LIVING was invited to spend time at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall Village, for an uninterrupted dose of relaxation and rejuvenation and it didn’t disappoint.
Set in the heart of Lancashire, in the quaint little village of Wrea Green, is The Spa Hotel – an adult-only escape, LIVING’s Nancy Emery tells us more…
The invitation to go along to Ribby Hall came during January’s ‘Blue Monday’ week, so as you can imagine I was doubly excited at the prospect of some much-needed ‘RnR.’ Booked in for a one-night spa break on a Friday, my partner and I set off up the M6 for the 90-minute car ride from Stoke on Trent and 24-hours off from our two energetic little boys. Adults only, you say? See you there!
As we turned into the entrance, we realised we had to navigate our way through Ribby Hall Holiday Park before finally coming to the impressive hotel building. But that’s the last encounter we had with it. Friendly staff and a really relaxed vibe greeted us as we walked into The Spa Hotel and we knew we were in for a treat – our escape at Ribby Hall had begun.
Aqua does it
We spent the afternoon exploring the signature Aqua Thermal Journey – a recommended two hour experience forcing your body’s temperature to soar, by spending 10-minutes in seven different sauna and steam rooms, including a Balinese Salt Inhalation Room and even a Pedidarium for your feet, before sending it crashing back to normal with a few seconds under an ice plunge bucket.
It sounds intense but it’s actually thoroughly enjoyable and with the added indoor hydrotherapy pool and divine outdoor hot tub (with a stunning view), you are massaged back to regularity with no problems at all.
Did I feel better after that? Yes. I’ve been to spas where you are thrown into it with not much information so you sit in a Jacuzzi or two and dip in and out of a moderate sauna. But this was fun, and it felt like I was taking my body through a fluid process to relaxation. It was the perfect way to ease myself in and let go of my life outside of the spa. Now I was ready to give myself up to the ‘spa life’ and that included wearing only my robe and slippers for the majority of the time!
Tough mud & hot stones
It seemed to fly by but it was soon time or our 5pm date with the Mud Rasul Chamber, which you’ll find in the same area as the Aqua Thermal Journey, and has to be pre-booked so it is a private experience, thankfully!
We were shown into a room which had separate showers and a sauna chamber and our therapist talked us through what we needed to do – it was a DIY treatment. First, we had to shower and exfoliate with salt to get our bodies ready. Then we had four different types of mud, ranging from grey to black and yellow, to apply to different parts of the body – from the face to the toes. She left us to get on with it before returning after ten minutes to turn up the heat and let the steam penetrate our mud-soaked bodies.
If you want a more intense treatment than the thermal journey, this is it. We were told temperatures can reach up to 48 degrees and to step out if it gets too much. After what seemed like a gruelling 20-minutes, the overhead sprinklers came on, signalling the end of the treatment. We then showered the rest of the mud off. Both of us had to step out of the chamber at one point or another but our skin felt wonderful afterwards, and, after finally cooling down about an hour later, we both agreed it was well worth it!
The next morning, I was also treated to an Elemis Deeper Than Deep Hot Stone Massage from the treatment menu which was delightful. I was a little apprehensive as visions of heavy stones leaving marks on my body bashed around my mind but I was quickly put at ease by my therapist, Olivia. Heated Balinese stones smothered in a Frangipani Monoi Body Oil were worked up and down the back of my legs, back, shoulders and neck – amazing! Olivia was able to apply more pressure using the stones and the extra heat went much deeper into the muscles than hands or arms could do. She tells me that a lot of older people prefer the hot stones to a regular massage because the heat is much more comforting and I can totally agree.
Glorious food, simple touches
Spa breaks include £25 per person towards dinner in The Orangery restaurant. We were treated to this in the evening and Head Chef, Michael Noonan, certainly wined and dined our taste buds. We also enjoyed a light lunch in the new leather-clad lounge bar, complete with open fire, which was delicious.
The atmosphere throughout the hotel is calm and quiet and you are encouraged to stay in your comfortable robes and slippers –even at breakfast if you like – but they do ask that you dress up for dinner. There are lots of quiet spaces and quiet zones to keep the environment as peaceful as possible but that also means there are relaxation areas you can unwind, whether that’s after the aqua journey or after a treatment to bring your mind and body back to reality.
It was a series of simple touches which made our stay much more memorable, from the option to change your pillow in the room to a more comfortable one, to the friendly and attentive local staff, which if it wasn’t for their recognisable accents, you might forget where you are completely.”
So, when was your last spa day?
Spa breaks at The Spa Hotel, Ribby Hall Village start from £99 per person, which include Aqua Thermal Journey, bed, breakfast and dinner, or £131 per person, where you can also choose a 25-minute treatment.
Read more travel reviews in the latest issue of Staffordshire Living.