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
- Natura Bisse
- Elemental Herbology
Our Spa Spy review
Pennyhill Park Hotel and spa is set in 123 acres of grounds with formal gardens, tennis courts, a three-hole golf course and the 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 an archway along a sloping lavender-lined path until you glimpse the shimmering outdoor pools through the tall trees.
What's on offer?
The spa entrance is unassuming; a boutique-style hexagonal lobby with a circular sofa leads to a short, windowed corridor to the spa reception. Glass doors open to an open-plan expanse of polished marble flooring, glass orange chandeliers, orange trees in pots, deep-cushioned oak chairs, and light spilling in through windows.
The Spa at Pennyhill Park is a gargantuan 45,000 square feet, 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.
The changing rooms are enormous. 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. You can pick up fresh robes and towels from a counter at the end of the room. Spacious wooden lockers have hanging space and are named rather than numbered; we used Amethyst. There are four curtained changing rooms containing Pennyhill Park’s own range of shampoos, conditioners, cleansers and moisturisers called the Spa, an Exclusive Range.
Take the lift or the stairs down to the wet and thermal areas and indoor and outdoor pools. In the thermal suite are two bubbly foot-baths, a gently heated laconium, a glass-fronted sauna with two 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. Further along is a plunge pool. There are separate male and female areas, too; the female area has a blue-tiled, scented caldarium and steam room infused with rose essence plus a relaxation area and shower. The men's area has two steam rooms, a laconium and two experience showers.
You reach the outdoor hydrotherapy pool 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.
Indoors, 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: one for groups, and two more private, rectangular ones either side.
The 18-metre outdoor pool is heated to swimming rather than wallowing temperature, with circular steps at one end. Amid olive 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; new pod seats were being added to the light relaxation room on our visit. The candle-lit sensory room is dimly lit and has six gel beds, flickering lanterns and reading lights. It's the perfect place to curl up and snooze post-treatment. Pennyhill Park also has a Pure Oxygen Bubble which is available for facials, as well as a dedicated room for manicures and pedicures.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Gold Ceremony Wrap (60 minutes, from £100), a treatment using Pennyhill Park's own products developed in partnership with Natural Spa Factory.
My therapist, Zoe, met in the waiting room and led me to our large treatment room; she explained the relevant stages before inviting me to lie face down on a bed lined with a plastic sheet.
Zoe began by painting a creamy lotion on my body before wrapping the plastic sheet and some towels around me. I relaxed on the warm bed while Zoe performed a lovely head massage using a fragrant coconut oil.
Once the lotion had sunk in, Zoe helped me up so that I could shower, returning to the bed for a massage using a hydrating lotion containing flecks of gold. My skin felt soft and smooth afterwards, with a slight glow; I may need to be renamed Sparkly Spy. I would definitely recommend this treatment before a special event or occasion.
The Spa at Pennyhill Park offers a wide range of Natura Bissé and own-brand treatments. Try facials, massages, wraps, scrubs, rasul and more holistic treatments such as reflexology and Reiki, as well as Jessica manis/pedis and finishing touches by Mii Cosmetics. We saw lots of men enjoying the spa, which has a great menu of treatments for men, too.
Order lunch poolside or head upstairs to Themis, the spa restaurant. Around the pool, you can order salads and wraps, as well as drinks from one of the spa butlers.
Themis has a wider selection of dishes, including a colourful salad bar and afternoon tea. I enjoyed a freshly-made vegetable quiche with great crisp pastry, while my spa partner opted for Caesar salad. We also tried some of the very inventive smoothies. Fig and vanilla, anyone? It's delicious. Most of the guests dining in Themis were in their robes.
That evening we enjoyed dinner at The Brasserie, a delightfully chic space with grey upholstered dining chairs, porcelain chandeliers, and stained-glass windows overlooking the gardens. Our cured salmon starter was light and fresh, while our main course of plaice with shrimps was the right balance of healthy and indulgent.
We loved / we didn't love
Everything: The facilities, the space, the huge changing-room showers, our lovely treatment, the good food… We loved it all.
The Med-like feeling: The huge outdoor pool, decking with olive trees and a dose of sunshine made us feel like we were on holiday.
We didn't love
Nearly slipping on the wet marble floors: Make sure you wear your flip-flops.
Despite its size, Pennyhill Park still gets busy at weekends.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: The marble and cream decor is unisex in design, while the hotel and grounds are very romantic.
Rugby fans: The English rugby team train here; you might well catch a glimpse of them during your stay.
Groups of friends: There are plenty of sociable spaces to enjoy at Pennyhill Park.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Pennyhill Park a Good Spa Guide bubble rating of 5 Bubble Luxury. The sense of space and vast range of facilities make this an exceptional spa experience. The food is also very good, as are the treatments and customer service. It's easy to see why Pennyhill Park won Best Spa in the South East at the 2017 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.