The runnymede-on-thames may have gone all lower case but the hotel itself is certainly aiming high, writes Debra Aspinall.

This privately-owned establishment between Windsor and Egham has had several millions spent on it to make the interior justify its stunning location on the banks of the River Thames.

The transformation is impressive and apparent as soon as you enter the main foyer which is hub of activity with business people, ladies who lunch, couples on spa breaks, and families using it as a convenient base from which to visit the nearby tourist attractions of Thorpe Park, Legoland or Windsor Castle.

The open-plan lobby, with its striking new modern décor, has panoramic views of the Thames, and is a buzzy rendezvous location as well as a destination bar and buffet restaurant (serving breakfasts, lunch and dinner for fixed, very reasonable, prices).

The one-time Runnymede Hotel and Spa, now known as the runnymede-on-thames, is little sister to supremely stylish hotel and country club, The Grove, in Hertfordshire, and her transformation now puts her on a par with that stunning resort.

The hotel has been fashionably re-designed by Design LSM and has turned the former convenient overnighter into a destination hotel or riverside resort, complete with outdoor swimming pool and splash centre, playground and tennis courts.

Little and big boats sail from the hotel’s revamped jetty with its trendy seating, to meander up or down the river. Guests can take a picnic and make a day of it!

The existing spa has been updated and provides heated indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam rooms, saunas and treatment rooms.

I sampled the spa’s signature treatment, the Crystal Facial, which includes an in-depth skin analysis and a deeply relaxing lymphatic drainage massage using rose quartz crystal. Sheer bliss.

One of the biggest changes at the hotel is the addition of a brand new restaurant: The Lock.

It opened in the spring to give the region a long-awaited bistro-style hot spot.

Head chef David Coutts, previously at The Grove and Conran’s Bluebird restaurant in London, has devised a menu of modern uncluttered dishes using ingredients that are ethically sourced and, where possible, locally produced.

We tucked into a scrumptious risotto with marjoram, parmesan and pea shoots, and a grilled prawn and squid brochette with a salad of puy lentils, baby spinach and basil, followed by steamed sea bass with spring onion and ginger and a perfectly cooked sole with new potatoes and home-made tartare sauce.

Our delicious meal was rounded off with a trio of seasonal brulées with madeleines and a hot chocolate fondant with caramel mousse and vanilla ice cream.

A special feature of the restaurant is its jasper grill which is a classic barbecue oven for grilling meat and fish over special charcoal giving the dishes a distinct smoky flavour. The Lock also serves a £13.95 set-price lunch Mondays to Fridays.

The runnymede-on-thames meeting and events area has changed beyond all recognition, with a fabulous new layout giving the business area its own entrance and reception.

Decorated in a contemporary style, there’s natural daylight in every room, flexible space for different sizes of meetings, the latest technology at delegates fingertips, networking spaces, chill out zones, and an experienced events team on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly.