[Originally published by On:Yorkshire Magazine: http://www.on-magazine.co.uk/beauty/spa-review/doxford-hall-hotel/]
As part of our stay at the lovely Doxford Hall Hotel in Northumberland my husband and I booked a treatment each in their on-site Imagine Spa and took advantage of the full use of the spa facilities that came with being hotel residents.
I love an afternoon in a spa, whereas my husband had never been in one, let alone had a treatment, so we had mixed feelings heading down for our pampering sessions.
The beauty therapists were lovely and friendly and went through all of the the options we could choose from in detail which helped my husband make an informed choice. I chose a 60-minute full-body Sensory Body Massage with Lava Stones (£60) and he chose a 60-minute Raindrop Back Massage (£65), although he was adamant he would only be having a 30-minute treatment and would meet me in the pool afterwards!
As we were a little early we were shown to the changing rooms to get ready then asked to wait in their relaxation room until they were set-up for us. The relaxation room was tastefully decorated and had several reclined lounger-type seats for us to lie on and the tranquil music did help you to de-stress before your treatments. The only downside was the fact that the ladies changing rooms were directly the other side of the door and we could hear the large group of ladies getting changed and chatting, which disturbed our relaxation a little. Also, the way out from the ladies changing rooms wasn’t well signed which resulted in the ladies walking through the relaxation room to get out – which was a little awkward.
Due to my partner’s nervousness about the treatment and the trepidation about the pain of the therapist working on the knots in his back we opted for separate rooms for our treatments. My therapist was very welcoming and explained the difference between an ordinary full-body massage and one using the lava stones and I said that I was happy with some fairly firm pressure being used as I tend to suffer from very tense shoulders. The massage combined traditional moves without the stones first to warm the muscles up then the hot stones were used to work deeper into the muscles. They were very smooth and the heat given out by the stones was extremely relaxing, even when it was a little uncomfortable due to my knots being massaged out. The treatment finished with an arm and scalp massage that almost sent me to sleep – always a good sign of a successful treatment.
Despite his trepidation, my husband really enjoyed his treatment and even asked to have the full hour instead of 30 minutes. As well as warm oil being used in his massage it was also dripped down his back as part of the Waterfall treatment and he found it very relaxing. He suffers with a bad back after having a few slipped discs and, after explaining this to the therapist, he said she took this into consideration and he was left feeling relaxed after a lot of the tension is his back had been relieved.
The treatment rooms were luxurious with heated beds that felt like a great treat and helped you relax even further. With fluffy towels to lie on and under, tranquil music and high-quality oils that smelled amazing, we were left feeling very pampered after our treatments.
Next we tried the spa facilities. The pool was a generous size for a hotel spa and, luckily, we were the only two using it at the time which was nice. Everything was immaculately neat and tidy and there were plenty of loungers to relax on and a small area with tables and chairs too to relax with a magazine. There are two spa baths which may cause an issue during very busy times for those who don’t fancy sharing with other guests but we did manage to have one to ourselves which was a bonus. It took a minute to work out how to turn the bubbles on to transform it from a normal bath to a jacuzzi but once we did it was wonderful. We also tried the steam and sauna rooms which were on the small side but were nice – we preferred the sauna with its traditional aromatic coals and cold water to pour on to create a blast of heat in there and the cool pool afterwards was a great contrast.
The Operations Manager did mention during our showround that there were plans to refurbish the spa soon and we could definitely see the benefits of expanding the steam and sauna rooms and upgrading the changing rooms. All in all the spa was of a good standard for a hotel but it may become a little crowded if the hotel was very busy. The treatments were of the highest quality and were definitely the highlights of our stay.
Spa opens 9am, Closes 6.30pm
Leisure opens 7am, Closes 10pm
General range of prices:
½ Spa days start from £55 pp highest being £80 pp
Full days starts from £99 pp highest being £149 pp
More info: doxfordhall.com