Who Went? Editor, Bonnie Friend and Product Executive Danielle Deer
The first thing you notice at Macdonald Hill Valley (aside from the fact that sat nav would rather deposit you in the middle of a nearby field – but don’t worry, it really is nearby) … is the setting – from almost every angle your view is of the golf course – essentially meaning, a more cultivated form of wildlife.
The hotel is extremely modern, located at the end of a forested driveway. Rooms are elegantly appointed – they are spacious, have all the necessary amenities, and long French windows that open onto that aforementioned verdant view. Bathrooms have a shower and a bath, and getting the shock of my life when Danielle turned on the television of our twin executive room, I discovered that they also kindly keep you informed of your room mate’s television habits while you wash with the sound thoughtfully wired through – nothing beats a shower like a shower with Take Me Out.
You do have to go outside to get to the spa, so it’s worth remembering a sturdy pair of slippers, but once over there you have lockers and robes to use around the pool and in the treatment rooms. The vibe is very much that of a leisure venue, and as such it is family friendly with children being allowed in the pool between 9am and 6pm. In a glass surround, appropriately overlooking the fountain feature in the golf course, the pool is an extremely pleasant place to spend time with the sauna, steam room and experience shower located at one end of the room and loungers at the other for sitting back with a magazine. Before and after your treatments you luxuriate in the relaxation area – a dark, ambient environment characterised by the sound of a small water feature, low lighting, little silver Buddhas and eight recliners – several with blankets to curl up in – elegantly done it was a welcome area to wind down before heading off for our respective massage and rejuvenating eye treatments.
There is one restaurant and a bar area which sit next to one another in the hotel, and while the service is formal, the environment is relaxed – families are welcome and you have a choice between sitting inside or in the conservatory area – you can probably guess what the view is. Food incorporates a range of dishes including fish, steak and pasta dishes, and desserts are traditional classics as Danielle found out with her personal favourite – sticky toffee pudding. Breakfast is always a favourite with us lot however, and the continental buffet went down a treat – particularly for me, a somewhat fussy herbal tea drinker, who appreciated its ready availability. There is also a menu for cooked breakfasts.
Shropshire is characterised by a green, hilly landscape and an abundance of history dating back to the Norman conquest. It’s quite a drive off the motorway, and by the time you get there you do feel a real sense of welcome escapism.
In terms of the spa the emphasis at Hill Valley is very much geared towards a little bit of everything rather than a specialised spa – great for couples wanting to split their time between the golf course and the spa. The treatments list is extensive, using Decleor products which is always a treat, and staff pay careful attention to individual needs throughout. The pool takes a lot of atmosphere from the view of the golf course outside and this continues to be the case in the hotel itself – particularly in the rooms (if you can get one with a view of the grounds I would highly recommend it – and that’s coming from someone who woke up to torrential rain and grumbling clouds).
– Getting from your room to the spa does require going outside, so take the things you need with you – a pair of shoes will not go amiss, but you can leave towels and dressing gowns behind as these are provided over there.
– Upgrade to an executive room if you can – the views are definitely worth it.
– If possible, take your car with you – one of the lovely things about Hill Valley is its sense of remoteness, but it is not without reason and a car will mean you don’t have to worry about how you are getting from one place to the next.
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