Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pennyhill Park Hotel review - countryside hotel an hour from London with top notch service

You can't trust anyone these days. No, seriously. Just when the rail signalers' strikes next week are ruled as unlawful due to a technical fault in the way balloting was carried out, the French ferry workers decided to give it a go as well - unannounced. That rules out a trip across the English channel this Easter holiday, who knows who else might get the same idea and decide not to turn up for work? The last thing I need is to be stuck in a place where I can speak (and understand) nothing beyond 'Hello'.

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We had to get away. A quick visit to Small Luxury Hotels turned up Pennyhill Park and Spa at Bagshot. The only we needed to do was to find out where Bagshot was but knowing that it was within an hour from London by rail was good enough for us.

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To be precise, the journey to the nearest train station, Sunningdale, took us 47 minutes. A further 10 minute private cab ride from the train station later, we were on the vast grounds of Pennyhill Park and Spa.

Other than the huge grounds (around 120 acres) that boasted a nine hole golf course, Pennyhill's main attraction would be it indoor spa. The spa comes with its steam room, an ice cave, heated ceramic ergonomic seats and foot massages water jets. If that is not enough, there is a full size indoor heated pool and a couple of jacuzzi pools of various sizes outside and yep, all heated as well. Did I mention that there is a full size gym as well and access to all comes included in the accommodation?

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While we didn't manage to get a table at Latymer, Pennyhill's in house one Michelin star restaurant, its Brasserie restaurant served a mean dinner (the variety of warm bread was to die for) with excellent service to boot. For those heading there for a meal, go there before sunset and reserve a seat by the window in advance.

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After a maddenning drizzle for most of the day, we did manage to sneak out for a stroll in the late afternoon. To be honest, the walk could be more pleasant and the recommended trail was painfully near the golf course. We spent the whole time trying to avoid waterlogged patches and looking out for any golf balls whizzling towards our direction.

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Our initial worry that we would be bored to tears shoud we be stuck indoors in case of wet weather was unfounded. There's an indoor cinema (a projector screen with a couple of chairs), a table tennis table, a bullard table, a games room and even a free DVD library for those who prefer to snuggle in their rooms.

But the thing that would get me return to Pennyhill Park and Spa again would be its top notch service staff. Not only every request was carried out in an efficient manner (sometimes eeringly so), the service was friendly to a fault.

Perhaps the next time round, I'll try my hand at the nine-hole course. Oh, I forgot to mention that Pennyhill would not only loan you golf equipement (clubs and all) but also wellingtons should it become a muddy affair.

London Road
Bagshot, Surrey GU19 5EU
Tel: 01276 471

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