On our annual trips to Wales in the Summer, we always pass Carden Park en route. Everytime I go past the large drive surrounded by land, I always say to my other half ‘we need to go there, like, really soon‘. Fast forward three years since first passing the place, I still hadn’t got myself there.
But as they say, everything happens for a reason. And I truly believe I was meant to visit this place after it’s 10 million refurbishment. Yep, you heard right. Cheshire’s leading luxury country hotel Carden Park – close to Chester – has had a new £10m purpose-built indoor/outdoor wellness spa created, and it’s literally the best thing I have ever experience.
You guys know I love my spa trips. I get asked for spa break recommendations only about 70 times a week from DM’s on Instagram. I’ve visited many, so I can reel off my favourite 5 without stopping to think (message me on Instagram for the list!). However, it’s nice to be able to have a few solid choices within certain areas. For example, some of you are looking for North West locations, others Midlands. Other’s out in the countryside, others splat bang in Manchester City Centre (again, message me for my favourites, I could talk about spa’s for ages).
But when The Spa at Carden opened at the beginning of this year, and I was kindly invited to come along and review the place, I knew I was going to love it. I could visualise it creeping up into my top 5 list. And what do you know. It’s up there already. Sitting at joint first place.
I brought my Mum along with me for the overnight spa break, in which the day is spent at The Spa at Carden, and the evening over at Carden Park Hotel. As we walked into the reception of the spa, we were amazed by the stunning entrance lobby, complete with a spiral staircase and water feature centrepiece, all lit by beautiful low sweeping lights. You can see the luxury upon entrance, that’s for sure. In fact, you can see, smell and feel the opulence.
My mind and body got ready to switch off and envelope the serene ambiance. This place was lush and I was overly excited to be spending a full 24 hours in the vicinity!
The Spa at Carden Package
With the overnight break package we were booked on, it included spa access from 9.30am until 5pm. Lunch is also included, and I had a 60 minute Muscle Melt full body massage. Once we had signed our forms, we were taken to the dining area to indulge in fruit skewers, tea and coffee, berries and yoghurt, and the most delicious melt-in-your-mouth pastries. We both sat and sipped our coffees overlooking the incredible Spa Garden, which honestly is breathtaking.
I’ll add in at this point that the spa uses OSKIA skincare and beauty products throughout the spa along with Elemental Herbology. I’ve used Elemental Herbology before and genuinely love it’s natural stance and invigorating scents. But I’m quite new to OSKIA, but thoroughly enjoyed using their cleanser, toner and moisturiser when removing my make up before my spa session!
The garden is huuuuge – by far the largest outdoor space I’ve seen at a spa break before. I can imagine in the Summer, it will just be like a holiday location: outdoor pool, bubbling hot tubs, a central shack style bar, music pumping, cosy pops to hide away in, and outdoor sauna, grass areas, sun loungers…. pure bliss.
We headed straight to the pool area, and was greeted by the heated vitality pool with stunning views of the outdoor grounds. The water is set at a temperature of a constant 37 degrees, so even in March, it’s more than enjoyable. Which then lead us to have our own little tour of the Spa Gardens, spying the three outdoor hot tubs all bubbling away.
It’s great to see a spa invest in more outdoor hot tubs, as at other spas I’ve been to, the most I’ve seen is two, and they get incredibly busy!
On our quiet Tuesday, we were lucky to bag one all for ourselves – and you can even bring a cheeky glass of fizz from the bar over the hot tub side. We sat back in the bubbling Jacuzzi’s for a good while, enjoying the peace and quiet of the outdoors, feeling the cool crisp air hit our faces while our bodies were toasty and warm!
After this, we experienced the outdoor sauna, which is a huge wood and glass building towards the back of the gardens. The temperature was super hot but bearable – although 10-15 minutes tops for us! The floor to ceiling glass windows gave us lovely views while we sat in the heat, watching the wind blowing outside.
We then took ourselves off to the little pods dotted around the gardens, which are heated and full of comfy cushions – and some with Bollinger if you book the Bollinger package! (have a research on the website about the Bollinger package, sounds absolutely incredible). The pods come complete with speakers inside, so you can still hear the music playing from the bar – totally sets off that holiday vibe!
After our good hour spent outside, we took ourselves inside to experience the range of saunas and steam rooms inside. I should probably refer to this area with it’s correct name, which would be a thermal suite, as you get to experiment with the delightfully warm indoor pool that offers a range of experiences using hot and cold sensations. There’s a regular steam room, a salt steam room, Swedish sauna (the hottest one of them all), tropical shower experiences and of course, those ice-fountains where you can scoop up the fresh ice to cool down. I dare you to try it! Although after heating up in the steam room, it was gladly appreciated!
I was then booked in for my 60 minute deep tissue massage, which was literally an hour of pure indulgence. I have to point out that the treatment rooms are super professional looking inside, all smart and modern, but the twinkling light ceiling is definitely a highlight! Literally like having a massage under the stars, and something I’ve never quite experience before at any other spa.
Before the massage begins, it was lovely to chat with my therapist and take a quick survey to establish which essential oil blend from Elemental Herbology was the right match for me. It turned out I was ‘Water’ – of course I was going to be a water baby, someone who never switches off or relaxes!
My Carden therapist was brilliant, and I literally felt like I was floating when I came out of the room. I told her about all the knots I have around my shoulders and back, and she worked them over and over again until I felt release. The rest was super relaxing, medium pressure which eased every tense muscle. She started and finished with hot stones too – a feature I can’t get enough of!
When the treatment was over, I met up with my Mum in the one of three relaxation rooms (ladies, you have got choice is this place!) before retiring for a late lunch. I went for a Coronation Chicken dish and my Mum a Thai Salmon Noodle dish, both much larger portions than we imagined and very tasty. We refrained from getting a glass of fizz with our lunch due to spending the remainder of the spa afternoon getting in and out of the indoor vitality pool. The temperature of the pool was honestly my ideal warming temperature, I could stay in it all day!
Carden Park Hotel
Once the spa day was over, we followed our day with an overnight spa at the Carden Park Hotel. It’s styled very traditionally, reminiscent of it’s tudor history, with flashes of contemporary touches. We were in a Luxury Suite and believe me when I say this suite was the optimum of luxury. It was huuuuge and myself and my Mum could happily have stayed there for a week! The suite features a large open living area, a bedroom, and bathroom complete with tv on the wall. I’d say it’s very classic, country chic, with English heritage elements. Then saying that, you look up above the bed and spy the same twinkling light ceiling! Just beautiful.
We enjoyed both dinner and breakfast in the renovated Redmond’s restaurant, which had a very relaxing ambiance and super attentive staff. I went for the Rib Eye Steak main course and my Mum went for the Sea Bass, in which both of us couldn’t fault our courses.
My only wish would be to return to this hotel and spa during a warmer month – now I can imagine that would be insanely good. It would feel just like being on an Island someone sunny with it’s premium outdoor space, modern pods and shack style bar. Even just writing this article, makes me just want to return…
Overly satisfied, cannot fault this place! Carden Park offers a range of overnight spa breaks which start from around £145pp, check out the website here.