In June Kieran and I went to Rockliffe Hall for a one night spa break. We got a really good midweek deal for such an exclusive place, which included a room in either the New or Old Hall, or a Triplady Lodge, breakfast, and two hours in the spa garden. I can honestly say it was the nicest, most relaxing spa day and break I’ve ever had. The grounds are beautiful, the hall itself is beautiful and the staff couldn’t do enough to look after everyone.
My parents had been a few times, but it’s not cheap and this deal was the cheapest the seasoned goers that my parents are had ever seen. It’s worth signing up to their email list as I’ve since found that’s the best way to get hidden deals and better rates. I’m talking about getting a good deal here, and this really was, but in all honesty prices are expensive and with good reason. It’s 5 star, top quality food, an incredible spa and the price reflects it. For me it’s one of those places I had to try because I knew I’d love it. Having said that I will probably only get to go for special occasions, when I’m happy to pay the extra cost anyway.
Here are my highlights of what I remember most, and all the points I make sure I tell people when they ask me how it was.
The Spa Garden at Rockliffe Hall
This is a private area of the spa that you can experience as part of a spa or stay deals, or pay extra for at £30 per person for two hours. It’s exclusive and limited numbers, so there’s never too many people in at once using the infinity pool, the glass sauna that looks out over the grounds, and the heated loungers. It makes for a lovely secluded addition to a spa experience, especially if you aren’t having any treatments but fancy something extra to the main pool.
Staff were on hand so you can order alcohol, but soft drinks and snacks were complimentary, and they were very discreet, then just magically appear when you need a top up – perfect.
We went straight into the spa garden as soon as we arrived as our slot was 12:30, and within minutes I felt like I was in another world, a rich luxurious one where the only worry is which drink to order next and what colour polish to choose for your manicure. We were there in summer which was lovely, but I imagine it would be amazing in winter too. The sauna and heated loungers in the freezing weather up north would make sure any bad weather wouldn’t spoil your trip.
The Orangerie and Brasserie
We ate in the Brasserie above the spa for dinner, which was less formal than the Orangerie, but the food was still incredible. I had seafood ravioli and Kieran had steak, so the menu isn’t the type that makes you wonder what the hell it is when reading the description. I don’t even like ravioli but this was a game changer and I still get cravings for it again. Through the day spa goers can eat in the Brasserie in just their robes, but after 5pm it becomes more formal, without the top level formalities of the Orangerie.
We had breakfast in the Orangerie the following morning which was so pretty, I imagine it would be incredible in the evening too, very elegant and unique. A full breakfast buffet selection was beautifully laid out in the centre of the room, and you could order off the cooked menu, all included in the deal. Every detail was thought of right down to ketchup in little pots like the jam.
The Hotel and Grounds
The weather was so nice that once we had finished dinner we walked around the gardens to the golf clubhouse where they were showing the England game. When we got downstairs the concierge actually offered to drive us down in a golf buggy, and told us to just ring if we wanted picking up again – great if you’re in heels! The concierge are definitely worth a mention, from the minute you arrive they go to the ends of the earth to help you, without being intrusive, and seemed to think of things you didn’t even know you needed – like the buggy lift to the clubhouse!
Because our first day at Rockliffe was spent in the spa garden and spa, and the evening was spent watching the England match (the 0-0 utterly boring and pointless England match!). I didn’t really get a chance to explore the hotel and evening facilities properly. I’m actually pretty gutted about it as well as I’d researched the cocktail bar before I went and REALLY wanted to sample a few. I actually can’t believe I didn’t remember this while I was there, utterly astonished at myself and it will be a priority on my next visit.
So anyway, after breakfast on our second day I had a wander around. There were plenty places to relax throughout the building – lounges, a drawing room, the cocktail bar and lots of outside seating. Some of the big photo albums that were on display are totally worth a browse through, they really capture how beautiful the place is in all seasons. I keep saying it but I imagine it would be beautiful in winter with the fire on in one of the lounges or drawing room, all dark wood and cosy chairs with views of the grounds out of the windows. I feel a winter visit is in order.
After I’d wandered round, and KICKED myself for forgetting the cocktail bar we checked out but decided to hang around the area for a bit. The hotel reception gave us a map with five or six different walking routes we could do, all from the hotel so we did a short walk around the local village and back round to the main house. It was very quiet and calm, one of the perks of being out in the country and again it made us feel like we had been away for days not just the one night. The hotel provided bottled water as well so you’d be fully prepared if you wanted to take on one of the longer walks.
I think the main thing for me was how that little bit more special a spa experience at Rockliffe Hall really was. They thought of everything and it was a mix of ultimate luxury with actually feeling right at home. It’s one of very few places I feel would be just as beautiful, if not more so in winter as it was in summer.