Danesfield House Hotel Spa review

Danesfield House Hotel Spa indoor swimming pool

From the very first glimpse of Danesfield House Hotel and Spa, a majestic Victorian style house set within 65 acres of beautiful gardens in Buckinghamshire, I knew I was in for a weekend of luxury. I’d already spent weeks poring over its website which lists a huge number of awards – not to mention a Michelin-starred restaurant. It looked like it was going to be indulgence all the way…

The hotel

Danesfield nestles between the boutique (and very well to do) towns of Marlow and Henley-on-Thames. On arrival my friend Noelle and I took afternoon tea on the stunning terrace which overlooks Danesfield’s gardens, with views reaching across to the River Thames and the Chilterns. It was all very ‘Brideshead Revisited’ as we sipped Earl Grey tea and munched on finger sandwiches, cakes and scones straight from the oven.

Post tea, it was time for the spa. Connected to the main hotel by a glass walkway, the effect is of entering your own little sanctuary. Which in fact you are...

What’s the spa like?

The eight-room spa incorporates a twenty metre ozone-cleansed swimming pool (a few quick lengths totally cleared the guilt of afternoon tea), Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a choice of over 50 treatments by exclusive beauty brands Aromatherapy Associates and CARITA. Both have big celebrity followings - Danni Minogue and Anna Friel are fans of Aromatherapy Associates, a brand so exclusive it only works with a small number of hotels worldwide.

Its treatments promise to ‘soothe and calm the mind, bring the emotions into balance and ease strains, tensions and blockages in the body and skin’. Which all sounds very lovely and holistic but I also like my spa treatments to ’do’  something - so if I have a massage I want my body to feel less tight and if I have a facial I want my skin to look 10 years younger (yes, a big ask I know!). But I needn’t have worried.

How are the treatments?

I had ‘The Danesfield Trilogy’, a treatment which is exclusive to the hotel, comprising a deep cleansing back exfoliation followed by an aromatic oil massage. ‘De-stressing benefits for mind and body’ were promised and any fears that the massage would be too ‘soft’ were quickly dispelled when I asked for firm pressure – oh my goodness did I get it! My therapist instinctively knew where my knots and nodules were, and worked them so hard that I was, at points, wavering on that thin line between pleasure and pain. But afterwards I felt like I’d just spent a week relaxing on a sun lounger!

And the fun didn’t stop there - to finish was a full facial. My therapist stayed in the room with me throughout, using the time when the ‘magic potions’ were doing their work on my face to give me a head and hand massage. It was so relaxing I actually think I fell asleep at one point - as I suddenly heard a snore escaping my lips!

What else can I do there?

It’s not just the spa that makes Danesfield worth the trip, the hotel boasts two great restaurants, including the Michelin starred Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House. It’s the perfect splash-out indulgence and the dining room looks stunning, the oak-panelled space has been designed by Anouska Hempel. Best saved for a romantic weekend, myself and my friend ate in The Orangery, serving a traditional à la carte menu in a light and airy room. Floor to ceiling south-facing windows overlook the stunning grounds.

Post-dinner there was time for a quick turn around the magnificent Grand Hall with its Minstrel’s gallery, a couple of Amarettos in the sumptuous bar and then to bed, feeling well and truly indulged.

Tips to take home

Aromatherapy Associates experts share their tips for winter skincare ...

For soft, supple and radiant skin during the harsh winter months, once a week apply your favourite skincare products to face and body before bed. Begin on the face, with a serum, facial oil and moisturiser. If your skin is dry and looking a bit lacklustre, apply a mask as an additional layer under the moisturiser to seal in the goodness. Then layer a body gel, body oil and cream over the whole body, wrap yourself in loose bed clothing and leave to absorb overnight. You’ll notice an immediate benefit.

Try incorporating massage into your daily routine to keep a radiant complexion. Rather than viewing cleansing as just removing make-up, use it as an opportunity to perform a mini treatment on your whole face. Carry out lots of small circular movements as you apply the product  - a great way to boost capillary circulation, helping to remove impurities and generate radiant, healthy skin. 

How much is it and how do I book?

A one night Danesfield Relaxation Break costs £195 per person including VAT (there’s a Saturday night supplement of £35 per person) This includes an Aromatherapy Associates Ultimate Escape Treatment, 3-course dinner in The Orangery, full use of the spa and a full English breakfast. To book, phone the hotel on 01628 891010 or visit the website at www.danesfieldhouse.co.uk. Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is located on Henley Road, Marlow on Thames, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2EY

Last month's spa review

Looking for more country spa retreats? Read our review of Ockenden Manor hotel and spa

See more weekend spa break ideas


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