Last month I was lucky enough to head down to Hoar Cross Hall with Hannah, Helen and Chloe to experience the girls night in package and enjoy a little bit of pampering. This was my first trip to a Spa, shocking I know. So I was really excited to see what all the fuss was about – and I can assure you I was not disappointed.
Hoar Cross Hall is a Luxury Spa Resort and Hotel based in Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire. Because of this, we set off quite early as we expected the drive down to take about 3 and a half hours, unfortunately, due to traffic it took over 4 hours for us to get there in the end. When we did finally arrive it was totally worth the wait. We were all a little blown away with the grandeur of the hotel, and there was a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘aaaahs’ as we checked in and made our way up to our suite.
We were lucky enough to be given the Royal Suite, a truly beautiful two bedroom suite that sleeps four and is equipped with its own huge living room, three balconies, two large bathrooms, a sauna and a hot tub. These photographs really do not do the room justice at all! On arrival, we all rushed around the rooms taking photos, face-timing family members and generally just running around squealing in excitement.
As part of the package we were able to choose DVDs from a selection at the reception for us to watch during our stay, this also included a bottle of champagne and crisps and nibbles for us to enjoy. However, because we arrived a little later than expected we ended up not watching the DVDs as we wanted to spend as much of our time in the Spa as possible.
After we settled ourselves into our rooms we popped on our swimming costumes and dressing gowns and headed down towards the spa. This was located in the basement of the hotel and is available as a Spa stay package with the hotel as well as just the Spa on its own. As this was my first visit to a Spa I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I can assure you I was not disappointed and I think this has raised the bar quite high for any future Spa visits.
At first, I did find it a little strange to be wandering around in a bikini and a dressing gown but I quickly settled in. The only downside for me was because we were accessing the Spa from the Hotel, there is a separate spa entrance. We did get a little bit lost, to begin with, we didn’t really receive any instructions from the reception when we checked in other than a quick showing of the spa map. For me, it would have been nice to have a quick tour on arrival as I felt we spent a fair bit of time wandering aimlessly on our own to find out where everything was.
We were each offered a 25-minute treatment as part of the ‘girls night in’ package and I opted for a facial. We were all booked in between 5.00pm and 5.30pm and were able to sit and chill in a relaxing waiting room, with access to teas and coffees whilst we waited to be called for our treatment. My facial was booked in for 5.15pm but didn’t get taken through until 5.30pm and I was a little worried they had forgotten about me, but it was worth the wait. Until a couple of years ago, I’d never had a facial before as I’d always thought I’d not enjoy a stranger rubbing oils and lotions into my face. How wrong was I? I’m now a huge fan of them, and if my bank balance allowed I’d happily have them on a weekly basis.
After our treatments, we decided to wander around the Spa and check out the facilities they had to offer. The spa itself has two different pools on offer, a saltwater vitality pool and a hydrotherapy pool and we probably spent the most of our time around the Hydrotherapy pool. There were loads of loungers available to just sit and relax if you didn’t feel like swimming.
As well as the Hydrotherapy pool and jacuzzi there was the Nordic Suite, which is a unique sensory spa with four different zones each stimulating different senses. The Aroma room is a heated room with aromas pumped into the room to help you relax and re-energise, I could have happily curled up and had a nap in here. The salt inhalation room I found a little more difficult as the salty steam was all a little much for me and I couldn’t handle the heat. But if you’re braver than me you’ll be able to benefit from the saltwater steam clearing your airways and leaving your skin all soft and supple.
The Aspen wood sauna, however, was much more up my street, it seems I can handle sauna’s a lot better than I can steam rooms. There’s just something weirdly satisfying about laying down on a wooden bench and feeling the sweat drip down your back. The dry heat helps to soothe and calm your breathing and is great for detoxifying your skin, and mine felt so fresh afterwards, albeit a little sweaty.
After you’ve treated your body to saunas and steam you can delve right into the ice temple and quickly cool yourself off. With flaked ice, hot showers and cold showers you can find the perfect way to bring your temperature down if you wish.
After our afternoon in the Spa we headed back to our rooms to get changed and ready for dinner in the restaurant. We were booked in for around 8.00pm so was so ready to engorge myself in a luxury three-course meal, and my gosh it was worth it. I started with the Chicken Liver and Port Parfait which was served with a caramelised red onion chutney, which was delicious. I’m a huge fan of red onion chutney and this one was gorgeous and I could have happily had a bucket full to take home.
For my main course, I opted for the Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni which came with a portion of garlic bread on the side. As a group we each ordered an extra side to share, not realising mine came with garlic bread I ordered extra, we also got tender steam broccoli with flaked almonds, creamy mash potato and we did order a side of fries however they never arrived. But in hindsight, this may have been a good thing as our table was jam-packed and I don’t think we could have managed to eat them.
At this point, I was really quite full but didn’t want to miss out too much on dessert, so when the waiter told me the espresso creme brûlée was small I thought I’d opt for that. I was so glad he suggested it as it was gorgeous and just the perfect size to end the meal. I’m not usually a huge fan of coffee flavoured desserts but this was an exception, it was basically a gelatinous latte, creamy and delicious.
Breakfast will always be my favourite meal of the day and hotel breakfasts are one of my favourites. I wish I could have this many options every day at home instead of rushing about and shoving two slices of bread into the toaster in a rush. The breakfast consisted of the typical hot buffet breakfast with bacon, sausages, beans, scrambled eggs and hash browns. You also had the option of cereals, muffins, pastries, fresh fruit and even cured meats if you were feeling a more continental breakfast. Like most people do at hotel buffets, I wanted to try as much as I could so opt for a cooked breakfast and a couple of pastries on the side as I can’t really face fruit and yoghurt first thing.
We headed back down to the Spa after breakfast to make the most of the facilities before we left. We were initially booked in for a blow dry but due to time restraints we had to cancel, so we opted to have our lunch as late as possible so we could spend as much time in the Spa as possible. We were booked in for a light lunch at Hugo’s which is the bistro located within the spa itself. The one complaint was due to the fact we had checked out our account had been closed and we were no longer officially on the system. This meant that if we wanted to order drinks we would have to pay, however, because we were all still in our swimwear and dressing gowns none of us had money on us, so we had to stick with water instead.
The starter was a help yourself situation, where you choose soup or salad from a little salad bar. I wasn’t super hungry so just opted for a few bits of mixed salad to nibble on before my main. For my main, I opted for the pasta of the day which was a mushroom ravioli where you got to choose what sauce it was served with plus a topping of your choice. I really liked this concept as it gave you the option to fit the course to your dietary needs and personal taste. I opted for a tomato based sauce and goats cheese as my topping as I felt a heavy creamy sauce would be too much before travelling back to Newcastle. Saying that for dessert I opted for the cheesecake however it was super light and fluffy and was more like a mousse than a thick heavy cheesecake which was exactly what I needed.
Overall the stay was really quite amazing, I admit there were a few little niggles here and there but as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay. I’d like to thank Hoar Cross Hall for allowing me to come and review and I am now a huge Spa convert – where can I go next?