On a fast train back to my home land, I arrived at Manchester airport train station not to board a plane but head to a luxurious spa day. Beyond excited was a slight understatement as I joined my dearest friend celebrate her big 4-0. The festivities began at Hale Country Club and Spa located in the glorious Cheshire countryside and a mere five minutes taxi ride from the airport station.
Essentially a members club, anyone can attend the Country Club. You can be signed in by a member with a price tag of £25 for the use of the facilities or as we did opt for their other offer of booking a 30 minute treatment in the spa for £55 gaining you access to all the areas.
On arrival the slick white reception with colour pop lights and furniture gives the club a real wow factor. The marble floors and white leather seating adds to the cool, modern vibe the club exudes.
The changing rooms on the other hand take on a more dark, sultry, glamorous feel exactly what you need when you’re getting into your swimming costume. The lockers are full length with tons of space, I even managed to store my overnight suitcase. They’re finished to a very high standard with vanity areas, hairdryers, lotions and potions but no straighteners which surprised me in a spa of this calibre.
With our robe and slippers donned we headed straight for the champagne lounge to meet the 24 other party guests. Fizz in hand the day was our own to explore the amazing facilities and chill until we were all called one-by-one for our booked treatments.
The outdoor area with heated pool was calling to us as the sun decided to make a guest appearance. It almost felt like the tropics had come to Manchester as we basked on the vibrant loungers. There is also a white marble 20 metre indoor swimming pool if clocking up lengths is more your game.
With the bubbles flowing we lounged on the tepidarium beds which flanked each side of the vitality pool. Heated to perfection they were very hard to leave.
The icing on the cake was the little sliding door in the pool which allowed you to drift outside and enjoy panoramic views of Cheshire. Sublime!
You can also indulge in the dark and moody fire and ice rooms or the bright white salt cave and hemlock sauna which also overlook the glorious countryside. The zen steam room comes complete with individual seating pods so you can sit on your own or with your spa partner and completely relax and unwind – Completely spoilt for choice.
Of course it also has a high-tech flashy gym and a cinema room with surround sound to boot. Not full of theatre seats but machines where you can work out and watch a different film every day on the huge screen. Each to their own! On this visit there was no mention of workouts, only pure relaxation.
The massage I received didn’t disappoint either. The room decorated in dark tones combined with the soothing soft music and candles had me feeling very zen.
Starting with a welcome foot ritual, I then chose the oils the masseuse would use. Once the wonderful 30 minutes were over, I was left to relax with a lemon sorbet drizzled with a passionfruit and mango coulis. Only problem was after my three mouthfuls I wanted more, but thought it was best not to reveal my greedy tendancies.
Another great asset to the Country Club is their restaurant Fuzen. Which I take to mean ‘fusion’ judging by the pan Asian/modern British fare. Although part of the Country Club, it is also open to the public. East meets west or more like healthy food mixed in with the unhealthy. With traditional choices of fish and chips or signature sushi and robatayaki dishes.
There were so many of us for the birthday dinner that we took over an entire section of the restaurant.
There was no contest for me in the starters department. The steamed edamame beans with a soy chilli glaze were juicy and perfectly flavoured. And you may be surprised to hear with so many delightful vegetarian options I opted for the miso risotto – wild mushroom, asparagus, parmesan and crispy panko coated duck egg. It was mainly as I knew I needed something to line my stomach, as the night was still young where drinking was concerned. And I have to say the creamy, silky textured Italian rice dish with the Asian twist was the best risotto I’ve ever eaten.
Other dishes on the table included the tempura sea bass and avocado with ponzu and lime. Described as crispy, delicious and tasty. The slammin’ salmon from the signature sushi list – salmon, avocado, cucumber, spring onion. tempura flakes and coriander baked with spicy crab looked stunning. Even I felt like abandoning my veggie ways and diving in.
We had to skip the dessert menu on this visit, as we had an amazing skyscraper of a birthday cake to get through. Deliciously soft, perfectly sweetened and beautifully decorated. It was the daddy of all birthday cakes. Made by The Cake Gallery, who happen to also be based in the area. Hands down it’s your go to place for all delectable sweet treats.
The Hale Country Club and Spa promises that you can ‘Leave your worries at the door, as you indulge your senses, shrug off your stresses and relax in truly sumptuous surroundings’. I for one can confirm they’re right. It was the perfect setting for a very special birthday celebration. A two hour train ride for me, but you lucky Northerners have it on your doorstep. Go indulge!
The Hale Country Club and Spa | Clay Lane | Hale | Cheshire | WA15 7AF
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