At the weekend I treated my husband to a spa stay as it was his birthday on Wednesday. Having two young children we don’t often get the chance to unwind but with the eldest one at her first brownie camp we took the opportunity for one of the grandparents to have some quality one to one time with the youngest.
After a week of pretty much zero sleep owing to the youngest having croup, we were very much looking forward to a relaxing break.
After a relatively short drive (45 minutes) we arrived at our destination, the Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa having booked the Spa Reviver Package with a room upgrade for £184.50. This package included a 3 course evening dinner, overnight stay with breakfast, access to the gym, pool and spa facilities along with £70 to be used against spa treatments! A complete bargain!
As soon as we checked in we visited the gym keen to work off some calories before consuming some additional ones that evening. We spent an hour and a half in the gym using the various equipment. Overall, it was a nice little gym with plenty of equipment.
We then decided to go for a swim and use the spa facilities which included a thermal suite with 6 different rooms. My favourite was the steam room! Unfortunately all the loungers around the pool were taken so we sat in the spa café area and I read a magazine whilst the hubby watched the F1 qualifying.
Sunday we were booked in for treatments. I opted for a Foot Rejuvenation package as my feet were in need of some TLC as I start to bare them in sandals followed by a Firm and Tone which focused on the bust, stomach and thigh area.
I had almost two hours of complete bliss and Rebecca who did my treatments was amazing and extremely knowledegable. I have had an issue with one of the toenails for a good few years now and after mentioning it whilst having previous pedicures no one has known what it is (basically the nail bed lifting). Rebecca was studying Podiatry at Huddersfield University (which funnily enough is where I am from) and she identified trauma to the nail area as the reason for the issue (which most likely happened whilst clubbing in Visage many moons ago) explaining that surgery would most likely be my only option (it’s nothing major, more a cosmetic thing that really I only notice), but did indicate that I could visit the Podiatry clinic at Huddersfield Uni where they could keep it in good shape to ensure I don’t have to go down that route – so that is definitely something I will be looking into!
The husband opted for a Indian Head and Back Massage and whilst waiting for his treatments to finish I actually had the opportunity to read a magazine. Following which we sat in the sun with a drink before heading home to see our girls to hear tales of the brownie camp and to find that the youngest has managed to chip off half of one of her front teeth!
Dunkenhalgh Hotel is set on a beautiful estate and almost resembles a castle with turrets on the outside of the building. Unfortunately, our room didn’t live up to the upgrade and smelt damp upon entry and looked a little bland. We thought that it was perhaps just the bathroom that had the odour but it looked as though the shower had at some point leaked into the bedroom and left it with a damp carpet. We didn’t make a complaint when we first entered our room as there were two weddings on and we didn’t want to be moved to a room nearer the noise as we were in desperate need of sleep. Turns out one the wedding guests set off the fire alarm in the main hotel at 3am in the morning, so I think I would have quite literally killed them had I have been awoken by it! So it was probably a good job we put up with the dampness for one night!
The service in the restaurant was also extremely slow although I have to say the food was absolutely amazing. The Roast Chicken dish was first class! Perhaps they couldn’t cope with the demands of two weddings plus additional guests to feed? If so, this is something that sorely needs to be addressed otherwise they will start to lose business in the quieter (non wedding) months.
Sunday morning as we had our treatments booked for 11am and check out time coincided we decided to take our bags to the car en route to the restaurant and then check out after breakfast. My husband wore very smart shorts – chino style – but was informed that he could not eat in the restaurant! The only sign stipulating this was within the restaurant which left us embarrassed as we were turned away, however we couldn’t exactly go back to the car to unpack just for the sake of half an hour so they allowed us to have breakfast in the bar area. The lack of information regarding dress code was quite obvious as a number of other male guests also turned up in shorts (one 3/4 length almost touching his ankles) only to be turned away which made for a rather chaotic morning which made the service (once again) rather slow! We appreciate the dress code in an evening, but when you are pushed for time in a morning the last thing you want to be doing is taking a change of clothing or having to go back to your room to change, especially if you room is quite a walk from the restaurant as was ours.
I’m not usually one to complain but the breakfast topped off the issues so I was determined to at least have my upgrade cost refunded. The Duty Manager was courteous and ensured this was taken off immediately and took our comments on board so I am hoping that these issues get resolved as it would be a shame for the venue to go into difficulties. Thankfully though the spa session on the Sunday made up for the issues with the hotel itself.
Verdict – I would probably go back for a spa day, but unlikely to stay over until I am confident that the issues I identified above are resolved OR they had an even more amazing deal on offer where I could turn a blind eye.