The Spa @ Suites Hotel, Liverpool 

“All I want is world peace and a pedicure” - unknown

One of the great things about blogging is that you learn about places to try that you probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise. 


I was recently invited to one such place, The Spa @ Suites Hotel in Liverpool, for a pamper day with my friend. 


Nestled away in the most unlikely of places, just off the M57 motorway in Knowsley, I’ve driven past dozens of times without realising it even existed. The exterior gives little away about the indulgent spa experience that you can experience inside.


Suites is the only 4* hotel in the North West that provides all of its guests with suites. Hence the name! The privately owned hotel opened in September 2014 and The Spa has since become a popular destination for a luxury pamper. 

Facilities include a Thermal Suite with Double Rasul Chamber, Sinann Foot Spa, Rainforest Showers, Hot Beds, Himalayan Salt Inhalation Steam Room, Sauna and Ice Room offering a range of heat, ice and water treatments.

The leisure facilities include an 18 metre swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and a fully equipped gym.


Therapists are trained to Decléor and Carita standards, offering over 90 treatments. There’s a choice of manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, wraps, therapies, anti-ageing treatments, treatments for mums-to-be, couples treatments… the list is almost endless. 


My friend had the Drift Signature Treatment. This began with a skin softening body brush followed by a warm soya bean oil drizzled over the body before a full body massage. Guests are given the rest of the massage candle to take with them to enjoy at home. 


I had the Twin Souls Treatment, an exfoliation of hands and feet before a deep relaxation massage of both. 


After our treatments we went to the Thermal Spa for a sauna before retreating to the Relaxation Suite.


This little sanctuary allows you to relax and unwind while sipping a cup of tea. Perfect!


The venue also offers dining and drinking destinations in the form of Handley’s Brassiere and Bollinger Bar. Those visiting The Spa have exclusive access to the Spa Bistro, which serves up healthy and indulgent light-bites.


With a range of facilities and treatments on offer, The Spa @ Suites Hotel, truly was a pleasant surprise. It just goes to show that you can find a little bit of luxury in the most unlikely of places. 


Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Suites Hotel

Macdonald Craxton Wood Spa

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).

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.


Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel & Spa, Parkgate Road, Ledsham, Cheshire, CH66 9PB

Craxton Wood website

(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. 

Rudding Park Hotel

I’ve just returned from a weekend away to Rudding Park in Harrogate. Every New Year I try to book a spa break to beat away the January blues… Rudding Park did just the trick. 

It’s a beautiful hotel set in 300 acres of parkland with 88 bedrooms and lodges for families. It also has a luxury spa and golf course as well as it’s own Victorian Gothic chapel which hosts weddings.

The interior is beautifully designed. One of the most striking rooms is the Library, a quiet but colourful room with a hanging egg chair as the centrepiece. The bar area and Clocktower restaurant, set partly in a conservatory with a large olive tree taking centre stage, are both bright and contemporary. The food is on the pricey side, as are the drinks, but it’s all locally sourced, quality ingredients which are absolutely delicious. 

For accommodation, there are two choices of rooms mixing the old with the new. The Ribston wing has the more traditional rooms which are slightly smaller and therefore a cheaper alternative to the newer Follifoot wing, which has large stylish rooms. Both are luxurious, comfortable and spotlessly clean. 

Having previously stayed at the hotel, I prefer the Follifoot rooms due to the larger bathrooms as well as the heating system (as I find the rooms in the Ribston Wing to be a touch too warm at night). When I mentioned this to the hotel I was told that the Ribston rooms are currently undergoing a staged renovation program to bring them in line with the rest of the hotel rooms. 

The service at the hotel is fantastic. The staff consistently go that extra mile, including running outside with an umbrella as we arrived in the pouring Yorkshire rain and the nightly turndown service, to replenish drinks and snacks in the room and a small gift being left on the bed for guests (in our case a wooden ladybird massager). 

Wifi is free of charge as well as daily newspapers delivered to the room. Guests also have the facility to record their favourite TV programmes if they fancy a quiet night in with room service. We didn’t use this feature as we were offered the use of the hotel’s private cinema to watch a film of our choice. It’s a 14 seat luxury cinema which is offered to guests on a first come, first serve basis. Luckily for us it was available the evening we stayed and within a few minutes of us booking it we were sat in the cinema watching The Holiday with some complementary popcorn while our waiter fetched us a bottle of wine to hunker down for the night. We were in absolute heaven. 

The following morning after a hearty full English breakfast, we popped along to the spa for some pampering. The spa consists of four treatment rooms including a hammam and a steam room, although a little birdie told me that the hotel is currently building a larger spa in the grounds along with a swimming pool. This is expected to open sometime in 2017. 

At the spa, I opted for a Foot Reflex Heaven which was £48.00*; a 40 minute treatment which began with a spicy foot scrub followed by a sandalwood and vetiver oil foot massage “to leave you centred and serene”.

My friend had the Nourish and Relax Massage which is a 90 minute treatment costing £115.00* which includes a salt and coffee bean body exfoliation and a coconut and vanilla oil massage.

After our amazing treatments we were served tea in the relaxation room feeling totally pampered and utterly spoilt. Unlike some luxury spas, we both agreed that Rudding Park’s spa is probably the most relaxing and unpretentious. Neither of us wanted to leave and seriously considered hiding away in the spa so that we could stay another night undetected. 

It’s not difficult to see why the hotel is frequently voted as one of the best in the UK and why it has played host to Bill Clinton, George Bush, Desmond Tutu and Prince Albert of Monaco to name but a few. It’s a firm favourite of mine and I’ll be sure to return again soon. 

Rudding Park Hotel, Follifoot, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1JH


*Prices are slightly higher than those stated if visiting Friday to Sunday. 

Cocktail Saturdays was a B&B guest of Rudding Park but all Spa treatments were paid for by us as well as evening food and drinks.