REVIEW: Slipping away from it all at city centre spa
The grounds of Kenwood Hall are absolutely stunning.
From my spot here in the hot tub of the Victorian hotel’s spa, I can see the green landscaped gardens which trip downhill to a pretty lake.
It’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of a city suburb.
It’s been a perfect Sunday afternoon. My best friends and I have left work and children and our busy lives behind for a few hours and escaped to the period property, that was originally built in 1845 as the home to a Sheffield cutlery manufacturer, and is now a thriving hotel just a mile outside of the city centre, featuring 114 bedrooms and suites.
The spa is a recent addition to the Best Western hotel and we’re booked in for a Luxurious Spa Day visit, complete with a late afternoon tea in the lounge bar.
We arrive at the spa just after lunch, where a lady with a warm smile and a soothing voice hands us fluffy robes, towels and slippers and shows us to the changing facilities, where we lock our daily lives away into pin-operated lockers, and allow escapism to commence.
Ahhh... there’s nothing like turning off your mobile phone and slipping into a fluffy robe to give your body the permission it needs to sink deep into relaxation mode.
Our first port of call is the pool and hot tub, for a relaxing swim in a pool that is delightfully warm - like swimming in a bath! - before slipping into the hot tub for a good ol’ chinwag. This beats a gossip and a cuppa in a cafe any day.
Once we’re feeling suitably pruney from the delicious bubbles, we dry off and slip our robes back on, to head to the spa’s relaxation room on the floor above. As as we step through the door, I can see it’s not at all what I was expecting. I was picturing a quiet, dimly-lit space, complete with mood lighting, soothing music and essential oils. Somewhere very zen...probably with glasses of cucumber water available on request...
The reality is a cosy, light and airy room - decorated in warm pastels and rich purple - with doors open at the other side to a pretty garden. There are squishy sofas and chairs, perfect for deep conversation or chitchat, depending on your mood, and even a television on the wall, in case you fancy a daytime TV fix. Best of all, minutes after sinking into the seats, a knock at the door reveals a barman carrying a bottle of bubbly. It’s not exactly a traditional spa relaxation room, more like hanging out and sipping prosecco in your best mate’s pretty living room - and not having to tidy up afterwards! I’m definitely a fan. Cucumber water? Pah!
After an hour of spa relaxation, it’s time for my hot stone back massage with my therapist, Acacia, who settles me on to the heated bed in the cosy, quiet and dimly-lit treatment room, while I confess the idea of hot stones on my back makes me slightly nervous. She promises I’ll love it - and she’s absolutely right. The heat of the stones seeps into the muscles of my back and neck as Acacia works them expertly, and I feel any remaining tension begin to ebb away.
‘This warming and soothing massage technique using heated stones and essential oils relieves muscle tension, aids circulation and improves energy levels throughout the entire body and mind. A deep relaxing treatment for anyone in need of a complete feeling of wellbeing.’
It’s everything the spa booklet promises, and my treatment time flies by. Before I know it, I’m floating back down the corridor towards the pool room to meet up with my equally-relaxed buddies.
The spa’s steam room and sauna are located behind the hot tub and we head into the sauna - which is powerful and satisfying - and the steam room - which is a little on the cool side, though staff promptly turned it up for us on request.
Once we’re suitably steamed, soaked and relaxed, it’s time to dry off and head for the lounge bar for our champagne afternoon tea (I should mention there’s also a well-equipped gym on site, but working out just wasn’t on the cards for us during this visit).
We’re seated at a lovely table at the back of the room, with a terrific view of the grounds. Once the tea and champagne have been poured, the food arrives - a generous spread, and a variety of, sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and an assortment of cakes and sweet treats - and it’s spot on; delicious and filling. A perfect end to a terrific day.
Spa manager Daniel Beech said: “At Kenwood Hall Spa we aim to provide something for everyone. Our tailored ‘Day Escapes’ include an extensive range of beauty treatments, quintessential views of the grounds from both our poolside and Lakeview restaurant, and of course first class hospitality. Our experiences are perfect for couples, groups of friends, families or even the individual, whatever the occasion.”
Visit www.kenwoodhall.co.uk for more details on spa packages and a full list of treatments and prices.