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Royals in residence: the historic spas with regal histories

With a new royal baby soon to arrive it made us think about the very regal history of relaxation in the UK.  From grand, historic country house hotels to intimate inns, the royal family have a long tradition of staying in beautiful locations across the country, including some of our most beautiful spa hotels.

Queen Elizabeth I at Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa, Sussex

This warm and welcoming inn and spa hotel hosted Elizabeth I in 1591.It is an event that has been commemorated in the naming of their Queen’s Suite. Complete with a four-poster bed, Tudor Rose embroidery and an intact 15th century wig closet, it’s a superbly characterful and romantic suite that references the past.  Also getting in on the act however have been a number of other famous, and infamous, historic figures including Guy Fawkes.

Book a spa break at Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa

George I at Cliveden, Berkshire

The very location where the Duchess of Sussex spent the night before her wedding, Cliveden is no stranger to hosting royalty across the ages. Accommodating almost every monarch since George I, Cliveden really looks the part when it comes to royal retreats.  A favourite amongst the literary elite as well, George Bernard Shaw was a well known fan of the restaurant. Cementing the spa hotel’s status amongst the high and mighty however, it has played host and home to American ‘royalty’ over time. Nancy Astor was a resident whom spa treatments are named after today. Meanwhile, marking it out as a true retreat of the rich and famous, it has also been the backdrop to its own fair share of social scandal. In particular, it’s known for its association with the Profumo Affair in the 1960s.


Queen Victoria at The Grove, Hertfordshire

Partying like it’s 1846, The Grove once played host to the house parties of the longest reigning monarch before our own Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria. Other house guests included Edward VII, Horace Walpole and Lord Palmerston. Its location within easy access of London made The Grove the ideal destination for a weekend jaunt. On that note, not much has changed then really. Today it’s still a favourite playground for the rich and famous with golf, spa and superb food amongst its prized features.

Book a spa break at The Grove

Edward VI at Hilton London Syon Park, Middlesex

On an estate frequented by Catherine of Aragon, next to a house built by the child-king Edward VI, then given to the Duke of Northumberland’s family by Elizabeth I, the Hilton hotel is a contemporary extension of a longstanding luxurious tradition. These days, the history-changing family feuds are kept to a minimum, and while you might not inherit the kingdom along with the house, hotel guests enjoy access to the awe inspiring gardens of the estate when they visit.


Henry VIII at Manor House Hotel, County Durham

A former hunting lodge that catered to the most demanding of kings, the boutique hotel spa retains many of its original architectural features and cosy style.  That includes the Knight’s Hall - an event space decked with panelled walls and latticed windows.  Today the spa hotel is less about hunting and more about chilling out.  However, never one to be forgotten, the indomitable king is ever present, these days in the form a replica of his regalia in the reception area of the hotel.


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