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 reception area is shared with the health club, but spa scents, products on display and soft lighting make it feel tranquil. 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, straighteners and handy ESPA products in baskets.
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 ThermoSpace 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 large windows overlooking the garden. In the Stonebath, a 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 wood shavings 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
We had an ESPA Back, Face and Scalp Treatment (85 minutes, £105), also known as the "Hero'" treatment. Our therapist, Lucy, collected us from the relaxation lounge and led us upstairs to a large, softly lit treatment room. Lucy asked whether I would prefer her to devote more time to the massage or facial – massage, please! – and let me choose my own aromatherapy oil based on the scent that appealed to me most. This turned out to be Soothing.
Lucy began the treatment with a back massage, expertly smoothing out any tension with long Balinese strokes, then swept hot stones across my back, the warmth penetrating deeply. After massaging each arm, she left hot stones in my palms, which felt very balancing and comforting. Lucy massaged my legs using fast, friction-inducing strokes to awaken my circulation, then soothed my muscles with hot stones.
When I turned over, I felt very heavy and sleepy. Lucy realigned me by pulling on my feet to stretch my legs and pressing down on my shoulders. She then placed a pillow under my legs so that I was comfortable. She massaged my legs using fast strokes interspersed with soothing hot stones, then worked her way up to my arms and shoulders.
The facial began with a thorough skin analysis under an ultraviolet lamp, then Lucy chose products that would benefit my skin. She applied a scrub then a hydrating mask; as this dried, she gave me a gentle head, neck and shoulder massage, applying Pink Hair and Scalp Mud. She removed the mask and applied a serum, eye cream and moisturiser. I worried that there was too much product but, when I checked in the mirror, I saw that my skin had clearly drunk in all the goodness. My face looked healthy and glowing, not shiny in the slightest, the wrinkles around my eyes all but smoothed away. Lucy led me to the relaxation room where I helped myself from a jug of delicious berry smoothie.
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 within the spa and health club, so you can eat comfortably in your robe. You can either have indulgent afternoon teas or choose from the healthy buffet: I enjoyed my Greek salad with bread and hummus. You could also try cold pasta and noodle dishes, a cold meat platter and a selection of mini desserts.
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
The Al Fresco ThermoSpace heat rooms: The temperature was perfect in both, and we enjoyed gazing at the spa garden in the rain.
The thoughtful touches: Smoothie jugs and pots of tea in the relaxation room, and infused water coolers everywhere, even outside the gym.
The staff at the spa were helpful, friendly and always on hand: Our therapist Lucy made us feel very well looked after and delivered a great treatment.
We didn't love
The spa buffet had some tasty and fresh healthy options but didn't really cater for dietary needs. We would welcome a bit more creativity and nutritional balance.
Who do you think would like it?
Friends will love the adult-only Alfresco ThermoSpace, 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 alfresco hot tub while gazing up at the sky.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Mottram Hall a Good Spa Guide Bubble rating of 5 bubbles. The spa is well run with a friendly atmosphere, fun and rather stylish al fresco facilities, a lovely spa garden and well-executed treatments. Over-and-above touches make spa guests feel extra-special.
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