Review: The spa that actually delivers the five-star spa experience
PUBLISHED: 09:29 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:29 25 April 2016
Sitting in a bubbling vitality pool with a glass of prosecco in hand, and surrounded by nothing but the picturesque rolling hills of Staffordshire, reality seemed but a distant memory.
All spas claim to offer perfection, a blissful weekend away in which you can forget the stresses of everyday life, but at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat that promise was well and truly delivered.
While it was some distance from Suffolk, a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Ipswich to Staffordshire, it was well worth both the time and expense. From the minute we stepped into reception, nothing was too much trouble for staff. We were greeted with welcome drinks on arrival, followed by a tour of the facilities, and were shown to our beautifully-luxurious room. We stayed in a luxury 5* suite, which offers a king-size bed, en suite bathroom stocked with Elemis products, a TV and DVD player with Sky HD, and our own outdoor seated decking area – which can be used for smoking guests.
Each room also has access to a shared outdoor hot tub, accessible only by overnight guests. The spa resort was opened in December, 2000, by Phillip and Delia Holland, who acquired School House Farm in 1997, and has reportedly become one of the top destination spas in the UK – a claim I would happily endorse.
A number of the packages include a treatment and, if visiting in spring, the spa’s limited edition spring treatments are a must-try. I went for the chocolate, sweet orange & vanilla scrub (£30, 25 minutes) – a perfect pre-holiday treatment to prepare my skin for my spring holiday. My partner opted for the rose and raspberry massage (£30, 25 minutes) and said it was the “best massage he had ever had”, with the therapists tailoring the treatment just for him. The entire treatment experience was bliss. A Chocolate and Cocoa Bean wrap (£30, 25 minutes) is also available, with all spring treatments on offer until the end of May.
Too often you are rushed in and out, and you leave feeling more as though you were an inconvenience to the therapists’ busy schedule – but not here. We were continuously encouraged to take our time and relax, making sure that we remained comfortable throughout.
Not a couple to shy away from fitness, we also made good use of the on-site gym facilities, which offer a range of cardio and weight machines, and some free weights. It’s certainly not the best-stocked gym I have used, but was the perfect way to work off our breakfast before another stint in the vitality pool where, admittedly, we spent most of our break. This is by far the best feature of the resort, with waiting staff on hand to top up drinks throughout the day.
We did, however, venture out for a stroll around some of the spa’s picturesque grounds, set within 72 acres of almost undisturbed countryside. For those wanting a further fitness fix, there is complimentary access to Moddershall Oaks’ very own tennis courts and bicycles, so you can venture out to the nearby villages.
Dinner was delicious. Most guests staying as part of a package will get a two-course dinner included in the final price; however, those paying separately could expect to spend around £25 per person, excluding drinks. Breakfast is also served here (included in the price of the room). With a menu offering a traditional cooked English breakfast, salmon dishes and a continental buffet, there was something for everyone. Being able to meander down in our robes while looking out onto the lake and the surrounding grounds only added to the decadence. The restaurant also offers a lunch menu, and afternoon tea.
All packages include unlimited use of the spa area, including the 25sqm heated vitality pool and kelo sauna, the indoor spa area which offers a swimming pool, steam room, hydrotherapy pool, heated tiled loungers, experience shower and reflexology footbaths, and access to the gym and relaxation lounge.
Everything about our stay was tranquil. The only downfall was the 10pm closing time for facilities – even those accessible only to guests. We felt a little rushed to finish our dinner – our table was booked at 8pm – to make sure we had time for one last hour (and a couple of glasses of prosecco) in the vitality pool. However, I dare say we will be making the trip in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.
If you’re after the promise of the “perfect spa” for a special occasion, and are happy to travel, I could not recommend Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat more.