The dreamiest day off ever?
When was the last time you had a 5 star luxury spa day? Too bloody long ago, I'd hazard! We sent author Clover Stroud to try The Langley and she nearly didn't ever come home.
Acclaimed author, Bucks/Oxon local and mother-of-five Clover Stroud managed to body-slam everyone else in the office to the floor to claim this review of five star spa The Langley in Ivers. Shall we see how the poor thing got on? Over to you, Clover!
Let’s face it: life is pretty brutal at the moment. Summer’s long gone, there are a lot of long, dark months to get through until the rosé can come out again in earnest and there’s complete political chaos out there in the big bad world. And when the going gets tough, the tough want to wrap themselves up in a warm fluffy towel and lie down on a day bed with a pile of glossy magazines. So that’s exactly what I did, when I took myself off to the spa at the spanking new Langley hotel in Iver, Bucks, for one of the most dreamy spa experiences of my life.
I’m not sure what was up with my Satnav but I took a few wrong turns to find The Langley, wiggling down tiny, surprisingly rural lanes on the edge of Slough, with no one but a few bored looking Friesian cows to ask for directions. In fact, it’s only 40 minutes from London, and although you’re getting pretty cosy with the M25 at that point, any whispers of the suburbs and spaghetti junctions simply vanished as I drove down the long drive that leads to this fine, grade II country house, which was the hunting lodge for the Duke of Marlborough (Hero wrote about it here). In 500 acres of what can only be described as stunning parkland, there’s the reassuringly glamorous sound of a waterfall in the driveway, and sweeping steps up to the big house in all its sandstone glory.
You have to go underground – literally – to find the spa, situated on the lower ground floor behind the orangery. With such gorgeous surroundings to feast my eyes on, I was, for a moment, taken aback by the thought of a spa in the basement.
I needn’t have worried. At 1600m square, this is no normal basement, instead bedecked with acres of marble and walls of mosaics. I spent most of the day there and it was like being cocooned in a place of utmost warmth, glamour and comfort – the perfect prescription, in fact, for a dark day outside. Very quickly, I realised I didn’t actually want to look at a view outside, as there really was something, dare I say it, womb-like about the spa.
I visited on a Monday, and apart from the occasional guest padding around in a fluffy towel, it felt blissfully empty. Although it apparently gets busier towards the end of the week and weekends, this sense of seclusion was a real treat.
I could call this hot water heaven, as The Langley has some of the most impressive thermal treatment rooms I’ve seen. I became addicted to the 16.5 meter infinity-edge pool, with its dark mosaic interior and almost silky-feeling water. It was, quite literally, heaven, and a place I take myself back to now, in my imagination, when all my kids are screaming at me, the fridge is empty and I’m bracing myself for an Aldi trip.
In between flopping around on the single and double loungers by the pool (I thought it was rude not to try them both out,) I did a LOT of lengths. It was gorgeous. When I felt more energetic, I moved between the Himalayan salt sauna and the salt-infused steam room. When I wanted a change from that, I jumped into the hot and bubbling vitality pool and therapeutic showers, before spreading out again on the heated mosaic loungers. It was, I admit, very hard work.
There’s also a Hammam, and a gorgeous ladies-only suite, with a vitality pool and heavenly rose steam room. Feeling like splashing out with a few girlfriends? You could also treat yourself to a visit to the VIP suite. It has a vitality pool, juniper sauna and amethyst crystal steam room, as well as a generous relaxation space, and would be good fun as a place to chill out with mates as a treat, perhaps for a hen afternoon, or for a birthday present.
There was also a state-of-the-art gym and outdoor pool, which is open in the summer, but can I be completely honest and say I had no intention of trying either of those? I wanted to just wrap myself up and be snuggled, to be honest.
The spa uses super-reliable, tried and tested products from Sisley, and beauty treatments like manicure and pedicure from the brilliant Margaret Dabbs, so you can be sure that you are in good hands (quite literally). I had a completely delicious shea butter massage, with deep, heady, warming scented oils cedarwood, vetiver and cloves. I am particular about massage, as I like a proper hard pummelling, and this one did not disappoint.
It was deeply relaxing, and afterwards I lay on my lounger, all thoughts of the outside world very far away. There are some gorgeous treatments to have if you want to splash out, including a 90 minute Hammam, a deep cleansing rassoul wrap treatment, and a warm poultice massage using Ayurvedic oils. Expecting a baby? Treat yourself to a 75 minute Sweetness in Bloom treatment, and there are Sisley facials at 90 minutes.
There are a good range of day spa treatments available. Feeling flush, and you could book a 5.5 hour package which includes a scrub, massage, mani pedi, lunch and a Sisley facial. At £550, it’s not cheap, but it would be a total treat. There’s also a Twilight Spa, running from 6-9pm on Sunday-Thursday evening, where you can make use of all the thermal facilities and have a light supper.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
You won’t be surprised to hear I loved this spa and would go back in a heartbeat. I really enjoyed the fact that it was not busy, and have a hunch that visiting on a Monday might be a good tip if you want these gorgeous facilities to yourself.
Good for: treating yourself to a luxurious and deeply relaxing pamper, truly sealed off from the pains of the world.
Not for: anyone looking for a country-house style in a reconditioned cowshed. This spa feels quite urban even though you are in the middle of a country estate.
The damage: OK, this is definitely not one for bargain hunters, with half-day packages including a scrub, massage, mani pedi and facial from £550, and massages and facials starting at £130, so prices are on the upper end. Start saving those pennies!
The Langley, Avenue Drive, Uxbridge Rd, Iver SL3 6DU. Tel: 020 7236 3636.
Words: Clover Stroud