Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa
Where: Old Oxford Road, Donnington, Newbury, RG14 3AG
Top Santé tried: Sonoma Aromatherapy Massage
What is it? A thoroughly relaxing massage to soothe the muscles and melt away stress
And what else? Luxurious accommodation and top notch facilities
By health & wellness writer Larissa Chapman
On arriving at my hotel for the night, nestled in the beautiful Berkshire countryside, I was struck by the grandeur of the place. With swooping staircases, dark wood panelling and plush, luxurious furnishings, it felt grand yet homely and cosy – I couldn’t wait to get comfy at the bar with a nightcap later. But first… to my room!
I stayed in a suite, which was every bit as beautiful as the rest of the hotel. The décor resembled the countryside setting with wooden, rustic tables and wood-effect wallpaper, as well as a view of the golf course from the window. I felt as though I was in a log cabin or country retreat. And the bed was the comfiest I have ever slept in!
I donned my slippers and robe and headed down the corridor to the spa, where I was met by my lovely therapist. The spa was beautifully decorated and spacious and the smell of the oils and products filled the air. I was led to my room, where I got ready for my 55-minute Sonoma Aromatherapy Massage. This was a full-body treatment and my therapist paid particular attention to my back and shoulders, where I hold most tension. You can request a pressure to suit you, then just lay back and relax. It was 55 minutes of pure bliss; I could’ve laid there for hours. I felt instantly relaxed and revived afterwards and am still feeling the effects of fewer knots and better posture days later.
A holiday experience
After my massage, I made my way down to the hotel pool area, where I set up camp on a lounger and ordered a spot of lunch. It was akin to being on holiday and a real treat to be able to eat by the pool. The whole area was spacious and light with glass walls and plenty of natural light flooding in through the skylights.
At one side of the pool area sits the sauna, steam and aromatherapy rooms, along with a very bubbly hot tub, which I spent far too much time in. There are also two ‘experience’ showers with different pressure settings and temperatures. The sauna was set a little too hot for me, but I could see many guests basking in the heat – I preferred the aromatherapy room for a spot of relaxation and reflection. The pool was plenty big enough for a decent swim – something lacking in many other spas. I knew I had a big evening meal coming up, so I enjoyed 30 minutes of lengths.
Once thoroughly pampered I headed back to my room to change before dinner. I made my way to the restaurant where I was seriously impressed with the choice of drinks on offer. As a gin or beer drinker I was spoilt for choice – they had everything I could want.
The restaurant staff were also friendly and helpful. After sitting me down at my table they were incredibly attentive and set about explaining the menu.
I chose a pea soup with poached egg to start, which was fantastic. The soup was so fresh and the poached egg yolk ran deliciously into it. I also enjoyed a range breads to dip in, including olive and jalapeno.
For main I had a beautiful chicken dish, similar to a chicken Kiev (but a posh version) and just about found room to finish with a walnut brownie and clotted cream ice cream. Perfect, but I was glad I’d been able to have a good swim beforehand to burn some calories and work up an appetite!
Later that night I sunk into my soft, fluffy pillow and had one of the best nights sleep I’ve ever had!
Other USPs (unique spa points!)
- Great facilities: The rooms and facilities are second to none, very light and spacious.
- Good for exercise: With a sizeable swimming pool, fully equipped gym and a golf course on site, this is the perfect hotel for both relaxation and keeping active.
- Attention to detail: Chocolates and a welcome note left in my room were a lovely, personal touch!
Telephone: 01635 551199