Coworth Park, Berkshire SPA REVIEW
Melissa de Carteret Meets The Dorchester’s Stylish Country Cousin and Eco-Luxury Spa …
A gentle canter from Ascot, The Dorchester’s rural outpost is not only contemporary, sophisticated, and quirky in a uniquely British way, it’s also one of the UK’s most ground-breaking environmentally friendly hotels, using carbon-neutral fuel from sustainable willow grown on the 240-acre estate.
Nestling neatly into the landscape and overlooking a sublime wildflower meadow, the crescent-shaped, glass-fronted spa is a short stroll or chauffeur-driven electric buggy ride from the Georgian manor house. Constructed from timber and lime hemp, it’s heated and cooled by miles of underground pipes or ‘slinkys’, while the sedum ‘living roof’ is planted with aromatic herbs for use in treatments.
Inside, the spa is crisp, clean-lined and creamy white. Swathes of natural materials like smoked oak and stone, and works of art by up-and-coming British artists give it a warm, therapeutic feel. The eight treatment rooms, stylish Relaxation Room (stocked with lashings of lemon-and-lime and cucumber-and-mint iced water, home-made biscuits, and glamorous coffee table books) and healthy-eating Spatisserie are on the ground floor, while downstairs there’s a small gym and 18m pool (unusually, without child restrictions). Presided over by calm-inducing amethyst geodes, it glows lilac by day with underwater music.
Each treatment room is named after a herb. I’m in Basil, a spacious room with two skylights that more than compensate for its lack of windows. As Coworth is the first spa in the world to offer Dr. Alkaitis facials (alongside Aromatherapy Associates, Carol Joy London, and Kerstin Florian), I’m eager to try the 80-minute two-mask Organic Skin Food Facial (£120). The exfoliating enzyme mask-come-smoothie is packed with oxidant-busting strawberries, blueberries and oats, mixed from powder with fresh honey. It smells divine and is literally good enough to eat, Dr. Alkaitis products being renowned for their reassuringly 100% organic and food-grade ingredients.
The ‘lifting’ massage is where I really start to feel the benefits. Not only is it deliciously soporific (I actually nod off – unheard of for me), acupressure is used to help tone the muscles and plump up the skin, a wonderfully relaxing ritual of delicate fingertip ‘taps’. The second mask targets redness, followed by a rhythmical, flowing décolleté massage. It’s easily the most effective and relaxing facial I have experienced, due also to Ahisha’s skill and attention to detail, and my sensitive, rosacea-prone skin is no walkover. When I look in the mirror, my skin is hydrated and clear, the redness all but gone. I look undeniably more rested and, dare I say it, younger. Best of all, the effects last for days. Even my husband notices.
Coworth Park, London Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE
Tel: 01344 876600