Spa break on a budget- Whittlebury Hall.

Sometimes all you need is a quick break to relax and rejuvenate, and often this is at times when you're stressed, overworked, or really really busy. It's great to book a lovely spa break and have something to look forward to, but what if you just need something a tad last-minute?

We all do it, check the comparison sites, the holiday deals, and the spa guides, all in the endeavour of getting some really great package for our budget. You look for something not too far away for a weekend break, but also somewhere unfamiliar to feel like you're actually on holiday. You also wish for something that everyone will enjoy- Whether it's for romance, for the whole family, or just the ladies, its difficult to find somewhere that will provide everything in a single place, for say, a single night.

Whittlebury hall is located in Towcester, Northampton, very near Silverstone race course. It is nearing the centre of England so very easily accessible. Driving into the venue, you are surrounded by the green of a golf course, and the atmosphere of a country setting. It sprawls across a few linked traditional buildings, giving the feeling of a resort or club. Do not be put off by the convoluted site when booking, it comes across as more of a business or conference facility rather than a spa and golf hotel. The lobby is stretched between the different aspects of the venue, from the spa building, to dining, and accommodation. It appears reminiscent of a cross between a country pub and generic hotel. It is clean and tidy, decorated with lots of motor racing memorabilia, but perhaps has a slightly dated feel. None the less, it is professional, and still maintains a comfortable ambience.

There are always several offers and promotions on the site if you search, these are especially good value, as you can technically get a full spa break with lunch, dinner, and breakfast for under £100 per person sometimes.

Check in for us was set early as we have access to the day spa, and upon arrival we were told they were not quite ready for us. We waited in the bar for a while before checking again only to be told our room was still not available. The manner of the staff is pleasant, although in the hour we waited it would have been nice to be kept in the loop rather than feel like we were consistently pestering them.

Our room is large and clean. It maintains the slightly old fashioned decor of the hotel generally, but the bed is comfortable, and the welcome tray of nibbles and drinks is much appreciated. It has all the amenities you would hope for, and includes many of the home comforts and toiletries you might forget to bring. The bathroom is meticulous in cleanliness also, and includes his and hers sinks, with a stand in bath shower.

We only have time for a quick change before heading in our bath-robes to the spa, where we have each have 25 minute back, neck and shoulder massages. When entering the spa entrance, we are told that you must either bring or buy your own flip flops, something we were not aware of, so we put them on the room tab. The waiting area for treatments is upstairs, a bright and airy space starting your relaxation journey. Our massages are wonderful, the perfect solution to soothing those aches and any weariness. Our masseuses are helpful and polite, adhering to any pressure requests, and giving helpful advice for further treatment or product options.

 The day spa is large and again divided into the pool room, and hot and cold experiences room. There are immersive hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, and the pool is large and spacious with an area of relaxing bubbles. It is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle, and offers a wide variety of facilities. Lunch options usually are from a buffet, and the informal atmosphere where you can relax in your robe make it quite casual. The selection is modest, but caters for many tastes from seafood to soup.

Dinner, when included in the package, is usually from a set menu from their more relaxed diner 'Astons' and will allow you to buy perhaps x3 courses if you stick to the more basic options. It also does not include drinks and the service charge, so remember that even if you think you'll stick to budget, its best to bring some extra. The food choices are restaurant quality, with a good variety although lack the finesse of say AA rosette cuisine, which you can find in their other restaurant 'Murrays'. Having such a variety of dining options supplements the feel of the report style venue, and is potentially a great idea if you are staying for more than a single night. We had a slight hiccup with our dinner experience when we arrived and they said we had already checked in to eat our set menu. This caused some confusion, especially when at the bar later, it seemed that you simply had to name your room number to add items to the tab, rather than present a key. All was resolved however, with a quick reassuring chat to reception to ensure we were not being charged for other peoples meals and drinks.

In all, Whittlebury Hall might not be the encapsulation of luxury, but it certainly is wonderfully good value. Don't expect the VIP treatment, but with friendly staff and a wide variety of things to do aside from the spa, the golf course, and local attractions, it certainly is a venue to consider.

*Some pics courtesy of Whittlebury Hall.

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