This elegant hotel and spa is a beautiful mix of old and new, with exposed brickwork and bright, modern design. At the heart of the spa facilities is a 25-metre pool and a vitality pool to massage your limbs with swan pipes and bubble jets. There is also a large hammam, aroma stream room, caldarium, salt-inhalation room and sauna. After a Carita or Aromatherapy Associates treatment, relax on the tepidarium beds, on the sun-drenched terrace, or snuggle up in the deep or light relaxation rooms.
- Single sex facilities
- Family swim times
- Seven treatment rooms, including a dual room
- Relaxation room
- Rasul mud room
- Salt room
- Aroma steam room
- Ice fountain
- Experience showers
- Hydrotherapy pool
- 20m swimming pool
- Fitness studio with classes
- Aromatherapy Associates
- Lava Shells
Our Spa Spy review
A cool blue neon sign on a red-brick gatehouse marks your arrival at The Mere, a privately owned hotel, golf club and get-away-from-it-all spa near Knutsford. Drive through the building's arch to a car park filled with as many golf buggies as vehicles.
Built around Mere Hall, and dating back to 1820, the property occupies an enviable position on the edge of a manicured golf course and offers unrivalled views of the mere (lake). The health club and spa was opened in 2011 by Sir Alex Ferguson and exudes the same understated modern elegance as the rest of the hotel.
What's on offer?
Staff warmly welcomed us at reception and offered us a seat to complete our consultation forms. Armed with towels, robes and slipper, we went through to the changing rooms which are large enough to get lost in.
With dark wood lockers, immaculate toilets, four individual changing cubicles, and vanity stations brimming with Aromatherapy Associates skincare products, as well as hairspray and cotton wool, you'll want for nothing here.
Powerful showers contain Aromatherapy Associates shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Dump your wet towel in the laundry basket before entering the shower; wrap yourself in a fresh one on the way out. You’ll also find a hot steam room here.
The pool and thermal facilities are at the end of a bright corridor where a curve-edged 20-metre pool stretches out in front of you. At the far end, the infinity-edge hydrotherapy pool with bubbly jets is one you'll find hard to leave.
But leave you should, if only to take advantage of the outdoor courtyard space adorned with loungers -- a popular spot when the sun has got his hat on. If these are occupied, head to the other end where more rattan loungers (some heated) await. Pick up the telephone and order drinks to be delivered to your lounger while you read a book, snooze or chat to your spa partner. Not too shabby.
Back inside, read the suggested order of usage before entering the thermal facilities, starting with a refreshing drench in the experience showers.
We began our spa journey in the dry heat of a traditional sauna and cooled down by rubbing ice from the ice fountain all over our hot limbs.
The salt-infused grotto is a must, with a burst of steam every few minutes. Grab cubes of salt from a dish in the middle and rub salt on your arms and legs while the heat penetrates your skin.
Our second shower was followed by a trip to the aromatherapy steam room, a hot, dark, steamy space with blue mosaic seating and lemongrass-scented steam which was deliciously uplifting.
The caldarium -- traditionally the hottest room in a Roman bathhouse -- left us slightly puzzled with its tepid air temperature and seats too hot to sit on. Around a quiet corner are four tepidarium beds; lie back and feel the warmth radiating through your body.
The hammam marked the perfect end to our thermal journey. Here, we stretched out on a warmed central plinth and took stock of the day so far.
When you're ready for your treatment, head to the light relaxation room which has a long bank of velvet seating and two separate bucket chairs. For post-treatment snoozing, The Mere also has a dimly-lit relaxation room with four lounge beds, each with individual reading lights. Pick up a glossy magazine and help yourself to complementary fruit tea and other treats such as mango sorbets and fruit smoothies. We loved the words "LOVE" spelled out in white bulbs on a sign on the floor. It surely was. There’s a second relaxation room which is lighter and brighter
If all this wasn't enough, The Mere also has an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and a gym.
Tell us about the treatments
As part of the VIP Spa Day Package, we enjoyed a Champagne Body Wrap (55 minutes, £199) and a Carita Cinetic Booster Facial (55 minutes, £80).
My therapist, Aneesha, collected me from the "quiet zone" waiting area and led me to the Bergamot treatment room which was modern and softly lit.
Aneesha began the Champagne Body Wrap with a full body brush on my dry skin followed by an anti-ageing Champagne scrub from Natural Spa Factory which she rubbed in, and I scrubbed off in the hot shower.
Next came a Gold Honey Gel and Oil, also from Natural Spa Factory, which Aneesha painted on every inch of my body before wrapping me in warm towels. While the products worked, Aneesha performed a very relaxing scalp massage -- always a highlight for me.
Unwrapped and sponged off, my limbs felt light and refreshingly clean, while my skin felt softer for days afterwards.
For the facial, Aneesha thoroughly cleansed my skin in preparation for an exfoliating scrub of seeds, thyme, lemon and clove which she chose for its abrasive properties. Aneesha then moved an electrical device resembling a computer mouse around my face to emit micro-currents to lift the skin.
An anti-ageing serum, eye cream and moisturiser ended the facial, which left my skin feeling firmer and looking brighter.
The spa at The Mere offers a range of facial and body treatments such as wraps, scrubs and massages, as well as treatments for mums-to-be and finishing treatments such as manicures, pedicures and make-overs.
You can eat lunch in your robe in the Spa Lounge and Bar, which serves wraps and flatbreads, as well as salads, hot dishes and indulgent desserts.
We tucked into a flavoursome Oriental Beef Salad of sautéed fillet strips, fragrant jasmine rice, spring onions and a spicy/tangy chilli jus which had just the right amount of kick.
If you're staying overnight, you can dine in Browns, an open-plan restaurant where we enjoyed citrus-cured salmon with a crab rillette, whipped avocado and citrus dressing, followed by a seabass main course. Both choices were note-worthy.
We loved / we didn't love
The changing rooms: Rarely do we get to experience such large, well-equipped facilities in which to robe, de-robe, shower and preen.
The setting: The sparkling lakeside setting makes The Mere a real getaway destination.
The staff: Everyone works hard at The Mere and the attention to detail is noticeable.
We didn't love
The crowds: The thermal zone had an "after work" feel to it as health club members traipsed in early evening.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples will love the setting, golfers the golf course, hen parties the outdoor area (with its phone for ordering drinks) and families the dedicated family swimming times.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
The Spa Lounge & Bar serves breakfast and light dishes; Browns restaurant serves a fine dining menu; The Club Lounge & Bar serves traditional English fare in a relaxed environment.
The Health Club is open every day: 6:30am - 10pm. Spa treatments are available Monday to Friday: 10am - 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10am - 6pm.