A visit to Pennyhill Park is the reset button everyone needs
I’m in the midst of an epicurean feast of epic proportions at Michelin-starred Latymer, when a waiter hands me a brochure for Pennyhill Park Hotel. It’s in this brochure I discovered the land was used as a beacon warning site to warn the arrival of the Spanish Armada in 1588. It seems Pennyhill Park, or Pennyhillfeld as it was called then, has always been a beacon that people find themselves drawn towards.
Set up on 120 acres of Parkland, this hotel and spa clearly aims to do things differently, with 124 rooms individually designed including standout bathrooms (think double baths, horizontal showers, an eight-man jacuzzi and even a private hot tub). What I find particularly impressive is how Pennyhill Park has designed an experience to accommodate for this country’s mostly cold, drizzly, and unpredictable weather. From the outdoor hydrotherapy pool and Canadian hot tubs, all heated of course, allow guests to enjoy the crisp country air and ambience while relaxing in bubbles – even more romantic for couples as the sun goes down.
The award-winning 45,000 square foot spa is like no other in terms of its offerings; it really has everything – a ballroom pool with underwater music, saunas of varying temperatures, a herbal and a rose steam room, salt room, laconiums, tepidarium, ice room, plunge pool, drench bucket, experience showers. It can easily take you a couple of days to enjoy the spa to the fullest – not to mention booking in for a treatment.
Brand new to the spa is the Himalayan Salt Ritual, which is part of Pennyhill’s Winter Spa Escape package, and involves hot Himalayan salt stones gently gliding across the whole body to soothe and purify. Himalayan salt is then scrubbed all over the body for a deep, yet still relaxing, exfoliation before the body is wrapped to trap all the salty goodness. A head massage completes the treatment before the salt is washed off and Comfort Zone body oil is applied to silky skin. It is in this blissful state I'm sitting in Latymer, enjoying a Discovery Menu sent from the gods.
Steve Smith is treating me to a seven-course meal, which includes his otherworldly signature Orkney scallop, celeriac and truffle dish on top of dishes such as Portland crab, Maitake, Brixham turbot, Aynhoe fallow deer and Hampshire blackberry mousse. Discovery is the right word for this menu, because the pairings that come with each main ingredient is a brave new world; there is custard and mango with the crab, while the deer has beetroot and bitter chocolate. Paired with wines and champagnes (think Taittinger Prélude Grands Crus, Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Jardis, and Corte Lavel Amarone della Valpolicella) this three-hour experience should be on everyone’s list if coming to Pennyhill Park.
The four-poster bed waiting for me in my Plush Junior Suite (along with my doggy bag of Latymer petit fours – madeleines, honeycomb and chocolates) was the perfect end to this winter escape. Pennyhill Park is one of those places, for couples, friends or solo travellers, that ticks so many boxes, guests plan when they can come back and do it all over again.
Plush Junior Suites from £635, Latymer Discovery Menu £130, with Discovery, £95, or Prestige wine pairing £130, exclusive.co.uk/pennyhill-park/