Nothing beats a relaxing spa break with friends, yet though all spas promise luxury to its visitors, not all can deliver. Thankfully the Woodland Spa, which can be found nestled in the Burnley countryside, exceeded all expectations on my recent visit.
Six of us were visiting for a friend's hen celebration, and as I had not really been involved in the organising, I was unsure what to expect. We had all booked the Blissful Retreat Package and had chosen to stay over in the Woodland Spa's newly refurbished apartment. On first booking, l had thought it was a little expensive, but I was happy to find on arrival that pretty much everything was included in our overnight stay.
As we were all travelling from different parts of the country, it was a nice touch to be able to meet up over a hot drink and pastries before heading down to the spa. With young children at home, it provided a good opportunity to catch up with friends. One disappointing aspect was that there was a small surcharge when a couple of the party requested hot chocolates instead of the standard tea or coffee.
Luckily, things quickly picked up from here. We were given our robes and a plan of the spa and headed down to enjoy the spa's facilities.
Inside, there was a whole host of areas to explore; Roman Foot Baths, a Hydrotherapy Pool, Experience Showers, Sauna, Salt Steam Room, Saunarium, Ice Fountains and the Serenity Pool. I understand there is a benefit to using a combination of hot and cold treatments, but I was there to relax and had absolutely no intention of trying the Ice Fountains or the ice cold bucket shower.
The Serenity Pool is to be highly recommended. The pool is situated in a dark room, with tiny lights placed on the ceiling to look like stars –silence and relaxation is a must. One friend who hates to sit still was incredibly reluctant to go in, but once in there, actually fell asleep. True indulgence indeed.
I also really enjoyed the Salt Steam Room, which really felt like it cleansed the pores, and wasn't as dry as the Sauna. There is the option to take a Rasul Mud Ritual which costs extra, but this didn't appeal to me, so I can't comment on it.
Next, we headed outside to see what we could find. I loved that you could swim outside via the warm Infinity Pool, instead of having to walk out into the cool air. The outside area of the spa has recently been extended, which meant that despite it being a weekend, the area didn't seem overcrowded. Even though it was only March, we were able to enjoy the outdoor hot tubs, and the sun even shone down on us. As well as the infinity pool and several hot tubs, there was a fire pit by the bar, which looked amazing, although we couldn't get near as it was so popular.
By now, it was lunchtime so we headed upstairs in our dressing gowns and slippers and sat down to a gorgeous two-course lunch at Bertram's Restaurant. Unlike my experiences with other spa packages, this was certainly not a light lunch. There was a good selection of meals to choose from. I opted for the Buttermilk Chicken and the Sticky Toffee Pudding which were both delicious, but if I went back, I'd probably opt for the more sensible Soup and Sandwich option. A glass of wine was included, and by this time, I was truly feeling spoilt.
Afterwards, we returned to the spa, where it was nearly time for our treatments. I had opted for an Aromatherapy Body Massage. The masseur discussed which essential oils would suit me, before giving me a full body massage. What can I say other than it was one hour and 15 minutes of absolute bliss.
After a short rest following the massage, we headed back to the outdoor area of the spa. I really loved that the spa stayed open until 8pm at the weekend, it meant we really could take the time to unwind. It's worth noting that it opens even later in the week for anyone wanting to indulge after work.
By now, we had totally lost track of time, but finding that it was evening, we opted to relax in the hot tubs and couldn't resist ordering a cocktail. On their arrival though, we were disappointed to be told we were not allowed to drink them in the pool. The air was really chilly and we didn't relish the idea of climbing out of the pool to enjoy them. The spa is missing a trick here. We would certainly have ordered another round of cocktails if we could have stayed in the lovely warm water, but by now our dressing gowns were damp and we were feeling cold, so we headed back to the apartment to enjoy some wine before dinner.
The two bedroom apartment is well kitted out, considering most people must only stay for a couple of nights. There were plenty of wine glasses, plates and cutlery, the kitchen was large and there were two bathrooms. The decor was lovely too; we could have happily spent more time here. The only thing that let the apartment down was the very dodgy sofa bed in the lounge which we had to draw straws for. There are several bad reviews on this so hopefully they will listen and get it changed soon.
After a few glasses of wine in the apartment, we headed back to Bertram's restaurant for our three-course meal, which was part of the package. The food didn't disappoint, but to be honest, I was still feeling totally stuffed from lunch. I chose the Lancashire Cheese Melts, Butternut Squash Risotto and the Warm Raspberry Tart, which were all absolutely gorgeous. Just writing this makes me long to return for more.
The next morning, following a full Lancashire breakfast, we prepared to leave. We were sad to depart but left feel relaxed, well-fed, and a little reluctant to return to the noise and chaos that awaited us at home. We have all made a promise to return; this is one spa where you really feel pampered, and after all, don't we all deserve it?
Overall, the Woodland Spa isn't the cheapest, but I found every aspect well worth the price and there were no hidden extras; the package pretty much covered everything. Costing for our stay was as follows: £129 for the spa day which included coffee and pastry on arrival, a two-course lunch including a glass of wine, 1 x 75-minute Decleor treatment and use of spa facilities. Our overnight stay in the apartment included a three-course meal, and full Lancashire breakfast and cost £118 per person for a Saturday night stay (based on 6 people sharing). Individual rooms are also available at a slightly cheaper price. So overall, our overnight stay came to a total of £247.
The Woodland Spa is incredibly popular, and the accommodation is limited, so if you are planning an overnight stay, it's best to book early. For more information, you can visit their website.