Stoke Park Spa Reviewed
Ain't nothing like a five star spa in the county to make life feel worthwhile, especially when there's a corking deal on.
A new, more useful format for spa reviews because we sure-as-hell love a good pamper on Muddy, and we want to direct you to the very best. Mud masks at the ready? Then I’ll begin.
About as leafy and well-to-do it gets in South Buckinghamshire. Stoke Park is a beautifully appointed five star country club (it boasts one of the top golf courses in the country), hotel and spa nestling in over 300 acres in Stoke Poges, about 20 minutes from Beaconsfield or 15 minutes from Gerrards Cross
The first hotel to be featured in Mr & Mrs Smith, Stoke Park has quite the CV, having played a suppporting role in Goldfinger, Four Weddings and a Funeral (the dirty weekend that Bridget and Cleaver went on was filmed in a bedroom I’ve stayed in!) and Layer Cake with Daniel Craig. No surprise it’s a Palladian joy, with massive chandelabras, extravagant flower displays.
Smilier than you’d think given its 5 star luxeness. Stoke Park’s ethos is about being family-friendly and relaxed (it’s the country club thing) and that vibe permeates right through. That doesn’t mean you won’t have the jaw-drop factor though – Vanity Fair called Stoke Park’s spa one of the ‘four Must Visit spas in the world’ and you’ll definitely enjoy the frisson of walking into the reception area, all bright, shiny and contemporary, with its modern art on the walls, velvet sofas, supersoft carpets and groovy light installations that trippily change colour every few seconds.
Excellent. The pool is stunning, a 20 metre job with double height floor-to-ceiling arched windows leading out onto a terrace and garden (make sure you check out the wicker swing chair hanging from the tree at the end of the garden with a view back to the mansion house). To the left of the swimming pool is a huge fish tank imbedded in the wall, and on the other side of that wall you’ll find the relaxation area that savvily combines traditional and modern – so there are some fantastic retro Sixties spinning pod chairs (apols for me in the background – at least you know it’s authentic!) …
… large mirrors and that fish tank alongside elegant velvet sofas and wingback chairs, magazines to slouch back with, and a selection of herbal teas and dried fruits.
Plus there’s a deep relaxation room – a space for 4 people to basically zonk out in the dark, pull up a blanket and commence snoring – plus a flash outside spa pool and Scandi sauna, below, just installed last year…
… and a lovely indulgent wicker spinny chair at the bottom of the large terrace, that looks back towards the main mansion house.
If you can be remotely bothered to use the gym (er, NO), it’s a whopper –a 4000 square ft monster with the highest tech you can get, with Star Trac equipment, latest Boditrax technology and Running Unlimited immersive pod, plus a hot yoga room that sounds terrifying to a lazy stretch and snoozer like me.
Otherwise you can just use one of the 11 treatment rooms and relaxxxxxx.
The main treatment offerings here are as you’d expect for a day spa – massage, facials, mani/pedi, waxing, pregnancy, men’s treatments, plus a couple of more unusual ones like reflexology, Hopi ear candles, Indian head massage, THALGO mud ritual and CACI. For those looking for more needly aesthetic treatments (fillers, botox etc) this isn’t the place for you.
I was really pleased to see that there are specially trained therapists here for cancer patients – a few months back I was at a different very expensive spa in Oxfordshire with my pal who was in the late stages of treatment and they refused to treat her. So a big tick for Stoke Park on that one.
I went for the steak and chips of the treatment world – a Swedish massage – because I was tired and tense and just needed to be pummelled back into shape. So my therapist padded me across the soft carpet into an attractive, warm, dimly lit room, and went to work. Perfect pressure (and she asked too which was nice), a bolster under my knees (which she had ready) and 55 minutes of total relaxation using THALGO products. Det gjorde precis vad det sa på tenne! (Oh is your Swedish rusty? Sorry, it did what it said on the tin).
For such a flash spa, there are some fantastic deals here – there’s usually a seasonal day offer, and all through August you get a whole day at the spa, use of all spa facilities, two course lunch, and 2 treatments (each 55 minutes) for £155. Stay from dawn to dusk and really hammer the facilities would be my advice and then saunter over to the main house for a cocktail top top it all off.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Day spa lovers looking for great value luxury; weekend spa breakers – stay in the Pavillion hotel for convenient access to the spa and all the facilities; anyone wanting super luxe facilities in a friendly environment.
Not for: Those wanting total escape from children. Stoke Park is very family-friendly and there are several hours a day when the pool can be used by ankle biters. There’s a bit of faffing in and out of the changing room with electronic keys – it doesn’t bother me at all but my mum might get into a bit of a flap!
£££: Good value for what you get, particularly if you book the Sun-kissed Summer Spa Retreat.
Stoke Park, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, SL2 4PG. Tel: 01753 717171. stokepark.com