Travel review: Eden Hall, Elston
Tranquillity and relaxation, a workout and three-course lunch, or a pamper session followed by a long nap.
Whatever the reason for going to a day spa, it will be catered for at Eden Hall.
From the moment you walk in, the plush surroundings, friendly reception staff and waterfall features make you take a deep breath before thinking 'and relax'.
We stopped by one Saturday to sample its delights having left our three-year-old daughter with my mother.
So it was just the two of us, ready to embark on a few hours of food, rest and some adult conversation.
After being given a tour of the facilities we were left to our own devices but it was eye-opening to see exactly how much was on offer.
Activities and exercise classes are laid on all day, and visitors just book on to one of the slots when they arrive.
My wife, Kelly, had just missed the class she fancied but we both decided to give the gym a whirl because although it was time to relax, we also wanted to build an appetite for the three-course lunch that awaited us.
The gymnasium and exercise studio included state-of-the-art cardiovascular and resistance equipment, with fitness experts are on hand to answer questions and offer guidance.
We did not go to crazy but after a shower and change of clothes – we left the obligatory robes until later – it was time to make our way up to the top floor for our 12.30pm lunch.
After being seated, we ordered a bottle of wine to share and were then directed to the salad bar, which was filled with pulses, potato salads, coleslaws, pastas and even meats, fish and breads.
The best, and most dangerous, part was we could return as many times as we wanted.
We went for the smoked and fresh mackerel, crème fraiche pate, pickled cucumber, wholegrain mustard tossed carrots for a starter.
When faced we three course as early as 12.30pm, it was nice to know the portion sizes were not too big, and most importantly the food was light and delicious.
Fried salmon, served with new potatoes, red onion and caper oil followed for the main, while Kelly fancied the sticky-fried tofu in teriyaki sauce, with jasmine rice.
The salmon was beautifully cooked and the potatoes crisp with a hint of garlic but the sticky-fried tofu was simply stunning – the best tofu my wife had ever tasted, was the verdict.
Kelly then went for a chocolate cheesecake, biscuit crumb, compote brandy cherries and sweetened cream, which was a lovely and light deconstructed pudding that rounded off the meal beautiful.
My cheeseboard contained very chunky pieces of cheese, a boiled pear and fig relish. Again, it was very nice.
After allowing the meals to go down, it was time to venture to the pool area.
That included the thermal spa suite, which complimented the heated rooms and massage jets,
The centre piece was a glass-fronted, walk-through shower – one tropical, one heat and one cool mist. They all aim to capture the principle of water therapy. A bit over my head but Kelly seemed to know what she was doing.
There was also a salt water vitality pool and some very inviting outdoor hot tubs, particularly as it was a very hot, spring day, while the saunarium and rose-infused steam room aimed to 'gently uplift the soul' and 'create emotional calm through aromatherapy'.
The pool itself contained a jacuzzi, waterfall features and plenty of sunloungers, both inside and out, for those who wanted to sunbathe or simply relax by the water.
The gardens are also free to explore for a walk, and one of the quirkier features is the slumber lounge, where comfortable day beds, hanging dome chairs, soft lighting and a warm fire have been installed to, essentially, give grown-ups the chance for a midday nap – very tempting but we were a little pushed for time having dropped our daughter off.
It meant there was plenty for me to do while Kelly went off to get a massage and facial. There are wide-range of treatments to choose from too, which can all be booked on the day.
Again, simply put, Kelly said the British back massage and facial was the best she had ever had.
On checking in, she was taken into a relaxing room to wait for her therapist.
After completing a questionnaire about any problem areas on her face she may like to discuss with the expert, and what she was hoping to get from the treatment, she was able to try samples of Clarins and Elemis products that were available to buy in the spa's shop.
Lisa, her therapist, called her into my treatment room and they discussed the questionnaire – at which point she was advised baby wipes were really not the best facial regime.
After undressing and settling on to a comfy, heated treatment bed, the massage came first as Lisa worked all her knots out using lavender based oil.
Apparently, carrying a three-year-old around can do that to a mother's back.
Turned over for her facial, various hot clothes and scented oil were used to sooth and refresh the skin.
And what impressed Kelly most was the fact Lisa travelled an hour to work each way because she loved working at the spa and how they looked after her.
Lisa recommended some facial skin products to help problem areas and Kelly said her skin felt lovely. She even decided to leave her face make-up free for three days as a result.
There was the chance for further relaxation and a drink in the post-treatment room but unfortunately she did not have the time.
After another swim, we enjoyed one last drink in the roof-top conservatory before heading home. A truly relaxing experience and one we would thoroughly recommend.
Simply Spa Day costs £95, Monday to Friday, and £105 at weekends.
Signature Spa Days, the most expensive, comes in at £175, Monday to Friday, and £185 at weekends.
There are also mother-to-be, mother and daughter, made for men, and blushing bride spa days.
Afternoon tea for two costs £31.50
Lava shell rescue massage with kokolokahi oils, to relax muscles and relieve tension, £82.
Moisture quencher facial, to rehydrate the skin, £81.
Muscle ease massage, to alleviate stress levels, £69.
Elston Village, Lodge Lane, Elston, Newark NG23 5PG
Telephone 01636 525555, email firstname.lastname@example.org