Despite resurrecting a debate about the pros and cons of having a pony, spa reviewer, Andrew Boulton explains why a trip to Moddershall Oaks was just what he needed after a busy working week …
Our arrival at Moddershall Oaks was indeed a promising one. The low brick building has a great deal of character and the grounds of the spa are pretty and welcoming. Despite having to drive along the A50 (a road so evil I can only imagine it was built by the same people who built the Death Star) our journey from Nottingham was pleasant and brief, with the spa situated only a few miles from the main road. The only possible downside is that on our way to reception we passed a field of ponies and now my wife and I are forced to have the conversation (again) about why she can’t have one.
The time, effort, money and taste that has gone into making Moddershall Oaks a stylish and inviting environment is evident throughout. Our spacious suite was beautifully decorated with Eastern influences and opens out directly onto our own terrace which in turn led to the communal outdoor hot tub. Not adequately equipped to unpack ‘properly’ (I am often told) I abandoned my duties and headed straight for the tub, a large and modern device with pleasant views of the overlooking fields.
The spa itself was an attractive and comfortable environment. Rather compact, it requires decisive action to bag yourself a lounger by the pool or hot tub, but we observed guests were coming and going quite frequently from this area so there was no need to cling too jealously to our seats. The hot tub was particularly innovative, featuring various spray mechanisms and a water-jet massager so powerful it felt like I was being punched in the spine by the Incredible Hulk, but in a good way. It’s also essential to try the Experience Shower, if only to see if you can refrain from squealing like a tiny child when the ‘cold mist’ cycle begins. I am ashamed to say, I could not.
Our treatment was a 55 minute Hot Lava Shells Massage and it was extraordinary. The hot, marine-polished shells are applied to the muscles, focussing on pressure points and easing points of stress and tension. It is at once relaxing, refreshing and surprisingly vigorous.
Given that our package included dinner, breakfast and then lunch over the period of a 24 hour stay, we had ample opportunity to evaluate the restaurant. As stylish and comfortable as we’d come to expect from Moddershall Oaks, the restaurant offered a broad menu to suit most tastes. The food was faultless throughout the six courses we consumed over our stay, the highlight being a quite exquisite shredded duck dish that was wrapped in a traditional Staffordshire oatcake. Our dinner on returning home of toast and Maltesers was all the more disappointing.
Opening out from the restaurant and bar is an outdoor terrace that overlooks a beautifully maintained pond and garden area. The pond is filled with large, colourful carp and is surrounded by picturesque forest and garden landscapes. There is a woodland walk you can take from the spa and for all the excellent facilities and treatments, it’s hard to imagine anything more serene than a stroll such as this. There is a great deal of wildlife to be observed around the grounds, including the rabbits which again sparked an uncomfortably familiar conversation with my desperately petless wife.
Moddershall Oaks is an excellent example of an intimate spa experience that is immeasurably enhanced by the care, attention and friendliness of the staff. A great deal of thought and expertise has obviously gone into creating an experience that provides the visitor with a wealth of choice for how they wish to spend their time. The food is of an incredibly high standard and the setting is as close to an ideal environment for the purposes of leisure and relaxation as can be imagined. Best of all, you get to wear a big brown dressing gown that makes you look a lot like a bear. And I can tell you it took all my strength of character not to steal that dressing gown.
– Try everything in the spa. The Experience Shower is invigorating (although a little squeal-inducing) and the massage jets in the hot tub could knock a dinosaur off its feet.
– Have a stroll. Although you’ll find plenty to occupy your time inside the building, I’d urge you to explore outside as well. The tranquility of the surroundings will only enhance your experience of the venue.
– Eat. When faced with the menu there was nothing on there I would not have happily ordered. The restaurant is something of a hidden gem and its well worth adding to your experience.
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