A honey scrub and bottomless breakfast at Runnymede-on-Thames

Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Richard Waite

Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Richard Waite - Credit: Archant

Looking for a sweet and easy weekend away, ZOE PASKETT enjoys the health and taste benefits of a honey-themed retreat, less than an hour outside London

Spa at Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Chris Tubbs

Spa at Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Chris Tubbs - Credit: Archant

Bees are having a bit of a comeback. Not literally – sadly populations are still in rapid decline or, as Black Mirror would have us believe, plotting to teach us a violent lesson about judgement on social media.

However, honey is working hard to give bees a marketing boost and humans an immune system boost, and everybody’s getting on board.

Runnymede-on-Thames hotel and spa is the latest, with a full honey themed retreat, incorporating it into every aspect of the stay.

We arrive at our room on Friday afternoon to find honeycomb chocolate on the table – a good start – and don’t waste any time in getting down to the spa, which has all the usual trimmings: pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room.

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We dip between all of them for a couple of hours, occasionally exiting into the lounge area to rehydrate, before sinking back into the bubbles.

A rush up to the room for a quick change and then down to dinner in The Lock Bar & Kitchen, where the honey theme really comes into play. We can’t resist each going for a pumpkin, ricotta and honey tart for starters and aren’t disappointed; both are wolfed down in seconds.

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Going back to the main menu, I have a scrumptious sea bass, roasted and stuffed full of herbs and confit fennel, sitting in a pool of buttery sauce, with tender seasonal veg on the side. My friend loved her Cajun spiced chicken burger with guac and chips, a Lock Kitchen favourite.

It’s impossible for me to see salted caramel and chocolate tart on a menu and not order it, however by the time it comes I’m so full I can hardly squeeze it all in – though, obviously, I manage and it’s worth it.

We relax and finish off our bottle of wine before heading up to sink into the spongy pillows and not stir for nine hours.

Deluxe Riverside room at Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Chris Tubbs

Deluxe Riverside room at Runnymede-on-Thames. Picture: Chris Tubbs - Credit: Archant

It was too dark and grim when we arrived to fully appreciate the view from the room, but the river looks lovely in the Saturday morning sunshine.

We make our way down to the leftbank restaurant and are pleased to find that we can take in the view whilst also taking in every single thing you can possibly imagine eating for breakfast: full English, Mediterranean, yoghuts, cereals, cheese, meats, fruit salad and an “excellent latte” made by our friendly waiter.

When I’ve had my fill, it’s time for the highlight: my hour long honey themed spa treatment.

Lucy starts on my back, exfoliating with an Espa honey scrub and massaging in a restorative body oil. Over the next hour, I have a foot mask, full facial tailored to my skin type and a face, neck and shoulder massage, and afterwards, as I sit in a relaxed stupor, Lucy brings me a delicious cold honey and lemon drink.

I get back on the train to London feeling serene, with a faint whiff of honey about my person.

Zoe stayed at the four star Runnymede-on-Thames with the Bee Friendly Package which is priced from £299 and includes one night’s stay in a twin or double room, dinner for two in The Lock Bar & Kitchen, breakfast for two, full use of spa facilities and one honey treatment.

Four trains run between London Waterloo and Egham every hour, two of which take just 37 minutes. The hotel is then a 5 minute taxi or 15 minute walk from the station.

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