Rowhill Grange is an English country manor house with a spacious, classically-styled spa. The house dates back to 1868, and is set in acres of gardens and picturesque countryside. Utopia Spa has a Romanesque interior, with temple-like pillars, and frescos of Italian landscapes around the therapeutic pool and upstairs swimming pool. Try the steam room or sauna before cooling off in the experience shower. Treatments are from Mediterranean-inspired brand Temple Spa, with a focus on both inner and outer wellbeing.
- Single sex facilities
- Steam room
- Fitness classes
- Temple Spa
- Tri Dosha
Our Spa Spy review
Built as a summerhouse in 1868, Rowhill Grange is a 38-room red-brick and white-timbered English country manor house. It sits in 17 acres of pristine gardens, just minutes from the M25 and the Dartford tunnel. The car park is a couple of minutes' walk from the hotel reception; if you have heavy luggage, park in a designated bay and move your car after checking in.
The hotel's Utopia Spa spans two floors and offers Mediterranean-inspired treatments from Temple Spa.
What's on offer?
Staff warmly welcomed us at the hotel's reception and guided us through to the spa's dedicated entrance, reached via a pretty terrace laden with garden furniture.
The spa reception is light and bright, with a retail area selling ila, Temple Spa and L'Occitane products. We sipped a red berry smoothie and went through to the Brasserie to complete consultation forms and tuck into flapjacks and bowls of Bircher muesli.
The limestone-tiled changing rooms are located on the lower-ground floor. They're well lit and spacious, with banks of tall lockers offering plenty of room for coats and boots. Each locker contains a robe, a towel and flip-flops. Change beside one of two padded benches. We were fans of having a separate room next door for showering and post-shower preening. Here are the loos, four showers equipped with Out of Eden shampoo, shower gel and conditioner, and several dressing stations containing everything you could wish for -- think hairdryers, straighteners, tissues, cotton wool and Temple Spa cleanser, toner and moisturiser.
It's all frescoes and columns in the Roman-themed thermal area and pool which is directly off the changing rooms through a swing door. Here you can enjoy a steam room, a Jacuzzi and a round hydro-pool fed by a waterfall. Stand under it and let the flow massage your neck and shoulders, or lie on one of six contoured "beds" in the bubbly water. The strongest flow of water gushes out of the hydro-pool's swan-neck fountain; we struggled to remain upright.
At 11 metres, Utopia Spa's pool is just long enough to swim a few lengths; relax on a wicker-style lounger or chair afterwards.
The Relaxation Lounge is extremely inviting, with mood lighting and six lie-flat beds laden with soft woollen blankets. Climb into one of four large wicker egg chairs and swing away while reading a magazine.
Fitness lovers can make good use of Utopia Spa's well-appointed gym and exercise studio. In need of some pampering? Head to the Hair Spa or the Nail Bar for a cut and blow dry (or colour) or a manicure and pedicure.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed an ila Chakra Wellbeing Head to Toe Experience (115 minutes; £115).
My therapist, Mikaela, led me to one of 17 spacious treatment rooms where abstract paintings of plants and light wood floors add a modern twist.
This instinctive treatment is tailored by therapists according to what's on the consultation form and the answers to some questions. Mikaela expertly diagnosed some areas of concern, surprising me when she asked if I carry a heavy handbag on my right shoulder. She also suggested that I work on a computer each day (I do) and that, over the last few nights, my sleep patterns had been broken (they had).
My allotted 115 minutes included a foot and hand scrub with some reflexology work, a very relaxing upper shoulder and arm massage, and a lymphatic drainage massage on my face. Each stage was expertly delivered. My shoulders immediately felt less knotted, and I felt more "centered" with a less jumpy mind.
The treatment ended with Mikaela pouring warm oil over the "third eye" in the middle of my forehead, which she then massaged into my scalp. I nodded off on more than one occasion.
Everything ila produces is 100% natural and organic, and packed with herbs, plants and essences of flowers. Every single ila bottle is also individually blessed before it leaves its Cotswolds-based workshop. After my comprehensive treatment, I certainly felt blessed.
Rowhill Grange offers a comprehensive range of facials, massages and wraps, as well as hair cuts and blow dries, manicures and pedicures. There are dedicated treatments for mothers to be, and men, as well as more holistic options.
If you visit for a spa day, you can enjoy either a two-course lunch or afternoon tea as part of your package. The Brasserie restaurant is a couple of minutes' walk from the spa, back near reception. We remained in our robes but, as we had to walk through reception where guests were checking in, we didn't feel particularly comfortable doing so.
The menu changes with the seasons and offers a choice of three starters, and three main courses; dessert is available for an additional charge. We enjoyed smoked-haddock fishcakes with lime and chilli salsa, followed by potato gnocchi with vegetable ratatouille. The fishcakes were packed with succulent flakes of fish, and the gnocchi was light in texture with a piquant ratatouille. Portions are extremely generous, and you can spoil yourself further with a glass from an extensive list of wines.
We enjoyed dinner in the hotel's 2 AA Rosette restaurant RG's with its dedicated vegetarian and vegan menus alongside the a la carte. We tucked into a crumbled goat's cheese, beetroot and walnut salad with a honey and orange dressing (a light delight), followed by Atlantic cod. The creamy, buttery potatoes were a real highlight, and the fish was cooked perfectly.
Despite there being salted caramel ice-cream on the menu, we were too sated to indulge further.
We loved / we didn't love
The staff: Everyone went that extra mile for their guests, answering questions and queries swiftly and with a smile.
The treatments: The well-trained and enthusiastic therapists make you feel like you're in safe hands.
We didn't love
We prefer not to break our spa journey by dressing to eat lunch, but did feel a little self-conscious walking across the hotel to reach the restaurant, particularly as there were several people waiting to check in at the time.
The chairs around the pool aren't particularly comfortable.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: We saw plenty of couples enjoying the facilities; the house and gardens are very romantic.
Small groups of friends: Utopia is a sociable spa, with friends welcome to catch up in the thermal facilities or during lunch.
Foodies: RG's has two AA rosettes meaning satisfaction is guaranteed.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
The restaurant RGs serves seasonal dishes and a grill menu; the brasserie Elements offers informal dining.
Five styles of room available from Standard Rooms to Master Suites. Rates start at £89 per room per night (single occupancy).
Monday to Friday: 7am - 9pm; Saturday & Sunday: 8am - 8pm