A stay at Brooklands
One massive advantage that non-London hotels have over their capital city rivals is space, and our suite at Brooklands Hotel, Surrey, was certainly one of the largest I’ve stayed in.
This four-star, 131 bedroom art deco-style hotel was built on the site of the original Brooklands racetrack, where motor-racing began in the UK during the 1920s and 1930s. While the original track closed in 1938, the vast rooms and suites at Brooklands hotel have great views of the lively Mercedes-Benz racetrack which is at the front of the hotel.
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If you are a petrol-head then you will find it hard to resist taking a spin around the track yourself, while if you are more about relaxing, then Brookland hotel spa is the ideal place. But first – those enormous bedrooms…
Brooklands Hotel bedrooms
There is a whole range of bedroom options at Brookland, from track-racing suites to executive rooms, family rooms and ones with balances.
The Kay Peter suite – officially ‘super suite’ – has a large lounge with a huge sofa, a separate study area with a desk, a bank of fitted wardrobes surrounding another desk, a bathroom with a bath and walk-in shower, and a massive balcony running the length of the suite. Oh yes, and a double bedroom with yet more chairs and desks. It was extremely roomy.
Surprisingly for a hotel room named after a woman – Kay Petre was one of the first female stars of motor-racing – the room feels incredibly masculine, with dark colours and minimalist-style decoration (except for the occasional model plane) but it was slick and smart and clean.
The neighbouring suite, the Noel Pope suite, enjoys a similar sense of space and great views over the race track.
It was vast, with a lounge area containing a large sofa, dining table and chairs, a separate area with a desk and fitted wardrobes, and the bedroom itself, of which was a large and smart bathroom. A balcony ran the length of the room and provided great views of the track we had just been zooming around.
Brooklands hotel spa
For those who are looking for a rather more relaxing break than driving on skid pans, the Bspa at Brooklands Hotel is handily located in the hotel itself and provides great views of the Brooklands racing circuit as well as a delightfully womb-like indoor meditation room with heated waterbeds.
There are a whole range of spa treatments at Bspa including massages, facials, scrubs and body brushing, as well as beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures, eyelash tint and eyebrow shaping.
There’s no pool but there is a sauna, steam room and relaxation room and even an outdoor hot tub on the terrace. Inside, there’s a whole variety of pampering treatments on offer – I had a very nice 80 minute treatment which included body-brushing, firming serum, a facial and a hot stone massage.
Sunlight therapy room at Brooklands Hotel spa
The newest addition is the Sunlight Therapy Room which uses ‘sunlight’ simulators’ to replicate natural sunlight and, according to the brochure, has all sorts of benefits including increased blood circulation, relaxes muscle tension, stronger immune system and an increase in energy. We were given a half-hour slot and arrived with sunglasses at the ready (although there are sunglasses to borrow if you’ve forgotten yours).
It was like being at an indoor beach, with bright sunshine, plastic loungers and lots of magazines to read, and while I’m not sure about any longer-lasting effects, I certainly enjoyed the experience and felt very relaxed afterwards while catching some actual sunlight on the balcony loungers.
Mercedes Benz World Driving Experience
If you would rather get an adrenaline hit rather than a relaxing spa break, then head straight for Mercedes Benz World which is just next door to Brooklands hotel. This multi-story car showroom and exhibition space has many vintage vehicles for you to dream of owning, and is home to the Mercedes Benz World Driving Experience which is guaranteed to get your heart rate going, whether you choose off-roading, track-racing or a combination of the two.
There are 25 different Mercedes-Benz driving experience options on offer and I chose one which combined off-road driving with the fast track, called the Best of Both Track vs Off-Road 1 Hour Experience. The check-in at Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands was very smooth and in just a few minutes I’d been signed in and met my instructor for the hour, Gareth.
We headed straight for the off-road circuit and climbed into a Mercedes-Benz GLE250 which was vast compared to my own Fiat 500 and packed all sorts of punch thanks to its four-cylinder twin-turbo engine.
