Spa Break at the Norton Grange Hotel, Manchester
After an epic journey (thank you unbelievably busy holiday traffic!) we arrived with moments to spare, before our treatments at the Mercure Norton Grange Hotel, Rochdale. These treatment times had been kindly swapped by another hotel guest, as we were unable to make our original times an hour earlier (very lucky as the spa was fully booked!) so as we reclined at the nail bar and unwound on the treatment beds, we gave a sigh of relief that we had finally got there.
All eager to try something new, we chose different treatments: I enjoyed a file and polish using Orly nail products, our pregnant colleague drifted off with a soothing scalp and shoulder massage on one of the venue's two heated water treatment beds (more on that later) with the other two ladies from SpaStaySelect enjoying back, neck and shoulder massages in the calming atmosphere of the Norton Grange treatment rooms.
After being pampered by the spa team, we were excited to see the leisure facilities and take a dip in the ‘open-air’ hydro pool. This pool has an area that brings the outdoors in by raising the outside “wall” and the warmth of the heated, bubbling water combined with the sun on your face through the trees means that this is a little oasis tucked around the back of the hotel.
The spa had much more available though, so begrudgingly we got out of the hydro pool to explore. The Norton Grange thermal suite (a collection of chambers all with varying heat) has five chambers including the Aroma Room, Rock Sauna, Steam Room, Bio Sauna, Ice Room and Two Experience Showers. My favourite had to be the Rock Sauna (it had a wonderful smell to it almost like roasting chestnuts) and was hot without being overwhelming. As I enjoyed the thermal suite the girls headed to the 18-metre pool to cool down before we got ready for pre-dinner drinks on the spa terrace.
The terrace is perfect for romantic getaways or hen parties that would like a relaxing drink in the sun and makes the perfect place to sit after your spa treatments. The sun was setting as we enjoyed a Pimms and it was a tranquil moment after the hectic journey from earlier. Dinner was served in one of the private dining rooms. These rooms, varying in size, are perfect for large wedding, birthday or business parties and our smaller room happily sat three larger dining tables with ample space for all the guests. They are different from the corporate rooms, which have all leather chairs, large board room tables and projection screens. The private dining rooms are lightly decorated meaning that you can put your own colour scheme on the décor for your wedding celebrations.
Dinner was served by an all-singing, all-dancing comedy waiter - it was quite the ice breaker when he started serenading the guests and everyone had a lot of fun talking about his antics between bites of mozzarella and bacon-stuffed chicken breast on a bed of asparagus and mixed vegetables. Apart from this one amusing member of staff, the rest of the team were impeccably behaved! The head waiter was very attentive to my food allergies and made sure that my food was just as delicious despite the need for extra care in the kitchen to avoid certain ingredients and cross contamination.
After dinner we enjoyed at the bar and thanks to its cosy decoration and friendly atmosphere, enjoyed talking with fellow guests for nearly an hour!
Retiring to our spacious standard double rooms, we had a very comfortable and quiet night’s sleep (impressive as my window was open) before a delicious breakfast the following morning. There was plenty to choose from, no matter what your morning preference: the Full English, a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, yogurts and pastries were all on offer, plus tea, coffee and fruit juice to enjoy before we were off to the next hotel!
Next stop: the Last Drop Village Hotel in Bolton!