If your looking for impressive and unquestionable grandeur then The Grove is the place for you. It starts from when you turn into the Grounds. The gate way winds it’s way up to the main house, but first taking you over an original single lane bridge (which has its own mini traffic light) crossing over a brook which then leads up to The Grove’s World renowned Golf Course. With slight trepidation as i drive past a man just about to take a swing I pray that he is a million times better than I, or I will have a very angry fiance who let me drive his new baby up here.
I drove onwards up to the beautiful manor house, now a hotel, health club, spa and convention rooms. They have made very effective use of space with over 200 rooms they have managed not to scrimp on space even in the most basic rooms. Ours looked out onto the house grounds which was Classic English Garden beautiful.
With a bed big enough for three, we wished we had of taken the opportunity of this Dog Friendly Hotel and brought along the Budster. Not only are they dog friendly but they also offer a Dog sitting Service! And after really knowing what having a dog with separation anxiety is like, this service is a god send! Fortunately Buddy’s favourite sitter was available so he had a whale of a night being spoiled rotten at home.
THE GLASSHOUSE RESTAURANT
I must admit not having the little one around meant we fully”kicked the *** out of the buffet”!(The boys term not mine)
Now usually when I hear ‘Buffet’ I think carb City Chinese food. The Glasshouse restaurant buffet dinner was no where near that. With chefs at several different stations waiting to cook up your chosen delights, it was heaven! We moved from the sushi station to roasts, dipped into stir frys, sliced off frittatas and even pick’n’mixed our stir fry.
With a minute to spare watching my chosen ingredients being tossed into the air and stirred around I got chatting to the Chef who along with the receptionist, Waitress, Spa Tour guide, Gym trainer and pool life guard, all, had been working for The Grove for a fair few years.
After personally having first hand experience of working in a high end Health Club and only knowing staff long enough to catch their first name due to money obsessed owners and uncomfortable work conditions, its always nice to know that some institutions despite growing and clearly gaining the status they desire, still know how to value their staff enough that they chose not to leave.That it really is a joy to come to work. “The Grove is at the top of it’s game why would I want to leave”. Something within that personally enabled me to relax that little iota more. So extra brownie point scored for The Grove.
Oh and I must recommend the French Berry Fizz. An Exquisite champagne cocktail. Believe me when I say I spoke to these people before the cocktail.
Now this is all before I even get to tell you about our purpose for the visit. The Award Winning Spa!
THE FITNESS CENTRE & SPA
We were given a tour of the health club and Spa which was incredibly clean and calming. With a juice bar in the main entrance and then two private relaxation rooms for spa clients where fresh leaf tea’s, coffee fruit and nuts are complimentary The gym facilities are more than adequate. Fully equipped with the latest Technogym Visioweb equipment, Kinesis, ARKE and MyWellness Key System software for interactive exercise management. With resistance machines, free weights, cardio machines, stretching areas, bosu balls, bands, boxes, yoga blocks. I must admit I probably didn’t take it all in. I did my tabata sprints, a full body weights workout and then was rushing to get to try out the pool with black mosaic tiles and wooden beams. Next door to the gym you can advantage of complimentary classes in the Exercise Studio, from meditative yoga and Pilates to active circuit and aerobic sessions.
Ok you got me, it was really the sauna, steam and jacuzzi. All clean and up kept to a high standard.
Finally! I had one of the signature treatments.
The Orangery Experience
1hr 50 mins
Luxurious and utterly spoiling with the refreshing benefits of orange. This exquisite top to toe Natura Bissé ritual is designed to deeply nourish and firm the skin. Commencing with a fortifying foot bath, the body is exfoliated and then wrapped with an anti-oxidant mousse before being massaged with a warm bitter orange balm. The therapist then performs a facial which includes a face peel with citrus spheres, an anti-ageing contouring massage and bitter orange soufflé mask.
I must admit, that does pretty much describe it down to a t. The only thing it doesn’t is tell you that you have 2 showers within that time. Now for a novice like myself I wasn’t aware of this and when she explained the session to me I began to mentally complain. “I thought I was going to be lying there for almost 2hrs and getting to relax, well thats not relaxing showering twice!” I should learn to wait and see. I managed to fall asleep every chance I got. I had that embarrassing moment where I must have twitched myself awake during the massage and then again during the facial.
My therapist was lovely. Very attentive and aware of protecting my modesty. I find that very cute and professional but also amusing when I’ve decided to go to someone and pay for them to scrub down my whole body and massage me from head to toe and make it difficult for them by being protective of my parts. I guess in one sense it makes her day nicer not having to see lots of his and hers but it does still tickle my brain somewhat. She had to do the obligatory sales pitch of products at the end which I find undoes some of the relaxation she just worked so hard to produce but I know it’s not her choice to do so.
My partner got the:
1hr 50 mins
An indulgent ESPA body treatment to melt away tension and bring your body and mind back into harmonious balance. After skin brushing and exfoliation, the body is massaged using a personalised blend of aromatherapy oils combined with hot stones to soothe muscular stress. The treatment works on the vital energy points to re-balance the body and finishes with a deeply soothing scalp massage.
I have never seen him so relaxed. Ever!
The weather was unforunate so we didn’t get to take full advantage of all of the facilities or even just walk around one acre of the 300 available. Apparently during the summer a Walled Garden is opened with urban beach available ,which being only in Watford(up the road from us)or 18miles from Piccadilly is definitely on the cards. It also contains a 22m outdoor heated pool, vollyball court, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. Also after tasting the standard of their buffet I would be very keen to sample their finer dining restaurants, especially ‘Colette’s’ placed in the heart of the 18th century mansion.
Now I know Golf Fans are screaming that I haven’t sung the praises of the Championship course. Personally it wasn’t even on my radar(apart from on the drive up) and if when Queen Victoria was there inventing the weekend break and she wasn’t fussed on the Golf either then I’m safe.
Ok I’m not that selfish. (Begrudgingly) I have copied the blurb from the site
Golf at The Grove
We’re very proud of our championship golf course
The Grove is one of England’s finest luxury golf courses; we keep our greens in immaculate championship condition all year round. With no members, anyone can play making us one of the most welcoming.
Our 7,152 yard championship golf course was designed by the distinguished international course designer Kyle Philips, who combines modern game strategies with the great traditions of British golf course architecture.
THOSE WITH KIDS
Obviously something that was also no consideration to myself or my partner but I know useful for those out there with mini them. Child facilities. Children are allowed in the pool at set times. But don’t worry the rest of the hours that you want to use the facilities, Anouska’s Kids’ Club, graded outstanding by OFSTED, making The Grove parent and child-friendly.
My only gripes of the place are minimal. And definitely not a reason not to choose The Grove but could be useful for new spa owners to consider. The hair dryers are placed right outside of the sauna which makes it not the relaxing haven I personally expect. The decor along the corridors of the hotel rooms i don’t think works. It attempts to mix quirky with clean country house colours. I don’t think it works but there are some quirky pieces of art that amuse and bring out a smile.
The other is that ONE NIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH!!!!!