Grayshott Medical Spa, England
Rest your mind, restore your body & regenerate your gut in a charming Surrey sanctuary
Best for: Anyone (over 18) wanting to tailor a civilised wellbeing break with nature on the door step
Not for: Children, Hen parties or those looking for uber-luxury
From a day-long spa pamper to the signature 7-Day Gut Health Regime, Lord Alfred Tennyson’s former country home in the heart of Surrey just south of Guildford, has been the civilised place to retreat to rest, relax and recharge for more than five decades. With more than 65 treatments and therapies, spa facilities, gym, classes, tennis courts, swimming pools and a golf course, the mind, body and soul are cared for and Adam Palmer’s fantastic ‘Gut Gastronomy’ will ensure you feel sated. The extensive grounds and gardens as well as 700 acres of surround National Trust reserve ensure tranquillity and a large variety of walks in nature too.
The infectious enthusiasm and dedication of the team of specialists and staff – no wonder Grayshott repeatedly wins awards. The 7 Day Gut Health Regime is game-changing.
More about wellbeing and comfort than glitz and glamour, Grayshott is not a conventionally ‘luxurious’ spa. But under new owners, plans for a refurbishment are in the pipeline.
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Once a health spa for stressed out actors, Grayshott is now an international wellness destination offering the renowned 7 Day Gut Health Regime, as well as shorter retreats including Inner Resilience and Tennis Angels Break. It also offers a Health Day Retreat Collection – Tranquillity Day, Serenity Day, Harmony Day and Pro-Fitness Day all year round. Guests have access to the gym and fitness class programme, spa area, two pools and the choice of three different supervised walks.
Running Wednesday to Wednesday 50 weeks a year, the 7 Day Gut Health Regime, co-created by Elaine Williams and Stephanie Moore, is based on four principles: resting the gut to heal and regenerate; replenishing the micro biome; 5:2 fasting to stimulate cellular cleansing and regeneration; and de-sugaring, which starts three weeks prior to arrival.
The low carbohydrate ‘Gut Gastronomy’ menu is delicious and nutritious, and gentle exercise is encouraged but not compulsory. The package includes: nutritional consultation based on blood analysis; body composition analysis; 2 abdominal massages; 2 Epsom salt hydro baths; 3 castor oil compresses; 6 educational lectures; and consultations.
Four times a year, Adam Palmer, executive chef at Grayshott and co-author of Gut Gastronomy, and Stephanie Moore, head nutritionist and co-founder of the 7 Day Gut Health Regime, host a three-hour demonstration of some of the recipes served on the week-long health programme at the Applegarth Farm Cookery School. It is open to everyone but held on a Wednesday it is designed to coincide with clients either starting or finishing the regime.
Held four times a year, the three-night Inner Resilience, hosted by Dr. Ursula Levine and the team of specialists, is designed to help manage stress by offering new perspectives, identifying triggers and learning techniques to build resilience. This is achieved through a combination of an initial consultation, talks and discussions, creativity workshops, destress massage with magnesium oil, HeartMath® coaching, stress check, yoga classes and a healthy cuisine. Clients are able to choose a therapy from EFT or trauma therapy (Somatic Experiencing®) and one therapeutic relaxation treatment from reflexology, reiki, cranial release or Jin Shin Jyutsu. Accommodation, all meals, use of spa facilities, pools, gym, fitness classes, grounds and cinema are included.
Twice a year, Grayshott, which has both indoor and outdoor tennis facilities, hosts a Tennis Angels Break run by Kate Peel. Limited to no more than eight players, the two-day break includes nine hours of tennis: technical/tactical coaching (5 hours); tactical help on how to play better matches (2 hours); evening talk on how to win more matches (1 hour); match play (2 hours). Accommodation, all meals, use of spa facilities, pools, gym, fitness classes, grounds and cinema are included.
Grayshott offers more than 65 different treatments and therapies including massages, facials, body envelopment and natural therapies that can be added to the different spa packages, all of which have meals included. The Classic Stay is for guests that want to bespoke their time, while the Health Stays contain treatments based on the outcome: De-stress, Detox, anti-aging with Age Clever or start a health and fitness programme.
The Health Day Retreats which start at 9am and end at 5.30pm, include a 3 course buffet lunch. The inclusive treatments depend on which day retreat you choose.
