I had been to Swinton Park before, when the spa was just a couple of treatment rooms in the hotel. I have always loved it; the castle is breathtaking and from the moment you arrive you think ‘wow, is this really where I am going to stay?’
To get to the hotel you drive through a little village and suddenly come across this amazing castle with deer running across the park, and when you enter the building it’s grand but also homely at the same time. There’s a fire going so there’s that wonderful woody smell, and the halls are decorated in a way that reminds you this was someone’s home once upon a time. One of my favourite places in the hotel is the drawing room where they serve afternoon tea – it really is grand and feels so luxurious.
Bedrooms have all been done up so while the hotel has a sense of historic grandeur, the details are contemporary and feel like a modern hotel – my room was enormous! It has retained old features like the fireplace as well, so it really straddled old and new perfectly with all the comfort of a modern hotel with the grandeur of its history. It has a really special vibe.
There is so much space around the grounds, which are great to explore. There are five lakes and herb gardens; it’s beautiful, especially when the sun is going down. I went for a run in the evening and I just wanted the time to go on as long as possible. If you are visiting on a special occasion you can get a boat across the lake to a little island and you can take a picnic or champagne; it’s a great place to propose. If you are here for a couple of days you can also go to the village, or hire bikes for the day and explore the area.
The spa as it is today opened last year so it’s brand new and really well thought out. It has its own entrance so you can visit it as a day spa. It also has a retail area with all their own products, made locally, they even have their own gin which is very on trend at the moment.
There are lots of lounge areas in the spa where you can spend time in your robes. Upstairs there are treatment rooms and three relaxation rooms, the first of which is dark with beds and blankets and perfect for a snooze post treatment. The next one is lighter with little stars in the ceiling, and then there’s a huge day room with daybeds, light blankets and painted clouds on the ceiling was well as long glass windows for natural light.
They have a large swimming pool and outside there is a natural swimming pool, which is really unique; it’s filtered through the ground and while it’s slightly heated for comfort it’s by no means hot so it’s definitely invigorating.
The spa also has its own restaurant with an outdoor area with heaters and blankets so it’s great all year round. They do a lot of sharing platters so it’s great for couples as well as groups.
There’s also a restaurant in the main hotel, where it is much more formal – you don’t have to dress up in there but you definitely can. They serve an a la carte menu and it’s much more traditional – very much in keeping with the castle itself. That’s also where they serve breakfast so you get that sense of grandeur first thing in the morning. It’s a lovely idea to stay a couple of nights so you can experience all the different aspects.
I think for a spa day Swinton Park is perfect for groups. You can go, have lunch, enjoy your treatments and enjoy the grounds. I think the hotel and overnight breaks are perfect for couples and special occasions; it’s such a versatile venue. That said, for anyone I would recommend going for a few days – have a full day in the spa and then another going out to explore the grounds and surrounding area. To stay for one night is not long enough!
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