Mottram Hall spa offers an experience more Alpine than English
PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 August 2016
Â© Andrew Collier Photography 2013
The delights of Mottram Hall's luxury hotel and spa are just a two hour train ride away from London.
As the sun beat down while my best friend and I sat in a bubbling hot tub in the open air, it was strange to think this was Cheshire and not continental Europe.
We were in the new al fresco “thermospace” spa area at Mottram Hall, a grand four-star hotel outside Macclesfield, run by the Q Hotels group.
It claims to be the UK’s first outdoor spa of this kind – and it certainly felt much more Alpine than the English, stately feel of the main manor, built in 1750.
The thermospace is an enclave of wood, with log cabins housing another UK first - a “Brechelbath,” which hails from the Alps, and a stonebath.
Both offer a much gentler heat than traditional saunas or steam rooms.
The Brechelbath is designed to look like an old farmer’s cottage, with wood shavings on the floor and steam releasing an alpine fragrance.
Meanwhile, the mineral stonebath felt just like stepping into a warm tub, the humidity and temperature rising with the lifting of hot stones into a pool of water.
Both rooms have a floor to ceiling window, looking out onto the relaxation area, where a dozen happy spa goers were lying on comfortable loungers to grab rare English rays.
The heat is so gentle in both baths that you can easily spend 30 minutes here at a time to relax your muscles – and your mind, while you’re at it. For the brave, cool down afterwards with the fresh bucket showers.
Inside is more traditional with another hot tub under a neo-classical dome and a large, heated swimming pool. A much hotter steam room and traditional sauna also lies inside.
We hopped from hot tub, to pool, to sauna gleefully, until it was time for our treatments.
We both opted for the relaxing face and back ritual, one of the treatment options included in our one-night Luxury Summer Spa Break package, priced from £125pp.
Starting with a gentle back exfoliation, a therapist then uses an oil of your choice to work out any knots as soothing music lulls you into relaxation.
It’s finished off with a soothing face and a scalp massage, rubbing away the tension. I left in a cloud of contentment.
It’s worth taking time out of the spa to explore some of the 270 acres of parkland surrounding the estate.
Dodging a wedding, we stumbled upon the beautiful landscaped garden, dominated by two flower-covered trellises – perfect for a romantic photo shoot if you were with a loved one.
There’s also a lovely patch of woodland, bordering a small lake. The mess of twigs and fallen tress brought out our inner children and we clambered over logs in the dappled sunlight.
It’s hard to believe this haven of tranquility is only two hours from London by train.
All that climbing had built up an appetite, so lucky there wasn’t long until our meal at the hotel restaurant, stylish Carrington Grill.
The focus is classical cooking using local ingredients where possible, and the chefs really know how to bring out the best in the produce.
Scallops to start were caramelised and perfectly soft. With the classic pairing of pea and ham, the salty meat and earthy pea was a great foil for the delicate fish.
Onto the mains. My roast duck was tender and cooked just right, served with a truly delicious pink peppercorn and star anise jus that had me steal my friend’s chips to mop it all up with.
My friend’s lobster thermidor, meanwhile, was an indulgent treat, with the fish falling apart on the fork.
We both finished with gooey dark chocolate fondants. I always like a restaurant when it’s generous with the sauce, and there was a whole ramekin of extra chocolate goodness to pour.
The speckled vanilla ice cream was a necessary addition to cut through the richness.
After a great night’s sleep in our enormous suite, breakfast was also a feast for gourmets.
After the excess of the night before, I plumped for the fresh fruit selection – though I couldn’t resist snaffling one of the cute mini pastries too.
The spa package also includes a picnic-style lunch in the main restaurant, which you can thankfully stay in your robes for.
There’s plenty of Melba toast for the smooth, rich chicken liver parfait, served up with sweet, sticky onion chutney; houmous is the vegetarian alternative.
It’s a real Ploughman’s affair with cheese on crackers, and grapes, with all the ingredients coming in a kitsch farmer’s market-style box. The parsnip soup is the real winner though, smooth as silk and not too sweet.
Whether you want a spa break or a foodie’s paradise, Mottram Hall is the perfect place to get away from it all and give in to pure indulgence for a night or two.