Luxury Spa Lounging At The Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

5-star spa decadence in the heart of Oxford

Macdonald Randolph Hotel Oxford

There really is nothing more invigorating than an indulgent spa weekend. From soft, fluffy bathrobes to soothing steam rooms, a weekend escape of lavish spa lounging is the perfect tonic to a busy, stressful week. And when those pesky blues start to kick in, a relaxing facial or heavenly massage is sometimes all we need to get back on top of things. What better way to indulgently relax and unwind than with some sensual spa time?

What’s the hotel like?

Offering a touch of 5-star decadence, the Macdonald Randolph ticks many a spa weekend checklist. Located in the heart of Oxford’s charming city centre, the Randolph’s towering landmark building is steeped in history. Boasting beautiful architecture with ancient brickwork, the hotel is oozing with charm and elegance. From the luxurious wooden-clad lobby and winding staircase to the sumptuously decorated Morse bar, the ambience provides the perfect backdrop for a wonderfully tranquil getaway.

Randolph hotel Morse bar

The spa

Tucked away from the main area of the hotel, the Randolph’s spa is an intimate oasis. Tranquil and deliciously calming, the walls of the spa are dark and sultry with softly lit, glimmering lanterns paving the way through the cavernous walkway. At the end of the passageway there are steam rooms and saunas, as well as a hydrotherapy Jacuzzi to sit and swelter amidst effervescing bubbles. 

The scented sensation shower is a lovely treat, and – if you’re feeling brave – there’s an ice setting that will boldly awaken the senses following a hot sauna session. There is also a small gym available if you fancy a more energetic workout.

Macdonald Randolph Hotel Spa Oxford

The treatments

The spa boasts a generous selection of treatments, including detoxing facials, pedicures and massages. With my back tangled in knots, I opt for the Macdonald Signature Treatment, which combines a deep tissue massage, anti-ageing facial and nourishing foot treatment.

The gorgeous 90-minute treatment begins with a tension-relieving back massage. Having slept awkwardly the night before, the top of my back is uncomfortably sore. The vigorous strokes applied to my back and neck work wonders on the tight knots in my body. Concentrating on the problem areas for the most part of the 30-minute session, my therapist slathers layers of scented Elemis lotions onto my skin. Gentle piano music softly chimes in the background, as I drift into a deeply relaxed state.

Macdonald Randolph Spa Treatment

I can’t wait for a boosting facial to transform my skin from dull and lifeless skin into radiant and gorgeous. I snuggle underneath a cosy fur throw as the cushioned massage bed starts to radiate warmth beneath me. My therapist gently removes my make-up, then massages scented Elemis products into my skin. My skin feels energised and silky smooth after an exfoliation treatment, and the rehydrating lotion plumps my skin with added moisture.

The final element of the treatment is a heavenly foot massage. The bottoms of my feet are lightly doused in soft trickling water, and a gentle scrub removes the winter build up of hard skin. Using a fragranced lotion, she works her fingers into the balls of my feet as I ease into a blissful state of serenity.

Food and drink

The three AA Rosette restaurant serves up mouthwatering British-inspired cuisine. From succulent Scottish smoked salmon to rich braised pheasant, the hotel’s ecclectic menu has a great variety of choices. The towering cheese trolley made a particular impression – creamy, soft and ripe cheese paired with a robust dessert port left a delightful, lingering aroma on the palette. Delicious!

Macdonald Randolph hotel dining room

How much does it cost?

A classic room in the Randolph starts from £146 per room, based on two people sharing. This includes breakfast in the restaurant. Car parking is available upon request and costs £28.50 (recommended to pre-book in advance), but the hotel is located within walking distance of Oxford train station, or a very short taxi journey.

The Elemis Signature Face & Body treatment costs £84 Mon-Thurs, and £94 Fri-Sun. Spa break packages are also available. A Revitalise Spa Break costs from £378 per room for two people. This includes an overnight stay, dinner, breakfast and an hour long treatment each. Stay on a Sunday night and enjoy late check out and a glass of chilled Prosecco on arrival. Choose one 60-minute spa treatment per adult from Stress away muscle massage, Fruit active glow facial, Hot stones full body massage, Jessica deluxe manicure or Jessica deluxe pedicure.

To book or for more information visit macdonaldhotels.co.uk

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Relax at the Chewton Glen hotel spa: a luxurious, heavenly hideaway in the heart of the New Forest

Chewton Glen hotel spa - spa reviews - travels reviews - New ForestGrowing up in the New Forest I would expect the views of the countryside to become embedded in my memory, however it’s a pleasant surprise that each time I return, I am taken aback by the sheer beauty of this magical place. With vast stretches of untamed forest playing host to herds of wild horses, the New Forest truly is the perfect place to escape and unwind from the hustle of the city. Chewton Glen offers the charm of the New Forest, with that little bit of added luxury.

The hotel

Chewton Glen is a luxurious and quintessentially English country manor house, nestled in the forest. This magnificent building dates back to the 18th-century with much of the traditional, distinctive features remaining as part of the hotel’s design scheme. Think oversized, elegant white windows with cascading layers of rich, vibrant fabrics and pristine landscapes boasting beautiful flowers. There’s also a croquet lawn and a delightful stone terrace where you can look back and envisage a plethora of lords, ladies and other distinguished folk sharing a delightful afternoon tea.

ImageThe exterior is very much preserved in 18th century tradition, but inside has a surprisingly modern, and comforting feel. Still lavish in design, the décor is sultry, seductive and contemporary, combining old-school elegance with stylish modern furnishings. We relax in the lounge for an afternoon tipple and marvel at the grand wooden staircase, tall ceilings and open stone fireplaces, stylishly contrasted by bold striped sofas, mirrored wall features and sumptuous scarlet walls – always surrounded of course by those spectacular countryside views.

