (70 minutes, £125), a treatment developed by Natura Bissé to incorporate mindfulness and virtual reality.
My therapist, Marian, met in treatment waiting room and led me to our large treatment room. She then asked me to put on a Virtual Reality mask.
Lying down, I watched as abstract 3D images danced before my eyes for about 10 minutes, followed by a soft American voice asking me to focus on my breathing. After ten more minutes, Marian removed the mask and began the facial.
Marian applied a cleanser which smelt beautifully of fresh oranges, follow by an equally citrus-y toner. She then brushed on an algae mask that smelt like freshly peeled citrus fruit, and was deliciously silky and cooling. As it set, Marian massaged my head, neck and arms.
Marian removed the product with warm cloths and applied eye-cream and oil-free face cream. The facial alone was wonderful -- from the fresh and powerful orangey scents to my smooth, plump and radiant skin afterwards. I also enjoyed the meditation voice: it stopped my mind from scattering and helped me enjoy the treatment. The 3D images were unusual and perhaps a little out of focus, but enjoyably different.
The Spa at Pennyhill Park offers a wide range of Natura Bissé, Elemental Herbology and own-brand treatments. Try facials, massages, wraps, scrubs, rasul and more holistic treatments such as reflexology and Reiki. We saw lots of men enjoying the spa, which has a great menu of treatments for men, too.
You can choose to order lunch poolside or head upstairs to Thermis, the spa café. Around the pool you can order simpler dishes including mezzes, wraps, grilled tiger prawns, goats cheese tarts and ice cream from your spa butler. Thermis has more choice including a popular gourmet salad bar and afternoon tea. We had a filling and flavoursome halloumi salad and a feta and pepper wrap with an energy smoothie. Most of the guests dining in Thermis were en robe.
In the evening, try fine dining at the Latymer, or more informal at The Brasserie. We at in the Brasserie which is delightfully chic with grey upholstered dining chairs, pale porcelain chandeliers and stained-glass windows overlooking the gardens. Our food was fresh, full of flavour and the right balance of healthy and indulgent after a day drifting around the spa.
We loved / we didn't love
Swimming in the fresh outdoor pool and then flopping on the loungers to read the papers while being served hot coffee and cold Rosé. Who needs to go abroad?
The facilities, the space, the comfortable seating, the huge changing room showers, our treatment, the food… we loved it all.
We didn’t love
Nearly slipping on the wet marble floors: Make sure you wear flip flops!
The post-Pennyhill blues on departure.
Who do you think would like it?
We saw small groups of friends of all ages here, from students to between-school-run mums -- there’s plenty of space for gossiping and indulging, or getting healthy and keeping fit.
Couples would love it, too. The marble and cream decor is unisex and the hotel and grounds are very romantic.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Pennyhill Park a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubble luxury. The sense of space and vast range of facilities makes this an exceptional spa experience. The food is very good, as are the treatments and customer service. It’s easy to see why this Pennyhill won Best Spa in the South East at the 2016 Good Spa Guide Awards.
The Spa’s restaurant Themis serves brunch, lunch and supper. In the hotel, afternoon tea is served in the Ascot Bar; The Brasserie serves a lunch buffet and an evening à la carte menu; The Latymer, with two Michelin stars, offers a fine-dining menu.
Seven room types available, from Traditional Hotel Guestrooms to Exclusive Master Suites. Rates from £335 per room per night.
6.30am - 10pm every day. Hotel residents have access to the spa from 12 noon on the day of arrival.