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Lion Quays Waterside Resort
Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 3EN
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
10 treatment rooms
Lion Quays is a large modern leisure and business resort on the England/Wales border. The extensive facilities in the purpose-built spa and friendly, professional staff make Lion Quays an ideal day-spa choice. Go with a friend or partner and you can happily while away an hour or few checking out, and relaxing in, the hydrotherapy pool, the light and dark relaxation rooms, or the snow cave. When you need a bite to eat, Nico's Brasserie is on the first floor of the spa building, where you can take your lunch in your robe.
The spa at Lion Quays (they also call it the "country club") is in a separate neat brick building to the hotel; it is the first building you see as you turn in from the A5, with dedicated parking outside.
Inside, the spa entrance is to the right, and the reception area is light and bright with shelves of products for sale. You can sit on a sofa or at small tables to complete your consultation form on arrival.
The spa offering at Lion Quays is cleverly split between hotel guests, health-club members and spa-goers.
The 25-metre swimming pool is accessible to hotel guests. The water was a little chilly on our visit, but we eventually warmed up with our laps. This area has its own pool-side steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna.
Through a door not accessible to hotel guests (unless they pay an extra fee) is the warm hydrotherapy pool. At the heart of the spa, this pool features powerful bubbles and jets for every part of the body; we particularly enjoyed the swanpipe massage. Loungers around this pool encourage you to relax and chill. You can chill quite literally if you visit the snow cave -- a genuine -10°C cave of powdery snow perfect for a cool-down after your heat experiences -- or tip the ice bucket over your head.
The "starlit" steam room is divided into two areas, nicely hot, and tiled in circular patterns. The wooden sauna is also hot while, for those who prefer milder temperatures, a sanarium provides a welcome respite.
The relaxation room is divided into a "dark" zone and a "light" area. In the dark zone, you can watch the pretend fire flickering and doze off under your blanket. In the light, you can snuggle in soft blankets and cushions on one of the six loungers and catch up on some magazines. A door leads to a relaxation area outside for sunnier days.
Upstairs is a huge gym with Technogym equipment, resistance machines and weights.
The changing rooms are on the small side. Wooden lockers contain your white towelling robe and spa slippers, and round the corner are loos and showers; more health club than spa: take your own moisturiser.
The 12 treatment rooms, including one double, are pleasantly decorated in browns and neutral tones, and some have their own shower, which is ideal if you're having a wrap or similarly messy treatment.
We had the Decleor Orressence Energy body massage (90 minutes, £90)
The treatments at Lion Quays were a highlight on our visit; the Decléor Oressence Energy was a mix of facial and massage, and 90 minutes of magic. My therapist, Claire, started with me face down (in disposable underwear) on the warm, heated treatment bed. She placed a small hot-water bottle at the base of my spine, which felt extra warming. She carried out a firm massage of my "crunchy" shoulders, moved onto the backs of my legs, then asked me to turn over so she could work on the front of my legs and feet. The divine Decléor scents provided a sweet-smelling cocoon.
For the facial, Claire did a double cleanse of my face, removing the lotions with warm flannels. She concentrated a facial massage on the pressure points, and used long, swooping movements across my chest, over my shoulders and into my neck. I had mentioned that my neck was giving me a hard time and she focused nicely on the tension and applied a tingly refreshing gel to my shoulders once the massage was over.
Claire checked I was not claustrophobic before massaging a hyaluronic-acid-rich serum into my skin, covering my face with gauze, then adding Decléor's warm, wheatgerm aromaplasty mask on top of that. While the mask was on, Claire gave me a very relaxing hand and arm massage. After she removed the mask, she applied eye balm and moisturiser, then showed me my face in a hand mirror; I looked very smooth and a little bit shiny!
At Lion Quays, you can try a range of massages, facials, beauty finishing touches and some more unusual treatments such as the Mediterranean "sun meadow"; this has no tanning rays but is a great opportunity to boost your vitamin D levels and help prevent winter sadness. The rhasoul steam chamber allows you to slather yourself and perhaps someone else with mud, while the dry flotation bed gives you all the benefits of weightlessness without the disadvantage of getting wet.
You don't need to leave the building to eat at the spa at Lion Quays; Nico's brasserie, on the first floor, offers drinks, sandwiches and hot meals throughout the day. For those whose spa day includes a lunch, a small buffet area provides a choice of hot dishes, soup, salads and some sweet treats. Guests in robes dine in one part of the room; more formally attired visitors in another.
In the spa, pomegranate and apple teas were available on our visit, alongside bowls of walnuts and banana chips.
If you fancy an evening meal in the Waterside restaurant in the hotel, the choices range from salmon to sea bass to steak, all seasonal and freshly cooked. (And the portions were more than we could manage.)
Lion Quays is purpose-built and offers some interesting and unusual additions to the spa menu; the snow cave is fun and the sun room innovative. The spa is an adult-only zone and the hydrotherapy pool is not shared with children (who can happily swim in the main pool).
We loved our beautiful Decléor treatments and the welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
We didn't love not being able to work out how to turn on the experience showers!
Lion Quays will provide a good-value day out for people in the local area, and a welcoming haven for conference visitors who want to unwind at the end of the day.
It will also appeal to those with an interest in waterways, as the hotel and restaurant overlook the Llangollen Canal. There is something very soothing about watching a barge wending its slow way downstream while you sip your morning coffee or an early-evening drink.
We gave Lion Quays a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles. We loved the variety of facilities on offer, the fact that there is a relaxed brasserie above the spa, and the seriously good treatments. The spa was a little untidy on our visit and needed some maintenance, but we understand a new spa attendant is being recruited which will help to maintain the peaceful atmosphere.
Lion Quays offers a rural recharge, a chance to indulge, and fun time-out with good value for your money.
Single Spy visited Lion Quays Waterside Resort in September 2014
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Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 3EN
The Spa Lounge offers light bites, afternoon tea, champagne and cocktails; The Waterside Bar and Restaurant and Nico’s Brasserie serve lunch and dinner.
82 rooms and suites available. Spa break rates start from £79 per person per night based on two sharing.
Monday to Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 9am – 7pm; Thursday and Friday: 9am – 8pm