Wander through the wildflowers in the walled garden of country house hotelier, Heckfield Place and you’ll find The Bothy. Rewind a few years back, the spa offering at Heckfield Place was minimal, with The Little Bothy delivering Wildsmith Skin treatments to residents of the hotel. Newly opened this summer after 5 years in the making, The Bothy by Wildsmith is an elevated wellbeing sanctuary with attention to detail in every nook.
Deceivingly dinky from the first glimpse, The Bothy is sheltered amongst the wilding gardens. It becomes clear once entering that the basement is the heart of The Bothy, with a staircase unravelling from the centre of the airy reception. Welcomed in with a zesty tonic of lemon, apple cider vinegar and turmeric, a pair of slippers and an invitation to lock away all tech, I gladly handed over my phone, gulped down the invigorating shot and felt a sense of escapism from the offset.
In a bid to reconnect you with nature, Wildsmith Skin was genuinely sparked by a walk through the woods. Fittingly, the evoking 400 acre woods mentioned were planted on the Heckfield Estate by 19th-century horticulturalist, William Walker Wildsmith, the moniker of the brand itself. Led by radical botany, the bioactive ingredients used across the skincare, body and home collection boast efficacy backed by clinically proven results, all of which can be found in the onsite shop. The Bothy brings Wildsmith to life, integrated into the stellar choice of wellbeing experiences performed by expert therapists in the treatment rooms nestled in the depths of The Bothy.
Blending brick, oak and earthy textures, the fluidity of design in The Bothy is easy on the eye, perhaps one of the most tasteful we’ve seen. The fittings are matte black, contrasting well against the wooden cladding and stone features. A muted palette with natural textures is a running thread throughout the furnishings, in keeping with Wildsmith’s skincare bottles and packaging.
Curated to sync with your circadian rhythm, the holistic treatments harness the Wildsmith botanical skin and body care, exceeding the typical hour-long sessions most spas adopt to encourage true restoration. Wrapped in my new attire; a fuzzy oatmeal robe, nibbling on a handful of raspberries and gooseberries freshly plucked from the garden, I sat eagerly in the sitting room prior to the Wildsmith Radical Botany Facial, overlooking the plush armchairs where the mani’s and pedi’s take place. My therapist, Kim, escorted me down the dimly lit corridor, circling towards the 6 treatment rooms. Surprisingly roomy, the space features earthy tones and dried flowers hidden in the brickwork, and the pièce de résistance, a larger-than-average treatment bed layered with a heated blanket. Cocooned in, the acoustics reverberate nothing but silence, with only the light lull of a soul-soothing playlist.
Guided breathwork sets the tone for the next 90 minutes, harmonised with a grounding touch on the sacrum to commence. The leg stretches that follow come as a tonic to overworked limbs to realign the spine. Kim’s hands then travelled up towards my face, starting with a double cleanse which included an exfoliation to rid the skin of any impurities. Once the slate is clean, a skin analysis takes place to determine what the skin is most in need of. There are three steps to the facial massage, the first being myofascial release performed on dry skin. Fasical muscle is found just below the surface of the skin, this step helps to loosen the muscles and relieve tension, forging me to sink heavily into the bed. Wildsmith hero, the Active Super Oil is applied for the face and neck massage using manual manipulation and craniosacral holds, finished with acupressure points to target the puffiness I experience around my eyes. Slipping in and out of consciousness, I was utterly mesmerised by the 3-step massage ritual…a sign of a sublime treatment. A face mask is slathered on whilst a foot, leg, hand and arm massage passes the time for the mask to work its magic using the Purity Body Oil, selected for all afternoon treatments, enriched with uplifting fennel, grapefruit and juniper. Serum and moisturiser are layered on to conclude what can only be described as an hour and a half of pure botanical bliss. A journey for the senses, the Wildsmith Radical Botany Facial leaves the skin gleaming and the mind balanced, an ode to everything the brand represents.
Floating out of my treatment, I was ushered to the candle room, a sung with charcoal-licked brick walls and an array of day beds to relax post-treatment. Kim placed a lemon tea and a single candle on the side table with a 20-minute burning time (the dying flame will cue your exit), giving you a moment to recalibrate and come back into the body.
Aside from the Radical Botany Facial, Wildsmith presents a refined selection of wellness rituals including…
- Wildsmith Time; Therapeutic massage, incorporating kinesiology
- Wildsmith Full Body Massage;
- Wildsmith Skin Renewal; Full body exfoliation coupled with body wrap
- Wildsmith Foot & Hand Treatment; Hand and foot zone therapy using pressure point techniques
- Wildsmith New Life; Design for Pregnancy
- Reiki Energy Healing
- Biodynamic Thai Massage
Posing juxtapose with the cavernous basement, the ground floor is flooded with natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows bringing nature in. Pack your bathing suit as you’ll not want to miss a dip in ‘The Waters’, the 18-metre chlorine-free mineralised pool with a skylight for gaze-dreaming out at the clouds. The Oak Terrace is centred around a double-sided fireplace, with outdoor hot and cold hydrotherapy in the form of an ice bucket and a (slightly more inviting) heated copper tub on one side and a sauna and steam room on the other. Adorned with intricate hand-crafted terracotta tiles, reclaimed timber and serene views overlooking the rolling hills, The Bothy’s rendition of a spa makes for hours of indulgent relaxation, with zero phones disturbing the tranquil periphery.
The Bothy has a couple of movement studios, tailored to cardiovascular fitness, holistic classes and one-to-one sessions, but the trainers prefer to take the workouts outdoors, making use of the abundant grounds. Farm fit, trail runs and wild swimming are on the agenda if the weather permits!
Imagined by Heckfield’s culinary director, Skye Gyngell, The Sun Room’s plant-focused menu has a select few nourishing dishes to compliant a day at The Bothy. The obvious choice is the grain bowl, enhanced with seasonal produce grown just a stone’s throw away in the biodynamic garden. I accompanied mine with fresh rhubarb and ginger iced tea and the bothy broth for an extra health kick, both went down a treat!