Escape to hotel and spa complex in rural Northamptonshire for the ultimate local getaway
Spa breaks are becoming more popular than ever and what's even better is you don't have to drive far to find a good one.
Less than 30 minutes from Northampton is the ever-popular Whittlebury Park featuring hotel, leisure, spa, wedding and events facilities all on the one site set within 700 acres of beautiful grounds.
Known to many as Whittlebury Hall and Spa, the rural retreat has recently re-branded to Whittlebury Park in a bid to become a landmark hospitality destination within the UK market.
Its future goal is to become one of the UK's leading, independent leisure and hospitality estates right here in Northamptonshire.
During 2018, there was a significant amount of investment in Whittlebury’s facilities to directly 'enhance and improve' customer experience including updating kitchen equipment and rooms as well as half a million pounds invested in The Leisure Club which now boasts the latest state-of-the-art Technogym equipment.
What better time to pay a visit to Whittlebury, although I must admit we didn't attempt a workout in the fantastic new gym because quite honestly we were too busy doing nothing and there are just not enough hours in the day.
Me and two friends packed our bags and headed to the complex for 24 hours of chill time having booked the Couture Retreat with booster treatment package which starts from £129 per person.
The package includes the use of the heat and ice experiences, leisure club, two-court buffet lunch and a 25 minute treatment.
Followed by a a three course dinner in Astons Restaurant, overnight stay and rounded off with a full English breakfast.
Booster treatment choices are ESPA or Elemis radiance glow facial, express manicure or pedicure or a Elemis Frangipani scalp massage.
Check-in in midday for this package with an 11am check-out the following day.
Keen to get going, we had a warm welcome at reception followed by a very swift change into our dressing gowns (provided but bring your own slippers/flip flops) before heading for lunch to kick off the celebrations.
Instant relaxation as we sit down for a girly gossip over a bottle of prosecco (extra cost) and tuck into the hot and cold buffet which includes soup, bread, salads, pasta and a range of hot main meals.
The day spa is mainly centered around the huge jacuzzi pool which has the heat and ice experiences dotted around it including the ice cave (only for the very brave), crystal steam room, caldarium, experience showers, foot spas, ice cave, Roman salt steam, sanarium, tepidarium and sauna.
Soak away the hours in the hydrotherapy pool and then work your way around the different heat and ice experiences.
When it was time for our treatments we made our way upstairs to wait on the comfy sofas to be called in by our therapists.
The spa can get busy at peak times but it all seems to run like clock-work and never seems overly crowded.
We all opted for the scalp massage and enjoyed 25 minutes of pampering in the individual treatment rooms - it was bliss.
Feeling fully relaxed, thereafter we enjoyed the leisure club facilities including the 19 metre swimming pool complete with bubble jets and sunbeds all around.
There is so much more on offer including the gym, hair studio, additional treatments (extra cost) and a wide range of classes.
The only trouble is fitting it all in!
After a busy day doing nothing, we retired to our triple room located within the hotel which is an easy indoor walk from the spa.
Our room was huge and spotlessly clean with an incredible power shower and comfy beds to dive into.
Dressed up for dinner, we headed downstairs again for dinner at Astons which has a relaxed informal atmosphere buzzing with the sound of relaxed guests unwinding.
The menus blend classic and contemporary cuisine with just a dash of continental inspiration, complemented by a selection of wines from around the globe.
The staff at Whittlebury are excellent and nothing is too much trouble from the reception desk, to the spa, restaurant and bar.
We were well looked after and the food was excellent quality. Three courses later we were full but happy and no complaints whatsoever.
Just across from the restaurant is the Silverstone bar which is filled with sports memorabilia and has a brilliant atmosphere any time of the day.
We enjoyed after dinner drinks here before retiring to our beds for a well earned sleep.
A full English breakfast the next morning rounded off our stay before check out which included everything from cereal, toast and fruit to a full English and croissants.
Whittlebury never fails to impress. You leave wanting more of what's offer - afternoon tea, golf, a nice walk around the grounds, tribute nights and weddings.
Sadly, there are not enough hours in the day so I guess you have to pick what you'd like to do next and book up for another visit before heading back to reality feeling rejuvenated.
No doubt there is much more to come at Whittlebury over the coming months and years with construction already underway for its luxury apartment developments.
With all that in mind, I'm already planning my next visit.