Relax in the Landscape of Luxury: The Perfect Spa Break

Having had the good fortune to review the new evening menu at The Coniston’ Hotel’s flagship restaurant “The View” in November 2022, I jumped at the chance to return to experience Nàdarra Spa and have an overnight stay.

Let me tell you when you put together the sum of all parts that this privately owned country hotel and spa in the Yorkshire Dales has to offer, you end up feeling warm, loved and totally blissed out with the perfect spa break. Let me explain.

There is something so personal and welcoming about every aspect of this long-established hotel, where every member of staff seems intent on making sure your needs are met and expectations exceeded.

During the pandemic owner Nick Bannister, his family and Directors saw fit to invest further in all aspects of the guest offering. Redesigned restaurants and bars, redeveloped spa, renovated bedrooms and, new for 2023, a refurbished event suite, and with yet more plans ongoing behind the scenes, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more encompassing experience in this area of Yorkshire.

Before I go into lots of detail, a little admin. For the sake of clarity I must stress again that this hotel is situated at Coniston Cold in the Yorkshire Dales and not Coniston in the Lake District. It is a short drive to Settle and if you are heading here from the South, it’s a little beyond Skipton and Gargrave, so there’s lots to do at The Coniston itself and in the surrounding areas. Walking, mountain biking, country pubs, fishing, market towns all abound. The Coniston estate even plays host to Land Rover Experience and Coniston Shooting Ground, with Archery, Air Rifles and Clay Pigeon Shooting to try your hand at, all great fun.

Nádarra Spa

This spa break trip started with a soothing spa session in the afternoon with all the trimmings in the newly redeveloped and rebranded Nàdarra Spa. The spa building, which stands apart from the hotel, truly echoes “you walk in and float out”. We were warmly welcomed by Amy at reception who showed us to the Treatment Reception, where we enjoyed a delicious and rather cute “anti-inflammatory shot” whilst doing a teeny bit of admin. That being, selecting what to have to eat, brief health questionnaire and an introduction to what to expect in the thermal suite and other areas of the spa.

That sort of admin I can take.

Before we headed into the changing rooms armed with lovely fluffy white robes and slippers we had a nosey around. Really well-equipped fitness room and separate studio space which offers live and virtual classes for the spa’s private members to enjoy. Yes, you can spin, pump, dance and generally move along with a virtual instructor on a huge screen. How the world has evolved in the last three years! Reassuringly, there is a full timetable of instructor-led classes too. The spa offers services to its private members, hotel guests and spa day go-ers too.

We opted for the “Top to Toe” treatment and pretty soon found ourselves cocooned in two of the treatment rooms. The lights are low, the beds are heated, the sound is hushed and we were enveloped in warm, fluffy towels to experience a calming back massage, facial and foot scrub.

Meaning ‘natural’ in Scottish Gaelic, Nàdarra Spa partners with five providers to give a wide-ranging product range. Aromatherapy Associates, Ishga, Natura Bissē, OTO and Neal & Wolf all combine to ensure there is something for everyone.

When we met up in the Relaxation Room after our treatments we were so chilled, it was a real wrench to get up and head to Spa Reception for the next instalment of our experience.

Blossom Kitchen

Situated adjacent to the Spa Reception area and within minutes of being seated, our server brought us our Afternoon Tea with a serious twist. The food selection focusses on health and is a scaled down version of the popular items on the menu.

Served in a Bento Box with our own choice of Birchall Tea, it comprised Breaded Chicken & Katsu Curry Mayo, Hot Smoked Salmon & Wasabi in a Bao Bun, Braised Soy & Garlic Oyster Mushrooms and Vegetable Spring Rolls. Very different! With the savouries sorted it was onto the sweet bit. With Homemade Macarons, Lemon Drizzle Cake, a Plain Scone and the best, chunkiest Rocky Road, we were rightfully replete.

Before we headed into the Thermal Suite we took the opportunity to have a little siesta back in the Relaxation Room. Tucked up under a couple of throws on two recliners, mood lighting, phones off and drift away.

Thermal Suite

It must be said the Thermal Suite and surrounding outdoor space is nothing short of gloriously show stopping. You enter the 15m indoor swimming pool area which has a generous supply of loungers and seating arrangements. There are four heated rooms; Himalayan Salt Sauna, Finnish Sauna, Infrared Sauna, Aromatherapy Steam Room, plus an Ice Fountain and Experience Shower.

However, the real magic happens outdoors. Two outdoor infinity jacuzzi pools overlook the lake and you immediately feel at one with nature. With hotel lights twinkling in the distance, we arrived at this point at twilight and a very misty one at that.

spa break

The lake took on a very ethereal quality and although the short walk to the pool was decidedly chilly, the plunge into the warmth was heavenly. My husband and I looked at each other and in unison said, “living the dream!” which has been our go-to phrase whenever we have been fortunate enough to experience something indulgently lush during these recent troubled times.

