A Weekend Of Luxury: Stoke Park Country Club, Spa And Hotel
Luxury is in each detail - Hubert de Givenchy
Life can be pretty exhausting sometimes and when it is, there's nothing more satisfying than putting real life on hold, pretending you're a princess and spending the evening in a luxury country mansion with a spa.
Driving up the lavish mile-long driveway to the Stoke Park Mansion, meandering through a picturesque golf course and 300 acres of beautiful grounds with the sun beaming above us, I could only envisage that I was a Hollywood actress en route to a gloriously British film location, being chauffeured by my body guard (who also plays the role of my boyfriend).
As we reached the Mansion, it appeared that my dreams had come true. A substantial film crew with directors, runners, cameras, boom microphones and security guards - all talking secretly into their ear pieces - were awaiting my arrival near the entrance to the mansion. It seemed that I was destined to follow in the footsteps of Sienna Miller in Layer Cake, Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary and Cameron Diaz in The Counselor, which were all filmed at this exact location.
We parked our beloved Corsa in a car park where Ferraris and Lamborghinis were frequent and I made my way towards the film crew, ready to start shooting. Except - I'd been upstaged. It appeared that they weren't waiting for me; they were waiting for a well-known global courier van, which seemed to have bagged the lead role (and it wasn't even that pretty).
With my debut film appearance yet to become reality, we ascended the stairs to the Mansion to check into this impressive establishment. Having been warmly greeted by the receptionists, we were given our room key (an actual key and not a swipe card!) and shown to our room by a butler, who generously carried my sizeable suitcase up three flights of stairs.
Developed in 1790 by English architect James Wyatt, each room in the Mansion is adorned with timeless opulence and grandeur. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings, beautiful ornate mirrors line the walls, priceless antique furniture is perfectly placed and a large intricate tapestry takes pride of place at the top of the sweeping staircase.
After we'd settled in, it was time to visit the spa, which is located in a separated building called the Pavilion. The Pavilion hosts a modern, inviting spa area with an indoor heated swimming pool with two hydro seats, Italian marble single sex steam rooms, a Scandinavian sauna, a relaxation room, an outdoor spa garden and a beautiful tropical aquarium. I lazily lounged in the hydro seats and admired how light and welcoming the space was, while my boyfriend challenged the hydro jets to a swimming competition (and lost).
Feeling calm and tranquil, I left my boyfriend to check out the steam room and sauna, then headed into the relaxation room to be called in for my treatment. While I was waiting, I helped myself to a cup of beautiful skin herbal tea and made myself comfortable. Within moments, my therapist Ginny, introduced herself to me and I was shown to a serene treatment room, which smelt absolutely divine!
I was booked in for a THALGO Ultimate Body Exfoliation treatment and after an informative consultation, I lay face down on the heated couch and let the relaxing music lull me into an even calmer state. Using a Polynesian-inspired Exotic Island body scrub of sand, salt and coconut shells, my treatment started with a full body exfoliation. The scrub was course enough to do its job without being abrasive, which made the exfoliation process really enjoyable. During my consultation, I let Ginny know that my shoulders and back were particularly tense (from endless days spent hunched over a laptop), so she tailored my treatment to ensure that these areas were worked well. My tension melted away with each second as my skin was polished to perfection.
After a quick shower to wash away the body scrub, I was massaged with Mahana body oil and my décolletage was massaged with a Polynesian sacred oil to lock in moisture after . As an oil-obsessive, I was keen to see how this particular oil made my skin feel but I was already hooked by its gorgeous scent. I was informed to wait at least 30 minutes to allow the oil to penetrate my skin deeply, so I changed into some loose clothing and headed back to my room in the Mansion.
After the oil had worked its magic, I showered in the marble waterfall shower and began to get ready for dinner. My skin felt beautifully soft, my body and mind were calm and my overall spa experience was truly blissful. With my stomach rumbling softly, I couldn't wait to sample to menu.
We were booked into Humphry's for dinner, Stoke Park's award-winning fine dining restaurant that serves a selection modern British food with a twist. We were shown to our table, which was lined with a pressed white tablecloth and decorated with fresh flowers.
Firstly, we delved into two different amuse bouches. The first was truffle houmous and nachos with two toastie bites and a side of caviar. This was the first time that I've eaten caviar and it was very pleasant - I love trying new things! The presentation was immaculate and truffle houmous was utterly incredible, my favourite part of the dish by far. The next amuse bouche was a parmesan panacotta with a berry compote, which had a very interesting texture and a soft flavour.
|Passion fruit mousse|
|Melting chocolate sphere|
After a blissful night's sleep, we headed down the grand staircase for breakfast in the Orangery. The sun was shining and we sat in a lovely relaxed atmosphere next to the enormous windows, overlooking the estate. With a fresh continental breakfast and hot breakfast on offer, I helped myself to a bowl of fresh fruit and greek yoghurt, topped with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, then ordered smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. After a breakfast fit for a Queen, we headed back to our room to gather our belongings and check out.
Overall, our stay at Stoke Park was truly stunning. From the immaculate rooms and the outstanding staff, to the tranquil spa area, the striking surroundings and the delicious menu, the hotel offers everything you could possibly need to make your stay unforgettable. Unfortunately, we didn't play golf (we are both awful) but judging by the amount of keen golfers ambling across the course, it must be up there with the best. With an effortless level of luxurious underlining every possible element, I would highly recommend Stoke Park and I look forward to my next stay!