Oulton Hall, Leeds – Spa Review
By Julia Paddon
Arriving at Oulton Hall always surprises me. That such an idyllic little slice of nature and luxury exists just five minutes from the thrumming motorway is unexpected, to say the least. I drive slowly up the sweeping entrance passing happy golfers (it’s not raining) and green-keepers and make my way round to the car park. You’d be forgiven for missing the spa entrance, although the signs are all there, down some steps, past the lush greenery and you’re in.
A lovely welcome follows with the friendly team at reception. There is a very well-run cafe space connecting the spa, gym and pool where we had a drink (and biscuit bonus, goodness I do love it, probably a bit too much, when they bring you a biccie with your brew) whilst we complete our consultation forms and watch the brave aqua aerobics participants enjoying a particularly fun and energetic class.
Forms and biscuits complete, we are given our robes, towels and slippers and a tour of the facilities. There’s a gym and studio with a busy programme of activities and, by the looks of things, membership is strong. The facilities are good with Jacuzzi, sauna, pool and steam room available.
My colleague and I discuss the benefits of this more traditional spa offering… thankfully, as yet Oulton Hall hasn’t succumbed to some of the more unusual Spa offerings we’ve experienced lately. Anyone fancy the ‘Rose Aroma Room’ or the ‘Mineral Salt Inhalation Room’? Nope. Didn’t think so (FYI: the first one is sickly and smells like a granny’s drawer liner and the second creates an instant dry tickle salty cough). Still, a plunge pool or similar ice treatment might prove a popular addition.
However, I can imagine at busy periods, that the facilities might benefit from being a little more spacious to comfortably fit everyone in. I wonder if there’s a renovation on the cards to cater for the clearly high demand? If there is, can I encourage installing a slightly less complicated locker system? Selecting and remembering a four digit code and inputting those numbers in the right order after a particularly relaxing massage required too much brain power for me! Although there isn’t a key to hold on to (or for me to lose) which is a bonus.
The treatment menu is, like the spa, a classic and will be one familiar to any regular Spa visitor. In my opinion it benefits from being so and the treatments on offer are all those that are tried and tested favourites. We both have the back, face and scalp treatment renowned as the ‘hero treatment loved by all’ and, in the relaxation room afterwards, we agree that we could definitely be added to the ‘loved it’ list.
We ABSOLUTELY loved it and our individual therapists were both excellent, tailoring the treatment to our individual preferences. Me – focus on the head and neck massage. Her – focus on the back and facial. The whole treatment is beautifully timed and the ESPA products luxurious and, when I check in with my accomplice a few days later we agree that our skin still displays the benefits and feels very nourished.
A trip to a spa is an investment in yourself. It improves your well-being, gives your brain a rest and your body some TLC. Essentially it’s a mini holiday and, like a long walk or a bike ride, a reminder of your physicality and how we aren’t designed to be hunched in chairs staring at screens all day.
How lucky I was to experience the joys of the Spa at Oulton Hall, which couldn’t have done a better job of making me feel very welcome, relaxed and like I was indeed on a mini holiday. I hope that when you book you also get to share the experience with your absolute favourite company like I did – the icing on top of a very lovely cake…. a bake off showstopper!
Oulton Hall, Rothwell Lane, Oulton, Leeds, LS26 8HN
Spa open Monday – Sunday, 10am to 7pm