Spa people

Carole Bamford

We were ahead of our time creating the spa – the idea of creating a space simply to take care of your wellness seemed outlandish at the time – but for me, it felt natural and innate

The story behind luxury lifestyle and wellness brand Bamford began in 2004 after Lady Carole Bamford decided to explore her passion for meditation, healing treatments and holistic therapies sparked by a trip to India in her twenties.

Bamford – wife of billionaire and chair of JCB Sir Anthony Bamford – was inspired after meeting yoga instructor Vettri Selvan during her travels. So, in 2004 she invited Selvan to England to help her set up the first Bamford Spa and bring what she’d learned about healing in India to the UK.

The brand was launched as a branch of the Bamford’s original organic farming business Daylesford Organic, one of the first real trailblazers in the organic movement in the country.

Daylesford Organic was born after Bamford convinced her husband to begin transforming their family estate in the picturesque Cotswolds into sustainable, organic farming land. Since then, the Bamfords’ 2,500-acre Daylesford Farm has blossomed into a thriving working farm that produces a rainbow of fresh produce, available to buy in an onsite farm shop, gardening shop, kitchen, bakery and creamery.

Guests can also stay over in luxury cottages, make their way to a cookery school and, most importantly, visit the birthplace of the Bamford brand, its flagship spa called The Bamford Wellness Spa – formerly The Haybarn Spa – which has recently undergone a multi-million-pound renovation.

The new 1,150sq m facility has doubled in size and gained a wet area with a herbal steamroom, crystal sauna, wellness pool as well as new treatment rooms and a café. The spa is housed in an agricultural barn complete with a palette of cool white tones, flecks of greenery and exposed woodwork, all bathed in light after the architects maintained the original structure’s imposing high ceilings.

The destination offers a host of Bamford spa rituals blending eastern and western modalities, retreats and a schedule of indoor and outdoor classes, including gong therapy, meditation, pilates and yoga.

The spa also encompasses a new Bamford Outdoor Wellness Tipi and a Crystal Hut for healing sessions with a clairvoyant.

Bamford feels the spa’s atmosphere is calming and soothing, due to the views out to the greenery of the orchard and countryside which root the space in nature, creating a sense of peace and mirroring the healing aspect of the space itself.

“Bamford was a natural evolution from Daylesford,” she explains. “After we’d made the decision to farm organically, my interest and concern for the way I was doing things grew and I began to look at other areas of my life and question the choices I was making.

“Sometimes I think we were ahead of our time with creating the spa – too early in fact. The idea of creating a space simply to take care of your wellness, as opposed to your medical health via a doctor, seemed outlandish at the time. But for me, it felt natural and innate.

“Part of being organic is about being kind to your body and a spa is rooted in the same belief; the need to nurture ourselves and nurture each other.”

She also strongly believes in nurturing nature in all her endeavours, which has led to sustainability becoming the green beating heart of both her businesses. “Everything we do at Bamford is led by nature and by a desire to work in harmony with it, to harness its powers and use them to nourish and soothe our bodies, but also to protect and support it – to ensure we are not the last generation to enjoy its beauty and might.”

Nowadays, Bamford has expanded to encompass a second branded spa in London, an app, a sustainable luxury clothing and homeware collection and a natural beauty line powered by aromatic botanicals – available both online and in stores.

The Bamford beauty collection includes massage oils, body creams, oils, balms, gels and scrubs, supplements and fragrances, as well as haircare, wellness tools – such as Gua Shas – and a comprehensive skincare line.

To date, Bamford is supplying eight global spa locations ranging from Tokyo and Brooklyn to the Maldives.

Lockdown afforded the brand the time to focus on and nurture its digital offering, which saw it roll out online classes and virtual skincare consultations to keep its spa offering accessible.

“Our online offering and product range are ever-evolving in response to customers’ needs and in response to changing wellness concerns,” explains Bamford.

“We’re witnessing really creative ways of doing or producing things more sustainably and that gives me great hope. We need to keep identifying the game-changing solutions – the nature-based solutions – and technologies that are going to help shape that future.”

Looking ahead, her goal for Bamford is for it to continue to innovate and work towards using its products and spas to help people live more sustainably while nurturing their wellbeing.

“Nobody can do things perfectly, but by continuing to question yourself you can adjust and improve,” she says.

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Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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