Last weekend my friend and I combined two of our favourite pastimes by going for an afternoon tea spa day to Craxton Wood.
The Spa is part of Craxton Wood Hotel and is set in 27 acres of woodland not far from the historic city of Chester. It opened just over a year ago following a £1.4million renovation making it one of Cheshire’s most luxurious spas.
We entered the spa and were greeted by a spa therapist who asked us about any particular issues we wanted to tackle on the day and our massage preferences. We were then led to a female only changing area where we were given a secure locker to hold our possessions while we changed into our white spa robes.
One thing we both noticed in this room was the lack of privacy. There is a small single shower area where you can get changed but the shower has a glass door on which cannot be locked so not the most private of spaces. This area definitely needs a small private changing room in place of the shower. There is another larger changing room at the front of the spa (by reception) but most people who are on spa days prefer to use the smaller changing area by the treatment rooms. The changing rooms are sleek, modern and spotlessly clean.
Once we had changed I met my therapist, Donna, for a Sole Delight treatment. She collected me from the waiting area and led me along the corridor to the treatment room. The Sole Delight began with an exfoliating scrub before being given some heated boots to wear. Although I felt a little ridiculous wearing these, they were lovely and warmed me up nicely. While the boots were working their magic, I was treated to a head massage. After 10 minutes or so Donna massaged my feet using aroma-therapeutic oils. This treatment lasted 30 minutes and was total bliss.
Next stop: a trip to the garden room, a tranquil room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the garden area. You can lie back on a bed with a blanket sipping complementary herbal teas. I had the room all to myself while my friend had her treatments so I occupied myself by reading through a pile of magazines.
My friend opted for a back massage (£50) also with Donna. Apparently this was the best back massage that she has ever had! Donna really knows what she is doing and slowly worked away every bit of tension that my friend had. This treatment specifically targets the back, shoulders and neck areas which is perfect if, like my friend, you have a lot of tension from carrying young children.
My friend also had a Reflexology treatment (£60). This is an alternative therapy which uses reflex points on the feet. Each point corresponds to specific areas of the body, which are massaged to ease stress and tension. I can recommend this having had it on a previous visit to the spa.
After our treatments, we went along to the cafe for our afternoon tea. The cafe is a relaxed and comfortable environment with everyone sat in their towelling robes and slippers. The afternoon tea started as all afternoon teas should, with a lovely glass of bubbly. We were then brought a cake-stand with sandwiches, scones and a few little cakes each.
Obviously being a spa dedicated to wellness, the afternoon tea didn’t go overboard, but we still left feeling full having been unable to finish all of the food (the cafe will box any leftovers for you to take away with you so you can finish off the treats at home).
Source: Macdonald Hotels
Once we had finished eating, we went for a lie down in the relaxation room. This is a dark room lit only by candles. It has beds in with blankets for you to wrap up in for a nap.
An hour later we ventured over to the thermal suite. This includes a steam room, a rock sauna, a Swedish sauna, an ice fountain, an experience shower and two foot spas. We made use of the quiet spa and had a go of each, going from hot to cold, hot to cold, to boost our circulation.
I’d definitely recommend booking in for a spa break on a Sunday and the spa was nice and quiet (I have been previously and Saturday’s can be very popular and perhaps not as relaxing an experience).
We then returned to the garden room where we sat with cups of herbal tea, totally relaxed from our day of pampering. We stayed in the relaxation area for as long as we could with no pressure on us to leave.
It was a really enjoyable day, so enjoyable that I will certainly be returning. My friend has already booked in for another treatment next week.
(Monday to Friday: 6.30am to 10.00pm - Saturday & Sunday: 8.00am to 8.00pm)
Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel & Spa although my friend paid for her Reflexology treatment.