Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa
Recently voted ‘Best UK Hotel outside of London’ and ‘Best Destination Spa in the UK’, Lucknam Park in Wiltshire has been welcoming guests to its lap of country house luxury for over 30 years.
Loyal guests return to the vanilla stone Georgian manor time and time again to enjoy its unique blend of fabulous Michelin starred dining, timeless elegance, just-right service and best-in-class spa. Despite being just a few miles from Bath, Lucknam Park feels beautifully remote, surrounded by over 500 acres of peaceful parkland. And it even has its own equestrian centre.
The elegant 18th century Palladian mansion sits at the end of a tree-lined driveway, and you can’t help but feel a sense of happy anticipation as you pull up to its pillared doorway.
If you’re coming by train, there’s not much in it distance-wise between Bath Spa and Chippenham stations, both around a 20-minute cab ride to the hotel. Bristol is just up the road too and Heathrow’s 90 minutes away so it’s a good option for a pre- or post-flight bolthole. If you’re feeling flush, you can even arrive by helicopter.
I’d reviewed Lucknam Park and the Spa previously and was excited to go back and see whether it was as Spavellous as I remembered.
The contemporary stone and glass spa building sits across from the main hotel, through a pretty courtyard and past some babbling water features. Inside the spa there’s a light-filled 20m swimming pool surrounded by comfy loungers, plus a Himalayan salt sauna, Japanese salt steam room and the warm and twinkly Amethyst Room. There’s also a separate sauna and steam room in both the female and male changing rooms.
At the end of the swimming pool a swim-out hydrotherapy pool takes you through to the peaceful walled spa garden where you can relax, surveying the flowers from a bubbly bench. Or hop out and relax on one of the cushioned loungers if the weather permits.
As I entered the pool area, I overheard a woman sharing with her friend ‘this is the best spa I’ve ever been to’. It definitely ticks a lot of luxury spa boxes and I particularly love how the pool transforms from being filled with sunlight during the day to being illuminated by a poolside fire in the evening. And the experience of relaxing in the outdoor hydro pool looking out to the garden is hard to beat.
The spa is open from 7.30am to 9pm daily and hotel guests can use the spa facilities after they’ve checked out. Full and part spa days are also available including the new Spa and Afternoon Tea Package which includes a 60-minute treatment followed by a crème de la crème afternoon tea served in Restaurant Hywel Jones plus three hours’ use of the pool and spa facilities.
At Lucknam Park the therapies aren’t just restricted to the spa. The Equestrian Centre offers a different kind of therapy with its Equine Connect sessions, where guests are invited to spend mindful time with the hotel’s horses to help overcome trauma and anxiety.
The spa menu includes: facial treatments by 111SKIN, CBD treatments by natural wellness brand Kloris, Hydrafacial’s popular skincare treatments and a range by local brand The Natural Spa Factory. The spa also offers Made for Life treatments which are suitable for anyone going through any stage of cancer.
I was keen to try one of the spa’s most popular premium treatments, 111 Skin’s opulent sounding Celestial Black Diamond facial which promises firming and wrinkle-busting results using the brand’s most potent products. The 90-minute treatment is as relaxing as it is complexion enhancing, with an impressive ten different steps.
The relaxation journey began with some deep, grounding breaths and I started to relax at the first sniff of the ‘energising essence’, which the therapist gave me to inhale. She then gently pressed down on my shoulders, coaxing them into relaxation mode too, and I could feel myself starting to melt into the comfortable massage couch.
The therapist began the facial with a gentle cleanse then applied a citric peeling solution. This gave my skin the very faintest of tingling sensations – enough to feel like it was doing something, but without any irritation or discomfort, which the therapist was keen to ensure. Then, she applied the Black Diamond brightening essence, placing a cool-feeling mesh over my skin to help the product penetrate my skin.
Next, she applied a cooling gel and massaged it in with the help of 111 Skin’s ‘wand’ to work magic on my skin tone, encouraging any wrinkles to be smoothed into submission. She particularly focused on my forehead, cheeks and the areas between my brows, and it felt firmly effective but not at all uncomfortable.
This was followed by a particularly soothing massage to my neck and décolletage. I could easily have fallen asleep during this part but battled to stay awake in the spirit of research, and writing a review without big gaps in it. While my skin was being worked on to make it more taut and perky, my muscles were being smoothed into submission.
As I relaxed, I contemplated how much more I was enjoying this treatment than I thought I might. I rarely have a 90-minute facial, and I’d even wondered whether I would get bored. But this was far from the case as the Celestial Black Diamond Facial is so much more interesting than your average facial, and it’s a multisensory experience due to the many scents, sounds and sensations involved.
Following the massage, the therapist applied a mask to my face and décolletage and gave me a relaxing head massage. She then removed the face mask and using ‘effleurage’, gently encouraged the residual product into my skin with the gentle rain-like pitter patter of her fingertips.
Finally, she applied a hydrating moisturiser and eye cream and left me to relax and come round from my treatment-induced semi trance. Once I’d reacclimatised, I was taken to the Relaxation Room where I sipped herbal tea and enjoyed the garden view from the comfort of my robe and luxurious day bed.
