It’s been so long that I went away on a girls’ weekend that I literally could count on my hands the years! Yes, really – years! Recently I’ve gotten so busy with everything that I don’t take enough time to spend time with friends and especially other women! I actually find myself missing female company from time to time so I was super excited when I had the chance to go out a girls’ spa break to Hampshire this bank holiday weekend with Mona Adli from Mona’s Eyes and Charlotte Jones from Hair, Hauls and Health.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel alone in the blogging world and just like it’s not good to work in silo if you work in an office, it’s also not good to work in silo if you are a blogger. Teamwork is essential and supporting other women is so important. I’ve seen a lot of negative energy floating around on social media lately in the blogosphere so I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to be surrounded by two very positive women over the weekend – much needed! Also can we talk about how nice it is to get out of London? London is a bubble – a bubble I very much love but also need to break out of every now and again.
So to escape from the big city, the girls and I met in Basingstoke (about an hour outside of London) to head to the Hampshire Court Hotel & Spa for the weekend. It’s not far to get there either – the hotel is only a short 6-minute taxi ride from the station. Hampshire Court Hotel falls under the Q Hotels Group who have 26 4-star hotels dotted around the UK at various points of interest so you can combine a sightseeing break with a spa break. However, each hotel has its own personality and charm within the group so one is never the same. Lucky for us, the Hampshire Court Hotel also came with a spa (with 8 treatment rooms) – something that I consider essential in any weekend getaway! There is also a pool along with 5 indoor tennis courts so if you are feeling sporty than you can be.
The rooms have everything you need and want at a hotel – the beds are comfy, the window curtains black out the room at night (I need this to sleep!) and big bathtubs (another necessity). I don’t have a bathtub in London (which I think is a human right to have!) so I consistently crave long, luxurious baths. Hence why I do a lot of spa/hotel breaks!
So what did we get up to? Well, after taking some obligatory pics of the room (below) I met the girls in the hotel’s lounge and bar for lunch. The weather was really gorgeous during our stay and with big, open windows in the bar, the light really floods in and lights the place up. The lounge/bar looks out over a courtyard as well so there is some nice greenery to look at for those with sore city eyes.
Now when I go places for a getaway the food is really important. A city or sightseeing break is completely different from a spa break where the whole point is to relax. And if you are relaxing that means that you aren’t really straying far from the hotel so the facilities need to be good and the food needs to be good too! The bar and lounge at the Hampshire Court Hotel offers light nibbles, starters and mains such as salads and sandwiches. I wanted something healthy as I had already eaten lunch (so this was lunch #2) so ordered the salmon salad which was delicious. Feeling satisfied that I had reached my requirement for Omega 3s for the day, my naughty side took over to indulge in some dessert. Now the bar actually has some really nice desserts which I was impressed with.
There was the crème brûlée (below) covered with mini biscuits and fresh berries as well as the Hampshire Mess – much like the Eton Mess with bits of meringue, crème fraîche and fresh berries – YUM.
As I mentioned before the Hampton Court Hotel has a courtyard in the middle of the hotel that you can relax in with lounge chairs. You can have a drink here, soak in the sun (if you are lucky) and drink in the sight of the greenery. The weather was lovely during our stay so the Charlotte, Mona and I took advantage of it to take some pictures around the courtyard – simply as it was such a lovely day.
The hotel also has magazines that you can borrow from the spa if you fancy reading in the courtyard. I hardly ever have time to read so I think that it’s a real luxury to read a magazine or a book while going away. I absolutely love tucking away with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and reading my favourite magazine or a new book. And just how cute is my new Aspinal of London mini trunk clutch in Zebra print (below)? I couldn’t resist taking it with me – it’s perfect for carrying the bare necessities like bank card, lipstick, keys and phone.
After spending some time in the courtyard, the girls and I got ready and headed to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. Again the great thing about a spa weekend is that you don’t have to leave! Now I am all about a city break or sightseeing as well but it really depends on your objective for your break. My objective was to relax and hang out with the girls and have a good ole’ chat so I was perfectly happy to stay in the hotel. The restaurant on site is the Hampshire Restaurant and it was really busy when we arrived – which is a good sign because that means it’s good!
Seeing as the day before I had gone out and ordered a Reuben sandwich which was oozing with salt beef and cheddar I decided to go down the healthy route and ordered the Sea Bass with gnocchi. This was delicious! I love fish and I was really impressed with the flavour and seasonings. Everything at the restaurant is sourced locally where available and I always appreciate this philosophy. I think it’s really important for local businesses to support each other and this goes back to what I said before about supporting each other as people – whether it’s in the blogging world or elsewhere. Everything is better with teamwork and positive vibes.
As I side I ordered the steamed spinach and kale and stole two of the girls’ sweet potato fries as well. Okay maybe I stole more than that but who’s counting?
No dinner is complete without wine and we went for a Chilean Merlot which despite the rules, still goes very well with fish!
No dinner is complete without dessert and this one was really good. It was a blueberry tart that was warm and came served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There is just something about warm fruit and ice cream that cannot be beat.
Now the best part about this whole trip is that the hotel – as part of the spa getaway package on offer – organises a private room with DVDs, sweets and drinks for you to have after dinner. If you are with a group of girls this is perfect! Chick flicks (I’m talking Trainwreck and Heartbreakers) and sweets like marshmallows and Fizz Wizz just cannot be beat. I actually thought this was the best part about the whole package. If you are with your friends this a brilliant way to end the night – with a few drinks and laughs and sweets, of course.
After filling up on Fizz Wizz and marshmallows, we all headed to our rooms to hit the bed. I have to say that I slept really deeply – the moment my head hit the pillow I was out. The hotel was quiet and the room was dark – perfect sleeping conditions.
The next morning I met the Mona and Charlotte for breakfast – another highlight. I am a huge breakfast fan and was quite impressed with the array of choices on hand at the Hampshire Court Hotel. The breakfast is served as a buffet so you can fill up on exactly what you want, as many times as you want. I chose eggs over easy, mushrooms and tomatoes and then topped it off with grapefruit and goji berries.
After breakfast, we checked into our spa treatments. I had booked in the ESPA Deep Tissue Massage for 50 minutes which was very relaxing. I love ESPA products and have used them before – the oils contain actives and all the products are natural with aromatherapy benefits. You can book in spa/hotel packages with the hotel which I would recommend. Just make sure you get to your spa appointment early to fill in the form and get changed (they give you a robe) so you can start your treatment feeling relaxed. My massage was full body which I was really in need of since I suffer from back and neck tension.
After the treatments we headed to the pool and sauna. There are two pools – one for kids and one for adults which I thought was quite a nice idea as then you don’t get disturbed by children if you want to relax. Don’t get me wrong – I love and want kids but this lets the kids also be able to be free and splash around in their own pool!
The sauna at the Hampshire Court Hotel is also really nice – just the right temp to really sweat it out. I could spend a lot of time in the sauna just because it does wonders for my skin.
So final thoughts? Well for one the girls really made this weekend! If you want to go away with your girlfriends then the Hampshire Court Hotel is an easy and simple choice. Also with the package deals they offer it’s pretty affordable too. I so enjoyed hanging out with Mona and Charlotte and if you do have girlfriends and want to get out of London this is a really easy option that requires no hard thinking. Our city brains are fried and frazzled enough so a break at the Hampshire Court Hotel is easy as.
To find out more about the packages on offer at the Hampshire Court Hotel see HERE.
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