Sopwell House, The Cottonmill Spa & The Club
A hop and a skip from the market town of St Albans, and just 20 minutes by train from St Pancras, Sopwell House is a glorious Georgian country house hotel & spa, set in 12 acres of magical gardens. Once home to Lord Mountbatten, the house has played host to royalty and dignitaries since the 18th century. Nowadays the family-run abode is regularly graced by the England football team, who train nearby.
Even though the hotel has 128 rooms, the main house has an air of a boutique hotel. Flickering fires, plump sofas and floral displays create a snug and homely feel. Explore further you’ll find a cool cocktail bar, three excellent eateries and the hotel’s hottest new addition – a brand spanking new, 14 million-pound spa…
It’s important to note that there are two spa and wellness offerings here. There’s The Cottonmill Spa – a haven of fabulous facilities including a pool, steam and sauna cabins and a chic nail salon – beautifully complemented with a spa boutique, relaxation areas and a wonderful spa cafe.
But then you have The Club. If you’ve ever seen the ‘Spa’ episode of Frasier, you’ll know what I mean when I say you simply HAVE to get access to The Club…
The Club is three glorious floors of wellness heaven. Floor to ceiling windows welcome the outside in and stylish interiors ooze laid-back luxury. Every inch of space has been expertly executed (courtesy of renowned luxury spa designers Sparcstudio) to create a wow-factor.
Facilities at The Club are world-class and include a whole host of scented steam and sauna experiences, as well as an indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool. The spa garden (designed by gold medal-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show designer Ann-Marie Powell) is dotted with hidden hot tubs, refreshing rainforest showers and cosy fire pits.
As it’s a private members spa, The Club area is only accessible to members and those who book Club Spa Packages. I’d highly recommend upgrading to a Club package. You can take advantage of both spa areas, pop into The Pantry for lunch or afternoon tea, and spend the whole day (and evening, if you wish) indulging.
Spa product partners include Elemis, ESPA and Aromatherapy Associates and treatments range from anti-ageing facials to holistic massages and rituals. The spa also offers a men’s spa menu and dedicated pregnancy treatments.
The ESPA Quartz Poultice Massage is performed on a bed strewn with quartz sand and covered with silky sheets. An automatic massaging function allows both sides of your body to be massaged simultaneously. Skin is stimulated with warm quartz poultices – gently kneaded up and down the body. Circulation is increased and tense muscles soothed – leaving you feeling (physically and mentally) as light as a feather.
Après treatment there’s plenty of spots to relax – be it the Deep Relaxation Room, the Whispering Room or one of the outdoor pool-side loungers or cabanas.
Situated away from the house, the new Mews Suites are accessed through private gates and set in perfectly preened landscaped gardens. 16 suites and cottages are individually designed and each is named after plants, flowers and shrubs found in the gardens. Highlights include feature fireplaces, four-poster beds, private terraces and cedarwood spa baths.
Cottages and suites are spacious and styled in muted tones – duck egg blues and French greys, with the odd splash of colour. Bathrooms feature tubs and monsoon showers laden with Elemis products. Mews guests can take advantage of the exclusive communal garden area and soak the day away in a private hydro-pool.
The Pantry sits within the spa and offers a great selection of healthy salads and juices, as well as hearty pasta dishes and sweet treats. You can pop by in between treatments, and most guests dine in their robes.
In the evening you can choose between posh dining at The Restaurant – where you can chomp on lobster risotto and beetroot ravioli (they also offer a great dedicated vegan menu), and a friendly Italian sommelier is on hand if you’re partial to a glass of something special. If you fancy something a bit more laid-back, head to The Brasserie for salads and burgers in a cheery surround.
Overnight accommodation in a Mews Suite starts from £329 per room per night including breakfast and access to Cottonmill. Use of The Club at Cottonmill facilities is an additional charge.