Surrounded by 12 acres of greenery in the Essex countryside, Orsett Hall Hotel is one of the few spa hotels in Essex. With an onsite spa facility complete with a wide range of treatments, there’s everything one could need for the perfect spa break. Not only that, this hotel is one of the best wedding venues in Essex thanks to its 6 choices of wedding function rooms.
As I was already married, I was obviously there for the spa which was the reason I chose this hotel. I had wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday city life and did not plan to leave the hotel grounds. I wanted a spa break where I could wander in the hotel’s surroundings without noise and breathe in fresh air.
- Countryside surroundings – Plenty of fresh air in an ambient setting.
- Reasonably priced onsite restaurant – No need to leave the hotel to forage for food.
- Air-conditioning in room – Easy to use and can be set to cool or heat with temperature control.
- Good location – It’s not too far into the countryside as Lakeside shopping centre and the nearest town centre is less than 10 minutes drive away and has trains going into London every 15 minutes.
- No walkable paths to and from the hotel – Only accessible by car which means it’s also not easy to walk into town.
- Limited room service hours – Certain food can be ordered to your room but only until 11pm so make sure you fill yourself up at dinner.
Situated in south Essex, there isn’t much to explore in the local area with the exception of the big shopping centre, Intu Lakeside, which is what makes the location tranquil. However, travelling into London only takes 40 minutes by train from Grays, the nearest train station.
Anyone who is eager to explore more countryside sceneries can also travel across the Queen Elizabeth 2 Bridge by car into Kent which takes just 20 minutes.
Throughout the day, the hotel is somewhat busy with guests walking around the hotel grounds or people enjoying lunch or afternoon tea in the hotel’s restaurant, Garden Brasserie. It doesn’t tend to get too busy during the week but when a wedding takes place, the hotel comes alive with laughter and joy. This usually settles down after midnight and the area becomes quiet once again.
Upon pulling up the short winding driveway, the hotel comes into view fairly quickly and retains many of its original designs (the hotel had been rebuilt in 2009 due to a fire in 2007) which show off its classic British style. For a weekday, there wasn’t many people around which gave the area a calm ambience.
Entering into the reception, there were a few armchairs and a small check-in desk in the far corner. No-one was there as I entered but I heard the staff talking in the back room. There wasn’t a bell to ring for attention so I waited patiently as I made some noises to indicate I was waiting.
Eventually, a woman came out only to tell me check in was at 2pm but I could wait in the cafe. I didn’t protest as it was just 30 minutes to wait but she checked with housekeeping to find out if my room was ready. 7 minutes later, she handed me my room card and gave instructions of where my room was.
The walk to my room took 5 minutes as I crossed through the building following the signs. I enjoyed this walk as I took in the elegant decor and furniture that signalled a regal Britain, although some furniture pieces looked out of place.
There were lots of plush seating areas along the way. I imagine they were trying to keep to the original look of the place before the fire happened back in 2007.
As I had booked a spa package, my room had been ideally situated by the spa which I liked. What I didn’t like was that my room was next to the cafe and bar so all I could hope for was that it didn’t get too noisy.
When I opened the door to my standard Superior Double Room, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was quite spacious. Other than the dead spider in the corner ceiling of the room, it was only myself in the room so there was more than enough space to maneuver around and get ready for bed or the day.
The room was cool thanks to the air conditioning being on – very thoughtful considering we were in the middle of an unusual British summer heatwave.
Each of the rooms in the hotels are uniquely decorated to give them their own characters. The decor in my room was stylishly modern with some colour thrown in but nothing memorable. Descriptions of the hotel on websites had claimed each room had a view so upon opening my curtains, I got the view of the car park. However, I could see a lovely green scenery to the left.
Seeing that the large windows were actually French doors, I unlocked them but was unable to push them open. Turns out they were locked from the outside so I was disappointed I couldn’t step outside to look towards my left for better scenery.
