One night of luxury: Review of Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

By Catherine Leech, Director, 101 Holidays

When I invited my almost 80-year-old mother to join me for a night at the five-star Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, she replied: “£80 per person for dinner – it can never be worth it, even if it has got a Michelin star.”

Raised during World War II, my mum is typical of her generation. She isn’t wired for indulgence but I persuaded her to give it a try, not least as a big thank you for nursing me for ten days after major surgery earlier in the year.

Located 20 minutes away from Bath, Lucknam Park is a haven of Palladian splendour, gracious service and gob-smacking luxury – the kind that wraps you up in a virtual cashmere blanket and makes your shoulders drop an inch on arrival.

One of the suites

Our room had jaw-dropping views of the magnificent grounds – all 500 acres of them – and everything else you would expect from a top drawer hotel. Generous quantities of Anne Semonin smellies in our vast marble bathroom, the comfiest of beds, padded silk hangers, a hand-stitched ‘privacy’ sign – hardly life’s necessities but a pure delight.

* See our editors’ tips for the best UK holiday ideas and holiday destinations for couples.

Nice touches

We whiled away the afternoon in the hotel’s spa and sunny outdoor terraces. It is one of the best spas I have experienced anywhere in the world. The pool alone is vast (it even has its own fireplace along one wall, perfect for wintry late afternoons and romantic evening swims) but there are also indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, thermal cabins and outstanding therapists with magic hands – choose from a tempting menu of Anne Semonin, Carita Paris and ila therapies.

Spa pool at night

The spa building also houses the Brasserie – casual, contemporary and very affordable with a three-course set lunch costing £22.

We passed on afternoon tea – nothing was going to spoil our appetite for dinner – but we spotted several groups of friends and family in the Drawing Room and gardens tucking in to vast spreads of beautifully-presented savoury and sweet treats (£25 per person for the full monty).

Lucknam Park Hotel

There’s no doubt that The Park restaurant is grand – really grand – but there’s no stuffiness. We would have felt equally comfortable in long dresses or smart trousers and really liked how well spaced the tables are. It felt intimate without being cloyingly romantic.

Our three-course dinner (£80 per person) offered lots of choice plus scrummy, unexpected, extras – canapés with our cocktails in the garden, a tomato consomme and langoustines (perhaps all the more delicious for the element of surprise). One Michelin star doesn’t seem quite enough – the whole experience was superb.

Delicious scallopsPre-dinner drinks with MumTurbot - wow

By the time we went to bed that night, it was clear that my mum was taking to all this luxury like a duck to water. Complimentary morning tea, served in antique silver, added to the sense of being utterly spoiled and our Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine (always a reliable test of any hotel) were stellar.

We wandered around the gardens, chatted to the horses (the hotel has an impressive equestrian centre) and looked in on the cookery school. As we checked out, a family with two young children were checking in and finalising their mix of spa treatments for Mum, tennis coaching for Dad and riding lessons for the kids – as they headed off to explore on the complimentary bicycles. A loved up honeymoon couple were considering a private picnic lunch and an elderly couple were settling down in the library for a morning’s R&R with the papers.

As we drove out, flanked by double rows of lime and beech trees which were used in the war to camouflage Spitfire and Hurricane planes, my mum’s final words captured the essence of Lucknam Park. “That was priceless – pure theatre. Now I get it.”

Did we need it? No. Would we happily have paid for it? Hell, yes.

Find out more about Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa. Double rooms cost from £275 per night and there’s a range of spa, equestrian, cookery school and gourmet breaks.

* Catherine and her mother were guests of Lucknam Park.

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