Driving around the 10-acre circuit with its axle-twisting hills, dips, puddles and foliage reminded me of the Jeeps in Jurassic Park (without the T Rex, of course) and one point seemed just as terrifying as I drove down the ‘ski jump’ near-vertical drop. Gareth pressed a few buttons to show off the GLE’s automatic braking but it still felt like a leap of faith to drive out into thin air.
It was soon time for more nerve-jangling as we swapped the GLE for a Mercedes-AMG 43 and the sheer fun of driving at speed round the fast circuit was hard to beat, especially once I’d gone round a few times and worked out where to floor it and when to ease off the gas. Trying for the smoothest, fastest lap became a target to aim for each time and was so absorbing that I could have done it for hours, whooping with delight when the car felt as if it were about to take flight.
Under Gareth’s calm tuition I tried out all aspects of the track – the handling circuits, wet straight and ‘dynamic straight’ (the ‘driving very fast towards a wall’ bit) and ended up trying to master the art of the skid which was great fun but scrambled my brain trying to work out which way to turn.It was when I was driving full-tilt towards a seemingly solid wall that my heart rate really spiked.
With my pedal to the floor I could see the speedometer sweep up past 60, 65, 70 miles per hour and yet my instructor was yet to tell me to brake. What was he waiting for? Just as it seemed we were about to slam into the wall and end our lesson – and lives – prematurely – he finally said: ‘Brake!’ and I slammed on the brakes with all my force. The car immediately slowed to a halt with none of the screeching, fishtailing or general chaos I was expecting and in plenty of time to drive smoothly around the wall obstacle. What had I been so terrified of?
‘Let’s do it again!’ I shouted, giddy with adrenaline. So we did.
The hour flew past but was such fun that a day at the Mercedes driving experience at Brooklands in Surrey is guaranteed to put you on a high for the rest of your stay and meant I practically floated out off the track and back into Brooklands Hotel.
Brooklands hotel restaurant 1907
The high-speed racing track experience and the afternoon spa pampering had worked up an appetite so it was time to head to the 1907 restaurant, named after the year the world famous Brooklands racetrack opened. The hotel website says it draws inspiration from the 1920s and 30s – a period of glamour, innovation, and the golden age of racing and that’s certainly true of the bar which served excellent cocktails.
The theme of the 1907 restaurant was ‘classic with a modern twist’ and covered everything from tapas and salmon starters, to fish and chips, burgers, Nicoise salads and fish chowder to chocolate brownie, pavlova and British cheeses to finished. We found the hummus and soup starters, to the whole-baked sea bass papillote and ribeye steak to be full of flavour.
Brooklands hotel breakfast
Having an early morning coffee the next morning while relaxing in the sun on our private balcony was a great start to the day. Breakfast was a buffet and judging by the other guests, the hotel is very popular with business travellers, being a few miles from the M25. It also has an impressive array of conference rooms and thus manages to cater for the corporate guests during the week and the spa-and-racing crowd at the weekends.
Visiting the Brooklands Museum
You shouldn’t leave Brooklands without a visit to the excellent Brooklands Museum. This historic site and former airfield contains dozens of amazing motor vehicles and vintage aircraft to explore from more than 100 years of transport, including a real-life Concorde, with information and exhibits all about the pioneering men and women that shaped the world of motoring and aviation.
Loving my Mercedes-Benz DrivingSo whether you’re inspired by Top Gear, Top Gun or want to treat the petrolhead in your life with a spin around the track while you wave at them from your hot tub, the Brooklands Hotel is the ideal location.
Hotel information and to book Brooklands Hotel Surrey
Brooklands Hotel, Brooklands Track, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0SL
If you liked this review of this luxury hotel and spa in Surrey, then here are a few others nearby to check out: Langshott Manor Surrey: regal luxury in an Elizabethan manor house; Something for everyone come rain or shine at Foxhills Surrey; Pennyhill Park hotel and spa: a luxury hotel fit for England;