The Spa at Mottram Hall
Where: Mottram Hall, Wilmslow Road, Mottram, Cheshire, SK10 4QT. A 10-minute drive from Wilmslow town centre; around half an hour from Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
What: Overnight spa stay with breakfast, lunch, dinner plus ESPA treatments
Cost: Spa break packages start from £99pp. Winter offer: two nights from £110pp with 20 per cent off spa treatments.
Reviewed by editor Katy Sunnassee
Touted as one of Cheshire’s finest leisure resorts, Mottram Hall is undoubtedly an impressive venue, set in vast grounds with tennis courts, golfing greens and long, sweeping driveway.
The gym in the leisure complex is pretty impressive too – my PT husband went there both days of our stay – and there are more than 40 fitness classes per week, so if you want to work out, there’s bound to be something for you.
It’s the spa, however, that’s the biggest draw. Not only do you have an indoor pool with Jacuzzi, sauna and loungers, but outside there’s an outdoor spa area that’s pretty unique. Although lounging by an outdoor pool is not exactly unheard of in the UK, Mottram Hall has taken things a step further with its indulgent Alfresco ThermoSpace.
Traditional steam baths
Embracing the European centuries-old tradition of bathing outdoors, the Alfresco ThermoSpace has a Brechelbath and Mineral Stonebath, neither of which I had experienced before.
Originating from the Alpine regions of Europe, the state-of-the-art Brechelbath experience creates a mist of herbal steam while the mild and humid heat gradually increases in temperature. Each warming shot of steam releases an invigorating alpine fragrance while the copper ceiling pushes the steam down the walls to warm the body.
The Mineral Stonebath is also a steam experience that gently heats your body thanks to the repeated lifting and lowering of a basket of scorching hot stones from what looks like a stone oven, up and over into a pool of water, instantly causing steam to evaporate and fill the room.
The slow rise in temperature improves overall health while being gentle on the cardiovascular system (note to the easily startled: the contraption in the Mineral Stonebath has moving parts, so if you’re not expecting it, the metal arm suddenly lifting the heavy lid off the stones can make you jump as it did me!)
The two thermal rooms – less intense than a regular sauna – gradually increase your body’s temperature, awakening, invigorating and refreshing the body, both with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sun loungers. You’re not meant to go into saunas when pregnant, but due to the lower temperatures inside, and the fact it was a cold winter’s day outside, I popped in for a couple of minutes to warm up and it was fine.
And if you get too hot and steamy, cool down with a bucket shower to close pores and give your circulation a boost, then take a dip into the heated hydrobath on the terrace to relax your muscles.
Also a note to those looking for peace and quiet: though there’s a lovely indoor pool area with sauna and Jacuzzi as well as the adults-only outdoor area, the pool is used by leisure club members and their families, as well as regular guests of the hotel. This means small children are often there for large parts of the day. To avoid screeching kids, time your swim for either very early or very late, or over lunchtime – though that might be tricky if you’re having lunch as part of your spa package.
ESPA is the product-line of choice for body treatments, and I had the pregnancy massage – lying on both sides to avoid my bump, with a pillow between my legs – while my husband had a full-body massage, which he said was excellent as the therapist really dug in to all his knotted muscles. And, we got to share one of the double suites, which was nice although I think I could hear him snoring at one point!
The indoor ‘Tranquility relaxation zone’ was lovely and warm but didn’t quite live up to its name, as it’s located right next to the spa reception where guests natter away, plus the therapists are regularly popping in and announcing, rather loudly, who’s up next for a treatment and repeating the names even when that person clearly isn’t in the room. Soothing music and a no-chat policy would have enhanced the tranquility somewhat, and having people waiting in a different area.
Over all though, Mottram Hall is a beautiful venue and perfect for a weekend away or spa day for friends – the ThermoSpace on a warm, sunny day makes for a glorious place to while away an afternoon.
Other USPs (unique spa points!)
* Fine dining: If staying overnight, you can eat at the recently awarded AA Rosette Carrington Grill, with a menu celebrating the best seasonal, local produce with an emphasis on high-quality cuts of meat, as well as a new five-course Gourmet Dinner Menu.
* Afternoon tea: Not a USP exactly as most hotels do this, but when it’s held somewhere as lovely as the glamorous Champagne Bar or the library, it makes it extra special.
* Reality TV star haunt: Mottram Hall is where the Housewives of Cheshire often hang out, which may or may not be a selling point for you!
Telephone: 0845 034 5777