Moddershall Oaks is an awarding winning hotel, spa and restaurant just two and a half hours drive outside London, the perfect place to unwind, relax and recharge your batteries.
The invitation to visit Moddershall Oaks came at a time when the thought of switching off in luxury, in the countryside, being pampered and well fed was just too much to resist, I quickly accepted, and my choice of companion for the this adventure was easy, my mother. I knew that not only would she appreciate the break, she would also be completely honest about our experience.
We meet at a service area on the M25 on a grey and overcast morning, both wishing that we were making this journey in blazing sunshine with the roof down in true Thelma and Louise fashion, but as typical of the late English summer that wasn’t to be. The journey along the M1 and M6 went smoothly and as we turned off the motorway the pace of everything including the vehicles seemed to slow down. The roads narrowed, the fields turned to green and the sun started to show through the clouds, by the time we arrived at Moddershall Oaks the pace was undoubtedly slower. My satellite navigation had decided that the postcode offered by the hotel for this very purpose didn’t exist, and once again I reprimanded myself for not updating the disc, I found an alternative postcode and followed this. When we arrived there were a choice of entrances, one that takes you straight to the lakeside restaurant and one leading to the hotel and spa. I took the hotel entrance which is very unprepossessing; you travel along the drive down into the valley and arrive in the middle of the complex within the car park. I later discovered that had we have taken the lakeside entrance we would have been met by the far more scenic vista of the lake. Our first impressions were of a neat ordered building with ample parking, this to me is a huge bonus, living in London makes you very appreciative of anywhere you arrive and have a choice of places to park your car.
We checked in at reception where we meet two ladies who were waiting to check out, they both said how wonderful the restaurant was, and in their opinion it was a hotel/restaurant with a spa and not the other way around, they recommended delicious sounding dishes from the menu and assured us that we would have a wonderful time. I’m not sure if Moddershall Oaks had arranged their own arrival committee they could have done any better than these two ladies. My only regret was that they were leaving as I’m sure we would have wound up having supper together that evening. We were given our treatment schedule for the next day, information on our table booking for the evening, asked to fill out a breakfast order and shown to our room.
The entire complex of suites, salon, gym, shop, treatment rooms, spa area, restaurant and bar are all connected, should it be raining you will never need to leave the building to move from one area to another. We started at the long corridor that houses the 10 suites that make up the accommodation at Moddershall Oaks, and slipped into number 7 our room for the night. The room was spacious with an oriental feel; two good sized single beds, tea and coffee making facilities, a seating area, and bathroom, with both shower and bath. I particularly liked the fact that there was an iron and ironing board attached to the trouser press, I didn’t need to use it but I liked the fact it was there if needed. Past the seating area the glass sliding doors lead to our own terrace and the shared hot tub.
The view from the room was stunning, open fields and trees, and at last a blue sky, but what was even more noticeable was the complete silence, nothing, not a sound. For anyone who lives in the country I guess this is completely normal, but for me living in the city it came as a surprise. It was bliss!
After unpacking we were given a tour and then enjoyed a welcome drink on the patio overlooking the lake. Now if I had thought the view from our room was stunning, it was nothing compared to sitting looking at the most beautiful tranquil lake. The gardens were immaculate, and after our drink we ventured out into the Woodland Trail, passing the tennis courts on the way. The trail only took us a few minutes but it was fun being at one with nature and helped us to unwind after the journey.
There is very limited mobile phone service at Moddershall Oaks and internet only available in your suite, so if you really can’t switch off, this is worth bearing in mind.
Being the type of women we are, the thought of getting wet in anyway shape or form, and then having to rush to dry our hair before dinner was out of the question! We strolled back to our room and sat drinking in the view when a hot air balloon made the skyline picture perfect. So to get ready for dinner and my first and only real complaint about the hotel – no shower cap – I know I should have anticipated that there might not be one in the bathroom but I didn’t, the thought didn’t cross my mind that a spa that boosts five stars wouldn’t have either tissues or shower cap in the bathroom. There was Elemis shampoo, conditioner and body wash, but as I have just mentioned for the woman who didn’t want to get her hair wet before dinner there was nothing to prevent this happening.
