Pennyhill Park offers a perfect countryside escape in Surrey
Tempus checks into the country hotel and spa to find out why this 123-acre property is a cut above the rest
Living and working in the fast-paced city of London is truly exhilarating, but every now and then a weekend retreat is in order to reset and recharge. The beauty of the city is its close proximity to leafier counties such as Surrey and Buckinghamshire, and its more idyllic borders are just a short drive or train journey away.
After a busy couple of months, we decided to pay a visit to five-star hotel and spa Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. Home to the England rugby team’s training ground, and with a Michelin-star restaurant and impressive facilities on site, this luxury location had been well and truly on our radar when looking to escape the city for a relaxing weekend getaway.
Arriving at the entrance a drive down the leafy, winding road to the main building will quickly give you an idea of the scale of this vast estate. Part of the Exclusive Hotel Group, Pennyhill Park is set across 123 acres of countryside that feature tennis courts, the aforementioned rugby training grounds, as well as a nine hole golf course for those who fancy a round, and guests can indulge in outdoor pursuits such archery, pistol shooting, and croquet should they want to.
With such credentials it’s no surprise that the 5-star country estate has attracted A-list guests such as Big Little Lies star Nicole Kidman and 007 himself, Daniel Craig. Once we made it to reception, we were escorted to our room - the room itself was lovely and had everything you needed, but the bathroom was the truly standout feature. We had requested to stay at in the ‘Acacia’ junior plush suite because of its unique horizontal shower, and it did not disappoint. As well as a separate bath, the horizontal shower is any spa lover’s dream, with set programmes offering you a variety of water massages. >>
Once we’d gotten over the novelty of our shower, we decided to hit up Pennyhill Park’s eight pools. The indoor ballroom pool is the perfect temperature for an afternoon swim, and the underwater music is a unique and relaxing experience. For me, the standout features of the spa were the the soothing gel beds (believe me, you could easily fall asleep on them), the indoor-to-outdoor heated hydrotherapy pool, and the heated ceramic beds in the tepidarium - the perfect place to unwind with a book.
For a truly relaxing stay, I would advise visiting outside of peak seasons, as the spa with its outdoor pool can get a little crowded in the warmer months for example, and its beautiful surroundings and facilities means Pennyhill Park is a go-to wedding venue.
Thankfully we had booked our dinner reservation in advance, and to avoid disappointment I would highly recommend following suit as both Michelin star The Latymer and the site’s other restaurant, The Brasserie, were fully booked during our stay and there are not many other dining options nearby.
We opted to dine at The Brasserie instead of The Latymer, and the experience was an absolute delight from start to finish - with modern decor, a relaxed air, and impeccable service throughout. After being seated at a window table overlooking the grounds, we were promptly poured a crisp glass of champagne, while the waiter helped us to expertly select the correct wine pairings for our courses. >>
To start, I had the risotto with asparagus and ewes curd - perfectly cooked with a flavour that was rich, yet subtle. My dining partner opted for a classic pea and ham soup and the sharp touch of mint oil was a great addition. For the main courses, the chicken breast with black garlic, potato terrine, and asparagus (you can never have too much asparagus!) just melted in the mouth, and the generous rib-eye steak, cooked to the chef’s recommendation, was soft and full of flavour. There wasn’t much room for dessert but we just about managed to fit in a Madagascan chocolate mousse, the richness of which cut through perfectly by a refreshing pink raspberry pepper sorbet, and the English cheese board with grape crackers.
Breakfast the next day was a buffet style (with a made-to-order menu also if you preferred a particular dish such as Eggs Benedict) but it was packed with options - from a full English with all the trimmings to cereals, fruits, yoghurts, granolas, pastries and cakes, as well as your choice of coffees and teas.
Check out is at 11am, however guests can use the spa facilities until 2pm on the day they depart, so after handing in our key, we made our way to the spa to spend our final few hours there making use of the facilities we hadn’t yet tried - including the fully equipped gym which we had all to ourselves. Feeling refreshed and revitalised, we left Pennyhill Park behind with a much needed spring in our step and headed back to the city anew.