Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
13 treatment rooms
The perfect spa experience is waiting for you at Rockliffe Hall. The spa has a number of indulgent areas where you can relax, unwind and be utterly pampered. Drift away with some "me-time" in the thermal bathing suite with its tepidarium, caldarium, saunas, tropicarium, hydropool and ice fountain, or relax on sound-wave therapy beds following an indulgent treatment. Using exclusive [ comfort zone ], Neom and Caudalie products, products, the therapists offer everything from facials, wraps and massages, to more specialist anti-ageing and detoxing treatments.
For those who want the magic to last a little longer, the spa has a great range of overnight spa packages and three restaurants full of delicious delicacies to make your spa experience exceptional.
3 people say this spa is family friendly. 5 people say this spa is a social spa. 3 people say this spa is health focused. 3 people say this spa is solo friendly. 6 people say this spa is romantic.
Rockliffe Hall is a red-brick gothic mansion house which has been finessed into a thoroughly modern resort. The "Old Hall" dates back to the 1860s. It was built by the Backhouse family, who founded a local bank that grew to become Barclays Bank. Known locally as the "Botanical Backhouses", they collected plants and trees from around the world. When the estate was renovated, the hotel created an "alphabet of trees" in the grounds to honour the family.
The "New Hall" was built in 2009, and houses bedrooms and suites, the spa and leisure facilities, and the Brasserie. Although built more than a century apart, the Old and New Hall flow together well with simple but high-quality décor and finishes. The spa itself offers a large main pool area, a thermal suite and a Spa Garden.
You can get to the spa either through the hotel or through a separate spa entrance with plenty of parking directly outside. The reception area is large and bright with a retail shop and lots of comfortable seating.
The changing rooms are very upmarket country club. They have large wooden lockers, four vanity stations with hairdryers, private changing cubicles, showers stocked with [comfort zone] shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, and lots of towels if you need extras during your spa day. Cleanser, moisturiser and hair styling products are in the vanity area if you want to finish your spa day looking picture perfect.
The main 20-metre pool has loungers and chairs around the edge so you can take a dip and then recline in your virtuousness. A shallower children's pool is just off to the side. Along one length of the pool are stained glass windows reclaimed from a 1960s chapel in the grounds. Coloured light streams through the windows so, on sunny days, you can swim in fabulous multi-colour!
A wooden "Roman" sauna seats up to 20 people, and there's also a caldarium which has hot steam infused with aromatic oils. You can order pick-me-up fresh juices and smoothies at the juice bar. Step outside to the circular hot tub which can seat up to eight.
The thermal area has a big hydrotherapy pool in the centre: lie back on the airbeds, bubble in the hot-tub seats, or dip under the fierce swan pipes. A central "fountain" shoots up into the air and moves the warm water about. Around the edge of the circular pool is a tepidarium with five heated, tiled loungers (one of our favourites), a cold Igloo room with an ice fountain in the middle, a tropicarium (like a sauna but with more humidity), and four hot and cold foot baths. Loungers face floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the grounds.
The Spa Garden (opened in 2015) offers a quiet, more private spa space. The Spa Garden is an indoor and outdoor experience. Inside you'll find lots of comfortable seating arranged around a central water-and-fire sculptural feature. The glass-fronted, wooden sauna and five tepidarium beds look through floor-to-ceiling windows which open out in the summer to the outdoor hydro-pool.
The pool has swan pipes at both ends and long air beds running along the length; it's so large, it could almost be a mini-swimming pool! The terrace around the pool has more sunny seating and loungers.
Help yourself to tea and coffee, flavoured waters and fruit, or the spa concierge will serve you drinks if you prefer. You can book the Spa Garden in two-hour slots, for a maximum of 18 people, at an additional cost.
The treatment rooms, relaxation room, rasul and salt room are upstairs. Post-treatment the relaxation room is blissfully quiet. Decorated in calming neutrals with the odd splash of pink, one side of the room has more upright seating, the other the Sleep Retreat. The Sleep Retreat is dark with six soft beds with cushions and blankets; the beds are "vibrosonic" so gently vibrate in a soothing pattern. The perfect place for post-treatment snoozes.
Rockliffe Hall also has a large gym and a championship golf course if you fancy getting your heart rate going before you spa.
