Mother and Daughter time is always a good idea. Not something we always remember to make time for and something we’re certainly guilty of taking for granted, it’s the perfect opportunity to laugh over lunch, quote lines from favourite films you’ve watched together a million times – ‘big mistake, big. HUGE! – and just generally glow from the pleasure of another woman’s company.
With this in mind I headed back to my home county of Kent, picked up my mama and checked in for a weekend of total relaxation at the newly refurbished Eastwell Manor.
Making our way down the tree-lined drive, excitement started to build. You can’t fail to be impressed by the huge grey Neo-Elizabethan manor house waiting for you at the end. Despite the fact it’s practically dripping in history, it’s recently been taken over by Champneys and with that came a major refurbishment at the end of last year. The result is lovingly restored period features, roaring fireplaces and sweeping staircases.
The grandeur continues in the bedrooms. We were in the newly spruced up Robert Curtoys room which was HUGE! Big enough to comfortably house a king-size bed, sofa AND chaise lounge (with plenty more room besides for dancing around in your gowns), it had what felt like triple height ceilings and views of the beautiful landscaped gardens from the latticed windows. You’ll have a selection of fruit to feast on, as well as a Nespresso machine tucked away in the wardrobe.
Keen to explore the spa, we dumped our bags (whilst eyeing up the kind hamper left for us, full of local Kent produce) and made our way over to the Champneys add on, just a short walk away.
Ok, I’ll be honest – despite having never actually visited a Champneys before (they have ‘spa resorts’ in Forest Mere, Tring, Springs and Henlow but this is their only hotel & spa) I was expecting something a little run down. A little tired if you will – like me after taking on too much freelance work. Well, I’m pleased to say I was wrong, totally wrong.
What we found was a state of the art destination, complete with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, hydrotherapy pool, spacious treatment rooms and a spa restaurant. Even the changing rooms were gorgeous, decked out in marble and equipped with GHD’s and hair dryers. We were greeted by THE nicest receptionist (we didn’t catch her name, but honestly – total babe) who gave us a fresh gown, slippers and electronic bracelet for the lockers. This being a spa you’re encouraged to slip into your robe on arrival and there they’ll stay until you leave. You even eat lunch in them – which was fine by us.
We spent the rest of the day sipping freshly made smoothies and snoozing on the comfy double day beds which you could curtain off for added privacy.
As tempting as it is to spend all day in a spa coma, it would be a shame to miss the complimentary classes available. We took things easy and finished our day with a gentle stretch and relax class which incorporated all of the easy bits from your yoga class. Child’s pose anyone?
The only thing that dragged us away is the thought of a pre-dinner glass of champagne in the bar (try and nab a seat in front of the fire if you can!).
The Manor Restaurant is open to guests and residents alike and was totally full the night we dined, adding to the atmosphere. Awarded two AA Rosettes, the extensive menu features local, seasonal ingredients with a focus on traditional British dishes. We started with butternut squash soup with Burrata and savoury granola before sharing the cote de boeuf with fat chips and béarnaise sauce. With just enough room for dessert we finished with a picture perfect plate of passionfruit and white chocolate. The only thing to drink whilst you’re here is Chapel Down wine – from a vineyard just down the road, this English vino has won many awards over the years.
That night we slept like babies – it could have been the oh-so-comfy beds, or the wine I suppose.
Feeling fully refreshed, we headed back downstairs to the Manor Restaurant for our continental breakfast (included in your room rate), where we found the sun streaming through the beautiful windows.
We helped ourselves to rainbow platters of fresh fruit, pastries and yoghurts before racing back over to the spa for yet more downtime. I was treated to a Spa Heaven Cocoon which basically consisted of stripping down to disposable pants and being scrubbed from head to toe until I resembled a shiny conker. I got a choice of ‘smells’ and would recommend the Citrus Blush which is used in the changing rooms and I felt was the most ‘premium spa-like’. With particular attention to my feet and head, I think I’d still prefer a full body massage but there was no doubt the therapists hands had real purpose and left me feeling thoroughly looked after. My mum tried out the Collagen Gold Facial and did indeed look a bit more sparkly after her 50 minutes of bliss. Not yet ready to join the real world we hung out in the cosy relaxation rooms which have beds, magazines and fireplaces.
Before leaving we checked out the spa restaurant where we feasted on decadent beef short rib and beautifully cooked chicken breast dusted with pistachios alongside tender greens. Don’t be deceived by the fact this is the spa restaurant – it’s every bit as good as the main one. Tiramisu with berries and figs was the icing on the cake.
Despite only staying the one night, a stay at Eastwell Manor feels that little bit longer as you’re welcome to use the spa on the day of your departure, long after you’ve checked out.
We reckon the colder months are an ideal time to visit (you won’t want to leave the toasty spa!) but there are also chairs spilling out onto the grounds which will be lovely when the sun is shining.
Eastwell Manor’s location is TOTALLY ideal for me – living in east London means I can jump on the high-speed train at Stratford International and arrive 30 minutes later. 30 MINUTES! I will never stop being impressed by that. Anyway, I’ll end by saying, we are our mothers. They might drive you mad at times (I’m sure that’s reciprocal – patience isn’t a virtue I possess), but you absolutely wouldn’t have them any other way. Book that Mother/Daughter break now – you won’t regret it.