One very fine Sunday in June, Maggie from The Luxe Elixir and I hot-footed it up to St Albans for an overnight staycation at Sopwell House. The impressive country house spa hotel sits in 12 acres of countryside just south of South Albans, surrounded by peaceful fields, rustling trees and the blissful sounds of chirping birds. You’re there aren’t you?
The idyllic spot is only a 20 minute train ride from London and a 5 minute taxi journey from St Albans station.
Dating back to the 1603, the property is a charming blend of old and new architecture. On arrival we were both wowed by the grand whitewashed building against the vibrant, lush greenery.
Greeted with a warm and friendly welcome at check-in we entered the exclusive gated area for guest staying in the Mews Suites. With a quick tap of our room card the incredible gates open up to a stunning landscaped garden full of colourful wild flowers, manicured topiary, water features and THE most gorgeous hydrotherapy pool.
The gardens are for exclusive use to the guests staying in the handful of suites surrounding this haven formerly a stable block.
I adored walking through a gate and small patio area to enter the Orchid suite, which was home for the night. The immaculate and stylish suite came with all the luxuries to make it the perfect hideaway.
An enormous bed, a modern touch-of-a-button fireplace, underfloor heating, mini bar, espresso machine, WIFI and Sky TV.
The en suite bathroom came with a power rain shower and wood effect floor tiles which I now want at home (Mr S, I hope you’re reading!), and stocked with gorgeous ESPA toiletries.
Our welcome gifts of fresh, sweet strawberries and Battenberg cake with a twist a thoughtful added bonus.
You’ll see the Battenberg pop up in various places around the hotel. The connection? A homage to Lord Battenberg, who bought the house as a country residence in 1901.
Once unpacked, the cocktail lounge was the target to toast the start of our relaxing overnight stay. Obviously we did it with a Battenberg cocktail of champagne, pineapple juice and strawberry couli. The beautiful, relaxed space transforms into an elegant bar come the evening.
With the sun shining high our private quarters and the hydrotherapy pool they were a-calling. We could have been lounging poolside in some exotic faraway destination. But no, this is St Albans and it rocked!
We managed to while away a good couple of hours with our room treats, bubbles and a much needed catch up.
Next up – massage! Sopwell House Spa has a tranquil, ambient and luxurious feel from the moment you enter. There are a range of ESPA and Clarins treatments available, Maggie and I both opted for the head, neck and shoulders massage – utter bliss.
You can also make use of the sauna, steam room, indoor pool or gym if you fancy. We, however, had a dinner date to attend.
The stylish and contemporary brasserie serves classic and global dishes from an open kitchen, where you can watch the chefs at work. The friendly staff and vibrant atmosphere made for a lovely evening.
The food, from the crayfish and prawn cocktail, spiced chickpea spring onion and cumin potato cakes to the yummy Bakewell tart to name a few of the dishes were delightful. Our plates went back scraped clean – so delicious.
For a more gourmet dining experience there is also the award-winning two AA rosette restaurant. Where you can enjoy seasonal British and European dishes.
The evening ended with a nightcap in the cocktail lounge. Warning: the sofas are so comfy you’ll need assistance to be removed. And in true Northern style the Northern lasses were the last to leave.
We started the next morning on a high with room service breakfast on our sunny terrace. With eggs any way you like and all the usual hot morning treats to pastries, preserves and juices.
Sopwell House is the perfect place to unwind, and I still can’t get over how it’s a mere 20 minute train ride from London.
I returned home relaxed, revitalised and rejuvenated. Exactly what the doctor ordered for this rundown mummy. Goes to show you don’t need to travel far for peaceful relaxation in glorious surroundings.
For more information and bookings please visit the Sopwell House website here.
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary stay at Sopwell House, however, all views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie.
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