More about Hoar Cross Hall Health Spa Resort
I think the best way of summing up this hotel is to mention that it has soap dispensers in the hotel bathrooms, you know, the ones you get at service stations? It is a hotel that is owned by a very successful local lad made good. I know this because two copies of his management book were left on the bedside table. I also know this because he has kindly left photocopies of an article from a local paper about him on every table in the hotel. This sits well with the signed photos of Ant & Dec who also apparently enjoyed their stay there. On the evening, we settled in for our melon and parma ham starter followed by peppered steak (don’t worry, they also have Chicken supreme on the menu) followed by a sumptuous black forest gateaux desert (again, I believe that profiteroles were also available as well). In true footballers wives style, the meal was accompanied by the pianist belting out Lionel Richie’s greatest hits. The photos on the website are of a beautiful country house which is still there, you’ll just be staying in the Travelodge-esq extension to it, complete with pink carpets, gold taps, chandeliers and the aforementioned soap dispensers.
The hotel/spa is very popular with large groups of women, particularly hen parties. Indeed, each of the 30 therapists had 9 bookings each. Quite how you can relax in a basement full of 200 other people was beyond me, but from the other reviews this doesn’t seem to be a problem. Had I not just paid the thick end of £400 for my wife and I for a single night, perhaps I could have let this go.
Please, if you are looking for a spa break, venture another couple of hours up the road to Seaham Hall and understand the true meaning of luxury and how a spa should operate.
In short, it reminded me of a can of Ronseal. It does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a hotel with a spa afterall, it just does it with about as much finesse!
Disappointing and depressing
Have recently returned from a two night stay at this 'Spa' feeling thoroughly dissatisfied and depressed.
My friend and I arrived to be greeted by a far too familiar and cheeky male reception manager which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the stay.
Our 'Superior Twin' room was quite frankly a shock. The Twin beds were actually a linked double seperated into two singles but very close due to the double headboard and confines of the bedside tables - a call to reception revealed this was how twins were. Cosy.
The bathroom had us in stitches when we discovered the retro 'germolene pink' shell shaped suite complete with abundance of floral transfers. Our initial amusement soon wore off when we discovered the chipped 'Victoriana Car Boot' style framed print, the grubby plastic bin, broken shower head, public toilet soap dispensers and growth of mildew.
The bedroom carpet had several unsettling stains.
The evening meal menu was extensive but very poor quality - less choice, better quality please. Staff pleasant but overfamiliar and the 'Live' music (some guy with a guitar and an Eagles repertoire) so ghastly it made my companion feel quite faint.
The breakfast was revolting with none of the staff giving any guidance as to what was buffet and what was off menu meaning we missed out on what could have been ordered and had to make do with bacon that was floating in a grey broth. Yuk.
The therapists are on the whole lovely but the treatment rooms cramped and shabby - I was seated on an office chair that was ripped and losing its stuffing for a luxury hand treatment.
The whole place, and particularly the spa area, is almost impossible to navigate as it is literally an underground warren of corridors and rooms - and coupled with public areas lined with migraine inducing (ripped) patterned carpet this does not a relaxing experience make.
When you add to this the fact that the millionaire owner of this establishment has Hello mag style images of himself adorning every wall and two copies of his "How I became a millionaire" book available to buy in each room - this just adds insult to injury.
We did voice or opinions when we checked out and were offered a discount and a sympathetic ear, but having visited Ragdale which offers a far superior experience for the same price - we know where we will be going next time.
