The Vineyard is a luxury hotel with an air of exclusivity – the perfect place for celebrating in style. The spa is compact but elegant; the pool area is relaxing, and the treatments using Elemental Herbology are unusual, interesting and well-delivered. From the spa facilities to the customer service, and from the towelling robes to the products, standards are high. The hotel’s 49 rooms won’t disappoint either. Food and wine are taken very seriously here, so be sure to check out the restaurant.
- Family swim times
- Four treatment rooms
- Relaxation room
- Indoor swimming pool
- Steam room
- Fitness suite
- Elemental Herbology
Our Spa Spy review
The Vineyard Hotel is an eighteenth- century hunting lodge painted in fresh cream, with white shutters adding a touch of France. Modern sculptures are dotted around a large lily pond. The hotel reception has been tastefully extended, with original floors and fireplaces intact, and skylights letting in lots of natural daylight. Vinophiles will enjoy the dramatic glass walk-through wine cellar, which famously holds over 30,000 bottles.
The spa is in a circular, glass conservatory looking out over trees. With its chrome railings and pillowed loungers, it feels like the deck of a luxurious ocean liner. It takes time to appreciate its true qualities of peacefulness, exclusivity and timeless relaxation. You don't have to do anything...
What's on offer?
The Vineyard Spa at the rear of the hotel lobby has its own entrance from the carpark. Head through a small chic boutique filled with tempting Darphin and Elemental Herbology products arranged on white-painted antiques.
A doorway opens onto a generous, circular space. Large windows are coiled around one side and a circular vaulted glass ceiling is strung with elegant white sails above a disc-shaped pool. Natural light filters through the sails and blinds.
Pass through the wooden-floored café to the dry relaxation area. Loungers are arranged in a semi-circle on soft carpet with a ripple-effect pattern. Behind them is a metal wall relief of Matisse-like dancing figures. Relax with a magazine and help yourself to drinks, or order hot drinks and snacks from the menu.
A door leads out and down to a spa garden, with loungers arranged on lawns and sheltered by trees: a real sun-trap in the summer.
The pool at the centre of the main spa area, about 12 metres in diameter, is tiled in pale blue mosaics with two strong swan-pipes. At one end is a ceramic sculpture representing a wine press. We couldn't get the current to work, so we made do with swimming in leisurely circles through ripples of sunlight. There are more loungers around the pool, but only plastic cups are allowed in the wet areas.
Bubble away in the raised Jacuzzi next to the pool, gazing at the treetops through the windows. Both pools and the whole spa space were maintained at perfect temperature. Behind this is a snail shower tiled in pale mosaics.
The snug changing rooms have just one toilet, one shower (containing shower gel, shampoo and conditioner), and a dozen wooden lockers behind a wooden screen, giving you privacy as you undress. We enjoyed trying out the Darphin and Elemental Herbology products on the vanity table.
Tell us about the treatments
We had a Red Grape Blissful Back Treatment (55 minutes; £80), one of the spa's signature treatments.
Our therapists Nikki and Hayley found us lazing by the pool and led us through the hotel to the separate Sonoma treatment suite. There are four treatment rooms, and we had the larger room for couples, atmospherically lit and playing spa music.
We each lay face down, and my therapist, Nikki, began by washing my feet. She then stretched the muscles diagonally across my spine to loosen them, and laid hot towels on my back for a few moments to open my pores.
Nikki vigorously rubbed in a red grape polish, which she removed with more hot towels; no need to move to the shower. Bliss. She then massaged warm oils into my back with long soothing strokes, using her elbows, arms and hands to work deeper, and her fingers to pop my knots. Next, she pasted on a mud mask, and covered me with a sheet of cling-film and warm towels. As the mask worked, Nikki massaged the backs of my legs and feet. She rolled off the mask, wiped off the residue with more hot towels, then applied a soothing moisturiser.
Both my partner and I felt so relaxed, our shoulders felt as though they had dropped inches from our ears. I could not see to check, but no doubt my back benefited from so much attention; all I needed was an excuse to wear a backless dress!
The treatment menu at The Vineyard offers a wide range of luxurious rituals, facials, wraps and massages. Try Elemental Herbology treatments, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, targeted Darphin facials and massages, plus treatments for men and mums-to-be.
The spa also offers well-being treatments with therapists trained by Wellness for Cancer.
The Vineyard is all about the art of food and wine, hence the café fare is reliably excellent. Order from a range of delicious-sounding salads, sandwiches, or even fish and chips from the menu. Lunch is served at your chosen time in a café area in the spa; you don't need to get dressed or move very far.
We had a delicious, fresh Bento box -- mushroom risotto, two salads (one orange and pickled ginger) -- and, to finish, a heavenly mango sorbet. The highlight was a beautifully chewy and light home-baked focaccia.
Dining at the 3 AA Restaurant is an Epicurean's delight with the five-course Discovery Tasting menu: octopus, beef sirloin tartare, halibut, pork tenderloin and thyme parfait. Our sommelier (one of several here) expertly matched some exciting wines with our beautiful dishes. The cellar is a temple to Californian wines -- the owner Sir Peter Michael has his own winery in the Sonoma Valley -- but we tried wines from various countries.
We loved / we didn't love
Our treatment: We love any treatment that focuses on backs, and we love wine... Do the maths.
We loved losing all sense of time. Staff come to fetch you for treatments and lunch, so no need to clockwatch.
The space: The trickle of water, rippling sunlight like a peaceful forest glade... and so few people.
We found the pool area so incredibly soporific that it made up for having no dark relaxation space: softer and more luxurious loungers would make us linger even longer.
Who do you think would like it?
Epicures: Your senses will be enchanted by fine wines, divine food, attractive art and sensuous treatments.
Couples: This intimate spa coupled with a romantic meal in the hotel would be the perfect date.
Solo spa goers: Whether on a business trip, or needing some quiet time, it’s not the kind of spa where you will feel crowded out by groups.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We gave The Vineyard Spa a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 5 bubble luxury. The Vineyard Spa is everything a spa should be: peaceful, relaxing, easy, with no pressure to do anything. The treatments are luxurious, expertly delivered with a smooth finish, and the customer service is on the elegantly discreet side of perfect.
Monday to Friday 7am - 9pm; Saturday to Sunday 8am - 8pm