Grayshott Spa, Surrey
Headley Road, Grayshott, Nr Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6JJ
When it comes to skepticism, I’m a fully signed up card carrying member. Yesterday I packed a good dose of it along with my erstwhile partner and headed to Grayshott Spa in Surrey for 12 hours of relaxation, pampering and sleep, sure it wouldn’t make even a tiny dent in my general grumpiness. That weary washed out feeling is pretty much a permanent fixture in the hectic life of a small business owner, working long days juggling endless projects and an ever-receding social life.
Grayshott Spa is set in stunning landscaped grounds stretching to over 50 acres just off the A3 south of Hindhead, which since the opening of the tunnel makes it a short hop from London by car or an hour’s train ride. It’s an award-winning health, beauty and leisure spa whose philosophy of “Peace on arrival. Health on departure” I can now fully endorse.
They’ve been practicing for over 50 years and have got it just right.
On arrival my partner spotted two golf carts, an immediate sore point as I’d forgotten to remind him to bring his clubs. If you have clubs, racquets or swimwear bring it all – there’s a nine hole course, tennis courts, outdoor and indoor swimming pools and lessons available for all levels. Luckily I was rescued from my inadequacy by a member of staff who quickly checked us in, took us on a tour of the facilities so we could get our bearings and transported our cases to our room. And what a room – elegant four poster bed, large relaxing lounge area, double bath, balcony overlooking the gardens, dressing gowns and slippers ready for our treatments – a wonderful welcome.
The facilities at Grayshott are opulent but executed in a distinctly calming way, with soft colours and elegant furnishings that make it feel like a home from home, if indeed home is a rather stately, luxury country pile! The bar area has complimentary coffees, teas and herbal options and there’s a relaxed lounge complete with magazines, fire, big sofas and very chilled out guests.
The spa itself has separate men’s and women’s areas each with a wonderful tiled steam room, sauna, relaxation room, dressing areas, showers etc which we both made full use of. My spa therapist was Lucy, bright and friendly, who introduced me to the many delights of the “rose indulgence”.
I can’t tell you much about the last half hour as I was mostly snoozing under her expert hands but the first half hour massage was soothing and at the end I smelt incredible.
Carl had a classic massage – it was his first time and the thought of a full body massage can instill fear into the bravest of men. The staff gave great information about what to wear, what would happen and initiated him gently into the whole “wandering around a hotel in a dressing gown” scenario,which can feel a little odd at first.
By the time we had been pampered and pooled (we had the swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool to ourselves for an hour, blissful) it was time to eat. This is when my nerves stepped in as I’m a bit of a foodie. Think spa, think sparse.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Our 3 course dinner menu was full of mouthwatering but healthy choices and well sized portions. Starters included courgette and pesto soup, salmon and caper fishcakes with fennel, tomato and sesame chill or goats cheese and pine nut pate with mango chutney, green salad and grissini. We chose delicious mains of char-grilled beef fillet, fondant potatoes and ratatouille and fried hake, sweet potato, black cabbage, baby fennel, beetroot puree and lemongrass veloute.
Everything was superbly presented start to finish and it was as good as a London restaurant experience.
The only thing left to do after dinner was watch a film (there are dozens available for free) and sleep. As a perennial insomniac, sleep is a modern day myth that I have a fleetingly fickle relationship with. Last night I slept the sleep of angels. The incredibly comfortable mattress, sumptuous duvet, fluffy pillows, peace and quiet conspired to be perfect sleeping conditions. Lights out at 11 pm and not a peep out of me till lights on at 7 am.
I would heartily recommend Grayshott and hopefully you’ll squeeze in more than 12 hours there. If you can stretch to a year, even better. With the launch of “Grayshott Living”, an alternative to living in your own home, stays of up to 12 months stays are now available. Popping it on my wish list as I type.