I have stayed 17 times
I stayed for 4 nights and had, as usual, a wonderful relaxing time. To me, the decor mentioned by some reviewers is part of the charm of the spa , but if you want the more modern feel then the Eden Day spa is for you. The Hoar Cross Hall staff are wonderful and the new developments, like the salt water pool and the massage chairs are great. There is plenty to do if that is what you want, but it is also quiet enough for a complete chill out. I have been going for 7 years since I was 50 and usually I go on my own, although this time I went with a friend. For lone travellers there are hospitality tables which you can join if you wish (just ask) but you don't have to. The food is great - don't go to lose weight - and the chef's puddings at lunchtime are delicious. The clientele are mainly women, as you would expect at a pampering place but there are some men there. I would recommend Hoar Cross (and have done so to many of my friends)
Myself and my friend visited Eden Day Spa at Hoar Cross Hall and can only describe the visit as a nightmare!! It really was truly awful. If you have never been to a spa before, you may think it is very good, BUT we would suggest that you visit Ragdale Hall and compare the two, you will be shocked, you really will!!
You arrive in the car park and are faced with a mis match of unmatched buidings. On arrival you are greeted by a member of staff who points you to the direction of the reception. You check in and go to the changing rooms, which is the best experience you'll get all day, so make the most of it.
There is no where you can really relax, there is one area which is full of leather settes, but this is like sitting in a hotel lobby as people are constantly walking through, chatting, laughing, hen nights having a wild time etc, etc, need I say more. The only other sitting area is actually in Hoar Cross Hall and that is the same. There is an area of massage of chairs, which are all in one line and people in groups sit shouting at each other and generally having a party of their own. If that is how you relax, you will love it, but we hated it.
Now the food, well, what can we say, absolutely awful and i mean awful. The starter was duck, not bad, you are then guided to the buffet, but you have no idea what the buffet is for? the main course? who knows, the staff are so unhelpful, they stand in a line watching you eat, they never smile, so you need to just hazard a guess. We chose chicken, we then had to visit the hot plate buffet, we were quite excited, until we saw it. Roast potatoes swimming in oil, rancid looking cauliflower, and the hardest parsnips you will ever eat in your life!! That is it! That is your dinner. We can only compare this to Ragdale Hall where the food is out of this world. There are no views at Eden Day, it is like being in prison, you could be anywhere as it is claustrophobic, very hot, dark etc etc. When you do go outside you end up squinting as your eyes just can't take it.
The pool is nice but it is like being on holiday with Germans, everyone saves their sun loungers with their robes!! There are shoes everywhere all in all a nightmare. I suggest that you take a book with you as you will be bored, we were, there is nothing else to do, but watch with amazement at the party like atmosphere at Eden Day Spa.
Not my idea of a relaxing day in any way shape or form. Save you money and go to Ragdale, experience a real relaxing day!!!!!!!
Great for a one night treat!
3 of us (all girls) stayed at the hotel for a one night/two day break. We were surprised by the size of the resort, it is huge!!! There are so many staff to look after you. I have never experienced anything like this before, it was really relaxing. Everyone walks around in bath robes and there arent really any rules where you can and cant go in it! We only got dressed properly for dinner. The food is really good. Breakfast is average, lunch is good but dinner is excellent. Lots of choice with a handy guide to the healthy options! There was an excellent band playing in the evening, someting we didnt really expect but made the evening special. If you are used to going to these spa resorts (champneys etc) I could imagine there would be a few things to complain about here, such as the underground layout of the rooms, little natural light and that the old part of the building is a little tatty in places. Despite this, the whole place has lots of charachter and I think it adds to the charm! The room we had was a triple room and was really nice, very clean and had everything we needed. I would say that it was very expensive for a one night break but when you consider that all food is included then it doesnt seem too bad. I could see that people would go with higher expectations due to the price. I would recommend this place to people who would consider a spa break to be a treat. Those who are used to being pampered may not appreciate the place as much as we did!!!
Beautiful stately home.
My best friend and I visited Hoar Cross Hall and stayed four nights.We wanted a relaxing getaway from our Hubby's and children.Somewhere we could recharge our batteries and take time to unwind.
We were a little concerned about what we would find when we arrived after reading some reviews on here but we were very pleasantly surprised.
