Birthday celebrations at Fawsley Hall Spa Hotel, Northamptonshire
My then-boyfriend (now-fiance – more on this in another post soon!) John’s birthday is at the start of April, so last month my gift to him was a spa break at Fawsley Hall near Daventry, Northamptonshire. I think this is our closest stately-home spa and my cousin had also bought us a gift voucher for afternoon tea there at Christmas, which we had to use within 6 months, so the timing was perfect. I booked the classic spa break, which included an overnight stay in the hotel and access to the spa facilities on both days, as well as two 25-minute treatments, a spa lunch, three-course evening dinner and a full-English and continental breakfast the following morning.
Fawsley Hall is a traditional manor house located in rural Northamptonshire, not far from Daventry. It took us around half an hour to drive there from our house and was a great opportunity for us to see our local countryside! The manor itself dates back to before the 15th Century and Queen Elizabeth I herself stayed at Fawsley Hall in 1575! As such, you can book the suite that she stayed in (the 1575 suite) and the main hall where they serve afternoon tea is called the Elizabethan Hall. The hotel is now part of the Handpicked Hotels group.
I knew that check-in wasn’t supposed to be until 3pm but we arrived a little bit early at around 10:30am as our first spa treatments were booked for 11am. We went to reception to ask if we could leave our bags there and head straight to the spa and they told us that our room was already ready! We went straight up to our room to get changed for the spa. The room was lovely and spacious with modern furnishings and there was a fruit bowl and ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting for John, which was a lovely personal touch.
When we arrived at the spa, we were led into a conservatory area to complete the standard health and safety forms before our treatments. We had tea and coffee whilst waiting, and we were also given a menu to pre-order our spa lunch. We’d already been given a time for our lunch reservation and I thought this was a great system for ensuring guests were able to maximise their time in the spa. The final part of our spa ‘induction’ was a tour of the facilities before we dropped our bags in the lockers in the changing rooms and got settled in our comfy robes!
As with many spas, the one at Fawsley Hall is an Elemis spa, which is fine by me! I love pretty much all Elemis products I’ve experienced from previous spa treatments and I really enjoyed the treatments I had here, which were included in the spa package. My morning treatment was a full body scrub, which I’ve never had before but would highly recommend! The scrub they used was a medium Frangipani salt scrub and it smelt incredible, as well as leaving my skin silky smooth. In the afternoon I had a pedicure whilst John had his first ever manicure, and we also booked an additional full body massage to really get into relaxation mode.
The weather wasn’t great during our stay, so we weren’t able to make the most of the outdoor spaces at the spa and hotel, although I’d love to go for a walk around the extensive grounds next time we visit. However, it did mean we maximised our use of the indoor spaces! The spa has treatment rooms and a relaxation room with super-comfy reclining chairs whilst you’re waiting for your treatments. In terms of pools, there’s a hydrotherapy pool outside (basically a giant jacuzzi) and then a proper swimming pool indoors, with loungers and chairs around the edge. The spa also has a sauna, steam room and gym. During our first day there, there was a problem with the boiler so the hydrotherapy pool and steam room weren’t actually working properly so they gave us a free day pass to use before October, which more than made up for it!
Food-wise, we had a spa lunch, a three-course evening dinner, full English and continental breakfast and afternoon tea during our stay, and all of the food was amazing! As I mentioned, we chose our spa lunch options when we checked in at the spa o when we went to the restaurant they brought it all straight out to us. I had a huge plate of breads with meats and olives to start, followed by a giant fishfinger sandwich/burger – probably not ideal just before a massage but it definitely helped me doze off whilst relaxing in the spa for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening, you could choose items off the set menu and they also provided the a la carte menu with supplementary charges if you had a package booked like ours. The food was lovely and not overly complex with fresh local ingredients. After dinner we retired to the Elizabethan Hall to finish our wine and I thrashed John at Scrabble (they had some board games around, which was a nice touch to make you really feel at home).
For breakfast the next day there was a substantial continental breakfast buffet for you to help yourself and they also did a great range of cooked breakfasts to order; I had a selection of items from a full English (because I don’t like half the items!) whilst John opted for eggs benedict. We had a few hours to enjoy some more spa time before our afternoon tea, which was booked for 3pm. They had a lovely menu of teas, from English breakfast to jasmine and then served the traditional finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and cakes (which we didn’t quite manage to finish).
Our spa break at Fawsley Hall was a wonderful way to get away for a short break without needing to travel too far. I think what really made our stay outstanding was the service from the staff, which we couldn’t fault. They were attentive without being overbearing, friendly, helpful and thoughtful, which showed from the birthday greeting card left in our room when we arrived to the free glasses of prosecco they gave us whilst we were relaxing by the pool. Now we just need to choose a weekend to go back sometime soon!
If you’re interested in finding out more about traditional spa breaks in the UK, another of my favourite places for a spa break is Hoar Cross Hall in Staffordshire (my home county!).