Located deep in the heart of the Ribble Valley, The Spa at Stanley House reflects the elegance of natural rural beauty, with peaceful views over undulating hills from every aspect of the spa. Inside, there are cosy, contemporary interiors, and spacious treatment rooms.
Relax in the collection of thermal cabins and the soothing hydrotherapy pool, all with a beautiful viewpoint. The spa also has a rasul, and steam and hydro-bathing spa suites for those who want a more private spa experience.
Stanley House is the only spa within North West of England to offer treatments from luxury brand Natura Bisse, and from British organic brand Ila.
Four treatment rooms and one double treatment room
Single sex facilities
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, with just the odd low stone building to make you feel cosy.
What's on offer?
The spa at Stanley House is in a modern building, which forms a courtyard with the manor house and restaurant buildings. Spa reception is bright and airy, decorated in dark woods, neutrals and browns. A mani/pedi area next to reception has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Lancashire countryside.
The changing rooms have a central bank 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. You may want to take your own skincare products to cleanse and moisturise as they’re not available in the spa.
The spa lounge also has the earthy and neutral tones which run through the spa. Two large paintings on the walls mimic the view from the glass wall, bringing the outside in. 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 the larger circle of bucket 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. If you visit in the summer, you can soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace with wooden chairs and tables.
The earthy and stone 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 before hitting the hydro-pool. The pool has two powerful swan pipes, a long bubbly airbed, and a stand-up whirlpool which will massage your legs. The glass wall allows you to see the flora and fauna with happy birds pottering around and a vivid array of flowers. Take a break on the four heated tepidarium beds next to the pool and gaze up at the twinkling lights in the ceiling.
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 an introduction to what's to come. Brown recessed benches are lit by a backdrop with colourful tree branches. The aroma steam room is dark grey with a quartz stone in the middle, and the salt steam room is again dark with recessed seating. Each 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. To cool off, try the two experience showers or ice fountain.
Tell us about the treatments
I had the Natura Bissé Diamond Facial (90 minutes, £150).
Joanne, my therapist, met me in the spa lounge and took me through to our large treatment room. I sat and she washed my feet in a warm foot bowl while we discussed the treatment. She explained that during the facial she would apply masks that might tingle or feel very cold, but if anything was uncomfortable to let her know.
Joanne started with cleansing my skin twice, then applied a gentle peeling mask full of AHAs and salicylic acid to slough off dead skin cells. The mask was warm and a little tingly but not at all uncomfortable. While the serum worked its way into my skin, Joanne massaged my scalp. She cleansed my skin again with warm mitts, then applied the second mask, which was much more intense than the first. Joanne applied a powder then quickly brushed on a serum which activated the powder, making the mixture bubble against my skin. For about 30 seconds, the mask felt really warm and tingly, but then calmed down. Joanne massaged the product into my skin then cleansed once again.
The final mask was much gentler, made of an infused fabric which rested against my skin. Joanne applied the silk mask making sure I could breathe through holes around my nose and mouth. Taking inspiration from Thai massage, she stretched and massaged my legs while the mask worked its magic.
Joanne removed the final mask and applied a finishing serum and cream. The rose and lightly floral scents were beautiful throughout the treatment, and very appropriate in the Stanley House setting. My skin looked clearer, healthier and smoother -- all brilliant results.
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 tried a salmon salad and poached apricots; both were well-presented, large portions, and very tasty.
In the hotel, you can eat in the informal Mr Fred's, which serves British classics such as fish and chips or sausages and mash, or the more formal Hill on the Grill. We tried the grilled sea bass with scallops and new potatoes, and white peach soufflé: the perfect end to an indulgent spa day.
We loved / we didn't love
The subtle art works around the spa: None are large and brash, but give texture and interest to the space. We loved the mesh shape of a woman diving into the pool and the print of zebra backs just outside the thermal area.
The treatments: Our facial was special. It was both relaxing and had real and instantly visible results. The two brands on the treatment menu -- Natura Bissé and ila -- balance each other out delightfully.
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.
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, consultations 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.
Foodies: The locally sourced food is creative and well presented, and we enjoyed every one of our meals.
Romantics: The sixteenth-century manor house is handsomely restored and the location is beautiful. Visit overnight with your best beloved.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Stanley House a Good Spa Guide rating of Five Bubbles. The spa is beautifully designed, the treatments are excellent, and the customer service is ever-present. With just a few tweaks, Stanley House Spa would rate as one of the very best in the country.