Tuesday 31 January 2017

Relax and refresh at Fishmore Hall

Last weekend, I escaped to the Shropshire countryside for some R&R. There's not many things that I love more than a spa break to recharge the batteries and to make me feel like a new person all over again and when I was invited to try out the unique Spa Shell experience at Fishmore Hall, I just could not say no.

Nestled in the Shropshire Hills, near Ludlow, Fishmore Hall is a charming hotel that's renowned for its food (more on this later...) and benefits from beautiful views all around. In November of last year, the owner decided they wanted to create a spa escape for guests, or for local visitors, to enjoy and the concept of a spa cabin was developed.

After just 10 days of building work, the Spa Shell was open and ready for business... and I can tell you, it's such a neat idea and a lovely place to spend a few hours, whether you are staying at the hotel or looking for a retreat.

The Spa Shell is a timber frame building featuring a reception, four treatment rooms and a relaxation room home to a sauna and a steam chamber, both of which can be controlled by the user and a range of steam experiences are available to enjoy. Then, outside you can rest on a lounger (perhaps not for too long at this time of year...!) and nip into a wooden hot tub to enjoy a secluded corner and stunning views whilst bubbling away in the warm water.


With a selection of drinks, including soothing herbal teas, luxurious robes, towels and slippers and big blankets to wrap up warm in, you can probably see why I was in my element last Sunday.

I've been to several spas over the past couple of years, as an annual retreat treat for me and my best friends, but I haven't been somewhere before quite like this. Whilst anyone can book in to use the Spa Shell facilities (£15 for a three hour visit, including complimentary towel, robe, slippers and locker) or for a treatment, it still has an exclusive feel to it. Everything has been thought of and it's pretty amazing what they have managed to pack into the space as from outside, you wouldn't quite believe what there is to enjoy on the inside.

There's a locker and changing room area, including two showers and a dressing table where you can dry your hair and get ready, and the underfloor heating throughout is another welcome touch.

When I arrived, I spent around an hour enjoying the spa; namely, the hot tub outside (yes, I did brave it and yes, it was absolutely brilliant) before wrapping up in my gown and relaxing inside with some chamomile tea. I then had a treatment booked in - a back, neck and shoulder massage (£45 for 30 minutes) - so had the chance to experience one of the treatment rooms. Everything is exquisitely decorated, they provide Elemis treatments exclusively (LOVE Elemis) and the really special surprise was the heated treatment beds; with the warm oil and the warm bed, I felt completely at ease and relaxed.

After my massage, which identified some really tense areas that need a bit more work to work out, I enjoyed the steam room for half an hour. It's a walk-in chamber that features sound and light therapy and offers a range of options including a 'breeze' and a 'rain' setting. Scents of eucalyptus and orange blossom also worked to make this an incredible experience and one that left me feeling cleansed and revived. Oh why can't I have one of these at home??

I then washed up and got dressed as the next chapter of the afternoon was afternoon tea in the hotel. For £19.95, you can enjoy finger sandwiches (four fillings, one of each per person), fresh scones (with runny jam and clotted cream, two per person) and a selection of mini cakes, if you can fit them in (we had lemon, carrot cake and a raspberry macaroon and I could only manage the last one myself). All washed down with your choice of tea, this was a lovely spread and a great way to wrap up a lovely afternoon.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and learning more about the Spa Shell concept - currently the only retreat of its kind in the UK - and there is only one downside for me. It's just a little too far for me to visit on a regular basis, as I would love to do. Whilst there's a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room at my gym, it's not quite as luxurious as what the Spa Shell at Fishmore Hall has to offer.

I think it would be a lovely place to visit - perhaps somewhere I can take my girl friends for our annual trip this year? - either as a standalone experience or as part of a hotel stay (there's deals you can take advantage of to enjoy both together) and a great place to celebrate Valentine's Day too, with some lovely packages to take advantage of.

If it were closer, I'd be a regular visitor, for sure.

* Thank you to Fishmore Hall for the invitation to try the Spa Shell firsthand - all opinions and content are my own.


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