Hollins Hall Spa is at the Marriott Country House Hotel and sits perched on a hill near Shipley in West Yorkshire (it took us roughly 20 mins from North Leeds). I’d heard the Hollins Hall name before, but must admit I didn’t know it was a spa hotel until recently. Hollins Hall has retained it’s country house appearance, despite having extended the property, as these hotels often have. The extension has been well done, so the overall look of a lovely country pile has been kept.
We arrived early on Saturday to find our room was ready early as we’d requested. The rooms were decorated in the usual Marriott house-style (very traditional). The room was comfy with all the usuals that you’d expect (tea making facilties, biscuits etc.).
For those who prefer to stay connected (erm, me!) there is free WiFi in the public areas of the hotel and spa and there is paid-for access in the room. I used my Vodafone 4G reception for my mobile and tethering my iPad. Those who prefer to disconnect…can, happily! I like to have the choice (yeah, yeah…I’m a control freak). The only thing I’d like to see in the rooms are more details about the immediate area…walks around Hollins Hall.
Hollins Hall Spa
We were on the 2nd floor of the hotel, making it easy to walk a bit down the hallway to Hollins Hall Spa. We had booked in for a body polish and mini-facial each.
Now, treatments at a hotel spa can often be very hit or miss. I find that hotel spas can attract inexperienced therapists who give a massage that isn’t worth half the price tag. Not so with the Hollins Hall Spa…my beauty therapist was Sarah Booth who had over fifteen years experience and boy, it shone through! She applied the Decleor fruit seeds scrub, I showered and she then applied moisturiser. Perfect for getting my skin a bit more ready for showing itself in the upcoming hot summer days (OK, a girl can dream…)
Next up was the Decleor facial. I asked for a hydrating facial, as although I’m very good with my facial skincare routine (I worship at the alter of Hirons), I can be susceptible to dehydration (not enough water drunk…ever!)
I haven’t used Decleor products before, so it was a good introduction to their range…
Sarah applied the products with expert strokes and a firm pressure (I really liked that the form you fill in before your treatment asks you what pressure you like).
I walked out feeling very relaxed and happy. Bonus points definitely given for the free goodie bag for being a residential hotel guest!
We were pretty hungry for some lunch after our treatments, so we stopped by Zest the café / bar near Hollins Hall Spa. They have a full Starbucks offering, extensive bar and lunch menu. I had some butternut squash soup and a glass of prosecco (why the hell not? I was there to relax…). The atmosphere was quite male and golf orientated, but pleasant. This is a great place if your husband is into golf…send him onto the course (they have an 18 hole Championchip course and covered driving range) and you indulge yourself in the spa!
In terms of the food…the butternut squash soup was OK, a bit watered down…the ham hock fritters were lovely.
Saltaire & Salt’s Mill
Hollins Hall Spa is just 5 mins away from Saltaire, so we decided to go over to Salt’s Mill. My husband hadn’t been before and I was eager to go back to browse the lovely books and art. We had a fab few hours leafing through design books, checking out the homeware and antiques. I bought a few books and some washi tape (I love that stuff!) and for the first time, I stopped to watch the video about the history of Salt’s Mill. I’m so glad we did, it was great to see how Saltaire came about and the importance of Sir Titus Salt and later Jonathan Silver in creating and keeping going Saltaire. I had no idea that Saltaire was a UNESCO Heritage site. I can see why, Saltaire is a very historic place…the Victorian mill is expansive and the restoration has done it proud.
We grabbed a cuppa and some cake at Salt’s Diner before heading back to Hollins Hall.
Pool & Jacuzzi at Hollins Hall Spa
Back to Hollins Hall Spa and I was ready for a dip in the pool. The ladies changing rooms were large and spacious with lots of lockers. The pool towels aren’t the fluffiest (they need a good tumble dry), but the waffled dressing gowns you get as a residential guest are lovely and soft. The swimming pool is generously sized (20m) with plenty of space to swim and the high-vaulted ceiling and windows gives it a nice airy feel. The pool temp was good…not too cold, just right. A watch out would be that the walkways are fairly slippy, both in bare feet and hotel slippers – maybe flip flops would come in handy.
My one real complaint though would be my usual one for spa hotels and swimming pools – not enough beds! They had six by the side of the pool which were all ‘reserved’ with towels, which was frustrating…but I do find this par for the course with spa hotels. It’s not just Hollins Hall Spa that has this issue. Only four of the beds had cushions too, I think the beds just either need to be added to and/or replacing. I sat at the table for a bit to relax and write a little, then pounced on a cushioned bed when one came free finally.