ImageThe rooms

Chewton Glen has a range of plush rooms and suites and an exclusive selection of romantic, secluded Treehouse retreats. Each room is laden with amenities – flatscreen TV, stereo, huge comfy beds, white fluffy dressing gowns and a generous collection of indulgent toiletries that are too tempting to leave untouched!

Chewton Glen suite - hotel spa reviews - New ForestOur suite is cosy, with a homely feel, and the décor is classic country with a modern twist. We also have a private terrace with breathtaking views of the hotel’s pristine lawns. A natural theme runs throughout, with a bold feature wall painted in a sumptuous deep mauve. Mirrors and artwork adorn the walls and upholstered armchairs are conveniently dotted around the room, ready to rest weary feet.

The bathroom is sleek and elegant with neutral mosaic tiles, a huge mirrored wall space and a separate oversized shower and deep bath to sink into after a hard day’s pampering at the spa.

Chewton Glen spa pool - hotel spa reviews - New Forest

The spa and treatments

With 10 treatment rooms, six hydrotherapy spa pools, an indoor and outdoor pool, among other pampering treats, it’s not hard to see why this award-winning winning spa is so popular.

To start, we sit and relax in the hydrotherapy pools for an hour. Each pool offers different treatments ranging from vibrant all-over body massages to localised pressure points of the body such as the neck or back, with deep, vigorous massage techniques that really loosen the muscles.  Afterwards, there’s just time to do a few lengths of the 17-metre indoor pool before lunch, in the spa.

It’s informal and buffet-style, with everyone tucking in in robes and slippers. Choose from a selection of sandwiches, paninis and salads from the à la carte menu or opt for the buffet selection which includes cooked meats and fish, quiches, jacket potatoes, fresh salads and tortilla wraps, as well as a couple of indulgent desserts. A buffet plate including dessert costs £20.

After lunch I have the signature Chewton Glen back, neck and shoulder massage. The therapist worked wonders by easing the tension in my upper back using vigorous pressure techniques. I felt pleasantly relaxed, even though the pressure was forceful, and felt the benefits almost immediately. My back was under much less strain and I found my flexibility had improved significantly. The nourishing essential oils left my back supple and my skin invigorated and beautifully soft. Visit www.chewtonglen.com/spa/spa-treatments for a full list of spa treatments.

How much does it cost?

Prices range from £295 for a standard room up to £1,580 for a top-end suite. For a full list of room prices visit www.chewtonglen.com/rooms. For a more secluded and nature-inspired stay, the elegant Treehouse suites start at £700, for a full list of options visit www.chewtonglen.com/tree-house-suites.

What else is there to do?

If you can drag yourself away from your robes and slippers, there’s a wealth of countryside pursuits to take advantage of, either organised by the hotel, or further afield. The hotel boasts tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a golf course and even clay pigeon shooting if that takes your fancy. Highcliffe-on-Sea is a beautiful, secluded beach just a short walk away from the grounds. Walking and mountain-biking trails within the New Forest are also a great way to explore the area, and directions are available from reception. See www.chewtonglen.com/hotel/activities for more information.

Getting there

Chewton Glen is located on the edge of the New Forest National Park and within easy reach of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Southampton. The hotel is about 90 miles from central London by car or 1 hour 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo. The closest train station is New Milton, which is just a five minute car journey to the hotel. Visit www.chewtonglen.com/hotel/hotel-directions where you can download driving directions to the hotel from London, Bristol, Bournemouth, Bath, Dover, Southampton and Portsmouth.

A blissful massage at the Thai Square Spa, Covent Garden

spa-treatment-rooms-thai-square-spa-london-spa-review-fashion-beauty-UyeN3J-med

If like me, you’ve been lucky enough to experience Thailand first hand, you’ll be only too familiar with the idyllic vision that comes to mind; crystal clear waters that glisten in the sunlight setting the backdrop to white sandy beaches surrounded by vibrant tropical plants and flowers. From the heart of the rainforests to the beautiful islands, Thailand really is a place that will remain a picture of paradise in your mind that you’ll want to revisit again and again.

Having spent a month travelling around the country myself, I wholeheartedly admit I’m a bit of a Thai-junkie. I love the food, the culture and of course the divine (if not sometimes slightly painful), traditional Thai massages. So if you’re looking for a treatment inspired by the traditions of Thailand, Thai Square Spa is the ideal spot to relax and unwind after a hard day at the office, or a serious day of shopping.

Located in the heart of trendy Covent Garden, Thai Square Spa is a tranquil retreat tucked away from the chaos of the square’s famous street performers and bustling shops. As I walk into the building I’m instantly transported into an oasis of calm, greeted by relaxing, soothing music and lavish décor. Towering, carved Buddhas lead the way through softly lit walkways of exposed brickwork, hanging copper lanterns and exotic lotus flowers.

There are seven treatment rooms, all offering a range of decadent massages, facials, beauty treatments and traditional ritual therapies that work to cleanse and restore the body’s natural balance. I opt for the Body Bliss Ritual massage that gently works to calm the nerves and relax the muscles using aromatic, sensual oils. A sublime massage focusing on relaxtion, but vigorous enough to gently work out any uncomfortable knots. An hour’s treatment left me supremely relaxed and my mind in a state of calm, with stress merely a distant memory.

After my massage I’m taken to the relaxation area where I’m given a refreshing jasmine tea to slowly savour whilst I prepare myself to step back into normality. With friendly staff, wonderful soothing treatments and a luxurious setting, this spa really is a treat that you won’t want to miss out on.

Thai Square Spa is at 25 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9HW. 020 7240 6090. For a full list of treatment options visit www.thaisquarespa.com/coventgarden