*AD – This post features gifted experiences
I think it’s fair to say that life has been pretty hectic recently. After leaving my job to become a full time freelancer I have thrown myself in to work and there’s been a lot going on in my personal life too… I could feel myself starting to burn out. I’m sure you’ve all felt the same at some point, it makes you want to hide away from the world for a few hours and re-charge your batteries doesn’t it?
So, you can imagine my response when I was invited to review the recently refurbished spa & leisure club at Redworth Hall… my fingers couldn’t type the reply fast enough!
My day at The Retreat Spa & Leisure Club was just what the doctor ordered. I’d never heard of it before my visit but I was mightily impressed and it’s now up there with my favourite pampering destinations in the north east. Let me give you the lowdown…
Just five minutes off the A1 at Newton Aycliffe, a stunning 17th century Jacobean Manor House is tucked away among 26 acres of landscaped grounds. As James and I made our way through an enchanting woodland and pulled on to the sweeping driveway that led to Redworth Hall, we both gasped in awe. We had no idea this stunning four-star hotel was waiting to be discovered less than 30 miles from Newcastle.
Despite the dreary weather that was in the north east on the day of our visit, the beauty of Redworth Hall was clear to see. We swooned over the original features like the ornate spiral staircase and the magnificent windows which fill the hall with light.
We questioned why we’d never visited Redworth Hall before, particularly as it’s such as good base for exploring the north east, Raby Castle, the Bowes Museum, and Durham City are all in close proximity!
There’s 143 luxurious bedrooms at the hotel and a fancy restaurant so I made a point of dropping lots of not so subtle hints to James about a little break away later in the year, let’s hope my comments didn’t fall on deaf ears!
After a nosey around the grounds and hotel we tried to navigate our way to the spa, that was after all the reason for our visit! Our curiosity had got the better of us though and we found ourselves wandering through several corridors before finally arriving at The Retreat. A word of advice, if you are visiting for a spa day or for lunch in The Lounge, it’s best to use the main spa entrance which is directly opposite the car park!
The Retreat has several treatment rooms, all with a peaceful ambience and bathed in warm subdued lighting to help you relax. There’s also a stunning new L’Oréal hair & Jessica nail salon.
James and I had booked facials but first we got to spend some time using the facilities, a 14 metre heated indoor pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. There’s a gym too, we didn’t check it out but I’m reliably informed that some of the recent investment that’s been put in to The Retreat was spent on a new purpose-built exercise studio with the state of the art equipment and over 2,000 virtual exercise classes.
The pool area was somewhat more traditional and I’m not sure if it was part of the improvement project. It’s got everything you need for a relaxing swim etc, it just wasn’t as modern as the rest of the facilities.
My only slight bugbear was that even though we mentioned it was our first visit we didn’t get a little tour or much info about the facilities from the reception staff, this is something I would usually expect on a spa day. However, they did provide us with soft snugly bath robes and slippers and we soon found our way around making good use of the pool, steam room, sauna and jacuzzi.
We arrived back in the reception at The Retreat about 15 minutes before our appointment times. I loved the vibrant flower wall that provides a back drop to the reception and the whole area was filled with the rich sensuous smell of luxury pampering products.
We filled out the treatment questionnaire and were then offered a glass of water and shown to the relaxation room. This was a modern, luxurious space, decorated in soft tones. We lay on the thermal loungers and almost fell asleep as we listened to the chilled-out tunes.
Shortly after, our therapists arrived and escorted us to a couple’s treatment room. It was stylishly decorated with two massage beds so our treatments could be done at the same time.
I opted for a ‘Divine Nutrition Facial’ and I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had (well, from what I can remember as I did drift off to sleep briefly)! My skin has been feeling dull and dry since before Christmas and no amount of moisturiser was helping me out. After my 70-minute treatment though it felt radiant and smooth. The therapist used essential oils with active nutrients from the Decléor range to gently massage my face and they definitely did the trick, I felt like a new woman after the facial.
James enjoyed a ‘Ultimate Vitamin Glow Facial’ and I’m pretty sure he benefited from his treatment just as much as I did but he’s a man of few words so ‘Aye it felt nice’ was as much as I could get out of him!
After our facials we were treated to lunch in The Lounge – a gorgeous dining space with contemporary décor including an eye-catching cherry tree adorned with fairy lights in the centre.
I couldn’t resist ordering afternoon tea despite my fella going for the healthy option of a chicken salad. When the three-tier cake stand was brought to our table, I double checked to make sure they knew it was just for me as it was huge. The waitress just smiled but I’m sure it must have been a two-person portion as I’ve never had an afternoon tea for one that had four scones on it before!
Needless to say, James didn’t take much persuading to help me polish off the sandwiches, cakes and scones. Everything was yummy, I particularly enjoyed the ham and apple chutney sandwiches and the mini Victoria sponge. Overall, I would give the afternoon tea about 8 out of10, not the best I’ve ever had but there was a decent variety and the setting really did feel swish! It’s priced at £15.95 per person which I think is pretty reasonable compared with other fancy hotels in the north east and my accompanying latte was one of the best I’ve had in ages.
James seemed to enjoy his chicken Caesar salad and commented on the sourdough croutons being especially delicious. The Lounge also serves a variety of sandwiches, light bites, brunch items, sweet treats and smoothies.
I am already planning a return visit to The Retreat and The Lounge at Redworth Hall. I felt completely chilled-out by the time we were heading home and my skin still felt radiant the next day.
I checked out the spa day prices in the glossy new brochures and was surprised to see that you can get a ‘Vitality Spa Day’ from just £60 which includes a 35 minute Decleor facial, a two course lunch and full use of the facilities, and that wasn’t even a special offer, just one of their many standard packages. When I think about how much I sometimes spend on a night out… a spa day is far more therapeutic. In fact, I think The Retreat is one of the best value spa experiences available in the north east!
Redworth Hall is about a 30 minute drive from Newcastle and about 20 minutes from Durham.
Spa Days start from £60 pp and there are loads of different packages to choose from, check out www.retreatatredworth.com/
It’s also worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page for events and offers: www.facebook.com/TheRetreatatRedworthHallHotel/
*As mentioned at the start, our spa day, treatments and lunch were gifted so this review is marked as an ad. It also includes some professional photos supplied by the marketing team. However, as always, I only ever give you my honest opinion based on a personal experience.