We found the Hoar Cross with no problems,although a bigger signpost annoucing the hall would have been better! but as we were driving slowly down the lane we didnt miss it.Hoar Cross looked very impressive as we drove up to it.A porter wasnt around when we arrived so we had to drag our cases up the steps ourselves,something we wasnt too impressed about as my friend suffers with a bad back.We checked in and our luggage was taken away and we were given a tour round.We soon realised that it would take us a while to get our bearings.There are lots of corridors to make your way along but you soon get the hang of it.
We were invited to take advantage of a free lunch as we had arrived before 1pm so we made our way downstairs to the area you take your breakfast and lunch in.Lunch was a 3 course meal and the choices were plentiful.There are tea and coffee machines,water coolers all around the hall as well for you to drink freely throughout the day.Plus soft drinks around the pool area.
We then went up to our room where our luggage was waiting.We had room 227 and were very happy with it.It was in the new building and had just been re-decorated so looked very clean indeed.The decor was lovely,bathroom clean and spacious and we even had a spa bath.I didnt use it but my friend did and said it was fab.
We were handed our treatment schedule's from the spa reception and fitted in classes/talks around this.There are lots of classes to do if you feel energetic enough and a well equipped gym.Something I'm afraid to say we only noticed when we walked through there to get outside to our archery class! We tried Archery,golf,salsa and aqua splash.All good fun with nice instructers.We also did the stress talk and the hypnothearpy talk.
The rest of the time we spent around the pool area and in the water grotto's.We also went into the Eden day spa,this is seperated from Hoar Cross by a door opposite the relaxing wet room.We used the 25m salt pool and water grotto area in there.We didnt eat in there or have any treatments but it all looked very nice indeed.Our only niggle was that we had been told that the Eden day guests couldnt use the facilites in Hoar cross,thats a lie they can pop over to us as easy as we can go over there.They can also do two free classes at Hoar cross.Thus taking up the spaces in the classes there.But if you are an Eden guest you eat there and have your treatments there.
The treatments we had were lovely.The therapists were all nice.All wanting to please you with big smiles on their faces.In fact all the staff there are very friendly indeed.Beware though,my friend had a male client for a treatment and wasnt asked beforehand if this was ok with her.So if this makes you uncomfortable,tell them in advance.
The evening meal was quite a posh affair.It is held in the grand ballroom and is silver service.The choice of meals were fantastic and tasted divine.We were told it was smart/casual dress but some people were quite dressy.You could have wine with the meal but there was a big jug of iced water on your table as well.After your meal you can sit out in the long gallery and have your coffee.They have a band on some nights,the guy warbles on a bit but the girl has a lovely voice.Also there is a pianist who comes and a saxaphone player.Just playing nice background music.There is the champagne bar you can go to but this is also where the smokers go.....for now! They have a sign up saying from next summer the smokers have to go outside to the marquee.
All in all we had a great stay.We have also been to Ragdale Hall together,which is a lovely place but doesnt have the facilities that Hoar Cross has.There is more to do at Hoar Cross and we think it is better value as you can have free drinks all day.There are more varied classes and the choice of going into Eden day spa as well.Plus it was nice to have something on at night as well.I have also been to Springs Hydro and would rate Hoar cross as being a lot nicer.
In reply to other posts,this is a stately home so yes,it does look "old" in parts but this is just part of its character.The building dates back to the 16th century after all! Take a walk around the hall one day and into the grounds.It is really beautiful.Read up on the history of the place and how Mr Steve Joynes came to buy it and what he has done to it scince.Yes there are pictures of him with celebrities in the long gallery and a book all about him in your bedroom but we didnt find it offensive.Just of a man proud of what he has created.The place has a real family feel to it,and if you are in any doubt about that.The sight of the owner( a sprightly man in his 70's now) about the hall every day will convince you of it.
We have already booked our next visit and are counting down the days!
Very Roman and decadent
We've just returned from a 2 night break at Hoar Cross Hall - the only spa resort in a stately home (so they keep telling you). I'm a Tripadvisor fan and for some unknown reason, I never checked the reviews when deciding between here and Springs.