The jacuzzi…sorry, spa bath (I know Jacuzzi is a brand name, but it’s hard not to call them that!) was big, which was a good job as it got fairly busy. It was nice and warm (I know spa baths should be warm, but I’ve been to plenty of hotel spas with a a barely warm spa bath – disappointing!). It was fairly chlorinated…not too much, but it did bother my eyes a little after a while. My usual tactic when this happens is to lay back fully and relax, which isn’t a bad thing and I did appreciate the beauty of the wooden vaulted roof.
Hollins Hall Spa is open from 6am and 11pm, great hours. It can be frustrating to stay somewhere then realise the pool closes at 7pm when you fancy a dip at 7:30pm. If you’re into your gyms, they have a fully equipped gym and offer personal training too.
Dinner at Hollins Hall
We ate in the Heathcliff’s restaurant and were seated next to a gorgeous stone window looking out onto the gardens.
George, our waiter, was fantastic! Really attentive young waiter, great to chat to and he gave exactly the same attention to everyone.
We had honey glazed wholemeal bread and white ciabatta to nibble on…both served lovely and warm with butter. Whilst we ate I had chance to look at some of the chalkboards mentioning which suppliers they use for their food. It’s good to see that the restaurant uses local suppliers, including Sykes House Farm Wetherby, Organic Dales Diary in Harrogate, Michael Lees Fine Cheese in Featherstone, John Penny’s Farm Rawdon, Goose Moor Organics in Wetherby and The Organic Pantry in Tadcaster.
For starters, we shared some scallops and baked Camembert. The scallops lovely, beautifully cooked. The grilled asparagus and bacon in salad was a good pairing. The Camenbert was very tasty too. Can’t go far wrong with Camembert and a glass of Pinot Noir!
For our mains, James went for the rib eye steak from the grill. He was a bit disappointed that the steak was cooked well done, rather than the medium that he ordered. The peppercorn steak wasn’t great either…tasted much more of gravy. His chips were deliciously fatty and yummy though.
I went for the lamb. It was cooked perfectly, the carrots were al dente…lovely…and the celeriac mash was very tasty.
To finish we ordered the crème brulee and rhubarb tart. Both were nice, not amazing…but nice.
It was lovely to watch the other side of the hill bathed in the last of the sunlight as we ate. We went to bed to read our new books happy and full.
Breakfast at Hollins Hall
We did have a great night’s sleep, the bed was very comfy. The bedroom was a bit hot and there was no air con in the room, but we opened a window to keep the temperature down and put earplugs in (I love birdsong, but I need silence when I sleep).
Breakfast I’d say was good, but maybe a little confusing. The gentlemen showing you to your table obviously ruled the roost and I’d maybe say that the very sweet, but inexperienced, young waitresses didn’t feel much ownership over their tables due to this. We’d spotted an al a carte breakfast menu on the breakfast reception, but these menus weren’t on the tables. The waitresses didn’t seem to know how to order from this menu, so after a bit of perseverance we finally figured it out. The menu did look great!
Whilst we waited for our order, I had a cheeky breakfast starter of fried egg, beans and bacon. Beautifully cooked and very fresh. Perfect. I’d say that the breakfast buffet selection was very good – lots of hot food, cereals, pastries and a great choice of cheeses!
Our order of Eggs Benedict and French Toast did take quite a while to come. When it did come the Eggs Benedict was OK, however the Hollandaise sauce was cold.
My French Toast totally looked the part, but was actually very oily. I would recommend losing the cornflakes…cooking the french toast better and remembering the maple syrup.
Next time, I’d just go for the buffet breakfast as I think maybe the al a carte isn’t something they are really geared up to do and is a bit forgotten about. The buffet was excellent…and open till 11am on a weekend! Perfect for a nice lie in.
So…what did I think overall?
I really enjoyed my stay. I would absolutely go again…mainly due to the expertise of Sarah the beauty therapist, decent spa facilities, George the waiter and the overall setting of Hollins Hall. It’s a lovely place to go as a couple…or also perfect for a hen party or a girl’s weekend.
To book a stay at Hollins Hall, book here: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lbags-hollins-hall-marriott-hotel-and-country-club/
* Please note that my stay was complimentary for review purposes, but this has not affected my views. As always, I am an honest reviewer.