If time is tight, you can pack a lot of relaxation into a single day at this modern spa. Deputy editor Yvonne Martin unwinds on a perfect autumn escape.
Taking a dip in an outdoor spa pool with an open fire on one side and the frosty Staffordshire countryside on the other, I’m really enjoying the contrasts of hot and cold. I’m all cosy and warm in the bubbly water, but I’m breathing in invigoratingly chilly air.
It’s all part of a stay at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, which is a wonderfully friendly, relaxed place to unwind on a cold autumn day.
We were booked in for a Friday night stay so drove up to Moddershall near Stone, to arrive in the late afternoon/early evening. The first thing we did was take a seat in the café to do the spa-related form filling and enjoy a nice welcoming drink.
Although checking in fairly late on the day of arrival, one of the convenient things about a break at Moddershall Oaks is that you can then use the spa areas until 5pm on your day of departure (though you must vacate your room by 11am), so there is plenty of time to make the most of the facilities.
Not that we waited until the next day. Myself and my partner Allan (a newly converted spa enthusiast) couldn’t wait to get our swimming gear on and start enjoying what was on offer.
Time to relax
There’s a luxurious outdoor spa area with the aforementioned (massive) spa pool and a roomy sauna. These are all right next to the café and the staff were regularly in and out with sparkly wine and hot chocolate drinks for guests.
Right next to this is the indoor relaxation area, which is full of comfy chairs and sofas arranged around an elegant wood burner. There are magazines to read and snuggly throws to wrap yourself up in. It’s a comforting and informal place to settle into after trying the various heat and water treatments.
The rest of the spa facilities are at the other end of the complex, where there is an indoor pool, a steam room and a hydrotherapy pool, which pummels you with water jets from pretty much every angle.
There are also therapy rooms, where you can get body and facial treatments using the Elemis range.
And if you’re staying over and there’s an Elemis product you would like to try, guests are welcome to borrow a tester from the shop to give it a go in their rooms. I didn’t need telling twice and before getting changed for dinner, I tried out the Pro-collagen Marine Mask, which left my skin looking much fresher.
So much to choose from
Making our choices at dinner took a while as the menu was just our sort of thing. Even with promises on both sides to share what we ordered, it was still tough to narrow it down. We started with scallops on minted pea puree and pesto and mozzarella arancini.
Then I went for chicken supreme on roasted red pepper risotto with chorizo crisp and Allan had Goan monkfish with sag aloo and crispy curried cauliflower.
All were delicious and well presented.
This was rounded off with a lemon brulée cheesecake with passionfruit curd, meringue shards and raspberry sorbet and a sticky toffee pudding with pecan toffee sauce and crème Anglaise. Both gorgeous.
A variety of classes
Next morning I ventured into the Made Wellness Centre, which is right next door. There are a range of classes to try, from cycle inferno and kettlebells to meditation and candle light yoga. I went straight to the gym though, where I went through my morning stretches before heading back to the pool in the main spa building, for a few lengths. Then, after a good cooked breakfast, we spent several hours in and out of the various spa facilities.
My treatment was booked for the end of the day. It was a hot stone massage, which was a new experience for me. I do like a firm massage and this stone technique really suited me from that point of view.
It released some tension when I lay on my front for the back massage. I found it slightly less comfortable to lie on my back with some of the stones underneath me. However, the warmth of them there, eased my muscles.
Often I find massages so relaxing that I’m almost falling asleep. This wasn’t that kind of treatment, but I did feel that my muscles had been worked on and released somewhat. One of the best things about it was that they used Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil, which smelled so good.
In the quiet zone
The spa has a new quiet (no mobile phones) relaxation area near the treatment rooms. It has a mesmerizing fire pit as a focal point. So, after my massage I made my way there to enjoy that relaxed feeling. Curled up in a little pod I was truly unwound. You can certainly fit a lot of pampering and relaxation into 24 hours.
A signature spa break including a 55-minute treatment, two course evening meal and breakfast, costs from £219.50 per person. For more information on prices and special offers, visit moddershalloaks.com.