Sunday, 18 November 2018

Review of Grayshott Spa, Surrey

Read my honest and full review of Grayshott Spa if you are seeking a retreat from the hustle & bustle of life, combined with a focus on health and well-being.


Grayshott Spa Facilities

I'll start with the swimming pool facilities as this is always an important aspect for me when choosing a spa. Grayshott has both an indoor pool and a seasonal (Apr-Sept) outdoor pool too. The indoor pool is in a conservatory that looks out onto the outdoor pool, the golf course and (unfortunately) the back of the unattractive bedroom extension.

Grayshott Spa Ladies Changing Area
Rather strangely, the spa changing rooms are not adjacent to the pool area, so you have to get changed into your swimwear and then take a short walk down a bedroom corridor. To access the pool, you need to be able to walk down a short flight of stairs. As Grayshott Spa offers stays for those needing to recuperate and/ or rehabilitate, it has installed a lift to the pool area, however this was out of order during my visit.

Within the pool area, there is also a hydrotherapy pool area, consisting of Jacuzzi-style seated area and a neck-message Jet. The hydrotherapy pool is a leisure facility, you do not need to book a treatment to use it and it is unsupervised. The swimming pool itself is (just) long enough to swim lengths in but a serious swimmer would probably be disappointed (it's 12mtrs long x 7mts wide/ 39ft x 23ft), especially as it is quite shallow (0.9m to 1.3m / 3ft to 4.3ft). The outside pool is a similar size. When I visited, the fitness class programme included a 30 min Aqua fitness class once a day (see below).


Grayshott Spa Suana & Spa Area
Away from the pool area, and back closer to the changing rooms, there are separate male and female spa facilities including a relaxation room (pictured top), steam & sauna rooms. The showers are also here (again, strangely not in the changing area) and they were the weakest showers I have ever known, it was like trying to wash your hair in drizzle.

Grayshott Gym & Sports Facilities

The gym area at Grayshott provides the usual array of aerobic exercise machines (treadmills, bikes, cross trainers, vibro-plates etc) and a weights area.  You can usually find yourself the sole visitor in the gym and I never had a problem of having to queue or wait for the machine I waned to use, especially during week days.

There is a compact but light and airy Fitness Studio which is where both fitness and more holistic classes are held.  Classes are mainly aimed at the averagely fit and there are between 7-10 fitness classes per day such as:

  • Walks (Gentle 30mins, Power 45mins, Grayshott 45mins) 
  • Aqua Fitness (in the pool, 30mins)
  • Total Body Conditioning (45 mins)
  • Flex & Stretch (30mins)
  • Relax & Unwind (45mins)
  • Leg, Bums & Tums (45mins)
  • Circuit Training (45mins)
  • Absolute Abs  (25mins)
and some classes attract a small £6 charge:
  • Pilates Mat (60mins)
  • Tai Chi (60mins)
  • Yoga (60mins)
  • Zumba (60mins)

There is also a 9 hole par 3 golf course and tennis courts

Finally, Grayshott itself is set in 47 acres of lovely woods and gardens in which to stroll or just relax in the sunshine.

Guest Talks & Entertainment

There are daily talks on health related subjects given by qualified and knowledgeable members of staff. Also, Grayshott Spa has its own dedicated cinema room with a film shown every evening.


Spa Treatments

Grayshott's focus on recuperation is reflected in the treatments available, with a selection of healing/rehabilitation, nutritional and mindfulness treatments offered in addition to the usual body message and facial options. The therapists are experienced, helpful, caring and professional. There are 36 treatment rooms and most breaks include a selection of inclusive treatments, but promotional offers may
Grayshott Spa Refreshment Area
not include treatments or they may be a shorter duration. However, I was disappointed that despite booking in my treatment well in advance, my time request was not met and I had a male therapist for one treatment when I had specified only female therapists.

You wait for treatments in a lovely little refreshment area, which offers a help-yourself selection of teas and fresh fruit and is very social venue.


Health Regime (Digestive Care)

One of the unique features of Grayshott Spa is its focus on providing care of the digestive system, which Grayshott believes is central to health and well-being. It offers a 7-day health and maintenance programme designed to improve your digestive function, combining relaxation, nutrition and therapeutic treatments during your stay with an educational programme  and post-departure support to allow you to maintain the programme once you leave.

