Anyone who knows me is aware that I’ll do pretty much anything to jet off to exciting new destinations. My calendar usually sports several planned getaways and when I’m not travelling, I’m writing about my adventures here on this blog. However, due to the current global uncertainty thanks to COVID-19, travel abroad has been at times difficult, and at others almost impossible. I made the decision that venturing outside of the UK was not going to be an option for me until things settle a little, but this left me with an incurable case of itchy feet which was making me quite miserable. It was then the opportunity arose to go on a staycation to Shrigley Hall Hotel and Spa and I leapt at the chance!
I found Shrigley Hall one day while mindlessly scrolling on Groupon, mourning the many trips I was unable to go on. It was at that point it occurred to me; I might not be able to go abroad, but what about a mini-break somewhere closer to home? So, I began my search, and I was pleasantly surprised that Groupon have a wide range of UK deals at the moment, offering excellent rates for a few nights away. These mini breaks are perfect for those wanting a little holiday from the daily grind, but without having to leave the country. They seem to have hotel deals all over the UK, so whether you want to venture further afield or stay close to home, they pretty much have you covered! This is where I found Shrigley Hall with the offer of a 2-night stay with a 3-course meal, bottle of wine, breakfast both mornings and afternoon tea. It sounded like bliss and I booked it on the spot!
Shrigley Hall Hotel and Spa is a Georgian country house with real “Austen vibes” situated in the beautiful countryside of Maccelsfield, Cheshire. It sports 155 rooms offering levels of luxury to suit all, from standard doubles to executive suites and is set on acres of rolling British greenery, some of which has been landscaped into a fantastic golf course. It has recently undergone a large-scale refurbishment and spruce-up (though there are still a few things left to re-vamp) so you can fully bask in the 4* opulence this gorgeous place offers.
I was in one of the deluxe double rooms during my stay. The room was one which had not yet had a re-vamp, so being totally honest it was a little dated. However, the room was in line with Shrigley’s historical theme which I really enjoyed, and the room had a cosy feel. The place was spotlessly clean, and the four-poster bed was made up with crisp, white sheets and was fantastically comfortable – I certainly had no trouble sleeping that weekend! The lighting was a little on the dingey side, which for the ladies could pose an issue when applying makeup – I think we’ve all made the mistake of doing our foundation in a dimly lit room and have appeared in daylight looking like an Oompa Loompa, well this was definitely a risk here!
However, the lighting in the bathroom was much better and you were greeted with a large shower-bath which I enjoyed a decadent, bubbly soak in. The bathroom had a large sink area with a handy shelf to put your bits and bobs and a small selection of complementary toiletries. The one thing I noticed was missing was a hairdryer, luckily, I had brought my own, but I was surprised there wasn’t one provided as stated on the website.
Back in the room there was also a kettle coupled with a pleasant selection of teas, coffees, hot chocolate and biscuits which, as a chain tea-drinker, was certainly well-received. There was a large, mounted TV which provided the perfect way to wind down whilst snuggled in bed. The only real issue I had with the room was the number of plug sockets and their location. There was only a total of 4 available sockets in the room , two of which were right under the bed so not really that accessible and the others were where the kettle was plugged in on the desk at the other side of the room. It would have been nice and more convenient to have plugs at either side of the bed in order to charge phones on the nightstands. But in the grand scheme of things I can appreciate my moans are minimal.
On the first evening a 3-course meal was provided. The main restaurant was beautiful with large floor to ceiling windows, a view of the grounds and a climbing fake cherry blossom tree fanning out in the middle of the room. The side dining area was a little less picturesque but had a nice intimate feel and all tables were nicely separated to comply with social distancing. My server was incredibly helpful, and the staff were incredibly efficient. I was treated to a set meal with 4 options to choose from for the starter, main and dessert. The food was pleasant though it was clear they had been mass-produced as these set menus often are and was not as fresh as it could have been. However, it tasted good and it was lovely to experience a sit-down meal in a lovely atmosphere.
