A spa haven on the Thames

by Carol Muskoron

It's very hard for a spa venue to hit the mark perfectly, but 'the runnymede-on-thames' manages it, effortlessly. Located in Surrey near Heathrow Airport, it’s a great choice, whether you go on your own, with a partner or friend or as a group (the runnymede-on-thames has a gorgeous group spa suite for four to eight people).

The setting is modern yet warm, chic yet down-to-earth. Set on the Thames, the riverside lobby walls are floor-to-ceiling glass so that pretty much wherever you sit, you can see the Thames flowing by. This makes for a scenic and incredibly relaxing view.

Upon arrival I was lured by this view out onto the riverside to investigate the surroundings. The setting was so peaceful, with beautiful houses and private moorings, lots of birds and a few dog walkers. Back at the hotel, I discovered that my bedroom looked out on the water. There was a huge TV, a luxury bathroom, armchairs and tea making facilities. Perfect.

I was booked in for an Espa aromatic back, neck and shoulder massage at the spa and so, after chilling out in the bedroom for a while, I headed there.  My guest and I had one of the double treatment suites booked – if you only have a short time away and there are two of you, it’s lovely to have a treatment together. We both oohed and aahed our way through the 40-minute massage. The hot stones were persistently soothing and the oils made the whole experience extra-relaxing. 

The runnymede-on-thames offers a good variety of spa treatments, including an impressive variety of facials ( I very much liked the idea of the Crystal Facial which offered ‘deeply relaxing lymphatic drainage massage using rose quartz crystal, to calm and sooth the skin). There were also Colour and Glow make-up sessions, Bridal Make-Up (with a trial session) and a Teen Spa Menu – the idea here being that you come along with a teenager and get them a treatment designed specifically for teenagers. Teen treatments included make-up and skin care sessions. A brilliant way to force a teenage daughter to spend time with you!

The spa area is just lovely. The indoor pool is big enough to do decent lengths, there’s a good-sized bubbling hot tub, and there are plenty of loungers around the poolside. The steam room and sauna are both spacious too. We spent an hour or so going from pool to hot tub to sauna before heading back to our room to get ready for dinner.

There are three dining options at the runnymede-on-thames – The Lounge, The Leftbank and the Lock Bar & Kitchen (you can eat outdoors too, right on the river, which would be lovely in spring and summer). The Lounge is in effect the lobby area and we had a fabulous lunch there – a gorgeous Greek platter. We didn’t eat at The Left Bank but it was an attractive buffet restaurant – brilliant for kids. We had our evening meal at The Lockbar and it was the best meal out I’ve had in a long while. It serves hearty, tasty gastro pub-style food that is fantastically tasty and won’t leave you hungry.

Breakfast the next day was also served in The Lockbar – it is usually served at The Leftbank but on busy days, both are open (serving the same menu). The breakfast is also hearty, with a good buffet and hot ordered options too.

We had time for one more swim, sauna and steam in the spa, one more walk along the river, and one more coffee in the riverside lounge before we had to rejoin the big, bad world and leave the joys of the runnymede-on-thames behind. Sob!

Standard weekend stays are from £164 per room per night, based on two sharing on a B&B basis. The 'Couples Spa Package' costs £299 for two, with overnight accommodation on a B&B basis, dinner in the Lock Bar and the choice of a 45-minute aromatherapy facial or a back, neck and shoulder massage (with or without hot stones) in the doubles treatment room. For more info visit www.therunnymede.co.uk; tel 01784 220600.

Read last month’s spa review of a relaxing day spa in London

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