Located deep in the heart of Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, The Spa at Stanley House offers peaceful views of the area’s undulating hills from every aspect. The décor is cosy yet contemporary and the welcome is warm. The well-designed and cared-for facilities include a hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, salt steam room and tepidarium beds – the majority with beautiful viewpoints. Stanley House is the only spa in the North West to offer treatments from brands Natura Bissé and ila.
- Four treatment rooms and one double treatment room
- Steam room
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Experience showers
- Relaxation room
- Pilates studio
- Single sex facilities
- Conference facilities
- Natura Biss
- Organic Glam
Our Spa Spy review
Stanley House is an award-winning boutique hotel in the rolling hills at the heart of Lancashire's Ribble Valley. The verdant countryside sets off the pale stone manor house and glass-and-brick spa extension beautifully.
Opened in 2012, the spa at Stanley House has a contemporary country-chic feel with some quirky touches: think cuckoo clocks and his 'n' hers red velvet thrones.
What's on offer?
Double doors lead to a stylish reception area with statement lighting, dark wood furnishings and display cabinets containing beauty products for sale. Within minutes of arriving, our spa attendant, Olivia, whisked us away; Olivia looked after us all day.
Luxury and privacy are the order of the day in the changing rooms, where large, digital lockers contain towels, robes and flip-flops. We loved the individual changing rooms with their own mirrored vanity stations and showers containing ila amenities.
The downstairs communal changing room -- billed as the "ladies' boudoir" --- is also something to behold. Delight in cream leather chairs, a marble-topped vanity station, artwork-adorned walls and ila-stocked showers. As changing rooms go, you'll want for nothing.
The thermal zone is bookable in two-hourly slots; this keeps numbers down and the experience serene. We began our spa journey in the cleansing shower, using the jets to get our circulation going, before moving on to the herbal sauna, with its gentle 50- to 60-degree dry heat and star-anise flower toasting over a pebble stove.
An illuminated purple quartz forms the centre piece of the aroma steam room, intended to heighten awareness and promote healing. Reclining on the two benches, we certainly felt relaxed and uplifted.
We loved the private alcoves (of which there are four) in the salt steam room which provide a good amount of comfort while you inhale hot, salty steam. In the uber-hot, pinewood Finnish sauna; scoop up water from the bucket and pour it over the coals.
Cool down at the beautifully lit ice fountain or in one of the two experience showers; the "drench" setting is particularly effective.
Don't leave without climbing into the bubbly hydro-pool. Look up at the dark ceiling with its twinkly lights resembling stars, or stare out of the large windows at the rolling countryside while relaxing your neck and shoulders in the swan-neck fountains. (How many rabbits and deer can you spot?)
The relaxation lounge at Stanley House serves three purposes: a pre-treatment waiting area, a post-treatment relaxation room, and a spa café. With both my watch and phone stashed away in my locker, the sign reading, "There are no clocks here, we take care of your time," is as quirky as it is reassuring. Take a fluffy blanket, a coffee-table book, a hot drink, and a piece of fruit to your seat of choice -- armchair, squishy seat or cosy sofa? -- and settle down for the afternoon
Feeling energised? Make use of Stanley House's fully-equipped gym or Pilates studio.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed an ila Kundalini Back Massage (75 minutes, £85), a Stanley House signature treatment.
My therapist, Charlotte, led me to a bright treatment room with white walls, towels and drapes, and invited me to sit on a chair while she explained the treatment. This relaxing, soothing and balancing massage is named after Kundalini, the female goddess of awareness. It combines Chakra healing with massage to release dormant energy at the base of the spine.
Charlotte began the treatment by washing my feet in a bowl of warm water before spraying an energy mist into the air to clear the room of negativity.
As I lay face down on the treatment bed, Charlotte asked me to take three deep breaths and inhale a warming, fragrant aromatic oil of cardamom, lavender and argan. Charlotte then "walked" her hands up and down my back concentrating on my Marma (energy) points.
She then placed sweet-smelling hot poultices on chakra points to balance and stimulate, while her hands worked out the tension in the back of my legs. The aroma from the oil combined with the hot poultices and Charlotte's expert touch had me on the brink of sleep.
The treatment ended with a facial massage, designed to open the three chakras of the heart, throat and third eye, and a cup of warm rosewater.
I would thoroughly recommend this treatment to anybody heading to Stanley House; it's a beautiful, mystical massage using natural, organic products that not only relaxes the body, but lifts the spirits.
You can eat lunch in your robe in the relaxation lounge, where a selection of sandwiches, light bites and desserts are on offer.
We enjoyed a watermelon salad with feta cheese, heritage tomatoes, pomegranate and wild rocket drizzled with a strawberry and basil dressing, following by an indulgent Prosecco jelly. Both dishes resembled works of art on the plate.
If you want to dress up for lunch (no robes), you can dine in the hotel, in the more expensive Mr Fred's with its gastro-inspired menu.
Come evening, head to the Grill on the Hill for excellent service and quality food. We can highly recommend the steak tartare and pancetta-wrapped monkfish with baby gem lettuce: fabulous food in relaxed surroundings.
We loved / we didn't love
The setting: Large windows offer lush countryside views at every turn.
The design: Stanley House is a quirky spa with some very stylish touches (and ideas to take home).
The changing rooms: Rarely do we come across a spa with such well equipped changing rooms; post-shower preening at your own private vanity bar? It doesn't get much better.
We didn't love
A post-treatment, dimly lit relaxation room would be a welcome addition in the future.
As we are coffee lovers, Nespresso machines (or similar) would make a great addition to both the spa and the hotel rooms.
Who do you think would like it?
We spotted couples, mother-and-daughter duos and small groups of friends on our visit.
Stanley House is not a "party" spa for large groups but the perfect retreat for anyone seeking rest and relaxation in stunning surroundings.
A light spa menu is served in the Relaxation Room. Mr Fred's restaurant serves classic British food; Grill on the Hill offers a more formal dining experience.
30 bedrooms available: 12 bedrooms in The Manor House and 18 Woodlands Rooms. A suite, family rooms and a dedicated disabled accessible room with twin bathrooms are also available.
Monday to Saturday: 8am - 9pm
Sunday: 9am - 4pm