All spa guests have a robe and slippers to use during the stay and can use the steam and sauna rooms; gym, fitness classes and daily walks; indoor and outdoor tennis courts; indoor and outdoor (April to September) swimming pools; 9 hole par 3 golf course, cinema and lunch time talks.
Grayshott is surrounded by 47 acres of gardens and grounds and 700 acres of National Trust reserve land, including Ludshott Common and Waggoners’ Wells. The fitness team lead three walks a day, open to all guests and members. The 45-minute Power Walk starts at 7.45am, while the 8.30am Gentle Walk only lasts 30 minutes and both take in different routes through the National Trust land. At 2pm there is the 45-minute Grayshott Walk around the gardens and grounds.
All scheduled fitness classes are included in any of the spa packages. These include circuit training, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, rebounding, stretch and mobilise, relax and unwind, core conditioning and total body hit. Ravi, head of fitness, and his team are on hand to provide, for an additional cost, fitness assessments, personal training and swimming, golf and tennis lessons.
There are eight Manor House rooms, and all but the Tennyson Suite are doubles. Each room, most of which overlook the grounds, has been decorated differently in a quintessentially traditional British style. The Tennyson Suite, which has a lounge, has two double beds than can sleep four.
The rooms, comprising 16 Junior Suites, Standard Rooms and Single Rooms, in the newer two floor Century wing, are similar in style and either face the lake or the swimming pool. Ten ground floor rooms have patios with garden access.
The contemporary decor is brightened up with crewel embroidered curtains featuring red tulips and the window-less bathrooms in the junior suites feature sliding windows, painted by Rosie Cameron Smith, that open up into the bedroom.
Junior Suites, which have fridges and air conditioning, have a sleeping area with TV and a lounge with sofa, second TV, glass coffee table and desk. The bathrooms have a walk-in shower, bath and double basin. Standard rooms and single rooms, with a single bed, all have a separate shower room.
All rooms have televisions and DVD players (you can borrow a limited range of DVDs from reception) hairdryers, telephone, robes and slippers to use during the stay, and most, but not all, have air-conditioning.
Other spaces to be: It is easy to be alone on the grounds on rattan loungers and tables and chairs on the lawn or sun loungers by the outdoor pool. There are wooden tables and chairs under the apple trees in the orchard and indoors in the spa area is the often-empty Relaxation Room where ambience is created with fake bay leaf trees and battery-operated tea light candles.
It’s worth packing walking boots and wellingtons, the walks are worth it. Even if gym and fitness is not your thing, try rebounding, trampolining for grownups.
When to Go
As a hotel and spa, Grayshott is open all year round and as the UK weather is notoriously mercurial pack outdoor gear (including wellington boots) for all eventualities. The hotel and spa are open over Christmas and New Year, but the 7 Day Gut Health Regime is not offered during this two-week period.
Delicious menus balancing healthy eating and nutrition is part of Grayshott’s unique selling proposition. There are two types of cuisine: a spa menu for guests on he spa breaks an enrichment retreats and a bespoke menu for those on the 7 Day Health Regime.
The ‘Gut Gastronomy’ menu typically has a soup or starter, selection of main dishes such as Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham Mackerel with Chunky Tomato, three or four salads for example a Black Quinoa, Goats Cheese, Mange Tout, Broad Beans, Shallots and Lemon Vinaigrette, as well as vegetable dishes, delicious dips, colourful often tropical fruit-based dressings and a dessert selection.
Spa guests eat in the main dining room or the patio if it is a warm sunny day on white linen-laid tables with a fresh and vibrant self-service buffet for breakfast and lunch, and à la carte for dinner. There is a wine menu. Filtered still water and a variety of Pukka and The London Tea Company herbal teas are available for everyone to drink throughout the day.
Grayshott has introduced beehives, no longer uses chemical weed killers, and is trialling Bee Kind parabens and phthalates-free toiletries in paper pouches. Filtered water is supplied in glass bottles that are washed onsite and, to celebrate Global Wellness Day, Grayshott opened its doors to local members of the emergency services for a one-day programme of well-being lectures and use of the facilities.
Grayshott Health Spa Headley Road Grayshott Surrey GU26 6JJ
Airport: Gatwick and Heathrow
Transfer time: One hour by car