A country house hotel set in 27 acres of woodland, with a modern leisure-oriented spa next door. The 18-metre pool and fitness facilities form the leisure club, while a stylish café area is shared by the spa. The quiet thermal facilities and relaxation rooms are restricted to spa guests only. There are four tasteful rooms offering Elemis treatments; a darker relaxation room with extra-squidgy beds; a serene garden room; and thermal suite with two saunas, a steam room, footbaths and separate rasul.
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 18-metre swimming pool
- Poolside sauna
- Poolside steam room
- Herbal sauna
- Aroma steam room
- Rock sauna
- Foot spa
- Ice fountain
- Heated seats
- 3 double treatment rooms
- 2 manicure stations
- Relaxation room
- Garden room
- Spa garden
- Elemis BIOTECH
- Jessica Nails
- St. Tropez Spray Tan
Our Spa Spy review
Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel and Spa is a country hotel set among green gardens and 27 acres of woodlands; it's around seven miles from Chester railway station. The tree-lined approach sets the scene for a tranquil stay in the countryside.
Next door to the hotel is a modern leisure-orientated spa with a bright 18-metre heated indoor pool, plenty of fitness facilities and a good size thermal suite.
What's on offer?
A friendly face greets you when you arrive at the spa. To the left is a corridor leading to the changing rooms for leisure members. Female spa guests have their own changing rooms in the spa area, although you might decide to use the leisure changing rooms as they're a little bigger and better equipped. All the changing rooms are modern, clean and bright.
The café area is delightfully comfortable. Every sofa and chair has a blanket and soft pillow. The décor is modern, but very county-chic with natural browns, organic greens and subtle textures that give you the feeling you're in for a day of peaceful pampering. Spa day guests can eat lunch in this café in robes and slippers; there's no need to go back to the real world.
Past the café, double doors lead into the spa itself. This area is restricted to spa guests only; with no leisure-club members or hotel guests milling around, there is a sense of calm, with gentle music playing. This room doubles as the treatment waiting area and manicure room.
The four treatment rooms, tastefully decorated and modern, have warm, adjustable massage beds, scented candles burning, and relaxing music playing.
The darker relaxation room has extra-squidgy beds, blankets and cushions. Post-treatment you'll be feeling quite floaty, so this room is the perfect place to recover. Beyond the dark relaxation room is the serene garden room. Both the garden room and the pool have floor-to-ceiling glass windows, making the most of the countryside setting.
Alongside the relaxation areas is the thermal suite. The thermal facilities include a rock sauna, a Swedish sauna, a steam room, two experience showers and two bubbly footbaths. You can also get steamy in a separate rasul chamber. The thermal suite is all muted browns with subdued lighting and a very warm air temperature. You'll be able to de-robe and spend time enjoying the modern and good-sized facilities, each comfortably seating eight. If you're feeling brave, try the ice fountain to boost your circulation.
The spa area is only available to guests who have booked for a spa day, but do check for child and fitness-class pool times.
Tell us about the treatments
I had the Elemis Face and Body Sensation (60 minutes, £60).
Hannah, my therapist, met me in the waiting area and walked me to our treatment room. She carefully explained the treatment and talked through my consultation card.
The treatment began with a foot massage and cleansing which helped me to relax and shed the worries of the day. Using a body brush, Hannah exfoliated the skin on the back of my legs and my shoulders before applying a warm oil and working out the tension. The Face and Body Sensation uses hot stones to soothe and massage the muscles, which felt great on my feet and back. At first, the stones almost felt too hot but they soon seemed to "melt"; it felt like Hannah was pouring warm oil onto my skin and smoothing it out. Hannah really tailored the treatment to me, using pressure to help loosen my muscles.
Once the massage part of the treatment was finished, Hannah asked me to turn over and resettle on my back. She placed the warm stones onto my chakra points to keep me warm and focused. The facial began with a deep cleanse to prepare my skin. Hannah then massaged on an energising skin scrub before once again cleansing and then applying a post-shave recovery mask. She removed the mask and applied a moisture boost to calm and soothe. My skin felt very moisturised and balanced.
Craxton Wood Hotel and Spa has a wide-range of Elemis treatments to enjoy including massage, wraps, scrubs and facials, or you can try hot stone or Lava Shells massage. You might also want to sample alternative therapies such as reflexology, or Indian head massage. Beauty options include manicures and pedicures using Jessica products.
The spa café is just right for spa day visitors. You can eat in your robe and choose from a selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches. If you want to indulge, the healthy theme continues into fruit-based desserts from tartlets to home-made lemon shortbread.
The main restaurant over in the hotel, Craxton Wood Grill, uses locally sourced ingredients to serve classic British dishes. The two AA Rosette restaurant overlooks the garden, we had a very peaceful and delicious evening meal enjoying the view of the countryside.
We loved / we didn't love
The high standards of service throughout the spa, particularly in the spa café.
The pillows and blankets on all of the seating in the spa, perfect for those who prefer to snuggle up with some warmth.
The Garden Room looks over a small, manicured courtyard and is a great place to relax with a magazine, book, or your best friend.
The healthy café menu is perfect for those who like to watch their calorie intake; only two items on the menu were over 600 calories. We had the chicken satay and roasted vegetable and hummus wraps, both were delicious.
We didn't love
Not being able to get from the hotel to the spa in robe and slippers. It ruins our spa zen!
We didn't love the noisy pool. Check the swim times or you may find your tranquil floating session interrupted by a splash from a jumping child or an aqua-aerobics class.
Who do you think would like it?
Anyone who needs some rejuvenating "me-time": Craxton Wood Hotel and Spa is great for a couple or friends who want to visit for the day and take some time out.
The range of Elemis treatments will suit everyone, from spa newbies to spa veterans who want to try something different.
Locals looking for leisure membership that accommodates spa-ing: The mix of spa and modern fitness facilities is perfect for those who like to get their heart going and relax in a sauna afterwards.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Enjoy an al fresco cocktail on the terrace before experiencing fine dining in the Craxton Wood Grill.
The country house hotel offers a choice of rooms and suites.
Monday to Friday: 10am-8pm
Saturday to Sunday: 10am-6pm