Hoar Cross Hall is an imposing picturesque 18th Century Mansion with an award-winning spa. Attracting couples and groups of friends, it makes for a great day out or a blissful overnight stay. Having just picked up the Best Spa in the West Midlands and Wales in the Good Spa Guide awards 2021, Sabi Phagura went along to find out what makes this luxury escape a popular choice for many.
Nestled in 30 acres of mature woodland, Hoar Cross Hall holds a rich past extending back to 1450 when the original Hoar Cross-State stood on the land. In early 2021, it was given a £14 million makeover to transform its 97 existing and seven newly developed bedrooms along with improvements to the 85,000sqft state of the art spa facilities, spa and communal areas.
I arrived at Hoar Cross Hall on a Sunday afternoon, and the reception area resembled a soiree. There were people milling around sipping champagne from flutes, I thought I had gatecrashed a get-together. But no, this was just a swarm of guests waiting to check in or check out and the welcoming drink was offered to minimise the blow of having to wait.
I needed to relax in the spa pronto! Check-in was eventually complete (with the wristbands and vouchers provided to gain access to the bedrooms and pay for meals and drinks), and it was a relief to retreat to my suite. One look at the suite and the frustration of hanging around fast melted away.
With all individually decorated rooms at Hoar Cross Hall bearing aristocratic names such as Princess Elizabeth, Baroness Isabella and Countess Lydia, my abode for the night was Countess Crystal.
This 55sqm of space has a twin bed in the centre of the room overlooking the gorgeous manicured gardens, a freestanding bathtub with a selection of VOYA organic toiletries, a separate shower and a Nespresso machine.
Walls decorated in a bold pop of hunter green with matching mugs and a retro telephone, the room’s furnishings and decor align with the hotels’ Jacobean and Elizabethan architecture. So much so that the TV in the corner of the room looked rather out of place.
Suffice to say; it never got switched on with a view like the one from the room. But not all modern gadgets are bad. The in-room Dyson hairdryer would come in handy after a visit to the spa.
As hard as it was to peel myself from this room, I made my way down to the spa. Accessed through the hotel or its own separate entrance, the spa is a sharp contrast to the hotel’s period charm. A place dedicated to pampering, relaxing and grooming, it’s a sanctuary in its own right.
A warren of passageways (map available) leads to the saltwater vitality pool, hydrotherapy pool, thermal facilities, sensory showers, treatment rooms, hairdressers, and a spa shop.
To escape the busy spa, I took great comfort heading to the Snooze Room following my glowing facial treatment with Charlotte, the therapist.
The impressive, elegant wood-panelled Long Gallery is the best place to head to for an afternoon coffee, an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Once a hangout for aristocrats to mingle and socialise in, today it’s been given a modern spin with oversized sofas, armchairs, open fires and statement lighting.
While the laidback Hugo’s restaurant in the spa area serves generous lunches comprising of salads, soups and cold mains (I recommend the Indian style chicken), the large AA Rosette-awarded Ballroom restaurant with its high ceilings and Downton Abbey-esque ambience is the place to head to for a spot of formal dining.
With a small but varied menu, it caters for vegans, vegetarians and those with food tolerances. Hungry from lounging around most of the afternoon, the breadbasket was devoured within moments. Baked on the premises, it was just what bread should be like, soft, fluffy and moreish.
It was the seared king scallops, honeyed hazelnuts, apple, celeriac and nori salad, sea herbs, for starters. Delicious, but I was miffed to see only two scallops sitting on my plate. Again, the main, spiced monkfish, lentil dahl, spinach, pickled cauliflower, coriander oil was far from a huge portion, so I didn’t feel guilty about ordering a side of triple cooked chips or the glazed honey parsnips.
Although checkout is at 11 am, guests can take advantage of the spa facilities until 2 pm on the day of departure. There was just enough time to squeeze in a gym session before I went into round two of spa mode.
Alongside the gym, there is a separate weights room, a spinning class studio area, and a yoga/fitness class studio offering around 90 classes a week. Prefer working out in the great outdoors? Then take your pick from hitting the driving range, cycle around the grounds, book the tennis court, or take an archery class. And even if you’re not the exercise type, you can still pick up the very detailed ‘walking history tour’ map and explore the hotel and its grounds for a simple stroll to stretch the legs and the mind.
Hoar Cross Hall – Where and How?
Hoar Cross Hall can be found at Hoar Cross Hall Spa Hotel, Maker Lane, Hoar Cross, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE13 8QS. For up to date prices and spa packages, visit https://baronseden.com/hoar-cross-hall.
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