We enjoyed a pre-dinner glass of champagne in the bar and then moved to the modern and relaxed surroundings of the restaurant, where exactly as the ladies had mentioned we were treated to an exceptionally good meal. If at this point you are wondering if by spa this means limited healthy food, think again, this is scrumptious well cooked and presented food in ample quantity. Marji chose the prawn and crayfish cocktail with a coconut, lime and chilli dressing, and I chose the duck wrapped in a potato pancake, both of which were delicious, we were given a lovely selection of bread and olives, and jugs of tap water were served without hesitation. For our main courses we had breast of duck and venison, again beautifully presented, and served by delightful and helpful staff. I would have been exceptionally rude not to have indulged in dessert, so we had a lemon and lime cheese cake and a strawberry parfait. There is an extensive wine list, with some very good wines by the glass, we enjoyed a (large of course) very delicious Malbec.
We slept well, although I would have enjoyed having a window open, as you only have the sliding doors to open. No city dweller would go to bed with the door open, well especially not this one. The alarm going off at 7.00 am was a rude awakening but we had treatments booked for 9.00 am and had ordered breakfast for 8.00 am. This was of course a good plan to be able to fit treatments into our day, as well as enjoying the spa, but I would have quite liked to have remained in bed a little longer. Again we were greeted by excellent staff and enjoyed eggs with smoked salmon and steaming cups of tea. A quick dash to the treatment rooms were we were met by our therapists Karen and Helen. I had booked for a Swedish massage and Marji was booked for a facial. Karen took me through to the relaxing treatment room and for the next 55 minutes worked to relieve the tension that I carry in my back and shoulders from spending most of my day working at a computer. Marji said she felt completely at ease with Helen who was a warm and friendly girl.
The facial started off with a cleanse which was then followed by a neck and shoulder massage, Marji said that it was so relaxing she found herself fighting to stay awake. A Marine Collagen mask was applied with cooling pads for the eyes which Marji said made her feel more relaxed than she could remember being in a long time. The treatment was completed with a stimulating and tingling head massage. Marji’s skin was glowing afterwards, felt soft and looked plump and fresh.
After chilling out in the relaxation room barely fighting back sleep and catching up with the latest magazines we headed back upstairs for the Elemis Hand and Nail Treatment. After our hands were exfoliated we were pampered with warm oil massaged into our hands, which were then slipped into polythene bags for extra penetration and covered in warm towels, what a treat! We both had a mini massage while the oil did its magic. The treatment was completed with a file and polish which we were given to take home with us.
Check in time at Moddershall Oaks is 3.00 pm so we had to vacate our room by 1.00 pm ready for the new arrivals. After packing up we enjoyed a lovely lunch before slipping into the pool for a swim, a session in the hydro therapy pool and steam room. Although the day had flown past by the time we checked out at 5.00 pm it had done so while we had relaxed and been pampered. We were asked when we left if we felt exhausted as so many people say they are when they leave, we said we didn’t, in fact we felt recharged and energised.
We only used a fraction of the facilities at Moddershall Oaks, we didn’t use the well-appointed gym with the latest touch screen equipment, or the tennis court, nor did we have time to rent bicycles to explore the surrounding area or visit the salon.
If you feel like escaping the city and having a break in the total peace and quiet of the countryside, Moddershall Oaks is the place for you, the staff will make you feel at ease, help you to unwind and relax, pamper you and feed you extremely well, and if you feel like making this trip on your own you will not feel uncomfortable or out of place.
Our suite, one 55 minute treatment, three course evening meal and two course lunch cost £180 based on two people sharing. The 55 minute Elemis Hand and Nail Treatment with mini manicure cost £55 each.
My top tips for a spa break