It’s official. I’m addicted to The Grove Hotel and Spa in picturesque Hertfordshire. Now I’m not one to over use superlatives as I’m not usually easily pleased, but this place is a godsend for Britain, Londoners, and even more so to those of us living locally. The Grove has everything you not only want, but need, to relax, rejuvenate, have a little fun, and help return you to your sense of self. After visiting the exquisite Colette’s a couple weeks ago and leaving supremely wowed, I’ve had the opportunity to visit and immerse myself in the recently refurbished world of the Sequoia Spa; and at the risk of sounding like I’m wearing Sequoia-given, rose-colored glasses, it’s a world I wasn’t ready to leave.
Upon entering the long and slightly enduring Grove Hotel driveway leading to the estate, I could almost feel the stresses of life escaping me. It sounds a bit corny and cliché, but it’s always a very strange and wonderful feeling that happens every time I visit the place. The setting is stunning and even more so as you approach the separately designed and situated Sequoia Spa; the hotel clearly wants to remove you from it all. I’d been looking forward to this day and could see this was the beginning of what was to be a fantastic journey into relaxation, rejuvenation, and clinical wellness and healing.
As I arrived I was pleasantly welcomed with Sequoia-induced smiles and a clean, bright reception area with aptly located clean-living juice bar. I was instructed to fill out the expected spa consultation form and then whisked-off to the spacious, towel and toiletry-filled changing areas to begin my spa adventure. I was then given a whispering-based tour (it’s super-quiet everywhere) of the facilities and given an ingenious locker card (so I thought) to access my dressing gown, slippers, and to store my belongings.
Surrounded by many tranquil and peacefully-designed resting areas for having a tea, coffee, some nuts and a read of the daily news, the facilities include a spectacular (really) 22-metre health-filled, ozonized, black ceramic tiled pool surrounded by fluffy folded white towels, loungers, and all the ice water you could handle. The area also includes an adjacent co-gendered steam room, shower, and Jacuzzi.
There’s also a state-of-the-art fitness centre and studio catering to all fitness levels and expertise. Personal trainers are readily on-hand to direct and answer any questions or retrieve you either ice cold or room temperature bottled water.
The wellness continues in the exercise studio by offering over 50 complimentary sessions per week including indoor cycling, power yoga, Zumba, H.I.I.T, and Hatha yoga. Running and cycling trails also meander across 300 acres of The Grove’s beautiful Hertfordshire country grounds. Access to all of this, including complimentary bike hire, is included in your spa stay.
As for the treatment collection, you really can’t make a bad choice. Sequoia only hires best-of-breed, professionally trained, and supremely knowledgeable specialists that are using products such as Espa and, my new personal fave, the Barcelona-based NaturaBisse.
Treatments range from next generation facials to purifying body wraps to wonderfully relaxing massages. There is also a selection of Jessica manicures and pedicures, as well as waxing and make-up sessions. One of the things Sequoia does very well is combining many of these much-needed treatments into utterly logical and delightful spa packages. They’ve clearly thought through this one and know their target market. I love it when you can head to a spa and get luxuries like a facial, massage, wrap, and manicure/pedicure all rolled into one offering.
The other thing that sets Sequoia apart from the myriad spas out there is their staff. Every one I met was pleasant, respectful, competent, understanding, and knowledgeable. If any attitudes existed, they were checked at the door. The last thing you want when you’re investing in a spa experience is suffering grumpiness and disrespect. You couldn’t get farther from this than at Sequoia.
This professional theme continued through my own treatment. I was given the wonderful, citrus-induced Orangery Experience (£190). A one-hour and 50-minute experience filled with the smell orange blossoms and led by the very skilled and experienced, Naomi. Naomi retrieved me from one of the plushest and comfortable relaxation waiting areas and escorted me to an equally relaxing treatment room.
After our introductions, the treatment itself commenced with a cleansing and welcome-to-the-world-of-orange footbath; followed by a thorough exfoliation, anti-oxidant mousse wrap, and subsequently a massage with a deeply nourishing and yet firming warm orange-induced balm. My body and mind needed this, but the amazingness didn’t stop there. Naomi then performed the world’s best-ever seen facial including citrus peel, anti-aging elements (thank goodness), and ending with a bitter orange soufflé mask. Combining this with the comfortable and warming treatment table, dimmed lights, LED burning candles, woodland and slate-inspired room design, and ethereal music, it’s probably needless to say, I fell asleep. Always the sign of a good treatment, in my humble opinion.
Naomi catered to every aspect of the experience allowing me to feel unpressured and restful. My face was glowing and my skin was the softest it’s been in a long time. I lay on the table not wanting to move; say it isn’t over?! Thankfully, I had plenty of time to wake-up and return to reality along with my swimsuit, dressing gown and slippers.
Naomi then returned to the room and we discussed all the glorious products used. For once, I didn’t mind the product marketing overview as I was thoroughly impressed with the NaturaBisse products used and am considering a follow-up purchase. That said, I’m also considering a Sequoia spa membership. Yes, Sequoia offers you the ability to join their exclusive club. In addition to all the fabulousness I’ve already described, you can access many other incredible aspects offered by The Grove and sister hotels.
All in all I can’t say enough good things about the Sequoia Spa. Consistent to the high standard The Grove upholds, the spa is one of the best I’ve ever experienced. It’s definitely worth a long journey across Britain or even from London for a country spa break and stay.For those of us fortunate enough to live locally within Hertfordshire or a short drive from The Grove, we are a lucky lot. This is a world-class place and a place to make use of and cherish.
For more information on the Sequoia Spa at The Grove Hotel, click here: http://www.thegrove.co.uk/spa/
For more fun in Hertfordshire, click here: http://local.mumsnet.com/hertfordshire
Written by Erin Anderson, Editor, Mumsnet Hertfordshire