The next day for breakfast I had a full English including hot beverage and a juice. There was also the option of a continental breakfast for those who prefer a lighter start to the day. Because of COVID restrictions each table had a personal server for breakfast who would get your food for you based on a tick sheet placed on each table where you checked off the items you would like. I found this to be a pretty good system, and the full English provided a tasty start to the day.
The afternoon tea was perfect. It included unlimited refills on tea, a glass of prosecco, a scone with jam and cream, multiple finger sandwiches with assorted fillings and a selection of desserts. I had a wonderful time sampling all of it and was left happy and satisfied once I finished hoovering up all the tasty treats. I was so excited to get stuck in I completely forgot to take a picture of how wonderful it looked!
As previously mentioned, Shrigley Hall is based in Macclesfield which is in a great location to explore the surrounding area. You are under an hour from Chester Zoo, Knowsley Safari Park and the beautiful city of Chester. You can also check out the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre with its world-famous telescope or, like I did, just take a walk to admire some of the gorgeous surrounding countryside. There are also several local towns and villages sporting lots of pubs and cafes too if you’re craving some fresh air and a change of scenery from the hotel.
Now, onto my favourite part, THE SPA!! This was definitely the highlight of the trip for me as I really struggle to relax, and I rarely allow myself a complete wind down which I definitely got here!
The spa facilities are accessible at an additional cost and were not included in the Groupon voucher. However, I decided to splash out for some much-needed R&R and did not regret it! They offer three different time slots (9am – 1pm, 1.30pm – 5.30pm and 6pm-9pm) throughout the day to use the facilities which include several pools and Jacuzzis both indoor and outdoor, the steam room and sauna and access to the lounge areas and bar. It’s £39 mon-thurs or £49 fri-sun to use the spa facilities during the two, day slots and £25 mon-thurs or £35 fri-sun for the evening slot. My personal recommendation would be the evening as you can watch the sunset from one of the outdoor pools.
The wide variety of beauty treatments are offered at an additional cost, but spa entry is included with any treatment. The spa at night had an incredibly soothing atmosphere with soft, mood lighting and several warming pools and Jacuzzis to soak away your stresses. The outdoor pool was a little on the chilly side but after speaking to staff, the pool should be a balmy 30 degrees and they’re still working out the kinks of keeping it warm. I’m confident this will be an exceptional feature once they’ve addressed this. My favourite part of the weekend was being submerged, drink in hand being massaged by bubbling warm water and being able to fully switch off from the world outside. If you go to Shrigley Hall, the spa is a must!
I feel I need to give a special mention to the hotel staff who went out of their way to be friendly, helpful, adhere to COVID restrictions and make my stay memorable. I wish all hotel had such impressive customer service! Though speaking of COVID safety, I feel the need to mention here how well Shrigley Hall had addressed guest safety whilst maintaining that vacation vibe. A few protocols which were in place included:
- The spa had a limited number of guests allowed, this actually made it a very exclusive experience which I loved but, be sure to book in advance to ensure you get a space during your stay.
- The Spa steam room was shut due to safety precautions of circulating the virus, but everything else was open and at your disposal.
- All guests had to wear masks in all public areas aside from when dining
- All staff wore masks and they had protective screens up around the reception and bar areas
- All meals had to be booked in throughout your stay to limit numbers in one sitting
- Breakfast is usually a buffet, but as explained above, you have a server and a tickable menu instead
- The dining areas are set up with screens or appropriate spacing between guests and all tables are disinfected after each use
This staycation for me was just what the doctor ordered and left me feeling re-charged and my feet a little less itchy and raring to travel. I think during these times it is important for our mental health to get away in a safe and sensible manner for a change of scenery and to shake off some of the COVID misery we’re all currently feeling. I think one thing being locked down has taught me is there is so much to appreciate about your own country that I often overlook in favour of venturing abroad. I will certainly be booking more staycations in the future, even after this pandemic has blown over! Thank you Shrigley Hall for a fantastic stay!
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