Carden park outside

Is this the best spa in the UK?

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In need of some downtime? Check in to this £10 million spa in leafy Cheshire.

It’s not often I’m at a loss for words, but the drive up to the £10 million spa within the impressive Carden Park Estate left me speechless.

The estate, in the Cheshire countryside, is set among 1,000 acres of lush greenery. The multi-million-pound complex boasts a stunning hotel with 197 rooms (six of which are accessible), as well as 18 suites, a leisure club, two restaurants and an impressive golf course.

There are plenty of activities on offer, so much so that even if you’re not paying a visit to the spa, there’s loads to do to keep you entertained throughout your stay — including clay pigeon shooting, a 210m zipline and archery — as well as nearby excursions, such as to Chester Zoo. In my opinion, though, the spa is where the hotel really comes into its own.

At a glance

As befits Britain’s multi-award-winning destination spa hotel, from the moment you arrive, everything is quite fabulous.

Changing rooms are spacious and clean, stocked full with GHDs for post-spa maintenance, as well as comfy robes, slippers and luxury amenities.

After changing, you’re taken up to the lounge area, where you can enjoy a healthy lunch at the Elements Restaurant — dishes are crafted using locally sourced ingredients, with highlights including the homemade buttermilk pancakes and the Korean rump steak sandwich — and quench your thirst with delicious champagne cocktails.

The facilities are second to none, with my favourite part of the day being the chance to relax in the spa garden. Here, you can hop between thermal outdoor plunge pools and whirlpool baths, get your laps in in the outdoor pool, or unwind with some girl time beside the firepits or in the heated pods.

I visited on a particularly chilly spring day and, although the weather wasn’t up to par, it was still probably one of the best spa visits I’ve experienced — although there’s an indoor thermal suite (with a panoramic sauna, might I add), for those looking to seek respite from the unpredictable British weather.

The spa also has Twilight sessions, where guests can experience the spa underneath the stars, which I’ll definitely be returning for.


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The treatments

The spa boasts both classic, relaxing treatments, as well as more specialised beauty treatments.

Classic massage and facial treatments take place within the three individually themed relaxation rooms, and include the likes of the Signature Facial, which utilises powerful ingredients such as vitamin C and E to rejuvenate the skin. Another popular treatment is the Botanical Massage, which works to relieve tension and diminish fatigue by using a blend of essential oils and customised techniques.

Personally, at the time of visiting, my skin was in dire need of some TLC, with areas of congestion and a few breakouts, so I booked in for the Mesoboost Clinical Facial.

Clinical treatments take place in the Bollinger Beauty Bar, an ornate room with views of the Cheshire countryside, which managed to help me feel relaxed despite the microneedle-style machine that was stamping active ingredients into my skin.

The Mesoboost Clinical Facial is a non-invasive skincare treatment that uses an Electroporation Transdermal Meso-chip System (that’s ETM, basically another form of microneedling), to infuse scientific products into the skin. The treatment aims to address several skin concerns, including dehydration, uneven skin tone and wrinkles.

Post treatment, my skin looked plump, hydrated and glowing — my makeup was also sitting better on my skin for days after. For best results, the treatment should be repeated every two to three weeks.

Other treatments offered in the Bollinger Beauty Bar include lash lifts, manicures and pedicures and LED light therapy, among others.

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The hotel

As expected, the rooms are every bit as decadent as the rest of the hotel. The spa experience left me feeling relaxed, and I was glad to retreat to the comfort of the spacious double bed at the end of the day.

Each room has views over the Nicklaus golf course, as well as a Sonos sound system, 50-inch TV and complimentary toiletries.

For dinner, it’s down to The Vines Restaurant, headed up by executive chef Graham Tinsley MBE. Here, expect impeccable service in an upmarket restaurant (tip: although it’s a spa weekend, be sure to pack something fairly dressy for dinner, otherwise you’ll be sat in the unexpectedly fancy restaurant in leggings and an oversized jumper, like I was), and incredible dishes such as butter poached cod and whole dover sole. Tip:

For those that aren’t quite ready to end the night, head to Morgan’s Bar to browse its extensive selection of gins, whiskys and cocktails.

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The verdict

As part of my job, I’ve been lucky enough to visit several spas around the UK and, in my opinion, this is one of the best.

From the outdoor elements of the spa, to the vast array of both relaxing and clinical treatments available, each part of my visit was incredible. Service was impeccable, the rooms extremely comfortable, and the dining up there with some of London’s best restaurants.

I only stayed for one night, so my only complaint is that I wasn’t there for longer. My advice for those looking to visit Carden Park Hotel is to allow yourself time to experience each element of the hotel as, whether you’re travelling on your own, with friends or family or as a couple, there’s something here to experience for everyone.

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