Best friends Lisa McSorley, Luci Talbot Clark and Suke Froggatt
Stoke by Nayland Hotel, golf and spa, Suffolk
With ten children between us there’s always an excuse to get together, but sometimes you just need to get away for some girly adult time.
Landowners Bill and Devora Peake, founders of Copella juices, used 200 acres of their orchard land that was then unsuitable for growing apples to create a golf course designed by Bill himself - Stoke by Nayland. From little acorns huge oak trees grow, and lo and behold, just 40 years later the business has grown to include a fabulous luxury hotel and spa.
Set in 300 acres of magnificent Constable country on the edge of the picturesque Denham Vale on the Suffolk/Essex borders you can see why it’s become so popular. Only a 45-minute drive from the M25 it’s more accessible than you’d think. With 80 contemporary bedrooms, each boasting stunning views across the two golf courses and superb nature walks you could even bring your family - but not us, just the girls on this trip!
We stayed in one of the new country lodges, opened in 2012, which were built on the site of a former Women’s Land Army hostel where 100 women toiled the land to feed the nation during World War Two. Designed by local interior designer Lindsey Rendall, the lodges pay homage to its remarkable heritage by being contemporary and luxurious with a nod to the 1940s.
We were quite happy gossiping on the corner sofa in the open plan living space over a glass of bubbles, and could have opted to have a chef come to our lodge to cook for us, or even ordered a takeaway from the restaurant, but with the double AA rosette restaurant at the main hotel, we’d be silly not to go! A quick call to our personal concierge, Sam, and he whizzed round in his taxi to take us to The Lakes restaurant. Dinner was delicious and relaxed, and our wine waiter offered to choose the wines to accompany our meal choices so we let him: it saved us from the tricky decision.
After an uninterrupted [by children] fabulous night’s sleep, Sam delivered a huge breakfast tray full of coffee, croissants and local hams and cheeses to our lodge and we made our way to the Peake Spa. We all went our separate ways for our treatments, a facial for me [divine] and full body massage for Luci [amazing] and a Hammam - a combination of treatments, massage and body wrap, for Suke, which she described as ‘the most amazing thing ever’.
There was time for our obligatory relax and synchronised magazine reading by the 18.3m pool, use the jaccuzzi and steam room and take a spot of lunch at the Peake Bistro [delicious Caesar salad all round] before the spa treatment to end all spa treatments. The Rasul Mud therapy was so much fun! We found ourselves in a room all together with an assortment of muds, we did a sort of colour by numbers and completely covered our bodies and faces, then sat chatting in the mosaiced sauna for half an hour until the end of the session. We felt like new women, and we must’ve looked at least a few days younger!
So, spa time over and time to return to the rabble of men and children we’d left at home. The men immediately escaped to the pub the moment we returned, it turns out their time wasn’t quite as relaxing as ours and they desperately needed their own version of 'Spa Time'!
Lodge stays priced from £310 for a one Bedroom Lodge, two night stay and then direct them to the website. Lodge stays are self catered and bespoke, you can build up your package dependent on what you want – for example you could add on a spa day or a round of golf.
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