Posted in Desire, Health & Fitness, Travel on 8 August 2013 | by Amit

Rested & Recharged: St Michael’s Manor Hotel & Verulamium Spa

A weekend away is always a good thing. If that weekend happens to include a spa break and is set within an expansive gorgeous location then it’s a very good thing. We sampled such a delight as we continued Elysium Magazine’s search for luxury weekends away. Our travels on this occasion takes us to the historic city of St Albans as we visit St Michael’s Manor Hotel and Verulamium Spa to find out if it’s ideally suited to the discerning gent.

 

The Location

Set within southern Hertfordshire, St Albans is around 20 miles north of central London and easily commutable via car or train. Its biggest park, Verulamium Park, is set in more than 100 acres of open parkland close to the town centre. It’s here where you’ll find St Michael’s Manor and Verulamium Spa – located at opposite ends of the park. The scene of wide open spaces with numerous shades of green immediately gives the impression of calmness as you lose the inner city hectic mindset.

 

The hotel and spa work in partnership with each other to provide guests with a relaxing stay as they explore the vast park and ancient architecture of the town centre. St Michael’s Manor is a 4-star hotel set within five acres of picturesque English country gardens complete with its own lake – a truly peaceful setting. The original house dates back over 500 years and was converted into a hotel in the 1960s. It features 30 rooms, each individually styled so no two rooms are the same.

 

Verulamium Spa, on the other side of the park, is located within the newly opened Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre – a stunning purpose-built venue complete with swimming pool, indoor rock climbing centre, gym and sports hall. The spa uses the latest Espa range of luxurious treatments – great for the discerning gent’s good lady keen for an intensive pamper session.

 

The Room

Entering the hotel has the homely feel you get when you walk into your own residence, it’s very welcoming. Checking into one of the premier rooms, located in the eaves of the main house, you’re welcomed by the sense of character the place has about it. Exposed wooden beams together with the contemporary touch of the décor give it a cosy feel. Each room at the hotel is named after one of the 30 types of tree planted in its grounds – a nice touch.

 

Our room wasn’t huge in scale but had adequate enough space for what’s needed. A comfortable bed and the usual mod-cons were all provided whilst the modern bathroom was spacious enough. The view from the window overlooking the garden and lake was a highlight, and even more spectacular during sunset as the orange and red hues shimmer on the lake’s surface before disappearing behind the trees.

 

 

The Food

Dining at St Michael’s Manor is looked after by The Lake Restaurant located in the hotel’s orangery, providing great views of the garden and lake. One look at the a la carte menu will bring a smile to the face of the discerning gent who considers himself a foodie. There are options to suit all tastes whilst the focus is around English classics with a creative modern twist.

 

Starters such as the chicken on a leek fondue with chanterelles & shaved Somerset brie (£10.50) or the asparagus and buckwheat gnocchi with cep cappuccino and summer truffle (£9.50) are prepared with culinary flair and exquisite presentation akin to some of the famed restaurants in London. The combination of flavours worked perfectly and whetted the appetite for mains.

 

The pick of the dishes for mains had to the roasted plaice with scallops, summer ratatouille, aubergine quenelle and Bloody Mary jelly (£21.50) together with the cannon of lamb with sweetbreads, summer vegetables and Jersey Royal espuma (£23.50). Here we are talking eye-catching cuisine put together with flavoursome aplomb. The desert menu is sure to sway your sweet tooth too.

 

The setting and the food amongst such a calming location will easily help the mind forget the stresses of the city. Service at the restaurant is highly knowledgeable and always on hand with advice for those caught between options. After dining here you’ll realise why this restaurant has won awards.

 

The Spa

After settling into a stay at St Michael’s Manor you might be forgiven in thinking that another level of relaxation couldn’t be found. This is where the partnership with Verulamium Spa picks up the baton. After a restful nights sleep it’s recommended to take a walk through the park en route to Westminster Lodge where the spa is located.

 

 

Opened less than a year ago the spa is fitted to a high spec and is very pleasing on the eye – contemporary and slick. The roof terrace is the place to be to soak up the sun (weather permitting) and, if you’re hungry, to enjoy something from the bistro for lunch. Portions are sizeable and perfect for the discerning gent who has already built up a hunger.

 

The spa features a heated chamber with tepidarium (warm room) and lanconium (hottest room) along with sauna and steam rooms. The idea here is to gently warm the body up to a higher temperature state through sessions in each room. The hydro spa pool and drench showers are always available if ever you need to cool off. This process gets the body and mind in the optimum condition for a massage or treatment.

 

 

Discerning gents needing to soothe the aches of rigorous exercise are recommended to opt for the Espa Muscle Release Massage (£85 for a 80min treatment). His partner might opt for one of the numerous beauty treatments available such as the Espa Customised Holistic Facial (£70 for 50min treatment).

 

Therapists provide expert advice suited to the individual’s requirements and are always ready to explain things through if you need. This tailored approach is something the discerning gent and his partner will greatly appreciate as they relax for the afternoon. You’ll soon be thinking about booking your next session.

 

Verdict

The location and surroundings make St Michael’s Manor and Verulamium Spa a very sought-after combination. The whole experience is perfect for the discerning gent looking to book a weekend away where he and his partner can truly unwind. It’s a luxurious experience on all levels and the discerning gent will not be disappointed.

 

Room: 4/5

Location: 5/5

Dining: 5/5

Spa: 4/5

 

The Details

 

St Michael’s Manor Hotel

Fishpool Street

St Albans

Hertfordshire

AL3 4RY

Tel: 01727 864 444

www.stmichaelsmanor.com

 

Premier rooms from £145 per night

 

Verulamium Spa

Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre
Holywell Hill
St Albans
Hertfordshire
AL1 2DL

Tel: 01727 736 087

www.verulamiumspa.com


 
 
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