Lion Quays is a modern resort on the Welsh border. The spa is in a huge red-brick building with a bright reception and metal lion sculpture. The thermal area has a wonderful pebble-edged hydropool, emerald steam room, wooden sauna and a snow cave – great fun if you dare. Head through a door to a 25-metre pool and Jacuzzi. After a Decléor treatment, doze in the dark relaxation area or read in the brighter one. In summer, lunch outside and watch barges and ducks drift by.
10 treatment rooms
Star-lit steam room
Rasul mud chamber
25-metre swimming pool
Studio with fitness classes
Our Spa Spy review
Lion Quays is a purpose-built hotel and spa on the Shropshire/Wales border. The spa is housed in a huge red-brick building with its own parking. A metal lion statue sits proudly at the front, ready to greet you. The hotel and restaurant are further down the driveway next to the quay, a two-minute walk from the spa. In the summer, you can sit in the outside restaurant and watch the barges -- and ducks -- drift by.
What's on offer?
The spa's large reception area has high ceilings and lots of daylight streaming through the windows. Health-club members check in here and head to their own changing rooms. If you're visiting the spa, take a left turn for the more exclusive spa reception. It has lots of Decléor products on display and comfortable seating while you fill in your consultation form.
The spa changing rooms have two areas of wooden lockers, a private changing cubicle, and a vanity area with hairdryers. There are four showers and loos just to one side. You may want to take your own lotions and potions as the spa has very little to offer on the product front.
The thermal area is dark with loungers surrounding the hydro-pool; experience rooms run along the far wall. We started the thermal journey with the experience shower and hydro-pool; the pool has seven jets and is decorated with a pebble edge. It was wonderfully warm and we loved the leg jets. Next up was the emerald-green steam room; it has two circular benches which would comfortably seat four people. The caldarium is a gentle, moderate temperature, and you can also try the wooden sauna which was super hot on our visit. If you dare, brave the snow cave. Step behind the heavy wooden door into a black room covered in fake snow. Freezing cold but great fun! The thermal area is for the use of spa guests only; hotels guests pay an extra charge to use the facilities.
At the end of the thermal area is a door to the main pool area. This area has an impressive 25-metre pool -- ideal for some serious swimming -- as well as an eight-seater Jacuzzi, a sauna and steam room. There are children's swim times, so check ahead if you want a peaceful swim.
When you're ready for your treatment, head to the waiting area which has curved emerald-green sofas and a bar with fruit-infused water, herbal tea, and dried fruit. Post-treatment, you can choose between two rooms; one light and one dark. In the dark relaxation area, you can watch the pretend fire flickering and doze off under your blanket. In the light area, you can snuggle in soft blankets and cushions on one of the six loungers and catch up on some magazines.
My therapist, Sadie, met me in the waiting area and walked me to our treatment room. She explained that the treatment was an advanced massage using lots of different techniques.
I got comfortable face down on the treatment bed and Sadie used a beautifully scented citrus oil to massage my back then my legs. She used her forearms for long, deep movements across my thighs and lower back, and short and sharp movements across my shoulders and thighs to break up tension. Sadie also did a lot of deep muscle work with her thumbs and elbows around my shoulders.
I turned over and Sadie continued the deep forearm movements on the front of my legs. She stretched my arms and rotated my shoulders to loosen tension. I felt invigorated afterwards and my areas of tension felt warm from the stimulation. The Madagascar Escape would be perfect if you suffer any aches and pains and enjoy deeper pressure massage.
Nico's Brasserie is on the top floor of the spa, just a few steps from the main relaxation area. We felt comfortable eating in our robe.
A waitress greeted us, took us to our table, and gave us our menus. Lunch was a three-course affair with vegetable soup to start. The main course was roast chicken, jacket potatoes and a choice of salad or vegetables. Dessert was Victoria sponge cake. The food was hearty and filling.
You can also order hot and cold drinks or wines and fizz.
We loved / we didn't love
The pool: 25 metres is a great length to stretch out and really enjoy your swim.
Our massage was very good and relatively unusual for the UK; it's a must try for regular spa-goers.
We didn't love
We felt the outside space was a bit under used. With such a lovely location, an outside vitality pool or decked area with loungers would be a great addition.
We also felt that Lion Quays spa was clean but a little dated and in need of a freshen up.
Who do you think would like it?
Who do you think would like it?
Groups. Lion Quays has so much space that groups could comfortably chat and enjoy their day without disturbing others.
Lion Quays is also really good value; great packages include lunch, a drink, a treatment, and use of the spa facilities.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Once again, we awarded Lion Quays a Good Spa Guide rating of 4 bubbles for its great-value spa days, extensive spa facilities, and peaceful relaxation spaces.