Submerged in nature

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Submerged in nature

VICTORIA EVANS escapes to C-Side Spa at Cowley Manor and finds the perfect antidote to city life…


A feeling of being utterly submerged in nature was induced by the sunken location of C-Side Spa, which has literally been sculpted into the landscape within the Gloucestershire grounds of Cowley Manor.


Set back from the hotel, the spa is discreet, making it the perfect sanctuary to feel secluded from the hotel guests. The charmingly warm hue of Cotswold stone features heavily throughout. In the reception area, a sweeping dry-stone wall provided a semi-circle of seating, cleanly contrasted by contemporary white tables, where I sat to fill out my consultation form.


I nursed a steaming cup of peppermint tea, as gentle piano-jazz wafted through the air. Thanks to the newly-opened Malt restaurant, my mouth started watering as the couple who sat next to me tucked into a gourmet Margarita pizza, which arrived with panache in a stylish delivery box.


Malt is led by Head Chef James Graham and celebrates Britain’s culinary heritage and embraces international food influences. Reflecting Cowley Manor’s own unique blend of contemporary design and home-from-home comfort, the menu allows you to share and socialise.


Back at the spa, heavy pine doors separate changing rooms for men, women, families and an additional disabled facility. To my delight, I found the women’s changing area fully stocked with Cowley Manor’s own Green & Spring products which I dipped into; starting with the feather-light cleanser, before sweeping over their mild toner and finishing with their silken daily moisturiser.


I was placed in the nurturing hands of Georgie, an enchanting young therapist who recommended their signature 60-minute Green & Spring full-body massage.


Having tapped into local resources found within the grounds of Cowley Manor, Green & Spring products combine therapeutic herbs and natural British spring waters.


Laid out on the treatment bed was a music menu, and while it didn’t serve up anything new in terms of choices, it certainly didn’t disappoint with its classic selection of easy-listening artists including Gregory Porter and Morcheeba. I chose the tinkling guitar and honeyed tones of Gabrielle Aplin to carry me through my hour of relaxation.


The treatment began with me lying on my front, as a series of grounding techniques were applied to acquaint me with the therapists’ nurturing touch. A profoundly calming full body treatment ensued, which blended elements of acupressure, reflexology and deep sweeping massage to iron out the knots. The pressure was substantial enough to feel a worthy loosening of tension, without venturing into the realms of discomfort.


The Repair & Restore Body Oil used in my treatment contained soothing lavender and chamomile balancing the invigorating citrus aromas of bergamot, lemon myrtle and grapefruit.


These essential oils were suspended in a base of evening primrose and calendula oils – revered for their incredibly therapeutic properties to rejuvenate dry, sensitive skin and improve dermalogical conditions like eczema. The addition of sweet almond oil works to speed up skin cell renewal, bringing a brighter appearance to the skin.


I felt incredibly balanced after the treatment; grounded yet energised.


Spa Traveller Wellness tips

  • Enjoy a restorative break at Cowley Manor which includes a 30 minute spa treatment per person (or one x 60 minute per room), a three-course dinner, a night’s stay and full breakfast


  • The C-Side Spa pool is available for private hire in the summer months. Cotswold chic at its finest


  • Checkout Cowley Manor’s exciting new restaurant The Malt which delivers food to the spa


  • Visit The Hambledon shop, located within the stable block for a perfectly curated, mini edition of the renowned flagship store in Winchester


  • C-Side is family-friendly spa, with children (under 16’s) permitted to use the facilities between 9am and 5.30pm



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