Review: Sopwell House, Hertfordshire
In need of a pre-Christmas refresh? The award-winning Cottonmill Spa at Sopwell House will alleviate stress, enliven your senses, and give you the luxurious mini break you deserve.
Review: Sopwell House, Hertfordshire
Located approximately an hour from London, set within the Hertfordshire countryside (south of St Albans), Sopwell House occupies an impressive white Georgian mansion house, dating back to 1603. The hotel’s expansive main building – which has undergone considerable restoration over the years – boasts 128 guest rooms alone, each as charming as the next with contemporary yet homely interiors.
For guaranteed seclusion, the 16 charming Mews Suites located opposite the hotel’s front entrance offer an unforgettable stay; a range of luxury rooms and cottages including those with private terraces, freestanding bath tubs, open fireplaces, and kitchenettes. There’s also a delightful communal garden to be exclusively enjoyed (designed by RHS Chelsea Gold medallist Ann-Marie Powell), as well as a Hydro Pool, reflective of the hotel’s dedicated wellness and spa offering.
A stunning £14 million refurbishment has put Sopwell House’s Cottonmill Spa on the map. From a 14.5-metre swimming pool to state-of-the-art changing rooms, the sheer size of the establishment is impressive, let alone its advanced technology and sophisticated interior detailing. The hotel’s rural setting has been lovingly integrated, resulting in a tranquil spa garden complete with multiple hot tubs, lounge beds, fire pits and an indoor-connecting heated outdoor pool where you can swim beneath the stars.
Other facilities include a panoramic sauna, botanical steam room, vitality and hydrotherapy pools, peaceful relaxation rooms, and an outstanding gym (stocked with Technogym equipment), plus an ample studio where you can enjoy barre, yoga, cycling and more.
Whilst working up a sweat is undoubtably invigorating, the spa provides plenty of space for those who wish to purely sit back and relax – hence the Sitting Room offers an alternative setting to unwind (with a drink, if you wish), and lounge by the open fireplace.
Prefer to enjoy a drink within the spa? No problem. Simply scan the provided QR code using your phone, make an order online, and someone will kindly bring your drinks to you – even if you’re enjoying a dip in the hot tub. Treatments are of course on offer too. From cleansing salt scrubs to deep tissue massages (enhanced with ELEMIS and Aromatherapy Associates products), whatever your needs or preference, you’re bound to find something to both revitalise and calm body and mind.
When it comes to food and drink, you’re spoilt for choice. From a wholesome lunch (spa robe intact) in The Pantry to afternoon tea in the Library, Sopwell’s dining options are as varied – and as impressive – as its multitude of accommodation and spa features.
For dinner, head to new restaurant Omboo. Dishes are inspired by Asia and the Far East, with a menu that scraps the traditional starters, mains and desserts format in favour of a ‘when ready’ concept. The kitchen is spearheaded by chef Derrick Chen, who has curated a sharing-style menu which aims to encourage a convivial and laid-back atmosphere.
Highlights include a standout hot stone wagyu number: juicy, premium beef cooked in a tangy teriyaki sauce, and the steamed wild sea bass, an umami dish with a punchy black bean sauce. There’s also an excellent cocktail menu, which includes an Asian-style mojito, featuring shiso leaves, sweet Japanese plum wine and Havana 3 rum; a Plum Sour made with bourbon and plum syrup; and a lemongrass-infused Old Fashioned.
The Brasserie is the hotel’s alternative to fine dining – a more informal backdrop where guests can tuck into British and Mediterranean delights, from pork belly and porcini mushroom tortellini to the Sopwell beef burger. Where drinks are concerned, the Cocktail Lounge will satisfy with its elegant marble-top bar and welcoming staff – the perfect spot to enjoy a post-dinner tipple. Meanwhile, the Conservatory Bar is a prime spot come summer with its floor-to-ceiling windows and bright décor.
THE FINAL WORD
Its world-class spa might be the pièce de resistance, but Sopwell’s warm service, culinary delights, and charming rural setting are enough to enchant guests. Enjoy a spa day, or book an overnight stay to soak up the entirety of the hotel’s offering.
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