We had the NEOM Wellbeing Treatment (90 minutes, £120). The NEOM treatments book a block of time, but you won't know which of the four treatment options you'll have until it starts. Sleep, Energise, Destress or Happiness are on offer. Maegan, my therapist, gave me four candles to smell, and the aroma I was most drawn to would help us decide. I chose the Happiness candle. The Happiness treatment includes a body scrub and massage using Thai, shiatsu and cranio-sacral techniques.
Maegan left the room while I settled on the wide and very comfortable treatment bed. The treatment beds at Rockliffe Hall have memory foam mattresses; mine was the most comfortable treatment bed I've ever experienced. Maegan sprayed aromatherapy mist into the air and started the treatment with a mindfulness exercise playing on the speakers, bringing my focus to the here and now.
Maegan exfoliated my skin with the Great Day Body Scrub. Containing wild mint and mandarin, this scrub smells like drinking a mojito on a far-flung beach. She worked her way down my back, arms and legs before asking me to turn over so she could repeat the process on my front. As I showered off the scrub, Maegan reset the room. I settled back on the treatment bed and she covered me with a large towel.
Maegan applied a cream to my legs and then moved up to do a back, neck and shoulder massage. She used long fluid movements, stretching and deep pressure to even out the tension and relax me completely. Maegan asked me to turn over, applied cream to the front of my legs, then massaged my décolletage, arms, neck, face and scalp. To finish, she sprayed the uplifting aromatherapy mist in the air and I took three deep breaths. The massage was gloriously relaxing but uplifting; I didn't drift off to sleep but enjoyed all of the movements and aromas. I felt balanced and happy.
The treatment menu at Rockliffe Hall offers [comfort zone] facials and body treatments, NEOM spa rituals, massage and treats for men and mums-to-be. You can book beauty finishing touches, too, such as Orly manicures and pedicures.
If you visit Rockliffe Hall for a spa day, you'll eat in The Brasserie, just upstairs from the spa facilities. Most of our fellow diners were eating in their robes and it was very comfortable doing so.
The menu is relatively heavy with sandwiches, hot meals including a lamb burger and pan-roasted salmon, and one salad option. Staff can normally cater for free-from options, too. We tried the Croxton Manor cheddar sandwich which was hearty and filling, served with a salad and vegetable crisps.
If you're staying overnight, or are looking for a treat, try the fine-dining Orangery Restaurant or afternoon tea in the Old Hall. You will have to dress for these.
The pool: The stained-glass windows make swimming a pleasure; just make sure to avoid the children's swim times if you want to do a few lengths in peace.
The Spa Garden and the extra quiet space that is all spa. Even on a winter day, drifting in and out of the hydro-pool was blissful.
The spa-break experience. We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful Old Hall suite; being able to sweep from spa to luxurious room added a new dimension to relaxation.
We didn't love
The footbaths: It may have been user error on our part, but it took us a while to figure out that the cold footbath was designed that way and would stay cold. I had to dip my toes into the hydro-pool to warm up!
The showers in the changing rooms are on a very short timer (about 15 seconds) which is not long enough even to lather up long hair, let alone rinse it as well.
We would have liked more healthy options at lunch. During a spa day, sometimes all you want is a light salad.
Groups of friends: You can hire the Spa Garden exclusively and spend two hours just catching up in the gorgeous surroundings.
Hedonists: Rockliffe Hall's facilities are luxurious and indulging, the hotel is beautifully decorated and the Orangery is charming. Make a weekend of it and spa in style.
Golfers or golf widows: The challenging PGA-accredited 18-hole golf course is the longest in the UK (so you may be in the spa for some time).
We gave Rockliffe Hall a Good Spa Guide rating of Five Bubble Luxury. The heat facilities are generous and varied; the pool area is delightfully designed; and the treatments are very indulgent. All in all, Rockliffe Hall is an exceptional spa.
Summer Spy visited in February 2016 and awarded it 5 Bubble Luxury
Hurworth-on-Tees, Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU
Rockliffe Hall boasts three different restaurants The Brasserie, The Clubhouse and The Orangery Restaurant which means that there is a dining experience to suit everyones needs.
Rockliffe Hall offers 61 luxury guest bedrooms which cover a range of accommodation types from standard twins and doubles to junior suites and suites. We also have a collection of holiday homes which are perfect for girlie getaways.
See the hotels entry on Pride of Britain Hotels.
Monday - Friday: 7am-10pm; Saturday - Sunday: 8am - 9pm
There are no offers for this spa.