Friend, not enema – spa life the easy way

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Nicola Sturzaker takes a spa break at Grayshott and finds more gain than pain

For all the grandeur of a place like Grayshott, it’s not the impressive 19th century buildings, nor the impressive swimming pool and facilities, nor the luxurious rooms. All are great, far posher than I’m used to, don’t get me wrong about that, a real touch of class. But in a spa, where you have to share, and where you spend much of the time in your bathrobe and slippers, it’s the people that matter.

For Grayshott, for all its pretensions as a hotel, is a health spa, a place you come to improve yourself. Part of any (normal) person dreads the idea of portion control, of saunas, thumping massages, and a vague sense of disapproval, or being treated as being a little simple. A January break, indeed, has the potential for repentance. And all the luxury in the world doesn’t quite rid you of that feeling.



So the staff are the place’s biggest asset, and the risk of an ascetic, monkish weekend disappears as you put yourself in their tender hands. A warm welcome that feels genuine, rather than unctuous assuages the worries a little, but not nearly so much as a spa restaurant that, however discreetly, allows wine. It’s not on the list, but its quietly offered. It’s not that I crave alcohol, you understand, but a hotel without it just doesn’t feel right. I can can ease my guilt with the fact that it’s organic. Organic wine. So that’s all right then.



The food itself on that first night was excellent. My husband would have prodded it around looking for signs of pastry or bread-crumbed offerings, but for me, it was perfect. Hot and cold meat and fish, beautifully delivered vie with an array of salads for your attention Healthy, admittedly, but excellent, and colour coded on the buffet bar rather than portion controlled. You stay within the limits, but by choice. A very clever way of keeping us in check.



And so the tone was set the treatments were nicely balanced between the really very pleasant and the improving. The choice is slightly overwhelming on the first trip - two swimming pools (the outdoor one closed for winter, thankfully), jacuzzi, hydrotherapy shower, steam rooms (separated by gender, this isn’t Sweden, you know), a gym, weights room, exercise and relaxation classes (yoga, pilates, you get the idea). And thirty nine treatment rooms.



The trick, perhaps, is to get the balance between relaxation and exercise and, as I say, the key to that relaxation is the people. I had a massage - in many ‘spa’s, they come in two varieties: the real thing or a desultory, greasy back rub. This, I’m happy to say, was the real thing, a massage done with almost medical skill by a woman who knew what she was doing and made all the right conversation about which bit of my back need manipulation, and (unusually) why my stomach needed manipulation, but it was the personal warmth which lingered.



The next morning, after the sleep of the gods in the splendidly large and rather indulgent room, I felt energised enough for exercise, but rather than test out the gym facilities, it was on with the trainers and out to the spacious, well-kept grounds. The fresh air of the Surrey countryside has just the effect and creates the appetite for a hearty breakfast - more fruit and oats than eggs and bacon, but ideal for me (if not the husband).



And on to the acupuncture, slowly deflating the stress, bit by bit, before heading for the steam box, head poking comically out of the top as the toxins leached out of me. Three different treatments, all unwinding me, notches at a time. But you don’t have to take my random pick and mix approach. You can take specific packages which offer to de-stress, detox or relax you. Or you can take the a la carte menu and select a variety of treatment with the help of the friendly practitioners around you, perhaps to be discussed later over the fruit cocktails or mused over during the talks (more than a hint of the Improving-with-a-capital-I here).



The experience is, whoever you come with, rather solitary, you are concentrating on yourself. The staff are concentrating on you, its all, rather pleasingly, you, you, you. And your fellow guests are in the same comfortable fug, padding around in their robe and slippers, moving from elegant bedroom, to luxurious dining room, from fruity drink to champagne, from gym to massage. It’s a relaxation factory - and I’ll take the final product time and again.

For reservations, call 01428 602020 or visit www.grayshottspa.com

Nicola Sturzaker is an osteopath in Streatham, South London

www.streathamvillageosteopaths.com

Suggested Topics
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...