Dining & Food

I've said before, there is a common misconception that Spa dining can be slender pickings and I'm always happy to correct that mistake, as this is just not the case. The food at Grayshott will not leave you feeling deprived in the slightest, with plenty of choices of healthy, interesting dishes.

The arrangement for breakfast and lunch is buffet-style, and you can eat as much or as little as you like.  Dinner is an à la carte, waiter-served meal.  The menu provides nutritional and dietary information such as guidance on fat content and suitability for specific dietary needs. 

For breakfast, there is an extensive choice of fruits, compots, cereals, breads, yogurts and juices.  

Your 3-course lunch starts with waiter-served soup of the day. The main meal is a selection of mainly cold dishes in a central buffet plus a hot dish such as poached salmon.  Whilst Grayshott promotes healthy eating and moderation, portion size and quantity is in the hands of the luncher, allowing for differing calories needs, especially if you are exercising heavily during your stay.

The evening meal is a three course, table d’hôte style meal. There is normally around 3 different choices for each course and the portions are "fine-dining"-sized.

A rather lovely feature of a stay at Grayshott is the nightly gathering of guests for canapés and non-alcoholic mocktails in the Drawing Room before dinner each evening. 

Accommodation

There are a total of 59 suites and standard rooms at Grayshott Spa, which compare in size, style and facilities to a modern four-star hotel.  Mainly, the rooms face onto the gardens and the ground floor rooms have their own patio doors for direct access to the grounds (there is a daily premium to pay for a ground floor room during the summer months, which was £25 per night at time of writing).

For those travelling alone, there are single standard rooms available upstairs. You will still pay a (small) premium for occupancy of a single room vs twin occupancy of a double room, although it is lower than the premium for solo occupancy of a double room. If you like to have a long soak in a hot bath after a day of exercising, then it is worth noting that standard rooms (single or double) come with a shower room rather than a bathroom.

There are also Junior Suites available which additionally provide air-conditioning, a lounge area and bathroom with separate bath and shower.  There are eight Manor House Suites situated in the Manor House, and are luxuriously decorated with plenty of room to relax. The Tennyson Suite is situated in the Manor House which can comfortably accommodate up to 4 guests for a stay.

Beware the 7.5% Service Charge

You need to be aware that in addition to the advertised tariff for your stay, you will also find a 7.5% "service charge" added to your bill on departure for staff gratuities, supervised walks, talks, inclusive beverages, basic WI-FI, sports equipment and entertainment. I think that this is completely disingenuous and I am not impressed at all with this approach. When staying at a health spa, I certainly expect it to have sports equipment, supervised walks, talks and entertainment. These are part of what distinguish a destination spa from a hotel with spa, and should not be charged for separately.

Single Traveller or Staying with Company?

A break at Grayshott is a great option for anyone holidaying alone. If you are staying on your own, you can choose (but are not compelled) to join a shared table at lunch and dinner for those who want to socialise, and which you can dip in and out of as your fancy takes you.  It also appeared to me during my stay that, whilst the guests are largely female (which always seems to be the case at destination spas), there were more men staying at Grayshott for a spa break.

If your stay at Grayshott is for their Health Regime Package, you will also have the opportunity to participate in joint classes and/or talks with other guests on the same break as yourself. 

With Grayshott Spa's emphasis on recuperation, it is not surprising that its clientele is at the more mature end of the age spectrum. It is a peaceful, restful and considerate location, and you may (or may not) be relieved to learn that it is certainly not the place to go for "riotous girly get-together or hen weekend!"


Conclusion

I certainly enjoyed my stay at Grayshott Spa. I cannot personally speak to the effectiveness of the Health Regime as I did not stay on that regime. The staff were knowledgeable, attentive and courteousGrayshott Spa itself is quiet, relaxing and comfortable, and it is not over-crowded with large numbers of day guests.

The package prices at Grayshott are towards the higher end of spa breaks within the UK. In my view, this price premium is NOT for a better facilities within the spa (certainly the facilities were either on-par or slightly inferior to other larger UK spas that I've visited). Nor is the price premium for super-luxurious surroundings or accomodation (it's more equivalent to a well-maintained 4-star period hotel not a ultra luxurious 5-6 star hotel). Rather, I think that Grayshott Spa would justify its price premium for its well-trained, expert staff and its uncrowded, calm and restful atmosphere.  

You will enjoy a stay at Grayshott Spa if you are seeking a retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, possibly also combined with a focus on health and well-being.

NB:  This is not a sponsored post, I stayed at Grayshott Hall at my own expense.

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