Spa stays and mini breaks are what my dreams are made of, well that and wedding day panics so when an email landed in my inbox inviting the family and I to Oulton Hall*, a spa and golfing resort in Leeds I was immediately texting Craig for potential lets go dates, retail worker woes. Now if you’ve read Cagney on Tour posts before you’ll know I like to include an abundance of photos but thanks to all the precipitation coupled with a teething baby I managed to get very few so you’ll have to use a pinch of imagination or check out Oulton Hall if you don’t believe me when I say this hotel is something else. Steeped in history and dating back to the 18th century Oulton Hall has been everything from a business retreat to a military hospital and even an asylum before becoming the hotel that stands today, if only the walls could talk…
Welcomed by all of the grandeur one expects of a Hall – think sweeping staircases, gilt framed portraits and a grand piano to boot we found our way to the spa cafe to enjoy a light lunch pre check in. Arriving at a spa zone with a seven month old baby can go one of two ways but thanks to the amazing Ashley I felt at ease – not only did she provide us with a spoon for Sadies lunch after I quickly realised I’d forgotten to pack one she also dashed over with a bowl for a smooth lunch time delivery. These may sound like incredibly simple tasks to those without children but I’m yet to encounter a more perceptive member of staff full stop. For those not eating Ellas Kitchen pouches we opted for bento boxes; Craig a British one and I the Asian choice. Mine was delicious, packed with chicken, noodles, ginger yoghurt and an asian inspired slaw while Craigs was a simple English picnic – think cheese sandwiches, ham terrine, chutney and the thing I was most envious of, a jam scone. My only critique of the spa cafe would be that I’d love to see it serve smoothies, as a slave to the NutriBullet I must say I missed my fresh fruit fix and with the gym facilities a stones throw away I bet members would lap these up.
After our lunch pit stop we took a guided tour of the hotel where I fell in love with the elegant decor of the drawing room where butler accompanied dining is an option, eat your heart out Downton Abbey. The sumptuous drawing room leads to the opulent chandelier filled champagne bar which was somewhere I could have happily whiled away an afternoon with my friends. Next we had a sneak peek of one of the private rooms available for weddings or events and we were instantly transported to Las Vegas complete with airport check in and sparkling Vegas signage (a business was hosting the coolest belated Christmas party ever). Before retreating to our bedroom to unwind and more importantly unpack we were shown the alpine lodge inspired Claret Jug, the clubhouse for the onsite golf course. Now golf has never been my bag but I could certainly start showing an interest to hang out here. Think roaring fires, antler light fittings and more slate and stone than you could shake a stick at. We got the impression seven month old babies weren’t the norm at the Claret Jug so maybe one for a date night as non-golfers can enjoy brassiere style dining here too.
With a weary baby in hand (I can’t tell you the number of times I said naughty teeth this weekend) we finally checked into our bedroom and instantly felt at home, with a blended spectrum of neutral tones, floral wallpaper, velvet chairs and the biggest bed you’ve ever seen room 117 did not disappoint. Spoiler alert, the bed was incredibly comfortable and the pillows? Let’s just say other hotels need to take note. Oh and did I tell you about the dreamy taupe hexagonal bathroom floor tiles? No I did not but I can confirm they were pretty spectacular. The only thing missing? A heated towel rail but that’s just me being picky.
Now for where Oulton Hall excels itself, the spa. This is definitely somewhere I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures but go and have a perv at the sedate interior here. Craig and I had a 25 minute treatment each and we both opted for the back massage, I was just about to nod off when my massage came to an end. It was that delightful. My therapist had a three year old herself so was fully aware of the backache you get carrying a young one so really concentrated on getting rid of those unruly knots in my neck and towards the top of my back, what a star. Sadie and I then waited for Craig to have his massage before we all went for our first family swim. The pool was fairly quiet by this time (about 6.20pm) so we only had to share it with two others. Watching Sadie laugh and giggle at her first swimming experience was the best and I even managed to get a few lengths in all whilst starting longingly at the hot tub. Props to Oulton Hall for the swish family changing rooms, a sentence I never imagined I’d utter but what a difference they make when you’re attempting to get a baby in and out of a swimming costume.
After the speediest shower and change known to man we headed to the Calverley Grill for dinner. The restaurant has a masculine formal vibe and I instantly felt a smidge underdressed in my faux leather mini and stripy top from Olive. Nevertheless I thought I better up my fancy with a glass of prosecco, when in Rome… For eats I chose the goats cheese & beetroot tarte for starters while Craig opted for the salmon terrine. I immediately had food envy at Craigs pick and while I enjoy goats cheese at any occasion I found my starter a touch disappointing. Thankfully both our mains were spot on, Craig opted for melt in the mouth beef and I the pumpkin ravioli. We rounded off proceedings with the chocolate truffle and cheese board. I love chocolate like a fat kid loves cake but my choice seemed to lack a certain somethin’ somethin’ while Craigs cheese board won best in show. With full stomachs and a sleeping Sadie we retreated to our first floor abode for a good nights sleep.
Now this is the part where my review comes to an abrupt end as Sadie and I enjoyed a rather lovely lie in while Craig popped down for breakfast Sunday morning. Craig cemented his keeper status by bringing me back not only a full English breakfast but also an orange juice and a bowl full to the brim with yoghurt, fruit and granola. While breakfast was tasty, even more so for me as I enjoyed it from the comfort of our huge bed Craig did say there was only one hot plate in action so there was a rather large queue for all things hot. Personally I’m surprised a four star hotel doesn’t offer an a la carte option for breakfast, think of all those poached eggs that could be Instagramed OH.
That said I can honestly say my little family and I had a fantastic break at Oulton Hall and if you’re planning on visiting Leeds soon but don’t fancy being amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre I can’t recommend Oulton Hall enough especially if you’re enjoying a romantic getaway or a girlie get together.
Have you ever stayed at Oulton Hall before? Do you love a spa mini break as much as me?
*Craig, Sadie and I were guests of Oulton Hall, all thoughts and opinions my own.