Anyway, that's by the by, this is a review. My friend decided that we all needed a break and suggested we go to her local spa hotel The Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich. This is a hotel and spa built around an ancient manor house, with, as the name would suggest, some attractive wild gardens and a brook. It is part of the Swallow Hotels group.
Now, a spa break might not seem the thriftiest of weekends away, lovely though it was. The thing is - this break was only £99! Intriguing - usually you'd pay far more. So what did I get for my cash?
- One night in a single or twin (if sharing) room. We all opted for single rooms as for various reasons we were all knackered!
- Use of the leisure and spa facilities on the day of arrival and the next morning
- One treatment at their Blissful Spa
- A three-course dinner in their restaurant
- Full English Breakfast
- Chocolates and flowers in the room
- Use of a luxury bathrobe and slippers
- Free Wi-Fi as standard
...Which is quite a fullsome package. Even with wine with dinner and a beer beforehand, my total spend came in at about £110 for a whole weekend including food and accommodation. OK, my mummy-mate did make us a picnic lunch on the first day, but bar that everything you'd need was included.
The spa area was excellent - warm, with a huge, clean pool. There is also a hot-tub spa, sauna and steam room (which smells minty fresh!). They provided a good choice of treatments at their Blissful Spa - I went for a back massage which was uber relaxing (and not back-bashing as some can be!). My mates opted for facials and a manicure, again superbly executed and not rushed at all. When one of us was late due to traffic they were exceptionally helpful about moving the appointment.
There is a sunbathing area next to the spa - sadly for us, much too cold to use that day. However the grounds themselves are peaceful and spacious. You would imagine you're in the middle of the countryside not in the suburbs! The suburban location makes it quick and easy to reach though, whether by car or train.
|Check out my drying bikini photobombing my chocs-and-flower|
After splashing around for the afternoon, we went up to our rooms. One thing I would suggest is, if you go with a friend, opt for the twin rooms. A couple of my mates had been before and whilst the single rooms are pleasant, quiet and clean, they need a bit of a fresh lick of paint here and there whereas I hear the twins and doubles are more modern. The facilities you'd expect from a good hotel were all in place though: toiletries, fluffy towels, a decent sized TV, hairdryer (important post-spa!) and of course the Kirby Trouser Press! With the spa package you also get a sweet surprise... a little box of luxury truffles and a bunch of flowers. The bed itself was extremely comfortable with a huge thick duvet - too thick for me, I had to open the window as the night became quite humid.
The bar and restaurant are located in the oldest part of the hotel, complete with historic wood panelling. It's quite a special space in which to have your dinner and the food itself was delicious and very ample. You pick off the set menu - with about four choices per course, but if you fancy a massive steak you can have one by paying a small supplement, We could hardly eat dessert. By which I mean we ummed and ahhed and then did and then rolled up to bed like weebles. I chose a goat's cheese salad to start, followed by a delicious creamy wild mushroom pasta and finally a fruity meringue. Given that I was off my food at the time, it was just what I needed. The fruity dessert was an absolute winner, and I'm not even a big dessert person.
|Me looking ill with bad hair|
Again, at breakfast the portions were generous. It is a 'serve yourself' full English - I tested an egg (the best way to check how long a breakfast buffet's been hanging around) and it was all good. Well, I tested an egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and toast. And tea and juice.
All in all, I must say I was astounded that it only cost £99. A superb package for the money. I will return soon... celebrating my recovery. Belstead Brook do a variety of low-cost breaks (click here for everything from relaxation breaks to 70s nights!) so I might have to encourage my gal-pals to embrace my love of all things 70s next time, and break out the flares and maxis! With these breaks, costing in the main the same as a B&B but including food and entertainment, you really do save a packet compared to a night in (say) a Premier Inn, with dinner, overpriced city bars, cinema or nightclub ... if you're not visiting somewhere for he sights, but are after a good chinwag, a glass or two of wine, some luxury and a chillax, I would thoroughly recommend this kind of package. Or maybe I'm just an oldie!
I paid for this trip and the hotel folk had no idea I was a blogger...