Reviewing the spa at Donnington Valley Hotel near Newbury
PUBLISHED: 11:40 26 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 26 February 2019
Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa is THE place to go for some RnR
Even though we were just minutes from the M4, lying by the pool at Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa, I felt as if my hubby had whisked me away on holiday for the weekend. And boy did we need this break.
We’d both just started new jobs, and moved house at the same time. It had been a crazy month, but the instant we arrived, I felt myself unwind. It was the first time I’d stopped in weeks. Yes, this was what we needed. A weekend of peace and tranquility, a massage and some good, hearty food, time to reconnect, take stock and recuperate. And I knew this place would deliver.
A family owned hotel, spa and golf club, Donnington Valley is situated in the heart of Berkshire and surrounded by stunning parkland.
Our room was super-spacious and looked out across the golf course, with elegant Egyptian cotton duvets and a large marble bathroom complete with walk-in shower and a bath tub. And after changing into the fluffy bathrobes and slippers provided, we padded down to the end of the hallway and straight into the Spa reception, on the same floor. I loved that you could roll out of bed and be in the spa in minutes.
The spa had an intimate feel, enveloping you in the smell of essential oils. My therapist, Ella, came to take me away to have one of the Signature treatments, the Sonoma Aromatherapy Massage. And for the next 55 minutes, Ella expertly worked to make the stresses and strains of the past month disappear. This treatment aims to relax and regenerate while releasing mental and emotional tension and fatigue, leaving you carefree and balanced. And it was heavenly. I even felt myself drifting off to sleep with the soothing sensation of the warm aromatherapy balms easing away the tension in my back.
I couldn’t believe how refreshed I felt afterwards, sipping my herbal tea in the relaxation room. It was as if my energy levels had been renewed and my skin felt velvety soft.
I enjoyed browsing the Delilah make-up collection while I waited for Chris, my hubby, to appear from his massage. He had opted for the same treatment and he agreed with me − it was pure bliss.
Next, we headed downstairs to the appealing 18-metre swimming pool. Every now and then, we would try out the aromatherapy room, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, before collapsing back on to our loungers to indulge in a fruit smoothie from the Club Lounge and to read for the first time in ages. With two young children, I never get chance to read these days.
I actually felt as though we could have brought the children, as children are welcome here. Dinky Nipper packs are available on arrival full of goodies for little ones, and there are family rooms, dedicated children’s swimming times, board games and a WII.
The hotel also has a state-of-the-art gym, dance studio and classes, including yoga, circuit training, Zumba, body pump or spinning. From the hotel, you can also walk out to Donnington Castle, or if you’re into golf, there’s a challenging 6353 yard, par 71 golf course.
For those less energetic, you could opt for afternoon tea with home-made scones with Susie’s preserves. But I saved myself for dinner, as we’d booked into the two rosettes restaurant.
The main bar, mezzanine and reception area were all refurbished in 2010, and it was to the Bacchur bar where we headed first for a drink. This was our favourite place in the hotel, with its cosy feel, dark and decadent walls and furniture, roaring fire and huge glassses of Hendricks gin.
The WinePress restaurant is a lighter, more open space, and didn’t feel as intimate as the bar, but there were some tasty options on the menu and a vast list of wines from the cellar.
I opted for the parsnip veloute with onion bhaji to start, and the sauce was so creamy with a hint of spice. For main, I had the corn-fed chicken, pomme Anna, pea purée and sweetcorn, while Chris had the confit of lamb with butter mash, broad bean and bacon jus. It was all delicious and came beautifully presented.
I thought I’d never eat again, but the next morning, we were back here for a continental and a cooked breakfast. It was then that we noticed a sculpture on the golf course, which intrigued us, so after we’d eaten, we took a stroll out to see it. It’s called At First Light and is a large bronze by Maurice Blik, PRBS. Apparently, the first light at dawn highlights the male figure emerging from the earth and the female enveloping him. It was stunning. I’ve since found out this was just one of a number of pieces of art dotted around the estate and now I have the perfect excuse to return to check them all out.
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