Wiltshire probably isn’t the first place you would expect to find a brand based on ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicines and yogic principles, but that is exactly what Bowood Hotel and Spa specializes in … Editor Bonnie Friend went along to test the merchandise …
I have always been a great fan of the Cotswolds – frankly, who wouldn’t be, it’s all Harry Potter houses, and Jilly Cooper landscapes as far as the eye can see … and Bowood fits in perfectly with it’s regal, arched entrance and winding, wooded driveway leading you through the golf course to a hotel which in terms of exterior design is part Spanish villa and part sandy coloured Cotswold stone.
In the grounds of the Bowood estate – the eighteenth century dwelling of the ninth Marquis of Lansdowne, the Bowood Hotel and Spa has only been in existence for three years, and it shows: it is very new, but has been elegantly placed into its setting – surrounded by carefully planted gardens. Inside it combines a modern palette of greys and jewel tones with the grandeur of huge swathes of fabric and enormous pelmets. Space is a big thing here – everything feels very open – and the rooms are no exception – even a standard room has high ceilings, and lots of natural light.
What the spa lacks in size it makes up for in understated elegance. There is a sauna and steam room, a café in the reception area which also extends outside in the summer months, and four treatment rooms – two of which are dual rooms for those wishing to share their downtime with a loved one. There is also of course a pool, Jacuzzi and a gym, neither of which you can mention without highlighting that they are in rooms almost entirely constructed of glass on at least two sides, which means that you swim, soak or cycle into the verdant green of the eighteen hole golf course outside – it is really quite beautiful. The particularly special thing about Bowood’s spa however is their approach to their treatments: using the Sundari range created by Christy Turlington, all treatments start with a Dosha consultation form to ascertain which personality type you are – Vata, Pitta or Katha – which essentially has to do with whether you have dry skin, oily skin or combination skin. The products used in your treatments are then ascertained from there, and the theme continues throughout your day.
Continuing the Dosha theme, lunch at the spa comes in the form of a Dosha box which contains salads, Naan bread and a protein that compliments your aforementioned personality type: for example, those with dry skin will be given salmon which is rich in omega oils. Suffice to say this isn’t school, if you prefer the sound of one of the other Dosha boxes you are free to have that instead. Spa meals are served in the café-come-reception area or outside on a suntrap terrace if the weather permits it – either way you needn’t change out of your robe and slippers. There is also a café menu with everything from sandwiches and cakes to more substantial main courses, and when it comes to other meals there is an extremely elegant, formal restaurant in the hotel next to the bar – views, naturally are of the golf course, which has its own brasserie in the club house.
The hotel and spa are surrounded by woodland and an eighteen hole golf course, which, even on a particularly grey Thursday afternoon was pretty awe inspiring, so – wise to one of their great assets, the hotel and spa go to great lengths to enjoy the views at every opportunity. Of course, you don’t get this kind of seclusion without a little bit of a journey, and Bowood is definitely one to access by car – it’s not too far from Bristol and Bath, but is a good 25 minute drive from the M4.
Bowood strikes an unusual balance between being contemporary and stately. The treatments here are particularly special – the reason being that the products are plant based and organic, and the theme that runs through from facial to food is the sort of attention to detail that makes you feel truly pampered.
– If the weather is nice have a stroll around the grounds … or if you are feeling really adventurous a jog – one of the personal trainers is sure to be able to assist you!
– Drive … it’s as though the venue has a sound barrier between it and the rest of the world … it does … and it’s several miles in radius.
– Take some time to enjoy your post treatment Sandari tea and listen to the therapist’s suggestions for your skin – one of the great things about this type of treatment is that they are quite prescriptive, so if you have been having any skin problems, now is a nice opportunity to get some professional advice.
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