Other couples and friends were sharing time together with drinks and chat, or just lounging back and letting it all wash over them, literally. There is a lot to offer in the outside space, including a private spa garden with outdoor bath tubs, and during summer months there are loungers aplenty, perfectly placed to capture some rays.

Some lengths in the pool later (well I needed to work off some of the afternoon tea), and following use of all four hot rooms and the ice fountain, we placed a drinks order with a member of staff to repose on a double lounger with a couple of gin and tonics from the bar. The perfect sundowner moment although sadly no sun! Which brings me to discuss sunrise.

We purposefully stayed overnight so that we could a) enjoy another lovely, relaxed dinner and take full advantage of the wine list and, b) rise very early and head back to the infinity pool to see daybreak over the lake from the luxury of one of the hot infinity pools! Rather sadly when we opened our curtains with the alarm all we could see was mist and lots of it. Add to this being cosied up in a sumptuous king-sized bed and we switched off the alarm and went back to sleep. No worries, it will just give us reason a plenty to go back and do it all again!

Our spa break experience started after lunch and at 6.45pm we headed for the changing rooms to shower off in preparation for dinner. There is a lot of provision here from dryers, clothes spinners, hair straighteners, extra towels, lockers, showers, toiletries and plenty of room to manoeuvre. In fact, there are lots of lovely touches all over the spa public spaces. Fresh fruit bowls, jars of nuts, specialty tea displays and the décor is simple, clean, fresh and “boutiquey”. So, as two extremely chilled individuals, glowing inside and out, we headed to our room to dress for dinner.

Valentine’s Day Special

Graham and I feel that our own Valentine’s Day treat came three weeks early. It’s going to be hard to top The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa experience. The hotel is gearing up to create a wonderful Valentine’s Day for 2023. If you want to book a couples retreat, I suggest you get in quick. They are also doing a decadent Valentine’s Day sharing dinner from 10 – 19 February 2023 – book early to avoid disappointment. It’s the perfect Spa Break.

The Rooms and Suites

We’ve stayed at The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa on a few occasions in the past and have enjoyed every visit, however, the recent makeover to the rooms and suites has taken the offering to the next level.

Our suite had everything we could possibly want and was immaculately presented. The tea tray was bulging with treats including a Nespresso coffee maker and selection of pods and the addition of Cloud 9 straighteners and a Dyson hair dryer were next level luxury.

The en-suite provides generous size Temple Spa shower, bath and hair products, fluffy towels, separate shower and a huge free-standing bathtub! I have a thing about hotel room lighting because there is rarely enough of it. Designers try to create a certain ambience which I totally get, however, I do need sufficient light to put my make up on whilst hubby does his dash around the bathroom. Our suite had oodles of lighting options to choose from; ambient light, bedside light, vanity light, full room light, wardrobe area light AND three lighting states to select in the bathroom too. Lighting heaven! Thank you, the guy or gal who got this right!

Our king size bed faced the lovely picture window which overlooked our own terrace with seating and then the grounds and the lake beyond (shame about the mist), and with lovely throws, a quilt encased in crisp white linen, two pillows to choose from (or in my case, just use both!) we knew we were in for a good night’s sleep but first . . dinner!

The View Restaurant

I have previously reviewed the new evening menu at The View and so this time we opted for other items on the menu and a rather nice Malbec. With Monkfish Curried Bon Bons & Chicken Liver Parfait to start and two Ribeye Steaks, we were two very happy campers. Sadly there was no room for pud, but from previous experience I can attest to their yumminess. Read my previous H&N Magazine review HERE.

As previously stated, what makes The Coniston so special to me is the heartfelt, down to earth, Yorkshire welcome that you receive from the staff. I genuinely feel that they are eager to please without being overly fussy and there is a sense of pride in the place in which they work and the service they offer.

Over dinner we had a bit of banter with our waitress and the following morning at breakfast the service was swift, efficient and with just the right balance of familiarity and friendliness. Supporting local suppliers (and that list is extensive), the fayre on offer is always top notch. We enjoyed Scrambled Eggs & Smoked Salmon and a Yorkshire cooked breakfast. Both delicious.

We were so very relaxed and chilled out during our one day / one night excursion to Coniston Cold and we came away feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. We decided against a brisk walk around the lake this morning as we have done it before in better weather and I was keen to get home to put my fingers to the keys and to share this with our readers.

What a wonderful treat it was. Thank you to everyone at The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa, it most certainly is “a destination defined by experience”.
You did yourselves proud!

There are many overnight breaks, spa days or spa break, dining and activity packages to choose from and lots of scope for celebrations, corporate events and entertaining too. The team awaits to welcome you and you will not be disappointed.

Review and some images by Deana Morgan @deanamorgandance

Most images courtesy of The Coniston Hotel Country Estate and Spa

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