READING letters handwritten by the late Princess Diana that adorn the entrance to the hotel you really do forget where you are.

The moving messages from the Royal to staff at Whittlebury Hall are a lovely personal touch and transport its guests back in time. That’s the thing about Whittlebury. You forget where you are.

Instead of battling through traffic to get to work, we arrived on Friday morning in plenty of time to get signed in and robed up. Equipped with our schedule for the day, not a meeting or email in sight, we headed to start our pampering with a dip in the main pool. A generous size, the pool is just the right temperature and the journey to the sauna and steam rooms isn’t too arduous either. And while we let the heat and vapours work their magic our expectant friend enjoyed a relaxing lounger by the pool.

It’s amazing how time flies when you don’t want it to; we were soon waiting for our names to be called out for one of many highlights of the day – our back, neck and shoulder massages. With a choice of pressure and areas to concentrate on (I lost count) the therapists tailor the treatment to your needs and it was just what the doctor ordered. Suitably relaxed the massage was followed by a much-needed facial and it was almost a pleasant dream as I drifted off as the therapist worked her magic. As the saying goes all good things come to an end but even better if you have something else to look forward to – the heat and ice experience of course. You truly are spoiled for choice with a range of different steam and heat rooms, the ice cave (for the brave), the whirlpool, heat benches and experience showers, you could spend the whole day in there and still have more to do.

Sadly it was time to leave the heat and ice...and head for lunch. My other favourite part of the day (there are so many!) Again spoiled for choice – great range of hot and cold food on offer – and all washed down nicely with a cup of tea.

We were all ready for an afternoon nap but had the small matter of a manicure before we could sneak away to one of many ‘sleeping areas’ in the spa. Good job one of us had their alarm set or we’d have missed the final treatment, a pedicure.

Just enough time to squeeze the last drops out of our time in the spa and then it was time to decamp to our hotel rooms. We discovered the spa wasn’t the only place hard to leave; our room was another place of luxury and relaxation with a very comfy bed and deep bath to continue being spoiled. Alas, after all the pampering we had worked up a decent appetite and the food on offer at the Astons restaurant didn’t disappoint. A mouth-watering selection of meats, fish and vegetables, we washed it all down with some delicious wine and cocktails.

Needless to say we were all tucked up in bed at a reasonable hour feeling very chilled and treated, as if like royalty.

Princess links

The late Princess of Wales wrote several letters to Maud Pendrey who was a housekeeper at Diana's family home at Althorp. 

Oxford Mail:

Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

In 2002 Michael Rockall, who owns Whittlebury Hall, bought the collection of letters and cards for £22,000 and put them on display. 

**Special offers

- April: From just £89 per person available Friday to Sunday this April only, the One Night Spa Stay includes overnight accommodation, full English Breakfast, three-course dinner in Astons Restaurant, full use of the Heat and Ice Experiences on your day of arrival and full use of the Spa and The Leisure Club facilities.

Book online or call Reservations on 0845 400 0002 and quote '1 Night Spa Stay'.

- Spa Indulgence Day from just £109 per person. Choose from the exclusive Elemis, ESPA or Jessica Nails Day Spa packages including various treatments, two-course buffet lunch and full use of spa facilities.

To book visit