When Product Manager Danielle visited the historic Essex based hotel with its boutique spa, she pronounced: “I haven’t been that impressed by a spa process in a long time. It’s only a small spa but you get an intimate feel throughout it.” Here’s what she had to say…
“I haven’t been that impressed by a spa process in a long time.”
On a spa day, when you first arrive at the hotel, a building that dates back to 1322 and retains its sense of grandeur with Italianate details, you get a warm welcome from the start. Then, after filling in your consultation form, you’re shown around by the team so you can relax in the Eden Spa environment.
Because of the small scale of the spa, they have a spa host who looks after you throughout the day – a feature which wouldn’t work in larger venues but is a beautiful touch at Down Hall Hotel and Spa. The spa host checks whether you need drinks, brings tea at the perfect point in the day when you want it, and is acutely aware of your needs which makes the experience really luxurious.
The treatments are a huge part of the Eden Spa experience. Therapists take the time to really talk you through the process and check what your skin does or doesn’t need. Where some places treat the consultation form like a formality at Down Hall Hotel and Spa they really use it to inform your treatment and as a result it was amazing.
“Therapists take the time to really talk you through the process…”
I had an Express Facial and while the mask was setting my therapist prepared a daily routine that she would recommend for me based on my skin type my concerns. She recommended make-up to avoid and ingredients to look out for so it didn’t feel as though she was specifically pushing me to buy their ESPA products, but rather making me aware of what would work for me. Overall, it really felt like I was being personally cared for rather than being on a conveyor belt.
After our treatments we went for a wander around the grounds which include landscaped gardens and parkland. For those staying for lunch there’s a picnic area and the hotel can organise a picnic box and blanket for you if you wish.
For meals you go into the main hotel and this is where we had afternoon tea. The hotel is very grand – the lounge for example has enormous fires and big cosy chairs. I have been in the winter as well, when every fire was lit surrounded by tapestries on the walls, and it was snowing outside. There’s such a contrast between the hotel and the small modern spa but it really works.
“We had the Down Wimbledon Tea which included strawberry tarts”
As the hotel and spa are in separate buildings you do get dressed again rather than staying in your robe and slippers, and afternoon teas are beautifully crafted. As we were visiting in the summer we had the Down Wimbledon Tea which included strawberry tarts, vanilla battenberg cakes and a white chocolate cheesecake with a Pimms jelly, which was amazing. I was so full by that point I could barely eat it!
Overall I would say that Down Hall Hotel and Spa is definitely a spa mother/daughter breaks or for couples, but less so for groups because of the size. It would also be lovely to visit with a friend if you’re looking for quality time together.
– You don’t need a full day here – we got there at 12 and had treatments at 1.30pm – a couple of hours there is perfect.
– When weather is nice, spend some time outside and definitely have a wander. In the grounds there’s a big chess board and a fountain and lakes to explore.
– For a romantic break book an overnight stay – the rooms are grand and the grounds are charming. You can have a four-poster bed and really luxuriate in the old school charm of it all.