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Posted by on Aug 30, 2007 in Spa Reviews | 0 comments

Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park

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There is an instant serenity here that comes from the atmosphere of quiet luxury, the sense that every creature comfort will be attended to and that while you are here, you will receive the kind of care and attention that s offered only at the finest and most service-oriented establishments.

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The approach to Lucknam Park is breathtaking. Driving down the mile long allee, which is planted with hundreds of lime and beech trees dating back to the early 19th century, it s easy to imagine what this estate might have been like in Jane Austen s time. The drama heightens when we stop in front of a magnificent 18th century mansion of Cotswald stone. Set on 500 acres of Wiltshire parkland about two hours from London and just six miles from Bath, Lucknam Park brings to life the splendor of bygone days but with the welcome addition of all the mod cons desired by today s traveler.

In spite of all the splendor, the reception area is warm and welcoming. Comfortable upholstered sofas flank the period pinewood fireplace; colorful accents are provided by an oriental carpet and the Belgian linen floral prints that dress the windows.

The theme of comfortable sophistication is carried out in all the common rooms: the wood-paneled library, with its leather chesterfield sofa, Portland stone fireplace and period Georgian antiques is a perfect spot for afternoon tea or a post-dinner brandy. The sofa fairly invited me to curl up on the sofa, kick of my shoes and delve into a favorite novel in this setting, it would have to be one of Jane Austen s.

The Drawing Room is equally lovely, with ochre walls and windows draped in amber silk damask and such eye-arresting features as sparkling crystal chandeliers and a massive Scottish buffet table topped with a magnificent 19th century gilded mirror.

Size matters in the hotel business and bigger is not necessarily better. As Lucknam Park has only 41 accommodations (including 13 suites), there s no chance of getting lost in a sea of faces. (In fact, within a very short time, the staff will know your name, as well as any preferences or wishes you may have expressed.) Some of the suites have private sitting rooms; my room had a delightful four-poster bed and furnishings that suggested old money rather than a decorator s portfolio.

Though the bathrooms are modern and though every room has WIFI for those who must work or check email, the atmosphere is one of old-fashioned grandeur. Perhaps that s because Lucknam Park had been maintained as a private home since it was built in 1720; it only became a hotel lucknam-4in 1987. Today, it still offers all the pastimes enjoyed by the gentry of days gone by. There s an outstanding equestrian center that has an all-weather arena and stables for 30 horses. Lessons are available, and on a brisk fall morning, what could be more pleasant than a ride along the estate s cross-country course? Croquet can be played on the west lawn, and there are two tennis courts for day or evening play. Clay pigeon shooting can be arranged, as can sheep dog handling and fly fishing.

I preferred more quiet pastimes: a walk in the Rose Garden, a peek at the Walled Garden, which dates back to the 1830s and shelters the very English Yew and box hedges and herbaceous borders. With some 600 trees, including such rare varieties as the Chinese Crab Tree and the Eugenie Willow (named after the wife of Napoleon III), the Millennium Arboretum was also noteworthy.

lucknam-3Of course, I planned to visit the Spa, which is housed in a separate building. At its center is an inviting swimming pool. There are saunas, a steam room, a whirlpool spa, a solarium, five treatment rooms and a Pavilion Restaurant, which offers meals and snacks throughout the day. And when the weather is balmy, the spa doors open onto a terrace and garden. The gym is equipped with strength training and cardiovascular equipment; a personal trainer is available. I was not tempted to do anything that required effort. In fact I was so relaxed that I felt the spa treatments I d scheduled would be an extra rather than a needed antidote to travel. There is an instant serenity here that comes from the atmosphere of quiet luxury, the sense that every creature comfort will be attended to and that while you are here, you will receive the kind of care and attention that s offered only at the finest and most service-oriented establishments.

lucknam-5For my full body aromatherapy massage (80 for 90 minutes), I chose the energizing option. I had been feeling so languid and relaxed that I thought I should pep up a bit and actually do something other than simply enjoy myself. The massage, from my face and head down to my toes in delicious aromatherapy oil, was perfect, a Swedish-style tune-up for my body that left me feeling fine though not quite energized.

The facials here use Clarins and Guinot products, both from France. I had the Clarins Pro Active Facial (70 , 90 minutes), which began with a multi-phase cleansing and exfoliation. Then the intensive Pro-Active concentrate was applied. To kick up the product s effectiveness, a mask was also applied. While all the good anti-aging and hydrating was going on, there was added bliss in the form of a scalp massage.  I was told that the basis of all Clarins treatments is the Clarins Touch, the massage technique which was developed in Paris more than 50 years ago and which uses different rhythmic strokes to stimulate the lymphatic system and blood circulation. It s a touch that is at once soothing and energizing, and when the treatment was finished, my skin was soft and clear and bright no need for makeup that day!

lucknam-6The spa has a full menu of facial and body treatments for both men and women, as well as nail and hair care. A number of spa packages are offered, again for both men and women. The Lucknam Park Top to Toe Day ( 240), for example, includes a full Body Glow exfoliating treatment, a Full Body massage, a Clarins Personal Blend Facial, eyebrow shaping, a manicure and pedicure and a two-course lunch with wine in the spa restaurant.

In keeping with the general excellence of its services, Lucknam Park has a fine dining restaurant headed by Michelin-starred Chef Hywel Jones, who produces dishes that are beautiful to look at (but not fussy) and delicious to eat. His philosophy: Use top quality ingredients and do as little to them as possible just enough to impress but not enough to destroy their natural flavor.

lucknam-7A three-course lunch, with coffee, is 25; it might include a starter of Blue Cheese Souffl , red grape and port marmalade, apple and wet walnut salad, followed by an entr e of  Roast breast of Barbary duck, leg en croute, salad of Asian green, plum pickle — and finished off with Chilled coconut rice pudding, caramelized pineapple, vanilla doughnuts for dessert.

Standard double rooms in summer start at 255, though various promotions and discounts are generally offered. For example, the Midweek Gourmet Indulgence Package (valid Sunday to Thursday though September) starts at 380 per person, per night, based
on double occupancy and includes accommodations, champagne, fruit and chocolates on arrival, a 30-minute mini-treatment per person, a 7-course tasting menu for dinner and full English breakfast the following morning.

Lucknam Park

www.lucknampark.co.uk

Colerne, Chippenham
Wiltshire, SN14 8AZ England

Phone: (01225) 742777

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