Mallory Court has been one of our special places for years, but there’s always been one thing missing. A pool. Or if we’re dreaming big, a spa.
So when plans were announced last year to create just that, we didn’t need telling twice. In fact, we didn’t even wait until the landscapers had been in before we slipped into the outdoor sauna.
The newly-built Orchard House constructed to the right of the historic hotel is home to Elan Spa which is apparently the first spa to be built in Warwickshire in a decade. Compared with the charm of the main house the exterior looked a bit hard, although once the garden’s matured and the building has bedded in I’m sure it will soften.
Staying overnight in one of the 12 rooms, we arrived early to take full advantage. Bedrooms surrounded a central staircase on the first floor with lots of solid wood, plush carpets and show-stopping lighting. Our room was super – large, comfortable, great coffee machine and a fantastic bathroom.
Seven treatment rooms including one dual version are on the second floor. Nail bar, pools, sauna, steam rooms, gym and cafe are on the ground floor with the bedrooms sandwiched in between on the first. I thought this slightly odd at first, but it made more sense as the day went on resulting in treatment rooms that felt incredibly tranquil and private.
While cocooned on the top floor I plumped for a full body Ku Nye massage using luxurious Ila products that are made in the Cotswolds. Tibetan in origin, the Ku Nye promised to ‘balance elements to restore a harmonious flow of energy and vitality’. Sounded good although I wasn’t sure I had a harmonious flow of energy to restore.
Not one who finds relaxing easy, I’m not the ideal subject, however a gentle scrub of my tootsies as a precursor to the treatment was unbelievably soothing. I surprised myself at how easily I chilled out. Therapist Helen spoke in the customary soothing tones and put me at ease straight away.
I don’t know what happened next really. I drifted in and out of slumber as Helen massaged me with a fair amount of pressure at times – in a good way. Heated pouches filled with Himalayan salt were placed on to pressure points which felt great. The products smelled wonderful and probably had a lot to do with the deep relaxation as well as the therapist’s wizardry.
The full body massage was fairly intimate although Helen let me know beforehand where she would be massaging and checked I was happy with that. Basically everywhere apart from boobs and bottom which was fine by me. The only bit I found slightly odd was the stomach, but that’s because it was new to me.
BIT OF A BLUR
Eighty-five minutes flew by in a bit of a blur. Allowed to come round slowly, I made my way to the reception area where I sipped a mint and liquorice tea. The spa uses ESPA products as well as Ila and there’s an impressive range of treatments from waxing to a soporific 75 minutes called Dreamtime Journey for insomnia and restless minds.
I found the other half making the most of the vitality pool on the terrace which was a heady 37 degrees so usable all year round. There’s also a large indoor hydrotherapy pool with cool, iridescent tiling and therapeutic showerheads. The well-equipped gym had everything you’d need for a decent workout although we didn’t test it this time round and the café, which was pleasing on the eye, served great food. It came into its own at breakfast with perfect eggs benedict and a cracking full English served by a joy of a man. No awkward service and hushed tones. Just charming.
We chose to have dinner in the main hotel which was a 100-metre stroll and as always we were left feeling utterly spoilt. However, I would recommend chilling out after the Ku Nye massage. I felt very sleepy and relaxed and on balance would have preferred to stay in a bathrobe rather than dressing for dinner.
Given the newness of the spa when we visited and assuming it will only improve, we reckon it’s a winner. We were thoroughly impressed particularly with the second floor treatment rooms. The whole complex is well-conceived in terms of the design and facilities and it’s obvious that the same attention to detail you’d expect at Mallory Court has successfully transferred to the spa. All of the staff and therapists were charming. The stuff of dreams.