At Spabreaks.com we like to practice what we preach and keep our spa knowledge up to date. So we like to take a little time out on a regular basis to visit the spas that we recommend. Here’s where we’ve been in the lead up to Christmas, joined as always by Spartacus the spa bear…
In the land of horse racing and hospitality, boutique shops and beautiful landscapes, our team headed to Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel in Cheshire. A hotel that could very well have been made for group spa breaks, the traditional building is offset by a purpose built spa that sits in a separate building. As a result a spa day or break feel complete in their own rights.
The pool welcomes everyone whether they’re on a spa break or not, so there are children’s swimming times and in order to avoid them it’s best to book your treatments in a timely manner. The gym is brand new and has everything you could ask for. The piece de resistance however is the thermal journey, which is best followed with a stint in one of the relaxation areas.
There’s a dark space, a light space and an outdoor area for when the weather permits. While we were there we had a rasul spa treatment, which is particularly good for small groups of friends. The self-administered treatment can be enjoyed together and is completely private for up to eight people.
The sister hotel to Craxton Wood and member of the Macdonald family, this is another hotel that welcomes you into a beautiful setting as you drive up. It is a leisure venue, so again it welcomes families into the pool area at select times.
The rooms in the hotel have been beautifully refurbished, and in particular if you are visiting for quality time with a friend we recommend upgrading to one of the Club Rooms which overlooks the golf course.
The spa is a little bit of a walk through the hotel from the rooms so it’s a good idea to take everything you need with you and head down for a good stint. Much like Craxton Wood, there’s a rasul which sits separately to the pool area, but this time it’s much smaller – perfect for two people.
There’s also a lovely new relaxation room and spa area, which left us so chilled out that we all fell asleep in there so it’s really a lovely, easy, accessible place for friends to catch up together.
This vast resort in South Wales really does have something for everyone. The scale makes it perfect for groups, the activities are ideal for families, and the standards mean it can also be a charming romantic escape.
We stayed in a Deluxe King Room with a balcony, which was definitely worth the upgrade, especially if you’re visiting for a special occasion. With a huge big double bed as well as a sofa bed, it was particularly group for us as group because we could all hang out together.
For families, the Go Ape and adventure golf course are perfect, amongst a range of other activities. The three golf courses themselves are legendary for their quality. There’s a phenomenal array of food and drink options, and the grounds are just beautiful.
When it came to treatments, we started in the beauty rooms with a choice of manicures, pedicures and brow shaping. It was all combined with lots of Prosecco and canapes, which would be perfect for a really good girls’ night in style hen party. Later we had full body aromatherapy massages and plenty of time to chill out by the pool. If you want to purchase any of the products they also have an Elemis retail area which is lovely for gifts.
In terms of dining, we had a beautiful lunch in an adult only private lounge on arrival. In the evening we had pre-dinner drinks in the Mulberry Bar, which is the hotel’s own cocktail bar. For dinner we were treated to a private dining area, which is in the main restaurant but screened off by a curtain, so you have a sense of privacy but still have the general buzz of the restaurant which is perfect. We had dinner at Zen, which is the Asian fusion restaurant. We started with sharing platters which were mouth watering, before moving on to superb main meals – lamb curry was a particular favourite.
After dinner we had a mini cocktail class in the bar, where we were show how to make a Celtic Royale – the venue’s twist on a traditional Kir Royale. Everyone had a go and had a real giggle taking part, which is a really lovely addition to a group break.
I think the thing that first strikes you about Lifehouse is the architecture and design. It’s very modern, very clean, but not clinical. There are lots of big glass windows and polished concrete floors, and what really allows the beautiful gardens outside to be brought in. Even when you’re sitting upstairs waiting for your treatment you’re sitting amongst the treetops overlooking the lake.
Everything here is very professional, but staff are incredibly welcoming as well. Everything is done beautifully – from the treatments (hot stone massage in our case), to dinner. Meals are really innovative and include healthy and indulgent options with many ingredients from the hotel gardens.
The facilities are everything you could ask for. They’re not huge, so they are best for a couple, or a couple of friends, spending time together. However, the spa is very good at managing numbers so it doesn’t feel over crowded. It’s the perfect space to make you feel a real sense of wellbeing as well as being totally spoiled.
You feel expensive and pampered, but it’s all very easy going. It also manages to be romantic whilst also being a space where both men and women feel entirely comfortable and at ease – there’s nothing overtly feminine about it, which might traditionally put men off. It’s just a beautiful place to look after yourself and really unwind.
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