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.
- Five treatment rooms and one double treatment room
- Steam room
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Experience showers
- Relaxation room
- Pilates studio
- Single sex facilities
- Conference facilities
- Natura Bisse
Our Spa Spy review
Stanley House Hotel and Spa is in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire. The verdant countryside sets off the pale stone manor house and glass-and-brick spa extension beautifully. Sit in the spa relaxation room and you're surrounded by green fields and gentle hills.
What's on offer?
The spa at Stanley House is in a modern building, which forms a courtyard with the manor house and main hotel. Spa reception is bright and airy, decorated in dark woods, neutrals and browns. A manicure and pedicure area next to reception has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Lancashire countryside.
The changing rooms have two banks of large lockers and four individual changing spaces. Each has a shower (with ila shampoo, conditioner and body wash), a vanity table, a robe, towels, flip-flops, and plenty of room to change into your swimwear. Beyond the lockers is a bathroom.
The spa lounge also has the earthy beiges, brown and blues which run through the spa. The comfortable sofas and chairs are cleverly arranged so individual chaise longues feel a little private if you're visiting by yourself, or you can opt for a larger circle of chairs if you're visiting with friends. Help yourself to teas, coffee, infused water and fruit. Books and magazines aplenty mean you have lots of reading material for your spa time. You can soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace with wooden chairs and tables, too. Don't worry if the British weather is a little chilly: they can provide hot water bottles at the drop of a hat.
The light and bright thermal bathing area is downstairs; a spa assistant will take you through for your session, which will be booked in a two-hour slot. Start your thermal journey in the cleansing shower. There are four thermal experience rooms to enjoy. The suggested journey starts with the warm herbal sauna. With a gentle 50- to 60-degree dry heat, it's a gradual warm-up with sweet scents. Brown recessed benches are lit by a backdrop with colourful tree branches. Move on to the aroma steam room, finished in dark grey with a quartz stone in the middle, then to the salt steam room, also dark with recessed seating. Each room would comfortably take four to six people. The very hot Finnish sauna is larger, seating up to eight, with traditional pine seating and a floor-to- ceiling window which gives an unusually uplifting view over the fields. To cool off, try the two experience showers or ice fountain.
The hydro-pool has two powerful swan pipes, a long bubbly airbed and a stand-up whirlpool which massages your legs. The glass walls allow you to see the flora and fauna with birds swooping around the small lake. Take a break on the four heated tepidarium beds next to the pool and gaze up at the twinkling lights in the ceiling. Help yourself to fresh towels and water whenever you like.
Feeling energised? Make use of Stanley House's fully-equipped gym or Pilates studio.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the ila Blissful Experience Body Scrub (60 minutes, £75).
Rebecca, my therapist, met me in the spa lounge and took me through to our large and serene treatment room. We started with the ila foot ritual and, while she bathed and dried my feet, Rebecca took this opportunity to find out how best to tailor the treatment.
I lay face down on the treatment bed, while Rebecca sprayed some Energy Spray For An Aura of Confidence around me and asked me to take three deep breaths. As the scents of orange blossom and rose geranium settled around me, I felt my mind begin to clear and my body to relax.
Rebecca applied the Body Scrub for a Blissful Experience to my shoulders and back, with slow, deliberate movements. The mixture of Himalayan salt crystals and argan oil created more splendid scents, and the careful, repetitive smoothing was soothing. I turned over so Rebecca could complete the scrub with warming friction on my arms, legs and (optionally) stomach.
I hopped into the shower in the room to wash away the salt, then back onto the bed. Rebecca turned her attention to moisturisation with ila's Body Balm for Feeding Skin and Senses, which contains shea butter and beeswax.
Afterwards, my skin felt satiny soft and deeply nourished. I floated back to the spa lounge on a small cloud of relaxation.
The spa at Stanley House offers a wide range of treatments from organic brands Natura Bissé and ila, including facials, massages, scrubs and wraps, as well as manicures and pedicures. There are specific treatments for men and for mums-to-be.
If you visit The Spa at Stanley House for the day, you have the choice of eating in the spa lounge in your robe, or dressing and heading across to the main hotel. If you choose to eat in the spa, the menu offers a selection of cold food including sandwiches, salads and desserts.
We ate at the informal Mr Fred's in the hotel, which serves British classics such as fish and chips or sausages and mash. Our pasta with fennel and artichoke was a light delight for a spa day. In the evening, we tried the more formal Grill on the Hill. Salmon and steak were a perfect end to an indulgent spa day.
We loved / we didn't love
The quiet, calm and gentle space in the spa: The numbers are kept low, so you have a lot of space to yourself to quietly think, catch up with some reading, or just switch off from the outside world and unwind.
The changing rooms: Rarely do we come across a spa with such gorgeous changing rooms; post-shower preening at your own private vanity bar? It doesn't get much better.
The helpful spa attendants, who cleared towels, collected us for our treatments, furnished dry robes and made sure everyone in the spa was having the best time possible.
We didn't love
It's not so much something we didn't love, but we would really like to see an additional relaxation room. The spa lounge is lovely, but because it's used for lunch, to collect people for treatments, and relaxation, it doesn't feel quite as dreamy as we would like post-treatment.
Who do you think would like it?
Solo spa-goers or couples, mothers and daughters, or best friends: Stanley House Spa is an indulgent place to be, not just for the quality of the treatments and food, but also because it gives you space to be. Give yourself a day to switch off.
The serially stressed: The views, the absence of clocks, and the relaxation on offer can restore the soul. Stanley House is not a "party" spa for large groups but the perfect retreat for anyone seeking rest and relaxation in stunning surroundings.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Stanley House a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 5 Bubbles. The spa is beautifully designed, everywhere was spick and span, the treatments are well thought-out, and the customer service exemplary. With just a few tweaks, Stanley House Spa would rate as one of the very best in the country.
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