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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Perfect setting to unwind and relax

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ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY: Above, Thoresby Hall – an impressive sight for weary visitors in need of a relaxing break. From the left, The World Spa at Thoresby Hall, the Salvin suite with four-poster bed and the Great Hall

MY usual cure for a stressful week at work, is a face mask, pyjamas and copious amounts of tea.

But following a particularly hectic month, I found myself in desperate need of the sort of rest and relaxation, that my usual de-stress routine could just not fix.

Deciding a spa break would be just the ticket, my partner and I booked a two-night break a Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire, hoping to find relaxation heaven while having our aches and pains pampered away.

Perched on the edge of Sherwood Forest, Thoresby Hall is a Grade-I listed mansion, nestled among acres of sprawling gardens and parklands.

Transformed into a successful adult-only hotel, the impressive hall promised three restaurants, a sizeable spa and daily entertainment, all situated within its outstanding grounds.

We arrived to be greeted with a grand tree-lined drive way, seeming to cut right through the heart of Sherwood Forest.

Following said road, we eventually found the entrance to the magnificent hall, which despite being recently renovated, has still managed to maintain bundles of the majestic charm we expected.

Passing roaming peacocks, and a croquet playing field before even reaching the reception, certainly added to the hotel’s relaxing atmosphere, leaving us feeling as though we had been transported straight onto the set of Downton Abbey.

Having reserved one of the hotel’s historic rooms we were looking forward to a weekend of luxury. Nevertheless checking into the Salvin suite,we were surprised to discover the sheer extravagance within.

A four-poster bed took pride of place in the centre of the large room, surrounded by antique dressers, a large wide screen television and all the expected amenities.

And it was not just the views inside our room that were magnificent – our suite also provided the perfect view of the hall’s sprawling estate and serene gardens.

Despite the decor being traditional, we were pleased to find an impressive, modern bathroom, which was in itself the size of an average hotel bedroom.

Leaving my partner to unpack the bags, I enjoyed a soak in the sumptuous tub, and after sprucing ourselves up, we decided to head downstairs for tea, determined to navigate our way around the hall’s labyrinth of corridors and hidey holes.

With three restaurants to choose from guests at Thoresby are spoilt for choice. Whether you fancy fine dining in the superb Blue Room, a classic Italian in the rustic Fennochi’s or the variety of buffet-style fare under a skylight in the Pierrepoint – everyone is catered for.

For our first night we decided to visit Fennochi’s restaurant, situated within the hall’s old wine cellar. The menu offered a range of classic Italian dishes and we found all three courses to be of exceptional quality. For our second evening we agreed to treat ourselves to the al a carte menu in the Blue Room and were pleased to discover once again that the staff were extremely friendly and helpful and the food was magnificent.

My caramelised onion and potato soup starter was easily the most delicious I have ever tried, and our main courses and desserts tasted just as interesting as they were to look at.

Earlier in the day my partner and I had both enjoyed a lovely morning strolling through the gardens at Thoresby and after a quick lunch, it was time to continue the relaxation with two hours of pure pampering bliss, in the hotel’s World Spa.

Heading down the stairs towards the soothing sounds, smells and dim lighting, I could instantly feel my aches melting away. And after being handed matching white fluffy robes and slippers we were quickly whisked off to separate rooms to begin our treatments.

Our session began with a Swedish massage to relax our tired and aching muscles (£60 pp for 60 mins). The strong and deep massage, worked away any existing tension, and the soft relaxing music combined with the expertly trained fingers of my masseuse caused me to drift off momentarily.

After a short rest in the relaxation room, giving us a chance to revel in the pure bliss of the full body massage, it was time for our second treatment – the luxury foot and leg ritual with hot stones (£48 pp for 55mins).

This involved a gentle exfoliation and relaxing pressure point massage using aromatherapy oils – and, wearing high heels on a daily basis, having my feet tended to was heavenly.

Following two hours of pampering, we had just enough time to sample the spa’s facilities before our evening meal. Amenities included a whirlpool bath, swimming pool, sauna and steam room, common to most spas. But we also enjoyed the use of the more exotic Tropical Showers, Turkish Hamman Steam Room, aromatherapy Cave, Ice Cave, Foot Spas and Hydrotherapy Room, to completely wash away any final coils of tension.

Thoresby really did provide the perfect setting to unwind, leaving stress a distant memory.

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