Comfort zone: A spa day at The Serenity Spa at Seaham Hall hotel in Durham was just the tonic I needed. A frantic few weeks fretting over kids (admittedly these ones are all but grown-up) and the day-to-day stresses of a hectic lifestyle had left me feeling wound-up and really rather jaded.
So a chance to unwind and completely chill out on a mum-and-daughter pamper day was just the pick-me-up I needed.
And if anything is guaranteed to transport me to my comfort zone it’s a trip to five-star Seaham Hall with its striking cliff-top location overlooking the Durham Heritage Coast.
Built in 1791, this luxe Georgian boutique hotel oozes character and charm. It’s a sight for sore eyes – set amidst 37 acres of beautifully cultivated landscaped gardens. I’ve been a regular visitor here over the years, writing for the features pages of regional newspapers and lifestyle magazines, and it never fails to impress.
A day off the treadmill in the award-winning Oriental-themed spa is always a serene experience. I find work and domestic hassles magically melt away after a few hours spent here.
I was trying out the new Autumn Rewind package which includes spa use from 9am to 5pm, two-course meal in the pan-Asian Ozone restaurant and sixty-minute treatment (either a Serenity Signature massage or Sundari Prescriptive facial). Oh, decisions, decisions…
After a cup of reviving iced raspberry tea and a quick change into robes and slippers, my daughter and I could feel ourselves unwinding. We mooched about, dipping in and out of the 20-metre pool, outdoor hot tubs, jacuzzi, hammam, steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy pool and zen chill-out room. (I must admit we side-swerved the fitness suite and chilly plunge pools!)
We especially loved the outdoor hot tubs – warm, snug and giggly in our bubbly cocoon – with the cool air surrounding us. The spa’s new salt sauna is a favourite too and the dry heat just sooo soothing. And sat in the jacuzzi in the steamy hammam, staring at the twinkly ceiling, we were perfectly at home.
We also liked that the spa wasn’t too busy on the day we visited through the week – we even had the hot tub, sauna, pool and hammam completely to ourselves on occasions.
In keeping with the healthy, wellness theme, lunch in the pan-Asian Ozone restaurant, set within the spa, was fresh and wholesome. Sat in robes and slippers, we took in the garden views as we munched on a tasty two-course lunch (choose from main and either starter or dessert).
Prawn stir-fry with rice and sweet soy-based teriyaki sauce with white onions, and oyster and enoki mushrooms was delicious. The prawns were plentiful, the rice cooked to perfection and the sauce a warming mix of honey sweetness, garlic and warming ginger.
My wok dish of pan-roasted salmon in teriyaki sauce with crisp Asian salad was also a plate of wholesome appetising ‘does-you-good’ stuff. The mounds of beansprouts mixed with green, red and yellow peppers and the odd sliced red chilli was healthy and filling.
Dessert of coffee and mango cheesecake – more of a deconstructed trifle-type offering in a jar – was an innovative take on the regular cheesecake and a deliciously creamy concoction. Banana fritters drizzled in hot chocolate sauce, with accompanying banana ice cream were deemed a big hit by the daughter.
It’s hard work all this relaxing and I was ready for a snooze by the time it came to my Prescriptive Sundari facial. After a consultation, it was decided fine lines and rehydration were my key concerns (among many). My excellent therapist Tisha most certainly had her work cut out.
Feet were first cleaned and gently dried in a welcome foot ritual before I hopped on to the heated bed for a sixty-minute zone out…
Using the most exquisite smelling products from the Sundari range, Tisha got to work with cleanser, toner, exfoliator, massage, mask and serum. Skin felt super-clean, soft and hydrated by the end of this superb rejuvenating facial. While the mask was applied she incorporated the most wonderfully de-stressing massage – knots in the neck and shoulders were worked on and scalp gently massaged. I can highly recommend.
Afterwards, relaxation time on the heated beds in the zen lounge overlooking the tranquil grounds, a cleansing raspberry sorbet to hand, is a must. We really didn’t want to face the real world after such a pampering day…
Autumn Rewind package, available from September to November 30, 2017, costs £99 per person, Sunday to Friday, and £110 per person on Saturdays.
Seaham Hall, Lord Byron’s Walk, County Durham, SR7 7AG. Tel: 0191 5161400. For more info on the hotel and spa offers, visit: www.seaham-hall.co.uk