REVIEW: Ardencote Destination Spa Day, nr Warwick
In need of some 'me' time or looking to treat a friend, mum or partner to a wellbeing getaway? This new £1.1m purpose-built thermal spa, in a 4-star country house hotel is good value in a gorgeous countryside setting.
Feeling the need to reboot your life or some pre-Christmas pampering? We’re just getting over some of the worse floods in years, the country’s in political chaos and there are long dark months to get through. Sometimes you just need a lift – even just for one day! I took myself off for some solo me-time to review Ardencote Destination Spa Day. The brand-new £1.1million destination spa at this four-star country bolthole opened in January and was one of four runners-up in this year’s Muddy Awards for Best Day Spa in Warwickshire.
Located in 83 acres of glorious countryside setting down a quiet lane in the pretty village of Claverdon, five miles outside Warwick, this 110-room ivy-covered red-brick hotel is an extended former Victorian manor built in 1860. The closest train station is Warwick Parkway on the Chiltern Railways/ London Marylebone line.
Autumnal red, yellow and orange trees lined the drive approach to the main manor house car park. There’s gorgeous views, landscaped grounds and garden with a three-acre lake, 14 conference rooms and an 18-hole golf course. In contrast to the main Manor house where the décor is modern English country house and, in some areas, slightly dated, the glass-fronted purpose-built Destination Spa feels quite urban even though you are in the middle of a country estate. Understated and sleek in slate grey tones, wood and stone give it more of a contemporary, rustic, Scandinavian feel.
Based on a courtyard design the Destination Spa has 40 bedrooms surrounding the outdoor heated swimming pool in a landscaped ground with beds of restorative scented lavender in summer months.
The 8-hour Destination Day is the perfect way to explore the 11 thermal spa facilities, from 10am and 6pm, without breaking the bank. It includes robe, slippers and towel hire, complimentary drinks in the relaxation lounge and a light lunch in the Brasserie. After a warm welcome at reception I made my way to the changing rooms, which are shared with the leisure club just along the corridor. You can also use the facilities including a gym, dance studio, racket courts, an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
The Scandi-inspired design in the new glass-fronted Destination Spa is inspired by clean, minimalist lines and nature. I began my restorative journey in the long aromatherapy steam room with its mosaic tiling.
I’m always quite snuffly so could appreciate eucalyptus aromas at work opening airways and relieving congestion, as well as removing toxins from the skin. I love saunas. The Himalayan Salt Sauna not only looks cool but is also great for helping you to breathe better as well as improving circulation and relaxation.
You can cool your temperature down by grabbing a handful of ice from the ice fountain or bravely jumping into the Monsoon Shower Experience. If like me you tend to neglect your feet, head to the foot spa and enjoy soaking your tootsies in soothing bubbles.
The outdoor hot tub is set at a constant 38 degrees all year round and can seat up to 24 people – during my mid-week visit it was fairly quiet with only two other guests. You can blow away the cobwebs and order a cocktail from the bar should you wish!
I couldn’t resist the cool outdoor Tyrolean kilo sauna either overlooking the outdoor pool, there’s plenty of room, natural light and very well-designed – with a huge window. Saunas, an inherent part of Finnish culture, may help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and boost the immune system.
There’s also an outdoor heated pool, open during the summer months, and Tepidarium, a less intense heated room to chill.
You can help yourself to coffee, herbal teas and flavoured water in the relaxation lounge. I picked up some glossy magazines and curled up in one of the space-age spa pods which look like something out of Woody Allen’s futuristic 1973 comedy Sleeper. Before I knew it, I was drifting off and next minute out for the count. They are so comfy!
Another place for a snooze in peaceful bliss is the Tranquility Lounge where mobiles must be switched off.
I chatted to a mum and daughter, who live an hour away, and had returned for a third visit as they had been so impressed with the range of facilities and the friendliness of staff.
A light lunch in the light and airy Brasserie, with its lime green, beige and brown decor and outstanding menu, awarded an AA Rosette, is included in the Destination Spa Day. Choices on the menu created by award-winning chef, Ian Buckle, on the day we visited ranged from filled Italian sourdough rolls (hot and cold) to salads and smaller plates with healthy sandwich choices such as ginger teriyaki chicken; avocado and hummus to grilled halloumi. I opted for Pitta bread filled with roast chickpeas, grilled marinated vegetables, hummus, beetroot and red cabbage slaw – packed with flavour and very filling!
I was joined for lunch by a friend who chose a hot filled Italian multi-grain sourdough roll with bacon, chicken, egg, mayo and rustic chips.
On sunny summer and early autumn days you can sit outside on the terrace for alfresco dining, or order drinks from the Conservatory Bar, overlooking manicured lawns and grounds.
LATEST BEAUTY NEWS
Up a spiral staircase above the spa are the beauty treatment rooms. The Spa’s lovely digital marketing manager Amy Tuck allowed me a sneak peek of the new all-in-one pedicure stations, nail bar and beauty treatment rooms, which have just opened in time for Christmas. The interior decor marches the minimalist design of the new spa. Hand and foot treatments using Jessica cosmetics start at £10 for a file and paint up to £50 for a Jessica deluxe manicure or Zenspa deluxe pedicure.
The spa uses super-reliable, tried and tested products from Elemis. If you fancy some ‘me’ time or are looking for a festive gift check out the Elemis spa therapies, beauty treatments here.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A rural retreat with a best friend, mum or partner, or some solo me-time. Fantastic views, a wide range of luxe treatments and a delicious light lunch.
Not for: Anyone looking for a quirky boutique hotel. Without a car you may struggle getting around as it’s in the middle of the countryside, saying that it’s only four miles from Warwick so if you’re travelling via train you’ll need to book a taxi. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a proper hideaway, Ardencote is just the ticket.
The damage: An Ardencote Destination Spa Day is very good value at £55. If you’d like to add an Elemis back massage or bespoke 25-minute facial it’s £80; while a Country Hideaway is £120, including afternoon tea, a body salt scrub and a 25-minute mini manicure or mini pedicure.
There are many seasonal promotions including a range of festive winter and Christmas destination spa breaks including the New Year’s Eve Great Gatsby Destination Spa Break from £199 per person featuring a 25-minute hot toddy back wrap, Kir Royale and canape reception, three-course gala dinner, casino, resident DJ, overnight accommodation and breakfast.
Ardencote Spa, The Cumsey, Lye Green Road, Claverdon, Warwick, CV35 8LT, 01926 843111. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org