Samuel Pepys’ adage that “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” might be true, but any Londoner will tell you that you can very easily feel tired of life in this fair city. Endless to-do lists, meetings and deadlines – show us a Londoner who hasn’t felt burnt out at some point! And so Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa’s 24-hour Escape From London package sounds like something that would appeal to just about any Big Smoke resident in need of a quick pick-me-up.
In leafy West Sussex, it’s hard to believe that Ockenden Manor is just an hour’s train journey from London Victoria – it seems a world away from the city’s hustle and bustle. There’s a sense of calm and tranquility to the country house hotel before you’ve even checked in. Gone are the screeching sirens, jostling tube queues and dash to grab lunch – you really feel like you can take a deep breath, relax and start to recharge your batteries.
This being a spa hotel, the best place to stay is – of course – as close to the spa as possible. Looking out onto terraced gardens, the spa suites are less than 30 seconds from the spa itself. After all, what could be more stressful than tripping about the hotel in your bathrobe? None of that here, thank you very much! Decorated in contemporary style, the suites feature all the mod cons you’d expect (iPod docks, Nespresso coffee machines, wifi) plus suitably indulgent bathroom facilities with rolltop baths and expansive walk-in showers.
Anyway, back to the battery recharging and some considerable me time. Pop your bathrobe on and let’s head to the hotel’s purpose-built spa. Shall we start with a dip in the outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi? Excellent plan. Survey the country views, breathe in the fresh air and observe how un-London-like your surroundings are. The spa itself is wonderfully modern in design – in contrast to the charming Elizabethan look of the hotel. Back inside, chill out and unwind in the steam and sauna before indulging in some serious pampering.
We’re always keeping track of time in London, and it’s frankly exhausting. The antidote? An isopod flotation session solves everything, and you’ll forget time, space, jobs, tasks – all of it – within a couple of minutes. Filled with saltwater, floating in the tank gives a curious sense of weightlessness and creates an amazing sensation of complete calm. Even better, it has actually been proven to reduce stress and improve sleep. The hotel also offers a comprehensive range of treatments from some of our favourite beauty brands, including ila and Ren. Go for a bespoke facial to restore radiance and get your glow back, or relax and re-energise with a soothing back massage. The Kundalini back treatment from ila comes highly recommended.
Gosh, all that relaxing really takes it out of you! And you should probably reward your exertion now, right? How does dinner at Ockenden Manor’s Michelin-starred restaurant sound? Obviously, you must try the tasting menu – seven courses of gastronomic bliss created by superstar head chef Stephen Crane. The tasting menu changes seasonally, featuring locally-sourced ingredients – always thoughtfully prepared and exquisitely presented. The hotel’s expert sommelier is on hand to recommend wines to pair with each of the courses. And so to bed? Not before a nightcap or two perhaps.
Eight hours of slumber later… Head to the spa’s indoor pool for few lengths to wake up the senses (and work of last night’s overindulgence). The hotel also offers a range of classes including plates, yoga and Nordic walking. Meaning that you can take full advantage of the hotel’s impressive breakfast menu. YES! Weekends are made of this.
If 24 hours at Ockenden Manor can’t make you feel like a brand new person, pretty much nothing will!
The 24 hour escape from London starts from £455 based on two people sharing a standard room and includes dinner, breakfast, an hour’s spa treatment, an isopod flotation tank session and a fitness class each (Yoga, Pilates, Zumba or Nordic walking depending on day and availability). Single occupancy starts from £280 per person and includes all of the aforementioned. For more information, see Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa’s website.