There’s no getting away from the fact that this treatment isn’t cheap. At £230 it’s possibly the most expensive I’ve had, but I can see why it’s popular as you get a specialist facial and relaxing massage in one. You experience a variety of sensations, with a range of differently textured products, and the inclusion of elements like the gauze and the wand add extra interest. Plus, the treatment extends beyond the face to the décolletage and head (or hands if you prefer), and it’s one of the few facials where you can actually see a difference in skin tone after the treatment.
I stayed in the grand Camellia suite, confidently classic in style and complete with its own large lounge with a crystal chandelier. High ceilings, light décor and large windows make the bedroom feel particularly spacious. A four-poster bed with twisted mahogany posts and a pleated chintzy canopy sits at the centre of the room alongside sweeping curtains with swags, and tails. Antique pieces, gilt mirrors and textured wallpaper complete the decadent country house look.
The bathroom is large and luxurious too, with a large freestanding bath and supersized walk-in rain shower with Lucknam Park branded shower products. Thick towelling robes and fluffy towels and slippers complete the cosy comfort. Both rooms have a view out to the front of the hotel, overlooking the estate and its resident horses.
Rooms range from opulent suites to smaller Classic and Garden rooms which are shared between the main house and the peaceful courtyard, where the décor is still traditional, but the chintz has been dialled down a bit.
Family accommodation includes interconnecting rooms, and extra beds can be put into suites, with babysitting services available. There are now seven private cottages on the estate too which sleep up to six people and are perfect for group stays and longer staycations.
The whole hotel can even be hired out for private events should the need, and maybe a lottery win, arise.
wining & dining
Lucknam Park has two gourmet dining options.
Restaurant Hywel Jones is the fine dining restaurant which has held a coveted Michelin Star for an impressive 18 years and continues to attract diners looking to enjoy its elegant setting and traditional country dining experience. In the hotel’s own words, it will ‘transport you to a bygone era of elegance and sophistication.’
The restaurant has old-school charm baked in, with cascading curtains, chandeliers and huge floral displays. Many of the guests enjoy dressing for dinner and there’s an air of occasion about the place. Diners can choose from a seven course Classic or Vegetarian Tasting Menu or dine à la carte. Each course is centred around premium ingredients, with some of the seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs sourced from the hotel’s Kitchen Garden. Needless to say, wine is taken seriously here too, and the tasting menus have an optional wine flight.
At the time of writing Restaurant Hywel Jones is open Thursday to Saturday from 6pm with last orders at 8.30pm.
Lucknam Park’s other dining option is The Brasserie, which offers a more relaxed and contemporary all-day dining experience with an open kitchen and a wood-fired oven. The Brasserie may not have a Michelin star, but the food’s of a high standard and service is attentive and friendly. I enjoyed the Day Boat Fish, which was cod on the day I visited. I was offered the choice of cooking method, a nice touch, and my requested pan-fried fillet arrived perfectly flaky and accompanied by wilted cavolo nero and chips. I rounded the meal off with a delicate English raspberry and hazelnut pavlova, served with a refreshing raspberry sorbet.
I loved the Brasserie’s relaxed and buzzy atmosphere when I visited and felt perfectly comfortable dining on my own. The Brasserie’s in the same building as the spa and you can enjoy lunch and refreshments wearing your robe in the lounge area until early evening. Dogs are also welcome in this area.
Whether you’re dining at Restaurant Hywel Jones, or the Brasserie, I recommend having a pre- or post- dinner drink in the Drawing Room for full luxury country house vibes.
Breakfast is served in the main restaurant with white starched napkins and there’s a good selection of continental and cooked breakfast options. There’s something very decadent about eating a quality Full English under a huge chandelier too.
why so spavellous?
Lucknam Park’s a great choice for a country house hotel break where you can relax and enjoy the refined but simple pleasures of drinking, dining, exploring, sleeping and spa-ing in luxury.
Staff are friendly while ‘getting’ the art of old-school service. The traditional feel of the hotel is grand but easy, and it doesn’t feel like you’re being watched 24/7 like it can at other luxury hotels.
The activities are a bonus too. As well as having one of the best spas in the UK, there are tennis courts, an outdoor gym, yoga classes, indoor and outdoor children’s play areas and plenty of strolling opportunities in the huge grounds, with bronze sculptures to admire along the way. Bikes and muck boots are available to borrow too – handy for anyone venturing over to the stables.
Horses have been an important part of life at Lucknam since 1932 and the stables offer riding experiences for guests of all ages and levels. Seeing horses and ponies around the estate is very much part of the Lucknam Park experience and adds to the exclusive, quintessential feel of the place.
Head to the indoor pool after dark to enjoy a fire-lit swim (it’s worth packing two cozzies in case you get the chance to have a double dip).
Make the most of your stay by using the spa after you’ve checked out, leaving your luggage in reception while you have a last swim and sauna for the road.
‘I go on a spa break every few months and often return to Lucknam for the pool and treatments. My go-to treatment’s Lucknam’s Signature Bespoke Massage which always hits the spot.’
‘My absolute favourite hotel in the UK. I come over from the States every year and I wouldn’t stay anywhere else.’
‘I love the outdoor bit of the pool and garden – it’s so relaxing.’
‘Bath has many good spas, but Lucknam Park has the best range of treatments and the best restaurant.’