Adulting at Christmas can be stressful! Whilst all the mulled wine and mince pies certainly helps take the edge off, it’s still an absolutely manic time, leaving a lot of us feeling deflated by the time the big day arrives. That is why exactly one week before Christmas, my mum and I headed to the Carden Park Hotel & Spa in Chester for some relaxation before all the crazy Christmas shenanigans kicked off. Mum had decided that we needed a break – a festive spa break. And I cannot recommend it enough! Especially if you book into a Hotel & Spa as luxuriously festive as the Carden Park Hotel…
Surrounded by 1,000 acres of beautiful Cheshire countryside, the Carden Park Hotel looks like a modern day Downtown Abbey. We arrived late afternoon catching a beautiful sunset on our arrival, which only made the grounds even more picturesque. Lined up outside the hotel are beautiful little trees all twinkling with festive fairy lights and you can’t help but feel all Christmassy as you pull up outside.
However, it’s walking into the hotel that really made us gasp. Personally, I’d been struggling to get into the Christmas spirit this year, but it’s hard not to at Carden Park. Beautiful fire places with toasty fires were on either side of us as we walked in through the rotating doors. Ahead of us, right next to the stair case, stood a huge beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and every archway and corridor was decked out with bells, baubles and big red bows. It was beautiful.
The plan was to indulge in yummy foods, tasty wine and spoil ourselves with some much needed pampering. So first on the agenda (after a long day out in Chester notching up those fitbit steps) was a lazy lie down in our beautiful twin bedroom. We each had a HUGE double bed and the room had loads of space, it made a nice change from all the cramped Hostel dorms I’ve been staying in lately. And I have a thing for big beautiful white bathrooms and this one didn’t disappoint! The pictures just don’t do it justice.
We had dinner reservations at 8.15pm in the Hotels restaurant, so we popped down to the bar a little earlier to grab ourselves a cheeky bottle of red which we enjoyed by the open fire (whilst taking a zillion pictures on our phones, you’d think we’d never seen a fireplace before, we have one in our house!)
With Christmas literally around the corner, the weekend wasn’t about splashing all our cash, so we had pre-booked ourselves in for the three course set menu. As set menus go and my own personal experiences with them (ie organising 25 meals for my Sisters Hen do, four weeks in advance, only to have them tell me on the night they had ran out of all of our deserts) I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But actually the menu looked incredible, and we had a hard time choosing. But after a good 15 minute debate, my Mum and I ended up ordering the exact same meal; Ham Hock & Parsley Terrine to start, Pan seared Pork Steak for main with braised potato and chorizo, and Vanilla Panacotta for desert which was (obviously) my favourite part of the whole dinner.
It’s not like my Mum and I to order the same thing, we have very different tastes, but after my recent South America adventures I decided to continue with my theme of trying new or different things. The pork steak is something I would NEVER normally order, and I’m also shocked I was able pass up on chocolate for dessert. But I made the right decisions as the food was delicious, I couldn’t fault it. The only downside was the service was a little slow, we had to wait quite sometime between our start and main, but the super smiley and friendly attitudes of the staff made up for the delays on our food. We ended our evening with two creamy hot chocolates by the open fire. Heavenly.
The next morning we were up bright and early for the breakfast buffet, which is included in the price of the room and begins at 7am, ending at 10am. Carden Park offer everything from healthy yoghurts, oats, fruits and cereals, to the full English Breakfast, complete with bacon and hashbrowns. Food is serve yourself and there are staff on hand for your drink orders.
I began my breakfast with a very good attempt at being healthy – yoghurt, berries & granola. Delicious. However a quick peek at the pastries and before I knew it I’d accidentally eaten two mini cinnamon swirls and a chocolate twist. Oops. Too good to resist.
After breakfast we headed to the Spa as we were both booked in for appointments at 11am. I was having a 60 minute hot stone massage, something that had always intrigued me but I’d never tried. I had no idea what to expect and had a mini panic that I was going to somehow get burnt by these ‘hot stones’. But all my nerves vanished as soon as we entered one of the relaxation waiting rooms; dimmed lights, pretty candles, wonderful aromas and calming music filled the room of comfortable beds. We had a lie down, taking in the relaxed environment, until our names were called for our treatments.
The hot stone massage was one of the most relaxing treatments I’ve ever had! As tranquil music played, my therapist used the smoothest of hot stones, as well ESPA oils and products to completely relax my neck, back and legs. At one point I actually couldn’t tell what was stone and what wasn’t, I didn’t care, it just felt incredible and was exactly what I needed.
The rest of the day was spent swimming in the pool, lazing on the heated pool beds and jumping in and out of the Jacuzzi. There is a sauna and steam room available, but we skipped these as I’m not a huge fan. We also had lunch in the Spa’s very own restaurant (yup, lunched in our robes, how snazzy are we?) I ordered a salmon & prawn sandwich, and as Mum can’t eat bread they made her a salmon & prawn salad. Ten points for the lunch it was absolutely delicious.
Taking those two days out of a hectic schedule with all the Christmas and New Year stress is something I recommend everyone try. Even if you just go for a Spa afternoon with some mates, or have a night in a hotel with your hubby, it’s worth considering. I think we might make ours an annual trip and get my Sisters involved or maybe a few friends.
We left the Carden Park Hotel 24 hours after checking in, feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready for our Christmas celebrations to begin.
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