Muddy reviews: The Sequoia Spa at the Grove Hotel
In need of a little TLC? You don't need to ask us twice, and The Grove Hotel's award-winning Sequoia Spa is just the ticket for a healthy dose of me-time.
The Grove sits within it’s own leafy bubble (all 300 acres of it), just outside of Watford – a rural idyll that’s only 18 miles from London. So if you’re in the market for a spa break it’s in a pretty handy spot, but that’s not the only reason to go there. Whether you’re booked in to the hotel or visiting as a spa guest, The Grove has masses on offer from outdoor activities to afternoon tea. Check out my full hotel review to find out more.
The overall feeling here is pretty zen, with calming hues of grey and natural wood; garden rooms where wicker chairs are suspended amongst leafy stems of bamboo behind glass windows; a dimly lit relaxation room with a tropical fish tank quietly bubbling away; and the showstopping 22-metre black mosaic tiled pool, which looks dramatic, but feels wonderfully calming to plunge into. The water is the perfect temperature, too, even after a session in the warm bubbly jacuzzi – no need to assume the brace position before taking a dip!
The heat treatment rooms are lovely and there are separate facilities for men and women, which might appeal if you prefer your sauna to be a hairy-back-free zone! And there’s a great vitality pool for pummelling away those muscle knots.
The spa is a decent size, and while it might you take all day to grasp the lay of the land (ok, just me and my apalling sense of direction then!), it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly large, and none of the facilities feel overcrowded, even on a Saturday – no rowdy hen parties in sight either, which is a big tick from me!
The spa had a £300,000 overhaul last year, which included improvements to the fitness facilities and a brand new treatment offering. There are 18 treatment rooms and 32 treatments on the menu, using high-end skincare products from brands like ESPA, Natura Bissé and Oskia, and include a selection specifically for teens, and others designed for those living with cancer. There’s even a virtual reality massage!
I decided to stay in the real world and opt for a heavenly 1hour 50 minute Oskia luxury face and body treatment – yep nearly two whole hours of pampering – indulgent, moi?!
Now, I have a confession to make, I’m not the biggest fan of spa massages – I find them a bit soft, and desperately try to resist the urge to drift off (I mean, what’s the point if I don’t remember it?). But, this one was a revelation – when I asked my therapist, Katie, to apply extra pressure and specifically to focus on my tight shoulders (that’ll be the hours spent hunched over my laptop!) she performed some kind of massage miracle.
Using an Oskia Rose de Mai treatment candle – burning it produces a scented and pre-warmed massage oil which can be used directly on the skin – and a combination of rolling, smoothing and kneading my taught body in a firm but not painful way, eased out months’ worth of built-up tension. And the best bit was that there was more to come…
Katie plied my face with layer upon layer of quenching and deliciously scented Oskia cleansers, serums and balms, including a gel-like mask which transforms into a white cream when applied and honestly smelt good enough to eat.
I floated out of the room oozing radiance from every pore (or at least that’s how I felt, which is the most important thing, right?!)
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Individuals, couples or mums and daughters looking for a high quality spa experience outside of London.
Not for: Big groups. Somehow it doesn’t feel like it would be fair on other guests to descend en masse and disrupt the lovely tranquility of the place.
££: Spa days start from £165, and overnight breaks start from £240, which includes an overnight stay, a 55-minute treatment, access to the Walled Garden and a three course dinner, followed by breakfast in bed the following morning. My treatment cost £180.
The Sequoia Spa at The Grove hotel, Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire, WD3 4TG