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Riverside luxury

Looking for a relaxing spa break that's not going to take hours to get to? I know just the place.

WHAT? WHERE?

The Runnymede-on-Thames is a hotel and spa in Egham, not far from Windsor on the Surrey / Berks border. A four-star hotel with two restaurants (you don’t have to stay to eat), a bar and a spa it’s set right on the banks of the Thames.

It’s a fairly big hotel – with 180 rooms – and attracts complete cross-section of people from families to couples and groups of girlies on a spa-break, to those there for a wedding or conference. There are endless rooms of all sizes that can be used for meeting days, wine tastings and baby showers.

THE VIBE

First impressions are of a fairly typical modern hotel But once you’re through those front doors, you’ll find a stylish and contemporary hotel with a lot to offer. But really, it’s all about the location. The hotel makes the most of it’s riverside location, with the bar and both restaurants opening out onto an outdoor terrace that rolls into a lawn down to the waterside. Many of the rooms, too, have river views, and the function rooms used most often for weddings also have their own river-facing terrace. The Runnymede also has its own fleet of private riverboats available for hire.

And then there’s the spa. I arrived on a Friday afternoon with Mr Muddy just a few days before my birthday, so I was in the mood for a bit of luxury. Our booking was a bit last minute (story of my life!!), so the spa treatment appointments were fully booked – but we made full use of the spa facilities which includes a heated indoor pool, whirlpool bath, saunas and a eucalyptus steam room, as well as an outdoor swimming pool. I didn’t fancy it but if you want to get physical, there’s also a tennis court, a gym and a fitness studio. Oh, and the Thames Path is also right there and in the summer months the hotel offers outdoor circuit training.

SCOFF & QUAFF

There are two restaurants to at The Runnymede: the Lock Bar and Kitchen – named for its position next to the pretty Bell Weir Lock – and the family-friendly brasserie, the Leftbank Restaurant. We had a table booked at the Lock for our Friday evening meal. Breakfast was in the Leftbank Restaurant.

The Lock has a AA Rosette Award for culinary excellence, and prides itself on a menu that offers hearty homestyle cooking that’s also simple and elegant. There’s an extensive specials board with a fish, quiche and pie option, as well as a mains, sides, salads and soups.

For starters I went for the grilled asparagus bruschetta, with ricotta, lemon and parsley pesto while Mr M chose the smoked salmon on soda bread with chive crème fraîche. They were really nicely presented and super tasty.

For mains, we were both tempted by the fish special: panfried supreme of sea trout. We ordered some big chips, leafy salad and sauteed spinach as our sides and it was a great combination. Then it was lemon meringue and elderflower tart with a chantilly cream for Mr M and berry cheesecake with a fruit coulis for me. 

Breakfast the following morning was a mahoosive buffet of pretty much everything you could possibly think of or want for breakfast – including American waffles and a baskets full of pastries.

PILLOW TALK

When the beds are as wide as they are long and the pillows are plump and piled high, you know you’re onto a good thing, and a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t disappointed. The decor in the rooms is understated and crisp with hints of blues and greens among the neutral greys, giving a nod to its riverside location. They’re well kitted out with a fridge and coffee machine, as well as lovely luxury touches like super fluffy dressing gowns and Espa toiletries which smell divine. And with a view of the Thames to top it all off nicely.

KID-FRIENDLY?

The hotel is family friendly for sure. Kids get a goody bag when they arrive, there’s a children’s playground, games, and the Leftbank Restaurant offers child-friendly dining options including a build-your-own burger and or pizza options.

OUT & ABOUT

There’s plenty to see and do near here. Windsor is only 10 minutes away, as is Legoland and Thorpe Park. The Savill Gardens and Great Windsor Park are only a few miles away, and the National Trust’s Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed, is just over 2 miles away.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Weddings, conferences, spa breaks and family mini-breaks. It’s less than 10 minutes from Heathrow airport, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for an overnight stop.  If you happen to be local, there’s plenty going on here for non-hotel residents – on a number of Sundays in the summer the hotel hosts a Sizzling Summer Barbecues with Jazz and there’s a two-course Sunday roast for £20.75 in the Lock Bar and Kitchen.

Not for: If it’s a quirky boutique hotel with cosy nooks and crannies and period flourishes you’re after, The Runnymede is probably not your place. 

The damage: A couples spa break is from £320 for two people and includes dinner at The Lock, bed and breakfast, a 40 minute treatment plus use of the spa facilities. Room only starts at £140 / night for a single rising to £350 for family and dog friendly river-side duplex rooms. For dinner only, staters hover around the £7-£8 mark, mains are mostly around £17 (going up to £27 for the grilled Surrey farm rib eye steak), and puds are around £7.

The Runnymede-on-Thames Hotel and Spa, Windsor Road, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0AG. runnymedehotel.com

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