The trouble with Whittlebury Park is that you are spoilt. There is too much choice. The dreamy spa, where classical indulgence coalesces with the latest science, is the ultimate pleasuredome. And how many hotels have four golf courses?
Then there are the three restaurants. Yet more choice. Elegant, light-infused Murray’s offers stylish fine dining while Astons has a more relaxed casual vibe, hitting the spot after a busy day in the spa or on the fairways. Alternatively, the Spa’s Bistro is ideal for a light meal between treatments.
It all adds up to an ideal destination for couples, friends or family meeting-up. Stereotyping may be unfashionable but … for many guests a typical Whittlebury day is breakfast for everyone, the men head to the first tee whilst the ladies slip into fluffy white dressing gowns for a day at the spa.
Then everybody reunites for a pre-dinner drink in the impressively wood-panelled Silverstone Bar. Nostalgic photographs of Graham Hill, James Hunt, Nikki Lauda, Michael Schumaker and dozens of other Grand Prix legends, combining with motor-racing memorabilia, make it a fascinating F1 Hall of Fame. And repeat. There will be a different golf course to play the next day and yet more spa treatments to try.
Back to the questions. Do you set a date in the diary for the Glow Getter Spa Day featuring a Peaceful Escape treatment, Heat and Ice Experiences and time by the pool?
Or do you opt for the luxury of an overnight stay? Top of the range is the Seventh Heaven Spa Day with two spa treatments, a champagne brunch, a night in a suite and then dinner at Murray’s.
For those in search of an inner calm, the Serenity Spa Day has a mindfulness class, a two course lunch in the Bistro, two hours of Heat and Ice Experiences as well as time by the pool. The Tranquility Spa Stay, extending a blissful day, adds in a three course dinner at Astons and an overnight stay too.
Every visit gives access to a lake-like swimming pool whose decor is a tribute to the last days of the Roman Empire. Overhead, a Mediterranean blue sky has spotlights, like stars, sparkling amidst the crumbling balustrades and pillars of a grand Roman Villa. From the pool guests can slip into the salt sauna, the steam room or whirlpools.
Another fond tribute is the recently refurbished Murray’s. An AA three star restaurant paying homage to the chicanes-and-pit-stops commentary of Murray Walker. A man who spent many a day breathing in the high octane spirit of neighbouring Silverstone. Chef Harvey Lockwood brings a Modern British menu to Murray’s. Wild line-caught halibut and black-faced Thame lamb are prime examples of the quality of the sourcing.
A contemporary glass and steel atrium, twice propelled to UK Clubhouse of the Year by its sumptuously welcoming sofas, sets the classy tone for golf.
Currently, in pandemic times, three of the four courses are in play. On weekdays the green keeper creates a course of the day whilst on busy weekends all three 9s are open to members and guests.
Designed to championship standards with immaculate fairways and fast greens, the Royal Whittlewood is the most scenic but also the most heart-stopping, as it wends its way around a lake and ancient copses where medieval royalty once hunted stag. Later, the forest’s oaks were felled for Royal Navy ships.
The Grand Prix course has a testosterone-fuelled soundtrack of revving engines and squealing tyres. Yet it also offers the tranquil beauty of the 10th. To the left of the green an archipelago of bunkers wait. To the right a there is a water-lily lake where the resident swans have become accustomed to the regular soft plop of golf balls.
Within easy reach of both Birmingham and London, Whittlebury Park, relaxes in a rural triangle between Oxford, Northampton and Banbury. Sitting between M40 and M1 it is an easily accessible location for that golf or spa break you’ve promised yourselves.
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For more UK travel breaks like Michael’s review of Whittlebury Park, visit our UK travel channel.Last modified: August 24, 2021