Between Christmas and New Year, J and I stayed at Oulton Hall Hotel & Spa in Leeds for some extra relaxing ‘us time’. As if we really needed it after days spent not even getting properly dressed and slobbing around, but it’s good to treat yourself and Oulton Hall had kindly asked us to come along to review, so I must admit I said yes very happily!
Lunch in the Champagne Bar
We arrived early at around 12pm as we were running a few errands in the area and grabbed the opportunity to have lunch in the Champagne Bar before checking into our room.
The Champagne Bar at Oulton Hall is beautifully grand with views out over their golf course and the surrounding countryside. Lovely for having a sit down with a glass of bubbly whilst having a good natter with friends.
We ordered the charcuterie tray and bread/hummus with some tea then started on the alcohol with a Yorkshire Rose champagne cocktail for me and a Peroni for J. The food was great, just what we wanted….the cocktail was super sweet…and super strong! The cocktails are pretty expensive at around £14 (ouch), but you do get your money’s worth with this one if measuring it on ability to get you drunk!
Oulton Hall Hotel & Spa
The Champagne Bar isn’t the only part of the hotel which is grand though, one of the things I love about the place is that is does have a real manor house feel to it.
There are a few hotels that on the face of it have this look, but when you’re inside they revert to being fairly modern with lots of ugly brick extensions. Oulton Hall retains it’s country pile feel very well I think.
Oulton Hall was originally a “modest eighteenth-century house” and was owned by the Blayds family. In 1807 the house was left to John Calverley, who was a partner in Beckett’s Bank and Mayor of Leeds in 1798. He changed his name to Blayds in order to inherit the property, but his descendants reverted to Calverley.
Ah, so that’s where the village of Calverley gets it’s name from then…and Blayds Yard in Leeds City Centre.
Rooms at Oulton Hall
We checked into our room at about 1:30pm, rooms are usually available from 3pm…but we’re eager, what can I say! The reception staff at Oulton Hall are a happy and friendly bunch and they all have amazing hair and makeup…like, seriously!
The rooms are good…a muted grey colour scheme which feels classy and they have nice design touches like the chairs, lamps and headboard. I did realise that I’m at that sort of age now where I appreciate good coving (forgot to take a photo of it, damn)…Oh yes! The coving in the Oulton Hall hotel rooms is lovely, great attention to detail. So that you are, if you like coving, come to Oulton Hall! Ha! My only request would be for more plug sockets, there’s a few near the TV and one at one side of the room. I really like it when hotels have plug sockets near the bed, it’s just so much easier to charge phones. The bathroom is pretty standard, nice and clean but nothing fancy. It does come with a very powerful shower…which is always a good thing in my book.
We laid back and relaxed while watching a movie before it was time to go down to the spa. They have Sky TV in the rooms, which is really great. Frequently even decent hotels don’t have a good TV channel offering. We don’t often spend loads of time in the room, but it’s nice to have the option and we did make good use of it on this stay.
The Spa at Oulton Hall
We decided we’d have our late lunch (hungry again, story of my life) and treatments first, then check out the spa area after we were all relaxed. When you wander into the Spa Reception, the smell of Espa greets you as you as soon as you walk in. I love the smell of Espa. Love love love.
We had one of their healthy Bentobox lunches. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure how healthy they really were…but we did enjoy them. J went for the European Bentobox and I went for the Asian. Both were good, my dessert was some kind of ginger yoghurt stuff that was sent from heaven itself. I really need to work out how to make that! I did have a glass of rose Prosecco too (when in Rome…), however it was a bit flat. The poor kid serving us looked fairly nervous and like he’d have a heart attack if I sent it back…so I didn’t.
We each had a 25-minute treatment booked, J chose the Head & Shoulder massage and I opted for the Oil & Salt Scrub. The room was lovely, we had a double ‘couples’ room which was nice and the beds were super comfy…much more than usual spa beds I’d say.
J said his massage was OK – to be honest, I rarely choose a massage at hotel spas unless I know they are good at it. In my experience, many of the (lovely) girls working at spa hotels don’t give good massages – sorry, but they usually just give a fairly expensive light stroke. I don’t find it relaxing, I find it annoying. But hey, if you’re not used to getting a massage and don’t want anything too much then that’s ok. For this reason, I didn’t have a massage, I went for the 25min oil and salt scrub. It’s definitely express, she had to be quite quick in getting the scrub on to allow me time to shower it off within the 25mins. If I was going again, I definitely go for the longer option. Both therapists were lovely and friendly. I really liked that they explained in advance what they would be doing and the process, they made us feel very at ease.
After our treatments we lounged around for a little while in the relaxation room. The room has eight beds which you can adjust at the push of a button and there are magazines and cucumber water are on tap. Lovely. Definitely one of the nicer relaxation rooms I’ve been in.
