By Jane Knight
Lucknam Park was a private family residence for centuries before being turned into a five-star hotel.
Nestled in the Wiltshire countryside just a few miles outside the beautiful city of Bath, it is elegant country house living at its best, without being pretentious or stuffy.
Add to that a Michelin Star restaurant and a world-class spa, plus its own equestrian centre, and a visit here is something special.
Here’s what happened when The Boutique Handbook’s resident spa expert and founder of Spavellous, Jane Knight, checked in to one of their spectacular suites for the night and tried out one of their signature spa treatments.
Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa Review
Just seven miles from the city of Bath, Lucknam Park hotel and spa is easy to reach by rail, road or helicopter, should you desire. If you’re coming by car, there is valet parking. Train travellers should head for Bath Spa station and get a cab. There is a taxi rank, so no need to pre-book.
As soon as you turn into the tree-lined driveway and glimpse the golden stone mansion at the end, you get a real sense of having arrived somewhere special. A smiley doorman welcomed me at the hotel entrance and unloaded my case while his colleague parked my car somewhere that didn’t lower the tone of the place.
Once inside I was greeted by the eager reception team and struck by the sheer grandeur of the place. One of the first things you see at Lucknam Park is a library filled with rows of leather-bound books and a decadent lounge beyond inviting you to sit and order a cocktail.
The hotel has 42 individually-styled rooms and suites with luxurious interiors in keeping with the period of the building and swathed in rich and sumptuous fabrics.
Rooms are shared between the Main House and the quiet courtyard behind it. Larger rooms and suites are confidently chintzy with chaises longues, draped four-poster beds and curtains with swags and tails. Some have a separate living room too. Smaller Classic and Garden rooms dial down the chintz, but are still elegant and proudly traditional in style. There are also seven luxury private cottages scattered around the 500-acre estate, which can sleep two to six people.
I stayed in the grand Camellia Suite, a huge and decadent space with large windows looking out to the front of the hotel down the tree-lined driveway. It has a traditional four-poster bed, decked with rich fabrics and its own separate living room with an open fire and elegant dark wood furniture. The bathroom is spacious too. Think bright and marble-clad with a large freestanding bath, double sinks and a stand-alone rain shower. The fluffiest of towels and Lucknam-logoed bath robes complete the pampering experience.
FOOD AND DRINK
Lucknam Park hotel has two delicious dining options, top notch fine dining at the Michelin-starred restaurant from chef Hywel Jones and elevated everyday fare at the less formal The Brasserie Restaurant.
Restaurant Hywel Jones offers a seven-course tasting menu (£140pp) in the opulent surroundings of the main mansion house. The vibe is fittingly formal and the food is as excellent as you would expect from a restaurant that has held a Michelin star since 2006. Note it is only open Thursday to Sunday, with food served from 6pm to 9pm.
The second dining option is the The Brasserie Restaurant, open seven days a week, in the spa building. Here you can enjoy quality bistro-style cuisine, including food from the wood-fired oven. I devoured the Cornish Day Boat Fish (£28), which was cod when I visited. I was also offered the choice of cooking method, which was a nice touch, and my requested pan-fried fillet arrived perfectly cooked with a crispy skin accompanied by cavolo nero and chips. Other menu options include pizzas from £17, the Lucknam Park Beef Burger (£18.50) and Roasted Venison (£30). All dietaries can be catered for. In the week there is a lunch set menu priced at £28pp for two courses and £32pp for three courses. A three-course Sunday lunch is £48pp. Afternoon Tea, served daily from 1pm to 3pm, is £44pp.
To round off my meal off, I had a delicate English Raspberry and Hazelnut Pavlova served with Raspberry Sorbet, before heading back to the lounge for a night cap. Wherever you choose to eat, I recommend having a pre or post-dinner drink in the grand lounge to get the full luxury country house experience. A hearty breakfast is served in the main hotel restaurant and is included in the standard room rate.
The spa at Lucknam Park is surprisingly large and contemporary for a country house hotel. The natural cream stone building houses a lovely light-filled 20-metre pool with a fire running along one side, giving it a cosy glow after dark. There’s a swim-out hydrotherapy pool at one end and the submerged bubbly benches outside offer a perfect place sit and enjoy the pretty walled garden.
Other facilities include a Japanese Salt Room, Aromatic Steam Room, Sauna and a sparkly warm Amethyst Room, with an additional sauna and steam room in both the female and male changing rooms.
The spa has eight serene treatment rooms, including one double. The comprehensive spa menu features a full range of treatments for face, body and mind, plus manicures and pedicures.
I tried the Celestial Black Diamond facial from science-led facial brand 111 SKIN (£230). This top end 90-minute treatment is billed as a ‘non-surgical facelift’ and designed to cleanse, exfoliate, lift and brighten the skin.
The thing I loved most was how relaxing the seven-stage treatment was, with massage elements incorporated whenever one of the intensive products was left on my skin for any amount of time. And I was impressed to actually see a visible difference in both the texture and brightness of my skin following the treatment.
Lucknam Park offers a good range of spa days, including the popular Spa Day and Afternoon Tea, from £215pp. This includes a treatment and three hours full use of the spa followed by a decadent afternoon tea served in Restaurant Hywel Jones. Evening Spa and Dining experiences, including a three-course meal, start from £115pp.
Despite the hotel’s elegance and grown-up feel, children are warmly welcomed at the hotel and there’s lots of space for them to enjoy, including an outdoor playground.
There are also two tennis courts, a well-equipped gym with Peloton bikes, yoga classes, bikes and outdoor gym equipment to keep active types happy. Horse riding for all ages and abilities is available in the hotel’s own Equestrian Centre.
The hotel is happy to accommodate dogs too and they will love exploring the extensive grounds. In the unlikely event you’re motivated to leave the estate, Lucknam Park makes a great base for exploring the Cotswolds. One of the area’s most picturesque villages, Castle Combe, is just a few miles up the road.
Lucknam Park hotel and spa offers a luxurious and classic English country house retreat with top notch food, slick service, next-level bedrooms and a world-class spa.
Prices start from £350 a night, including breakfast and spa access
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