England: The Grove Golf Resort & Sequoia Spa
The Grove, located 15 miles NW of London, sits within 300 acres of glorious Hertfordshire countryside. Cassiobury Park, with it winding canals, locks and bridges borders the estate. As does Wippendell Wood, lush and dense with forest flora.
The Grove is comprised of the manor house, a contemporary wing, Sequoia Spa, and golf clubhouse. and event space. Standard rooms, suites, family rooms and dog friendly rooms are available.
The Glasshouse Restaurant serves buffet style, while the Stables has a table service. The Potting Shed, located beyond the walled garden, is a pop-up style restaurant and event space.
The hotel boasts the walled garden, tennis courts, outdoor pool, family-fun beach area, creche, and activities centre. Cycling, forest walks, and bird-watching make the most of the resorts natural woodlands.
The golf course is one of Britain's finest. It's hosted both the World Gold Championships and the British Masters.
The Sequoia Spa is also award-winning. They have a large treatment menu and 20 treatment rooms. The spacious changing rooms have adjacent single-sex heat rooms with sauna and steam. And with an treatment appointment, you have use of the facilities for the day. They have many packages available, as well as memberships. I wouldn't mind a spa membership!
The black-tile mosaic swimming pool is delicious. There is a jacuzzi in the pool area, and a separate vitality pool with various jacuzzi jets. An outdoor relaxation area is a great cooling off place sitting between the gym and the pool. As guests of the hotel, you are welcome to use the gym and spa pool and facilitates for the duration of your stay.
I enjoyed a wonderful signature Inner Calm massage. This massage includes a foot soak, scalp massage and hair treatment. The spa and hotel use luscious ESPA products. My package included the 55 minute treatment, but I extended my time to 120 minutes.
My daughter enjoyed a 120 minute Hot Stone massage. Massaging with heat and pressure from the stones opens up the back muscles and relieves tension. This is top-notched relaxation.
After our treatments, we enjoyed the spa heat and wet rooms, then made our way to the indoor pool and outdoor relaxation area.
I spotted two massage chairs in the gym lobby. After seeing the chair demonstrated on Netflix's Instant Hotel, I could not not have a go and I plopped myself into the chair.
Earlier that day, I expressed to my yoga instructor the need for a yoga chair that did all the stretching for you. Of course I pressed the button that said 'yoga stretch'.
Trapping me in the chair, it rotated horizontally and repositioned me into a rocket ship take-off position. The back roller then made it's way from my lower back to my upper torso. Arms and legs bound by the chair, the roller forced my torso into a less-than seductive back arch.
Of course, a finished gym class emptied into the lobby. Burley men discussing their workouts; ladies in lycra still pumped from killing it on the cycles. Me in a robe and swim suit, feet over head, legs akimbo, trapped in a monster massage chair. I should not be let out of the house.
On our final day, while my lovely daughter slept off her jet lag, I pulled on my lycra and hired a cycle at the activities centre. It took some time to find the centre, as it is in the woods, behind the creche, next to some construction. The cycle/walking path is a four miles circular. It winds through the resort's musical path then continues through Cassiobury Park.
The path runs aside canals- docked up with narrow boats, over bridges, and up and down woodland hills. I rode through a fairway, dodging golf balls, and down Lime Avenue.
In 1692, garden designer Moses Cook planted 296 lime trees along this promenade. Lime avenue overlooked Cassiobury House, home of the Earl of Sussex. The gardens and manor house, were lost to creditors then demolished in 1927.
Needless to say, with a map short on details and no service for Google Maps, my four mile bike ride in the woods turned into a six mile panic attack. Finally, after asking two joggers, a couple with an infant, and a woman on a horse for directions, I made my way out of the woods. Somehow, spin class has not improved my abilities to ride a bike uphill.
The Grove is a lovely place. It is beautifully decorated with good food, wonderful activities and a spa worth purchasing a membership for! Its great for a stop-over when traveling through England, and also a wonderful place to escape to when city life becomes too much. Driving time from Central London was about 90 minutes (non-peak, weekday).
www.thegrove.co.uk www.thegrove.co.uk/spa/ www.thegrove.co.uk/Golf
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