Stanley House Hotel and Spa is set in verdant countryside in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley; the green hills set off the pale stone manor house and glass-and-brick spa extension beautifully. Spa goers heading to the relaxation room will be surrounded by green fields and gentle hills.
Shall we spa?
The spa at Stanley House forms a courtyard with the manor house and main hotel. The reception is bright and airy, decorated in dark woods, neutrals and browns.
There are two sets of changing rooms: those by the pool contain two banks of large lockers, loos, and showers with Temple Spa products. Nip into one of two small private changing rooms or change beside white padded seating. A central table with gold ornate mirror and pink BaByliss hairdryers takes care of post spa preening.
The rooms upstairs consist of four large private changing areas, each with its own shower (with Temple Spa shampoo, conditioner, and body wash), vanity table, robe, towels, flip-flops and plenty of room.
The spa lounge mimics the same earthy beiges, brown and blues running through the spa with comfortable sofas and chairs cleverly arranged for a little privacy – perfect if you are spa-ing solo; head to the larger circle of chairs if you're visiting with friends. Help yourself to teas, coffee, infused water, fruit, and books and magazines. If the weather is kind, soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace, with its wooden chairs and tables.
You’ll find the light, bright thermal bathing area downstairs; a spa assistant will take you through for your pre-booked, two-hour session. We began our thermal journey with a cleansing shower before moving onto the warm herbal sauna which is heated to a gentle 50- to 60-degrees
The warmer aroma steam room is finished in dark greys and has a quartz stone in the middle; the salt steam room is warmer still. Each room would comfortably facilitate four to six people. The very hot Finnish sauna is larger, for up to eight, with traditional pine seating and a floor-to-ceiling window affording uplifting views over the fields. To cool off, try one of two experience showers or ice fountain.
The spa’s hydro-pool is equipped with two powerful swan pipes, a long bubbly airbed and a stand-up whirlpool to massage your legs. We loved being at eye level with a small lake outside; watching grass blow in the breeze felt truly relaxing. Take a break on one of four heated tepidarium beds next to the pool and gaze up at the twinkling lights in the ceiling.
We tried a Glorious Mud Wrap (50 mins, £85).
Having never had a wrap before, my spa partner looked rather worried as he headed off with Felicity, his therapist. Olivia, my therapist, escorted me to a cosy treatment room and explained the stages of the treatment.
Lying face down, Olivia began the treatment with some lymphatic body brushing, stroking my limbs using a soft brush. She then exfoliated my skin and painted the back of my legs and arms with a warm, mineral-rich mud.
Turning over and sitting up, Olivia applied the mud to my back before asking me to lie back down so she could wrap me up in up in towels and a plastic sheet, adding a blanket to keep me toasty.
While I ‘cooked’, Olivia cleansed my face with Temple Spa Be Gone cleansing cream and Easy on The Eye make-up remover. She then performed a facial massage using Temple Spa’s Truffle Delight cream.
Unwrapped and showered, I returned to the bed so that I could be slathered in Duvet Comforting Body Cream.
How did it measure up?
My spa partner enjoyed his first ever wrap - we both looked very clean and relaxed. The face and scalp massage part of the treatment improved his usually dry skin, which was now appeared glowing rather than flaky. This is the ideal treatment to enjoy before a winter party, where strappy gowns are de rigeur.
Spot of lunch?
If you visit The Spa at Stanley House for the day, you have the choice of eating in the spa lounge in your robe or dressing and heading across to Fred’s Brasserie in the hotel. If you choose to eat in the spa, the menu offers a selection of cold food including sandwiches, salads and desserts.
Not wishing to dress for lunch, we ordered a large club sandwich filled with moist chicken and fresh tomato; our spa partner’s cheese sandwich had a generous helping of real Lancashire cheese. Prosecco and non-alcoholic Prosecco are on offer, along with other cold and hot drinks.
We had supper in Fred’s Brasserie in the hotel, which serves a range of steaks, burgers, salads and fish dishes. We began with a dish of Lax with baby potato salad followed by grilled lamb cutlets with a delicious roasted carrot mash. Our partner enjoyed some very creamy potato gnocchi to start followed by a generous portion of classic fish pie. Dessert was a rich chocolate delice with blood orange sorbet which was large enough to share.
Short on time?
Book the two-hour thermal journey to make the most of the hot and cold experiences.
Got all day?
Head for the thermal area for a couple of hours, enjoy lunch in the spa, add a treatment or two, treat yourself to a glass of fizz and drink in those views.