THE VIBE: An elegant manor house hotel, on the borders of the Cotswolds, home to the relaxing Aquarias Spa
BEST BRIDE-TO-BE TREATMENT: Whatley Manor partners with ila, an organic wellness beauty brand, much loved by Gwyneth Paltrow. As a B2B with ‘operation radiance’ on the forefront of my mind, I was excited to indulge in their hour-long Ananda Face Therapy treatment. Living up to it’s name (apparently Ananda means ‘divine bliss’ in Sanskrit) I spent a trance-like hour being massaged, masque’d and moisturised with rose scented products. As good for the soul as it was for my skin, I emerged with a clearer, smoother complexion. Waiting for me on his heated stone relaxation throne was my H2B, post Aquarias Aroma Relax Massage. That made two of us, totally blissed out.
Ananda Face Therapy, £87 for 60 minutes. Aquarias Aroma Relax Massage, £87 for 60 mins
BEST SPA FACILITY: Bubbling away any wedmin tension in the heated Hydrotherapy pool is the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon. Come rain or shine, you can swim through shutters out into the open air and gaze at the amazing landscape. When you’re back on dry land, venture through the array of thermal cabin treatment rooms, in true Goldilocks fashion, testing for the one that’s just right. Sauna – too hot? Laconium – too dry? Try the Wave Dream Sensory Room – just perfect….
BEST AMENITY: We spent the majority of our time in the spa – positioning our shoulders under jet massagers in the pool, indulging in the salt infusion showers or cocooned inside one of the thermal rooms. But they also have a Serail Mud Chamber, which is always a fun thing to do a deux, plus a VIP suite, complete with its own hydro bath and pair of treatment beds, so you and your intended can enjoy up to 3 hours of uninterrupted pampering time. But take the time to wander around the 12 acres of grounds too. We meandered through the gardens and down to the stream imagining how unforgettable holding your wedding at Whatley would be.
MUST DOS WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Whatley Manor is home to two restaurants. “The Dining Room” is a two-starred Michelin affair, open Wednesday to Sunday. A more relaxed vibe can be found in Swiss-style The Brasserie Le Mazot. We both chose Fillet Steak which came served on a ‘hot stone’ allowing us to cook it to our own ‘just perfect’ alongside a Jenga-style pile-up of chunky chips and salad. Delish. And don’t forget to take in pre-dinner drinks in the Bar. Very Downtown Abbey…
BUST THE BUDGET: On Thursday 12 March, Corrigan Jewellery are setting up home for the day in Whatley Manor to showcase – and sell – vintage engagement rings and other wedding-perfect antique jewellery. A place costs £45 and comes with lunch and a glass of champagne (should you need to celebrate a special purchase!) Call the hotel to book.
WHO GOES: Whilst we were there, it was all couples (which helped my H2B feel at home in his bathrobe!) Even when full (that’s 46 guests in total) you rarely see anyone so it feels really private.
THE BEDROOM: More like an uber-luxe flat actually. One that’s full of all the antique furniture and more modern Bang & Oulfsen gadgets than you could wish for. The remote controlled lights got the better of me but the bathroom….. His n her’s sinks, a roll top bath, candles flickering away… and heavenly scented Asprey products. Divine.
WHAT’S INCLUDED: Spa days are detailed on the website and range from £148-£248. If you fancy making a mini-break out of it, they run ‘Take A Day Off!’ overnight packages which include full use of the spa, a 60 minute treatment and a three course dinner in the brassierie, all from £550 for two people. You can upgrade to dinner in ‘The Dining Room’ for £55 each.
LOCATION: Whatley Manor, Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0RB
PHONE: 01666 822888