Here's your health
Health spa holidays are very much in demand writes Stephanie Voyager
Spas are like hotels. That is, they may all seem to offer the same type of things, but they all have their own individuality. This was certainly the case on my visit to two very different health spas, Champneys Henlow in Bedfordshire and Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire.
Prices also vary enormously. If money is a consideration, then it is particularly important to take into account exactly what you get in your package, and how much extra all the add-ons will cost when forming a decision on where to go.
Hoar Cross Hall promotes itself as a health spa resort in a stately home. The Grade 2 listed building was built in the 1860s and is covered in ivy, creating a very majestic impression. The interior is quite baronial.
On first impressions, you would think you were arriving at an ordinary hotel, except that all the guests are very casually dressed, many of them walking around in towelling dressing gowns.
The bedrooms are stylishly decorated, with our rooms overlooking formal gardens, with acres of countryside in the distance. On arrival we were given a tour. I was surprised that there was a bar.
The champagne bar, once the library, is still filled with rows of books. Adjacent to it is the elegant restaurant, originally the ballroom, resplendent with chandeliers. These two rooms are only used in the evening.
The spa area on the other side of the house is enormous, and offers a lot of choice. I particularly enjoyed the toning tables, which exercised different parts of the body with virtually no effort. Here, too, the highlight of coming to such a place are the many and varied treatments.
Full body massage
A 'must' is a full body massage. The problem is choosing which one to have. Mine was from Elemis, using aromatherapy oils. There was even a quiet room where one could sit and enjoy a newspaper or the more animated lounge with a mini cafe.
There are areas with relaxing chairs, some of them vibrating, providing the opportunity to chat with fellow guests. The swimming pool area offered a multitude of further options including a water grotto and aromatherapy room.
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