De Vere Cotswold Water Park hotel recently revealed the results of a £100,000 refurbishment of its spa. Michael Purton took his better half for a pre-Valentine's weekend getaway.

De Vere is very much a destination hotel – a wedding venue, conference centre, base to explore the scenic lakes and walks of the water park, or just for the great food at The Old Boathouse pub or the drinks and live sport in the bar/lobby area, and, now, the enhanced Spa6.

The hotel, near Cirencester, overlooks Lake 6 of the 152 lakes that make up the Cotswold Water Park, and when we arrived on a Saturday afternoon, we were instantly impressed by the stylish open-plan lobby which had a fresh aroma courtesy of the array of plants and foliage near the reception desk. With a hubbub of activity – checking in guests, couples heading to and from the spa, rugby fans watching the England v Scotland game on the huge TV in the bar – there was the feel of a grand hotel.

Our room was equally impressive, due to the stunning view of Lake 6 beyond the vast patio doors and windows which formed an all-glass rear wall, a super-kingsize bed and a spacious bathroom stocked with JustBe products.

After dumping our bags, we pulled on our wellies and made the most of the scenic yet very muddy walk around the lake before heading to the bar for a pint of Friels cider (£4.90) and a glass of the Ara Single Estate New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£7.95, 175ml), which we enjoyed while taking in the lively atmosphere and half-watching the rugby.

Dinner was in The Old Boathouse, which is next door to the hotel, and, of course, has a theme befitting its name – wooden rowboats mounted upside-down on the ceiling, aquatic colours for the decor – and is essentially a gastropub.

There's a long menu of traditional pub grub, which was just what we fancied on a wet and windy winter evening. I started with the tempura tiger prawns (£9) while she chose the vine tomatoes with mozzarella, cucumbers and basil (£7). For main, I had the bratwurst hot dog with chips (£14) and she opted for the beer battered fillet of haddock with chunky chips and peas (£17). To finish, it was the white chocolate and raspberry Eton mess for me (£8), while she selected the vanilla creme brulee (£8). To drink, we repeated our choices from the bar earlier.

The whole meal was excellent. It wasn't exactly fine dining, it was just what you'd expect with upmarket pub food: tasty and filling. The service was great too; our waitress was attentive and had a good knowledge of the menu, and each dish arrived quickly.

After a comfortable night's sleep in the humongous bed, we felt energised enough for a 45-minute session in the newly renovated gym. Although small, the gym is well equipped with the latest cycling, rowing and resistance machines, as well as a free weight area.

We then had a quick breakfast in the brasserie which was a free-for-all buffet with a slightly chaotic edge due to the sheer number of guests (there was a wedding on), before heading to the spa. You can tell that big money has been spent on the refurbishment, as the facilities – 11m hyrdo-pool, sauna, steam room, ice bucket shower and a range of nine treatment rooms for various massages, facials and manicures – were all top-of-the-range and meticulously kept.

We were booked in for the 'Rasul Ritual' which is a 45-minute non-therapist treatment (£75 for two people) that's perfect for couples. It's an ancient Arabic tradition which has been used for centuries to purify and soften the skin. Essentially, you cover each other from head-to-toe in two types of deep-cleansing mud before heading inside the steam room for 15 minutes, which opens the pores so the minerals can be absorbed, before than washing off. It was a fun and relaxing experience which left us both with pristine skin.

As you can see, we were highly impressed by the De Vere Cotswold Water Park. If you're looking for a weekend break that includes a luxurious spa, and not wanting to travel too far, this destination hotel is perfect.

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