We go to a health spa nearly every year (Springs, Ragdale, Forest Mere, Sancturay, Babington House) and I've a penchant for Ragdale, but we wanted to try something different. We hadn't been to Springs for years, but thought we should still try out something totally new for us. HCH promised more and as we were paying more, we expected more.
Sitting in the spa yesterday, my hubby and I both questioned what people would say on TripAdvisor. Like many places, it's got mixed reviews. But I'm afraid we agree with the negative ones.
If you're in a big group of loud girls on a hen party and you love messing about, smoking, drinking, giggling and your idea of style is Ron Atkinson, West Midlands fake gold and 'glamour', this probably is the place to come.
If you're a husband and wife looking for a tasteful, restful health spa break, however, you've come to the wrong place. Health is the one things that's truly missing out of their approach.
I've never seen so much mayo on salads in a spa resort and was shocked that they served cream laden gateaux rather than yogurts. Never a choice of wholemeal rolls, always part baked (literally) white rolls.
When we were taken on our tour, I said I could smell cigars or a pipe - that's beacuase the champagne bar door is kept open and smokers use it all the time - unlike other resorts where they're in a tightly sealed room, with powerful air extractors.
Our room was freshly painted and had a new carpet, but still had tacky over the top furnishings and our bathroom was just like the pink one in the other photos. So dated and unrelaxing.
The place was very crowded and VERY loud. People had no sense of space or respect for others. Big groups out to dominate facilities and the atmosphere - in the spa and the bar. We only had one post-meal drink each evening as the bar was so full of smoke, it made your eyes sting. I also had to tell a girl she couldn't wander around the other areas with her fag and bubbly. Whether it was her or one of her friends, giggling in corridors, late at night, drunk and unable to get into rooms - someone woke Mark the first night and me the second night.
Breakfast is a place to fill up on fatty hash browns, toast by the loaf and anything else unhealthy to soak up the booze from the night before. Tea or coffee but no herbals around.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a big drinker and I love a night out with the girls, but I'd come here to escape from all that and to detox.
As writers and branding consultants, we despaired of the signs and booklets everywhere in the old part, but they told a true tale. HCH is based on the owner's idea of a 'roman spa'. It certainly was decadent and fading fast and full of fake Roman busts and balustrades. Pamper by day, get drunk and raucous at night, then get back in the spa to sort out your hangover the next day.
Those were the downsides. The Eden Spa section is what you'd expect - modern and tasteful. The water facilities are the best we've come across - wonderful aqua and detox areas. The residents get almost the same set of facilities, but these are also past their best. So we used the Eden ones.
The treatments were good, but spoilt by the sound of drilling/hammering and giggling wenches in corridors.
They gave us vouchers to entice us to return. We certainly won't, but will pass them on as the day spa would probably be worth it, but residentially you're much better off at Ragdale.
The best spar I've stayed in
I stayed in several UK spas and Hoar Cross is without a doubt my favourite - 7 visits to date. I agree with some reviewers - it is a bit faded round the edges but this is more than made up for by the absolute peace of the place and the friendliness of staff. At no time have I EVER heard noisy hen parties, though I don't spend time in the bar, preferring to treat the whole stay as a de-tox, rest and recuperation experience with early nights.
The staff are the friendliest of all the spas - none of the "superior" attitudes I have experienced in certain other spas. The rooms are not brand spanking new but are spacious, clean and comfortable.
The food is not 5 star but it is good, varied, well presented and served in pleasant surroundings. But if you want epicurean excellence, why choose a health spa?
I always go alone for the complete chill-out and so that can indulge myself without hyaving to consider what anyone else might want. Perfect! The complet relaxing selfish indulgence (then it's back to real life!) I've just booked my 8th visit for the spring and can't wait.
If you like bling and chavs, this is the place for you. I came here on business and from the outside, this was a grand old place. Parking was easy but access to other areas was poor for the location. However, I guess if you come here for a relaxation weekend, that does not matter. Most customers were hen parties and women seeking a spa retreat. I must admit that the pools were lovely and there were more than a few to choose from.
