Last Updated on November 1, 2017
Staycation at The Runnymede Hotel and Spa:
I remember The Runnymede Hotel from the days when I had a 9-5 job and worked in Newbury. Somewhere just off the A3, in what was the English equivalent of Silicon Valley, we used to have meetings there. There’s a massive lounge area and some rather good conference facilities.
But, generally the point of The Runnymede for us in those days was convenience – it was close to both Gatwick and Heathrow and easy to reach from central London too. I didn’t know it had a Spa and actually didn’t even realise how close it was to the River Thames. Of course, once you realise that the hotel runs along the banks of the Thames, it becomes somewhere rather special for an escape from the City.
Purpose built in 1974 and then completely renovated in 2009, The Runnymede is a hotel with rooms that are well equipped and planned for a comfortable and relaxing stay. My Deluxe Double room had a floor to ceiling picture window with views of the river. And, it was spacious enough for me to feel comfortable just relaxing there with a cup of tea.
In fact, I liked it so much I ordered room service breakfast for the next day so I could spend more time there looking out at the river.
The bathroom had a full sized bath, a separate shower, a large sink and an excellent selection of ESPA products. Oh and robes, slippers and plenty of fluffy white towels. Perfect for after Spa relaxation!
The Spa itself is a glorious mixture of health club and treatment rooms.
There’s a gym, a large swimming pool with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and more (and a woman’s only sauna in the changing rooms). But, the jewel in the crown is a team of therapists ready to look after you. My ESPA aromatherapy facial left my skin beautifully soft and hydrated and I particularly enjoyed talking with my therapist who clearly loved working at The Runnymede Hotel. It does make a difference. The Spa offers both ESPA and Guinot treatments and refreshingly, the entire hotel provides ESPA toiletries – even the showers in the changing room.
Had it been summer, we could have enjoyed the outdoor pool, the hot-tub on the river bank, the tennis courts or taken a boat up the Thames ourselves, with or without a skipper provided by the hotel. There’s even a hot-tub tug – yes, you can go up and down the river in style in your own private floating hot-tub!
There is something of a sense of fun throughout The Runnymede Hotel. We both loved the display of historic ducks (yes really). Very appropriate for a hotel built on the site of a famous event, the signing of the Magna Carta. And, because of that historic moment in 1215, a charter which set new laws and guided the development of parliament, Runnymede has remained associated with ideals of democracy, equality and freedom under law. Now there are a series of memorials, including the Magna Carta memorial on a hill by the water-meadow at Runnymede where the Magna Carta was signed – and just a half hour walk along the river from the Hotel.
We ended up, after our spa treatment, in the bar. And, given our healthy afternoon, we opted for skinny prosecco and a non-alcoholic elderflower and mint mojito.
Dinner at the Two Rosette hotel restaurant, The Lock, was a lovely way to end the day. The restaurant serves a menu of seasonal and often locally sourced dishes. I started with salt cod in a clam chowder. Deliciously creamy and rich, it was perfectly cooked with just the lightest caramelisation on the fish.
My companion’s dish of scallops with pork belly and Jerusalem artichoke puree was also well received.
She couldn’t resist ordering the Grilled Surrey farm rib-eye steak with big chips and bearnaise sauce which was cooked exactly to order and pronounced spot on perfect.
Meanwhile, my Dingley Dell pork tenderloin with meatballs and white beans was full of flavour with just pink and very tender meat.
The idea of a hot stuffed baked apple was better than the reality. I suspect we ordered just a little too early in the evening as the apple was quite al-dente. And, by the time we reached dessert, neither of us was really hungry enough to want to eat.
White chocolate, orange and ginger cheesecake was a better option with a nice light white chocolate mousse topped by an orange jelly.
Afterwards, I went across to the Runnymede’s other restaurant, the Left Bank to check it out. Served buffet style, there was a real feast on offer. The Left Bank offers an all you can eat menu with options that include cooked to order seafood, hot dishes and some truly delicious salads.
By this stage, I was regretting having ordered a room service breakfast for the next day. Though the next morning all that was dismissed, when my delicious and beautifully presented dishes of granola, yoghurt and an English breakfast (hold the egg). arrived and I could sit looking out of my window at the river.
Just the thing to set me up for a gentle stroll along the tow path.
The Runnymede Hotel is a great place for a relaxing break. Perhaps I was just lucky, but everything seemed to work as it should. The bed was blissfully comfortable, the chairs in my room were as relaxing as my own at home and there were sockets in all the right places. The lounges and hallways were immaculately clean. Every part of the Spa worked, even at 6.30 in the morning when I went for a swim and despite being nearly at full occupancy the hotel was quiet at night.
I hadn’t expected to enjoy my stay quite so much. An easy place to chill and take some time out.
Thinking of trying it out yourself? It would be a great base for someone wanting to visit London but avoid both the price premium and the crowds
Why not pin this for later
The Runnymede on Thames