It may only be a mile or so down the road for some of you, but The Grove is an authentic countryside resort and, with its sprawling golf course, exquisite spa, kids’ club and wide variety of activities, we should celebrate the fact that it’s in Watford.
Why schlep to the Cotswolds when you can stay in 300 acres of manicured land and get home quickly if the alarm goes off? The property has been a favoured getaway destination among the rich and famous since brothers Daniel and Stuart Levy took ownership in 1996. Popular with golf enthusiasts, it is also ideal for a girlie getaway – hence my visit with bestie Mel in tow, for 24 hours of pure bliss.
The tastefully decorated Sequoia Spa, with its stunning black mosaic indoor swimming pool and all the mod cons you’d expect, is the ideal spot to while away the hours sipping complimentary herbal teas in a fluffy white robe.
A new addition to the vast Natura Bissé and ESPA treatment menu is a mindfulness massage. Promising to not only undo the physical knots of everyday life, but to help relax the mind and release emotional anxieties, I felt I was the perfect candidate to see if it lived up to the hype.
This holistic, deeply relaxing and clarifying experience focuses on both mind and body to help reduce stress. The therapist skilfully guides you through breathing and visualisation techniques before the metamorphic zones on the feet are massaged to help rebalance and ground, before a soothing, deeply therapeutic massage is continued up through the body to promote positivity to the mind, finishing with a
re-energising scalp massage using warm rose quartz crystals.
I think it’s fair to say that I’m naturally quite cynical when it comes to mindfulness, but I found the 80 minutes in the stunning room, adorned with flickering scented candles and mood music, peaceful to the core and, in the hours that followed, I really did find my zen. (Obviously it disappeared within moments of hitting the A41 back to north London).
The Grove has 227 rooms and ours was a stone’s throw from the main reception and offered beautiful views across the plot from our large sash windows. The sizeable walk-in shower and state-of-the-art wall-mounted television were welcome additions.
Dinner was taken at The Stables, one of the three celebrated on-site restaurants. Priding itself on simple food served to perfection, all home-cooked in the wonderful, comforting setting of the estate’s original stable block, we pulled up a corner pew and supped on Prosecco until our meal arrived. We had salad starters, with flawlessly-cooked sea bass as a main, and the exceptional staff were only too happy to offer our desserts of sticky toffee pudding and baked vanilla cheesecake as room service.
Breakfast in the infamous Glasshouse offered a spectacular buffet and was swiftly followed by a visit to the notorious Walled Garden to soak
up the last summer rays.
With its urban beach, Ofsted-rated outstanding kids’ club, badminton court, giant chess, football pitch, croquet and large outdoor pool framed by comfortable cushioned deck chairs, I’d think twice before heading for
Prices start from £340 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis. Various spa packages are also available.
For more information, visit