The rooms were horrible. It was like being lost in time. Back in the 1980's. Flowers and pale colours everywhere. What surprised me was my waterbed which I must say was more comfortable than I expected!! The rooms are in dire need for renovations. The owners rags to riches books were placed on the bedside for you to purchase. I say no more! The restaurant food was average and business facilities were not the best. No internet connections in rooms and only wireless if you sit near the front desk.
Spa : very good, hotel: lacking
Have just had a weekend away with my wife. Our intention was to have a pamper weekend, to get away from the stresses of work etc. This was a last minute booking. Normally I check on Tripadvisor before booking but this time, to my regret I did not.
Lets talk about the positive things first for there are many:
The spa is very nice and all the treatments we had were lovely. There is a good choice of treatments, several pools/ water grottos/ saunas / steam rooms etc. The gym is well equipped.
Rooms are adequate. I never expect fantastic rooms in old buildings and the room we had (the master suite) was fine.
The grounds are beautiful and very nice to walk around although it did not need all the reproduction statues that are everywhere. They look very out of place amongst the older features.
The evening meal, included in your bill was very good. A good selection of dishes served nicely.
Now to the negatives:
People seem to have polarising views about this place and actually all are valid. It highlights, that it is ideal for some but not all. Before you book, I think it is important to decide if it sounds like your place or not. It is worth being aware of the following:
The building/ resort is owned by a local self made multimillionaire. The guy is clearly an excellent businessman and I take my hat off to him for all he as achieved. However, his success is advertised everywhere for you to see from the copies of when he was featured in Hello magazine, to the "complimentary " book you will find in your room, written by him on how to succed in business and achieve like he has. The dining room, which is very grand, loses something when you see amongst the artwork, two portraits of the owner and his wife looking down on you. To some this may be fine. We just found it tacky. It was a bit too Delboy Trotter for me.
Likewise the array of signed photos of celebrities who have stayed at the resort are unavoidable. If you feel that the endorsement of Ant and Dec, Pam Ayres, Matt Goss, Girls Aloud and a Cliff Richard tribute singer, to name a very small few, then this is the place for you.
The bar was too small for the number of guests present and the seating therefore extends down the main corridor/ hallway. The drinks are not cheap and the bar is very smokey.
There were plenty of hen nights there, but that was no problem. They all seemed to really enjoy themselves and clearly many people love this place. We just felt that it lacked something and that you are likely to get better value for money elsewhere. For what you pay for, the place lacks attention to detail. The staff are friendly but many of them are young and are not as attentive as you would expect. It was not unusual at lunch or breakfast to be kept waiting to be seated until one of the staff noticed you were there.
You are expected to buy slippers from the boutique shop as these are not provided for you. It would be much better to have a complimentary pair of slippers (£3.99) than a complimentary "How to succeed at business book" (£9.99). Which brings me to the main problem with the place. It is a shrine to the owners success. Everywhere you turn is a remider of how well he has done. Good on him, but I don' t care! I came away to relax and forget about things, especially work. All around are reminders of how to succeed in life. Motivating for some, irritating for me.
After a while you view each thing with cynicism as if it is a business ploy to maximise profits and be a successful businessman. Signs on the dinner table telling you that waiting staff do not routinely refill you wine glasses "because we find guests like to pour their own" may be true, or is a way of keeping costs down and employing less waiting staff.
The bill comes complete with £20 per head gratuity already added when you check out. This was plain cheeky and no-one wants to look a tightarse and have it removed from the bill.
Don't get me wrong, we had a lovely weekend, but this place needs to narrow down the market it wishes to appeal to. Its very nice but not as grand as you would expect. For some a posh place is intimidating and if that is you, then this place is certainly appealing. However, the all inclusive price first quoted to you will soon rise once drinks, gratuities and additional treatments are addded.
Not a bad place by any means, just not one of the greats.