There were a good amount of storage and furniture in the room which included:
- 2 x 3 drawer bedside cabinets with the Holy Bible in one.
- A double wardrobe with a safe inside although the safe was too small to hold my 13” Chromebook.
- A 2 drawer dressing table that was more suited for use as a laptop desk as the TV was placed above it.
- A large 5 drawer chest of drawers.
- Two comfortably cushioned armchairs.
Jumping onto the bed, I was pleased with how comfortable and soft it was due to the thick duvet. The mattress was a bit too soft for me as I personally prefer a firm mattress and the pillows were like clouds, ideal for a side sleeper like myself.
As I moved the cushions aside and fluffed the pillows up a bit more, to my dismay, I found a few strands of hair. Clearly the cleaners had missed a spot, lucky the other pillow was spotless.
Other than the few strands of hair on the pillow, the room was suitably clean and just smelt of laundry starch, same as many hotels. There was the usual tea and coffee making facilities as expected of a 4 star hotel. However, the selection of tea was limited to English Breakfast only and there was just one biscuit. Surprisingly, there was no drinking water included.
Bathrooms are a big deal to me. Not only do they have to be clean (obviously) but there must be a bathtub. The one in my room was spotless, had enough loo roll – both of which had a sticker on it holding the first piece down, no limescale anywhere, bleach in the toilet and toiletries nailed to the wall (no freebies then).
The main restaurant of the hotel was the Garden Brasserie and surrounding the restaurant were many seating areas – outside and inside. I loved the communal seating room opposite as it had an elegant retro design to it.
There wasn’t much to do in the room except mingle with other guests and I suppose it works great when the hotel hosts big events such as Christmas and Tribute nights.
The Garden Brasserie was breathtakingly wonderful as I walked in for my afternoon tea. It was quirky without being tacky and maintaining its elegant design same as the hotel. It made me think of Alice in Wonderland, perhaps it was because of the splendid mix of colours with the statement designs and items such as the big stone roman numeral clock and the bold coloured and floral printed chairs.
During my stay, there hadn’t been a huge amount of guests and I had had the full works – breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Service was pretty good and the staff were attentive.
The only bug bear I had was at dinner when the waitress didn’t know what one of the starters were due to its posh British name. However, she resolved this by talking with the chef. Other than that, the food tasted wonderful and freshly cooked. Each course was presented nicely too; my favourite presentation had to be the carrot cake, every part of it was edible.
Other Memorable Highlights
The point of Orsett Hall Hotel for me was a relaxing spa break. What I had enjoyed most about this hotel was:
- Kukana Spa – There had been a relaxation room, 4 treatment rooms, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and a decent sized swimming pool. There had been some people but the atmosphere was calm.
- My massage – I had chosen a relaxation massage and my therapist had been attentive.
- Walking around the beautiful surrounding landscaped greenery that it made it feel like you were in the middle of nowhere thus providing a lovely calming environment.
- The wonderfully large dangling chandelier with the old world decor.
- The Garden Brasserie with its British charm and delicious food.
Other wonderful things about this hotel that would definitely appeal to others (particularly those using the hotel as a wedding venue) include:
- Onsite hair salon, The Sitting Rooms
- Pasha Bridal Boutique which sold a wide range of wedding dresses and other evening wear
- Special classic cars for special occasions
- Florist on site
Final Word | Orsett Hall Hotel Review
Despite my slightly uncomfortable check-in, I found my stay at Orsett Hall Hotel to be satisfying and enjoyable. I only wished my room hadn’t been so close to the bar.
Although I had slept quite well, I had been awoken at brief moments when staff in the bar were packing away at the end of the night. Their cars had been parked in the car park behind my room and I suspect their store room was next to mine.
For anyone on a spa break, everything that one could need for a relaxing break was all there in one place. My room was great apart from the noise mentioned above, the food was delicious, the spa wasn’t overcrowded and the scenery was fantastic. I had no problems despite my little bug bears that didn’t affect my experience. Just ask for a room away from the bar.