Mottram Hall is an elegant 18th Century country house hotel, set in 270 acres of Cheshire countryside. There’s a traditional indoor pool area with a sauna and steam, but head outside to the UK’s first Alfresco ThermoSpace with a mineral stonebath and a Brechelbath – quirky takes on thermal experience rooms. The Scandinavian-style spa garden is just right for catching some summer sun. It’s a lovely place to visit in the evening; sit in the hot tub and gaze up at the stars.
- Indoor steam and sauna
- Indoor spa jacuzzi
- Indoor pool
- Outdoor hydropool
- Mineral stonebath
- Bucket showers
- Soft pack sensory treatments
- Relaxation room
- Fitness classes
- CACI Non-Surgical Solutions
- Mii Cosmetics
- St Tropez
Our Spa Spy review
Mottram Hall is an attractive, red brick Georgian mansion set in 270 acres of parkland in the Cheshire countryside. The spa is at the back of the hotel in a small but charming courtyard. Inside, the reception area is decorated in warm, rich greens and purples, while scented ESPA candles fill the air. It's smart and luxurious.
What's on offer?
The Spa at Mottram Hall is made up of three areas: a tranquil treatment space with seven rooms for massages and facials; a slightly dated health club with a large swimming pool, café, gym and club lounge; and a chic Scandi-style Alfresco ThermaSpace, the first of its kind in the UK.
The bright reception area is shared with the health club so there's lots of coming and going. Once you check in as a spa guest, an assistant will lead you to the club lounge, with plush sofas and quirky driftwood coffee tables. With a hot drink, we completed our consultation forms.
The changing rooms are large, clean and bright with white tiles; a TV on the wall gives them more of a post-gym feel. Large cream lockers are activated with a wristband and contain a robe, slippers and a towel; spa day guests will also find miniature ESPA products to use. There are two showers equipped with shampoo and conditioner, and three vanity areas with hairdryers and straighteners.
The 13-metre swimming pool is L-shaped, making it long enough to swim lengths, with a curved kids' pool alongside. A mock Greek Temple at one end houses a raised whirlpool just big enough for six people. Although it feels a little dated, the pool area is very light and bright; the floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow natural daylight to flood through. The well-heated wooden sauna and eucalyptus-infused steam room are both big enough for six people. Relax on one of the cushioned loungers next to the pool between swims.
Even if it's cold outside, a visit to the Alfresco Thermo Space is a must. The warm, bubbly whirlpool, large enough for six people, two large wooden heat rooms, two outdoor ice bucket showers, and a treatment room all overlook a decked spa garden with loungers and retro hanging egg chairs.
The very unusual heat rooms both have colour-changing lights and windows overlooking the garden. In the Stonebath mechanical device lifts hot stones and dunks them in cold water, creating a waft of hot steam every five minutes. The relaxing Bavarian Brechelbath has a quirky little oven containing fir twigs to release an alpine fragrance. The gentler 50-degree temperature of the two rooms allows you to spend time savouring the space and the view.
The quiet treatment area is through glass doors. The small reception area is filled with the scent of ESPA candles. The large, quiet and cosy relaxation room has recliners and blankets separated by beaded curtains. Help yourself to magazines, flavoured water, teas and fruit.
Tell us about the treatments
Spa day guests can choose from five different 55-minute treatments and a salt scrub or Soft-Pack Sensory Treatment. I chose the Jessica Geleration Manicure (50 minutes, £61) followed by Just Floating (25 minutes, £40).
My therapist, Sarah, collected me from the relaxation room and led me to the nail bar for the manicure. The treatment began with an ESPA hand scrub with a zingy spearmint fragrance and apricot kernels to exfoliate dead skin. Sarah worked on my cuticles while I debated over colours, trying a few until I fell for Dou -- a pale, almost milky pink. Sarah cleaned my nails, applied an undercoat, then added two coats of my chosen shade, alternately placing each hand under an LED nail lamp. They were dry in a flash. My hands looked smooth and my pearly pink nails were much admired.
My second treatment took place in the outdoor treatment suite -- a rustic cabin with two treatment beds (one floating) and a one-way window overlooking the spa garden. Scented candles and soft music filled the air as I disrobed and lay down on the flotation bed. Sarah wrapped me in warm towels before lowering the centre of the bed into heated water so that I could float without getting wet. While I stared peacefully up at the stars she performed a head massage that sent me into a hypnotic state. At the end of the treatment, Sarah kindly warned me that the raised bed would feel hard on my back; my spine was already used to the light sensation of floating. I left the flotation session feeling relaxed and a little spacey; it's an unusual feeling that takes a while to come down from.
The Spa at Mottram Hall offers a range of ESPA treatments including facials, massage and body treatments. If you are brave or curious enough to try a machine-led facial, the CACI non-surgical facelift can have dramatic results. You can also book in for treatments designed for men and mums-to-be.
The modern spa café is next to the health club reception area and offers afternoon teas, and bento boxes of salads and fruits. I indulged in a delightful and filling cream tea, presented on a three-tiered plate, which consisted of crust-less sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, miniature cakes and either a pot of tea or a glass of Champagne.
In the evening, we ate at the AA Rosette Grill in the main hotel, which serves excellent steaks, fish, and vegetarian options -- as well as delicious puddings -- in a stylish but welcoming setting.
We loved / we didn't love
We loved the outdoor spa area with its contemporary Scandi design and feel.
We also loved the extra touches; there are water stations, tea urns and fruit bowls at every turn, each wielding descriptions of their benefits.
The nail station is a little underwhelming; polishes and towels cluttered up the tables during our visit. Nail salons can be beautifully designed but this one felt more functional than pampering.
Who do you think would like it?
Friends will love the adult-only Alfresco Thermo Space, while families can take their kids to the main pool during children's swim times.
Solo spa-goers can escape the hubbub and head for the calm relaxation room.
Romantics will enjoy bubbling away in the al fresco hot tub while gazing up at the sky.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Spa treatment times:
Monday, Tuesday and Friday 9.00am-7.00pm
Wednesday and Thursday 9.00am-8.00pm
Saturday and Sunday 9.00am-6.00pm