By Diane Small
Personally, I can only truly enjoy ‘luxury’ if I know I’m enjoying high-end services and goods that are gentle to the planet. I think this is the main reason why I enjoyed staying at Sopwell House, a 4 star eco-luxury hotel nestled in 12 acres of tranquil gardens in Hertfordshire, England.
My stay here was short: just two days. But thanks to the attention I received, and the beauty of the hotel and its surroundings, it was an experience I shall remember for a lifetime.
Right after checking in, I was shown to what was an executive suite with a balcony and luxurious four-poster bed, packed with all the refined touches you’d hope for from a luxury hotel, such as complimentary grooming products of excellent quality: in this case, the shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soaps were all natural and organic.
In keeping with the green theme of the hotel, bed linens were only replaced every third day as standard (or less if requested), those organic toiletries were only replaced as required, and all rooms are kitted out with energy efficient light bulbs.
The hotel is surrounded by green countryside, just begging to be walked or jogged through, which I did, enjoying the sight of English gardens, ponds and surprisingly blue skies (this is England after all!) along the way. Just in case it rains, the hotel also boasts a fully equipped gym for those who need their exercise, and there is also a pool and a spectacular spa, complete with sauna, steam and relaxation rooms.
Of course, I indulged in all the relaxation services the hotel and spa had to offer, such as their top rated massage service. I’ve had many massages in my time, but the deep tissue technique here was so professionally done and so relaxing that it truly deserved to be described as a “high-end luxury experience”. Naturally, ll of the products used in the spa are also organic; this made me feel safe in the knowledge that they really do care about the environment and their clients’ well being.
After my session with the masseuse, I continued unwinding in the sauna, steam room and spa bath, all of which left me feeling as light as a feather and somewhat more energised. It’s no wonder that celebrities and bridal parties come to Sopwell House to have a pamper weekend away from the hustle and bustle of a busy world.
And of course, let us not forget the food. I had so many options to choose from, consisting of varied extensive menus at not one, but two restaurants. Everything was of the finest quality, made fresh, served hot, and tasted delicious. There were plenty of vegan and vegetarian meal options, ranging from curries and salads to soups and stir fries, and all were made with locally sourced produce, to lower transport pollution.
I chose the vegan curry, which was flavourful without being too heavy. It was served with a chapati bread and with a pyramid of rice. There was even a dollop of vegan yogurt (soy based) to mitigate the slight heat. I followed this with a dense chocolate cake, which was also vegan. The texture was more like the inside of a chocolate truffle, and pure cacao was relied on for taste, rather than sugar and cream. Pure heaven!
After filling myself up with my hearty vegan meal in the dining room, I retreated to the lounge to curl up in front of the fireplace with a book selected from the vast sharing library in the hotel, feeling as comfortable and relaxed as I would in my own place.
Sopwell House certainly lives up to its promise to be a “home away from home.”
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