Serene Spy tries a Tribe517 Pure Salt Grain Massage
Take me with you…
Set in the East Cheshire countryside, close to Stoke-on-Trent, The Manor House Hotel (Alsager)is a real find. Family run since 2013, the unassuming exterior gives way to 53 comfortable bedrooms, an AA Rosette Restaurant and a newly-opened English country spa garden.
Shall we spa?
Enter through the door at the back of the hotel to arrive in another world. First stop: the indoor pool room with its own steam room, sauna and infamous blue and white striped hanging day bed.
With or without a brolly (this is the North of England after all) wander out into the English spa garden– a real spa lovers’ playground – to admire the flowering shrubbery before making a beeline for the beautiful Vitality pool with its own swim-up spa bar. Two L-shape sofas and four double-sized swing bed loungers surround the pool; each with covered pagoda, overhead heater and blanket to snuggle under.
Step down from here to the circular hydrotherapy pool, a more secluded area with three more swing beds. Seek out the enormous Salt Steam Inhalation Chamber and Potting Sauna Shed before cooling off in the icy cold plunge bath sandwiched between the cold-water shower and bucket shower. On a sunny day enjoy the countryside views from one of the many deckchairs dotted around the lawns. Don’t forget to book at reception for a guided meditation session in the Salt Shed.
We tried a Signature Tribe517 Pure Salt Grain Massage (60 minutes, from £85).
After filling in a health consultation form on an iPad in the light and airy reception area, our spa host showed me to the relaxation lounge where my therapist, Hannah, met me and led me down the corridor to a low-lit treatment room. Here, she talked through the steps of this back of body treatment, checked for any aches and pains and then left the room so that I could disrobe and get comfortable on the heated bed, lying face down.
The treatment commenced with a divine cleansing foot ritual. Uncovering the back of my body, Hannah then drizzled hot oil in one constant motion before adding a crunchy blend of shea butter balm and Himalayan Salt. Then long, firm massage that ensued was very effective, Hannah getting deep into knots with her knuckles and forearms.
Hannah used a hot cloth to remove any excess grit before sprinkling powder to the soles of my feet to absorb any excess moisture from the oil (so that I didn’t slip on the floor on the way out – they really have thought of everything).
Turning over, Hannah popped a cushion under my head and asked me to take three deep breaths as she applied some pressure around my décolleté and shoulders. The icing on the treatment cake came in the form of a Temple Spa gift to take away.
How did it measure up?
Having tried a guided meditation session in the Salt Shed prior to my treatment, I was putty in Hannah’s hands as soon as the treatment began. The combination of the salt grains and balm left my skin feeling smooth and hydrated, while the clockwise nature of the treatment left my body feeling rebalanced - and my mind relaxed.
Spot of lunch?
Guests can head to the Pool House to take lunch en robe - a modern bar, lounge and dining space with comfy rattan sofas and low tables arranged around a striking modern fireplace. We loved watching spa-goers swim up to the bar to order a cocktail (or two).
The menu offers a choice of afternoon tea or a mezze board; whichever you choose, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests are catered for.
We feasted on a colourful mezze board of cheeses, olives, stuffed peppers, hummus, cured meats with obligatory camembert mopping bread and pitta for hummus. Of the free tea, coffee or fizz option, we went for the glass of Prosecco (why not?)
Got all day?
While your time away in spa garden; with so many nooks to explore, it’s easy to find your own private space to chill. Bubble away in the sunken table-top hydrotherapy tub – surrounded by pops of lavender and rosemary - or curl up with a good book in Pavilion Panoramic Laconium and soak up the lovely green views. Forgot your reading material? The Summer House has a lovely selection on everything from house plants to Manifesting.
Short on time?
Don’t miss the Vitality Pool – with its hydrotherapy jets and full body benches - lined with mermaid- tale tiles and heated to a balmy 38.C. Order a glass of Prosecco at the swim-up spa bar and sit back to watch the sunset over the spa. That’ll do nicely.