The first thing you notice is the stained glass window. As you enter the boutique building, the colors of the jewelry – sapphire, ruby, and amber – strike the sunlight and create a dazzling dance on the tiled floor. Towering plant pots and oversized flowers make it look like you’ve stepped into a chic and colorful greenhouse. This is Coach House spa, upstairs Beaverbrook Hotel in Surrey. As a former stable block, it may once have been a place to work, but now it’s the ultimate destination for those seeking rest and recovery.
It sounds like a welcome welcome, but, admittedly, it could be due to a lack of locking in sensory experiences. Let’s face it, a visit to a spa, any spa, these days is a big plus. But the Beaverbrook Coach House is in a class of its own, with just the right balance of holistic energy and dynamism – exactly what we need right now.
Of Brian clarkeThe magnificent stained-glass windows (inspired by wild flowers) at the Art Deco-style outdoor swimming pool, with its fabulous checkerboard background, it is a tactile and sensual place. Balance is the key. Basically, The Coach House is glamorous enough for well-heeled hotel guests and private members, but delicate enough for spa-goers looking for TLC.
Spa Director RenÃ© van Eyssen is in charge. Former regional director of spas for the Asian hotel brand, A MAN, RenÃ© knows his stuff when it comes to wellness. While there are some similarities * to her former employer’s first-rate approach – wellness ‘trips’ get special attention, for example, and organized hands-on experiences are an important factor (* two are large with AMAN) – RenÃ© also made his own mark in Beaverbrook.
A good idea is that the spa is filled with handcrafted and natural British wellness brands, rather than immediately recognizable labels (think: Lola’s Apothecary, Therapi and small distillery AS Apothecary), so you feel like you’ve discovered the secret hiding place of a beauty insider. There are no tasteless pastel colors (usually de rigueur for hotel spas), no standard whale music and no cookie-cutter treatments – instead, every detail has been thought out and well thought out.
âIt’s all about the little details and the focus on thinking,â says RenÃ©. âI looked for small labels, which are rooted in nature and have a provenance on them. Therapi’s products, for example, use organic honey in their core, while our own line of Coach House oils use herbs and flowers grown on the estate.
Nature is at the heart of RenÃ©’s approach and feed. The Victorian mansion, once the home of former press baron Lord Beaverbrook, sits in a well-tended 470-acre estate, with the Surrey Hills beyond, and it is these surroundings that have largely inspired the spa. âThe Coach House focuses on healing and harnessing natural rhythms,â explains RenÃ©. “Inspired by the British countryside, we change our offer according to the seasons, and we channel our affinity with the cycles of nature.” As a result – and also, without a doubt, due to the past year that we have all endured – the latest wellness experiences on offer are particularly comprehensive.
the Celtic Druid Retreat (July 26-27, 2021 and January 19-20, 2022) was created in in keeping with the Celtic Druid Calendar and features a combination of Druidic rituals, sacred chants, crafts, traditional folk stories, open-hearted sharing, and meditations. Meanwhile, the Feed in nature experience (which takes place on the first Saturday of each month, from May 1, 2021) immerses you in the great outdoors, with a walk in the biodynamic forest, a healing ritual and a nutritional ceremony.
The spa also adapts its treatments according to the schedule, ‘Spring awakening ‘ (March-May) is a highlight. You enter your treatment room through a visually impressive hallway, adorned with bold green and red tiles, the skylights of the skylights adding a dazzling dimension. Once installed inside, the cream-on-cream room is more cocooning. The experiences begin with a foot cleansing, followed by a ‘cleansing cleansing’ ritual, in which you visualize ‘getting rid of’ any negative thoughts or emotions (simple, but remarkably effective). An invigorating body exfoliation circulates blood and provides a wonderfully uplifting sensation, while a full body massage, using herbal infused oils, is deeply comforting. In the end, you feel ready to face the world again – which in these post-Covid times has so much more resonance than before.
As the seasons go by, there will be new offers: ‘Summer expansion‘, available from June to August, has sound baths, stretches and massages; ‘Fall food‘, from September to October, has mindful breathing, body polishing and nourishing massage, and’Winter heater‘from November to January offers a breath of eucalyptus and a hot stone massage.
It’s easy to lose all sense of time at the spa – the cheerful, meadow-print chairs, comfy lounge chairs, and the light-flooded indoor pool seem to be steeped in good vibes. The spa’s cold cuts are also a delight, with juices, inventive salads, and flatbread pizzas providing a healthy yet satisfying meal.
If you can, it’s worth extending your visit with a stay at The House. To set itself apart from other country hotels, Beaverbrook has recruited many experts in their fields to come together under one roof, which is why every individual element – from the design to the kitchen – shines in its own light.
The original and cool interiors are Susie atkinson (the designer behind many Soho House projects). Its expertise consists in combining the best of a building’s heritage with modern comfort. From the original antiques to the curated library – she captured a strong sense of history throughout the hotel. To see this style at its best, book The Dowager Suite. This room offers an expansive view of the park and many exquisite details – such as a magnificent shell encrusted cabinet, to hide the minibar, and vintage artwork sewn by Louise Bourgeois.
Downstairs, the quirky Art Deco cinema, complete with plush crimson seats and lacquered woodwork, is another knockout. Guests can now watch a selection of films curated by Alan parker (the director of Fame and Bugsy malone), but if its walls could talk, they would undoubtedly reveal much more. This is where Beaverbrook and his close friend Winston Churchill used to watch the “rushes,” dismissed from the action during World War II, before deciding what to go in the papers that week.
The signature restaurant The Japanese Grill is run by ex-chef Noma, Wojciech Popow, while sommelier Giovanni Tallu honed her craft during a 22-year tenure with Annabelle in Mayfair. Sir Frank’s Bar, meanwhile, is arguably one of the most glamorous hotel bars on the scene. It is named after the creative director of Beaverbrook Sir Frank Lowe, who alongside Susie Atkinson was responsible for curating unique interiors, researching many historical treasures, collectibles and rare art collections. At its heart, Sir Frank’s – with its coral walls adorned with botanical oil paintings – has a curved brass bar and topaz blue velvet bar stools. It screams “flapper-fabulousness” – and, over time, will no doubt be the perfect place for all of us to celebrate our own version of the Roaring Twenties.
Children are not forgotten either, with the trendy experts of the kids-club, Sharky and George, having imagined an inventive offer, with immersive, high-octane wooded activities organized from a gigantic treehouse, hidden in the forest of the estate.
Finally, there’s The Garden House, a stand-alone restaurant set in its own vegetable garden, with a cooking school and a handful of whimsical rooms (designed by Nicola harding). Champion of seasonal and local ingredients, chef Barrett jones has put together a range of dishes that results in a rustic Mediterranean feast. Put simply, this is a menu that you’ll want to order everything from – although, be warned, a decision must ultimately be made!
Start with crisp, thin Sardinian flatbreads and mouth-watering zucchini blossoms drizzled with honey and oozing goat cheese. Upgrade to a main course of Grilled Josper Hake with White Asparagus, or maybe you go for the Spaghetti Vongole? Above all, however, you need to leave room for dessert, especially the elderflower and white chocolate honey jar, with English strawberries and fresh mint – it sounds simple, but just like Beaverbrook. itself is so much more.