We did notice that the swimming pool and jacuzzi area were pretty busy (it was around 5pm)…so we decided to relax a bit more in the hope that some of the people would disappear to get ready for dinner. Our plan backfired though as when we finally made our way in, it was full of kids (lots of splashing and screaming). Ah well, I was determined to have a bit of time in the hot tub! The water was lovely and warm (someone there told me the pool was quite cold and it was a relief to be in the hot tub). I have to say that the jets in the hot tub were pretty violent…it was very splashy without being actually being targeted well at your limbs and the water was very chloriney (my eyes were stinging after a little bit), which was a shame. It’s hard for spas to get the balance between having enough chlorine in for hygiene and putting so much in that it’s not a pleasure to be in it. Still, the pool area is beautifully designed…its definitely one of the nicest I’ve been to. Often a spa hotel has a pool resembling that of a leisure Centre which doesn’t make you feel very relaxed. Oulton Hall spa pool area has been designed very well, with relaxed deep Marsala colours and wooden accents. It all feels very Espa, which is a good thing in my book! (please note this image is copyright to the hotel – I always think it’s a bit weird to whip my camera out in a spa area!)
The changing rooms are nice, the showers are, again, powerful which really pleased me and they had a swimming costumer dryer thingy (technical term, obvs). The lockers are a bit fiddly, but they are OK.
Afterwards I took the opportunity to buy the energising and soothing gift Espa set for…err…myself. I love the smell of the soothing Espa products and I needed some moisturiser to put on my skin after being in the jacuzzi. That’s my excuse anyway!
Dinner at Oulton Hall Hotel
We ate in the main restaurant and I was really pleased to see more healthy items on the menu. If you have the dine and stay package you get £26 per person to spend on food at dinner. It doesn’t go very far to be honest, you can have just about have a starter and main for that.
I chose the salmon from the healthy menu for my starter. It was very tasty, I absolutely loved it. Great mix of flavours.
J ordered the terrine which was also delicious with some lovely chutney. The brioche toast was a real let down unfortunately. Quite stale/powdery.
I had the lamb for my main which was lovely. You know what you’re going to (hopefully) get with a lamb shank…lovely fatty meat (to balance out the healthy starter – ha!) with creamy mash and a tasty jus.
J ordered the minute steak by accident (he said Sirloin when he meant rump). Ooops. It was nice though. The mushroom was pretty watery and over-cooked.
We decided to share a dessert, but we didn’t pick well unfortunately. The mandarin cheesecake was essentially a shop-bought tasting cheesecake with tinned mandarins on the side. Not good.
I ordered another Hendricks and tonic to take the taste away and the second time it came as it should be served…with cucumber (never lime, like the first one)…so that made me happy again. Overall, good. I seemed to get lucky with my ordering, whereas J didn’t. The waiter was really helpful and friendly throughout.
Time for bed. Zzzzzzzzzzz………..
We went down for breakfast after a great night’s sleep (very comfy bed) at around 9:45am. There wasn’t one of those little book thingys (again, technical term) in the room telling us what time breakfast finished…reception hadn’t told us when the times were and calls down to reception went unanswered. So, just in case it finished at 10am we thought we’d better get down there in case we were to go hungry.
It was fairly busy when we went down and a few people in the queue in front of us got a bit annoyed that no one had acknowledged them….but it soon less busy. The staff were really helpful and friendly. Lots of tea and wholemeal toast brought…and real butter. Yum! I always think it’s such a shame when good hotels only offer marg. The hot breakfast buffet was fine… not amazing, but fine.
The bacon and beans were good but the scrambled egg I think was that powdered stuff and wasn’t great at all. Lots of cereals were on offer including a few gluten free – great choice. Overall I’d say it wasn’t a bad breakfast. To be honest, that toast and butter made it for me.
I loved the feel of the building…it’s beautiful. The rooms are great, comfy beds and fab showers. The spa is beautifully designed, but make sure you book your treatments well in advance and I’d stick to non-massage related treatments…facials, nails etc. – I’d also ask next time on the desk when they think it might be a bit quieter in the pool area. A few friends since the stay also commented that it gets busy in there, so I wonder if it’s possible to avoid that. If it’s not, the relaxation room is really good for a snooze or a magazine read. Definetly stop by the champagne bar for a cocktail (or three) if you do stay…but do be prepared for hit or miss food in the restaurant/at breakfast. One of Oulton Hall’s many positives are the staff there. Always friendly and very helpful.
Oulton Hall Hotel & Spa is great for a romantic stay for couples or for a trip with friends. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and I’d definitely go back. To book for yourself, go to their website.
* Please note that whilst the stay, dinner and treatments were complimentary for review purposes (we did end up spending an extra £100 on lunch and drinks)…my views are all my own.