The setting for Seaham Hall is as expansive as it is exhilarating: the north-east coast (County Durham to be exact), meaning you’re already onto a winner. The spa building and facilities are impressive; the treatments good quality. The spa journey begins at the fabulous underground walkway that connects the spa to the hotel – walk past pebbles and running water until you reach a huge carved elephant. Inside, there’s an ozone treated pool, a hydrotherapy pool, thermal rooms and outdoor hot tubs. Outside are two steamy hot tubs and a sun terrace.
- 17 treatment rooms
- 20m ozone cleansed pool with massage stations
- Black granite steam room with amethyst crystal
- Sanarium with crystal light therapy
- Salt sauna
- Hydrotherapy bath with 12 massage stations
- Snail showers
- Ice fountain
- Plunge pools
- Outdoor hot tubs
- Technogym fitness suite
- Aerobic studio
- Roof garden
- Aroma Stone Therapy
Our Spa Spy review
Seaham Hall is a restored white Georgian manor house high on the cliffs above the Durham Coast. The interior seamlessly blends original features with contemporary touches and there are plenty of quirks to admire.
As overnight guests, we checked in before heading through the underground walkway linking the hotel to the Asian-inspired Serenity Spa; day guests can make a beeline for the spa's own entrance.
What's on offer?
Amanda warmly greeted us in the bright reception, with its large windows and dark wood flooring, and offered us a refreshing raspberry iced tea. We completed consultation forms and took a tour of the spa.
Comfortable robes and slippers are in the lockers of the small but adequate changing rooms. Here, too, are private cubicles in which to change, a shower containing shampoo and shower gel (no conditioner), and a loo. A well equipped vanity bar has everything you need for post-spa preening, including straighteners and facial moisturiser. There are larger changing facilities near the pool.
Like the rest of the spa, the thermal area is bright and welcoming, with white walls, blue mosaic-tiled steps and large windows. A 20-metre pool with ozone-treated water takes centre stage; it's large enough to swim a good number of lengths. The far end is circular with a metal "S" for Serenity in the middle. Give your shoulders a pummelling under the powerful swan pipe or use the jets to massage your back and calves. Relax on padded loungers afterwards.
We began our thermal journey by massaging our feet in the foot spas before moving onto the circular hydro-pool with its powerful jets and warm, silky water.
The steam room has comfortable benches and was of a moderate temperature on our visit. We loved the new salt sauna, with its comfortable benches to lie down on, and the herbal saunarium with its subtle scent and seating for 12.
Cool down in between heat experiences in the experience showers, the ice fountain or one of two cold plunge pools. Overdone it? Head to the bubbly Jacuzzi and warm up.
If the sun is shining, open the door and walk out onto the terrace which offers pristine green lawn and treetop views. Here are two bubbly hot tubs, delightful in the early evening when the spa is less busy.
As Serenity is an Asian-inspired spa, you'll spot the odd statue of an elephant; we found this added to, rather than took away from, the experience.
Take advantage of the spa butler and order something to sip poolside; we enjoyed a fruit tea and a fruit kebab.
Serenity Spa's Zen lounge has a outdoor balcony to enjoy the fresh air and marvel at the beautiful grounds. Help yourself to fruit-infused water, dried fruit and nuts before heading outside to settle down on a comfortable lounger.
Gym bunnies can also make good use of the gym and studio on the spa's upper level, which overlooks the pool. Classes are regular and varied, and range from kettle bells to Thai Chi.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed an Ultimate Serenity treatment (105 minutes; £140), an all-encompassing treatment of a scrub, a wrap, a massage and a facial.
My therapist, Tisha, warmly greeted me in the Zen lounge and led me to a dual-level treatment room with white walls and dark wood floors. It even had a loo. Tisha invited me to take a seat and place my feet in a bowl of warm water so that she could give them a thorough scrub; they felt light and tingly afterwards.
As I lay face down on the warm treatment bed, Tisha applied a natural, earthy-scented Ytsara scrub to my back and the back of my legs, which she removed with a hot towel. She then painted a creamy body mask onto my back and, after a quick flip over, my front. While the wrap worked its hydrating magic, Tisha performed blissful scalp massage.
After a warm shower, I lay face down on the bed for a massage using heated bamboo sticks and oil. Tisha used slow, strong strokes to work out areas of tension in my back and shoulders, using the bamboo to achieve a deeper, more even pressure. She repeated this on the back of my legs before doing the same on the front of my legs and my arms.
To complete the treatment, Tisha cleansed and exfoliated my face in preparation for a contour massage using warm jade stones. A slick of serum and a dollop of creamy moisturiser later, I left ready to face the day.
In the Zen lounge afterwards, Tisha offered me a glass of water and a tangy raspberry sorbet; the perfect end to a top-to-toe treatment. Ytsara products are completely natural, and packed with aromatherapy scents and earthy goodness; my skin looked and felt amazing well beyond my spa visit.
Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall offers a range of holistic treatments for the face and body, ranging from 60 minutes to two hours, as well as massages, scrubs and facials using Ytsara, Sundari and ishga products. You can also try the rasul or treatments specifically designed for men or mums-to-be.
You can eat lunch in your robe in The Ozone, an Asian restaurant in the centre of the spa that slopes down to a bar area. Décor is striking with bold use of black and red; you can choose to sit inside or outside on the terrace.
Our sharing platter of Asian classics to start included crispy dim sum and samosas, while our grilled salmon main course was light and fresh. We couldn't manage a dessert but had our eye on the mango and coconut panna cotta.
That evening we dined at Byron's, a sleek, trendy hub with an exceptional menu. Our lobster starter was particularly noteworthy.
We loved / we didn't love
The service: Staff at Serenity Spa work hard to make your visit special, with nothing too much trouble.
The Asian influence: While some may find the Asian theme dated, we found it considered.
The hotel: While a day in the spa is wonderful for locals, if you have the time to stay overnight, do; the hotel will not disappoint.
We didn't love
Although clean and well kept, Serenity Spa is a little tired in places.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: Seaham Hall is an incredibly romantic hotel with an equally romantic spa; climb into the outdoor hot tub and look at the view!
We saw many small groups of friends using their spa time to catch up.
Anyone celebrating an occasion: Seaham Hall is such special place and would mark an occasion with enthusiasm and charm.
Byron’s Bar & Grill offers a menu that focuses on the freshest sustainable fish and seafood. Ozone at Seaham Hall is an informal brasserie with eastern influences.
Four styles of suites available from the Junior Suite to the Penthouse. Suite rates start at £235 based on two people sharing a room.
See the hotels entry on Pride of Britain Hotels.
Monday to Friday: 6.30am - 10pm; Saturday: 7am - 10pm; Sunday: 8am - 10pm