Stanley House Hotel
Set deep in the Lancashire countryside Stanley House has a varied history. From its origins as a manor house of Mellor to a farmhouse that was run into a ruinous condition before its present format as a luxury hotel and spa.

Having previously tried a spa break in Chester and wanting to escape the stresses of the working week we booked their £270 'Escape for the night' package, a chance to enjoy their spa facilities with a treatment plus dinner, bed and breakfast.

The Spa Thermal Journey

Our visit began with a two hour passage through the thermal journey, a chance to unwind in the spas hydrotherapy pool, saunas and steam rooms.

This section was quite small and whilst for a while it was us and another couple it did feel a little crowded when the numbers increased to eight. More annoying were two women who hogged the pool chatting away loudly intermittently breaking to cackle loudly at something mildly amusing.

The escape however was to jump into one of the saunas or steam rooms. There were four on offer.

Firstly a scented sauna with water poured over hot coals through star anise in the centre of the room. Changing mood lights added a relaxing touch.

Across the passageway the Finnish sauna provided a more intense heat and from the wooden benches you can face through the floor to ceiling windows over the Lancashire countryside. The intense heat meant I could only take in the view for a few minutes before moving on. The two steam rooms provided a little more relaxation and the dark rooms felt calmer.

A Quick Cooling Down

At the end of the passageway a silver metal chute deposited small chunks of ice which we were told we were to rub over our bodies to get the blood flowing. As crazy as it sounds I tried and it was bloody cold forcing me to leap into the nearby shower pressing all the three buttons along the wall. Thankfully hot water soon brought my body back to life giving me the chance to test the other two buttons - a cool mist shower and six strong horizontal cold jets.

Suitably invigorated by the spa facilities we headed back upstairs for our treatments. Angie had opted for a vitally fast facial whilst next door I was treated to a calm back, neck and shoulder massage. Thirty minutes flew by and I left the table with a few less knots in my shoulders.

A Three Course Dinner

As part of the package, a three course dinner was available at Mr Freds, one of two restaurants at the hotel. Beginning the meal with King Prawns wrapped in rice paper served with pickled carrots, ginger and bamboo shoots was perfect. Nice and light in preparation for the main course.

Angie opted for lambs liver with bubble and squeak mash whilst I went for the traditional ground rump steak burger. Both were cooked to perfection but left just enough room for a dessert of yoghurt pannacotta (Angie) and melting chocolate and orange fondant (me.. yum!)

The finale was a liqueur coffee and we relaxed in the lounge following a day of de-stressing. Something we all should do once in a while.