You may not be miles away from Surrey’s popular theme parks at Runnymede, but you are a world away from distractions at this peaceful riverside hotel. Popular with visitors who want to escape London but don’t want to travel too far, Runnymede offers first class accommodation on Thames, with direct river access and an award winning spa.
Starting life as a seventies pub, it’s no wonder that this charming location was snapped up and converted into a luxurious family friendly hotel, with a location well suited for relaxation and exploring the surrounding area.
The hotel itself is modern-luxe and the open plan lobby broadens out to comfortable seating and floor to ceiling glass doors which flaunt the stunning riverside vista. Buzzing all day with guests, this central hub is a bar come lounge and is a popular working space should you need to catch up on emails or have a business meeting. If you’re here for pleasure, you are more likely to be found in the hot tub on the jetty, in the fully equipped gym or on the tennis courts.
If you have water legs, a trip on the river is a must. I headed there with a group of girls on a sunny autumn day, and we took advantage of the hotel’s speedboat (with skipper!) and embarked on with a picnic and several bottles of fizz, on a lazy river cruise westbound. Our destination was the Magna Carta Memorial, which dates back to 1215. This hotel organised excursion put us in the capable hands of a local tour guide who took us on an informative walking tour, through the meadows where King John signed this historical charter. Just six years ago, on the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 2015, artist Hew Locke was commissioned to create the striking piece of art known as The Jurors- which consists of 12 chairs each detailing a representation of a civilian struggle for freedom. This modern art took pride of place in nature, and was a touching tribute to justice. Also in the vicinity was the plot that Queen Elizabeth gave to the Americans for the Kennedy Memorial.
The return to the hotel was jubilant, as the fresh air was invigorating- it may have had something to do with the prosecco, but spirits were high! It would have been remiss not to check out the luxurious spa, so I booked in for a neck and shoulder massage and facial, and as usual, the act of lying down on a heated bed, with soothing music does wonders for my stress levels! Alas the time always passes too quickly, and too soon I was gently dislodged from my daydreams and invited to the post-treatment relaxation room, with the lure of the rest of the spa and pool. Alas I didn’t make it further than the daybed just then, as I had to change for dinner.
The hotel’s Leftbank restaurant serves locally sourced produce and a seasonal a la carte menu, which contains some impressive vegetarian options- and one of my meat eating friends would highly recommend the ox cheeks! The restaurant’s vibe was lively and we had plenty of space so as not to feel crowded or rushed. We finished our evening with a nightcap in the lounge area, before heading to our sumptuous suites.
However, it wasn’t a totally hedonistic visit, the next morning I got up early and headed to the award winning spa before breakfast. With a jacuzzi, eucalyptus steam room, infrared and pine saunas and indoor pool, you couldn’t keep me away! It opens at 7am and a pre-breakfast swim is always a treat- and a great way to clear away the cobwebs!
Whether you’re travelling in a group or on a romantic getaway Runnymede is perfectly situated for exploring the local sights such as Windsor Castle, Eton College, Virginia Water lake and Thorpe Park which are all within 20 minutes drive, alternatively you can just cosy up in the snug bar and admire the scenery. Or whether permitting, take out one of the three self-drive hire boats.
The hotel’s unique riverside location has everything you will need to keep you entertained, or indulged. You can even bring your pooch for an ideal winter break.
For more information
The Runnymede on Thames Hotel and Spa, Windsor Road, Egham, Surrey, TW20 0AG
Tel: 01784 220600