I love London.
Yet, every now and again it feels good to step away. To take some time out from the big smoke and breathe in some fresh air. On a recent visit to Staffordshire I did just that. Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat was my destination, relaxation was my aim.
On my way to Moddershall Oaks:
It’s been a busy day. A restaurant review, Skype with a PR, a meeting on the other side of town and a whistle stop visit to the Mac store to find a lipstick for a client. With minutes to spare, I grab a cab to catch my train – a 2 hour journey from Euston to Staffordshire – I am literally desperate for a break. I spend most of the journey checking out the facilities at Moddershall Oaks. Swimming Pool, check. Good selection of treatments, check. Great restaurant and bar, check. Free Wifi, check. I vaguely remember that checking emails and business calls are discouraged at this retreat – I make a note to do so out of sight!
Arriving in Staffordshire:
The spa is more than walking distance from Staffordshire station (of course I hadn’t checked). After a quick Google, I flag a cab for the 20 minute ride to Modershall Oaks. As my chatty cab driver takes us further out to the spa, I notice that my surroundings are becoming increasingly green and leafy. “Are we almost there?” I say with the impatience of a Londoner. “Not long now love…you must be coming in from London.” Oh dear, maybe my stress is more obvious than I thought. I make a decision there and then, to stop looking at my watch, to lose myself in the experience and allow myself to be the disorganised sloth I really am underneath all the hair and make up. After all, I’m visiting a retreat, they shouldn’t be alarmed if I talk in monosyllables, drag my feet and wear a robe the entire time.
Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat:
The drive up to the spa is long and gravelly, but we are surrounded by nature and I even spot a horse or two. I begin to get the feeling of being completely cut off from the rest of the world, it’s beautiful and serene. I peer at my phone to check the signal and realise I don’t have one. I am greeted on arrival with a drink of cranberry juice (nice touch). It is amazingly quiet and beautifully furnished, with a dining area on one side and a seating area surrounded by beauty products on the other. After a brief tour, I am shown to my room. I stuff my phone in my bag and go along to the restaurant and bar for my evening meal.
It’s the morning and I am up early to have a good look around. I am shown to the changing rooms which are a good size – maybe because there is noone else around to use them. There are three indoor heated loungers and the indoor hydrotherapy pool is blissful, if a little cool. I hear there is a foot spa but I forego it, as well as the steam room. I have heard so much about the outdoor pool, I can’t wait to try it. There is a delicious smell that permeates every area of Moddershall Oaks – one of aromatherapy. Its a constant reminder that the place has been designed to relax, heal and nourish you. I wonder if I can buy a bottle of whatever it it is and spray it around my office…
Outside is a tad overcast, but the hydrotherapy pool is a great size. The temperature is perfect and the jets create the effect of a huge bubbling cauldron. I settle in with the other guests and feel the strain of my busy work week evaporate. The pool is warm and comforting and despite being outside it could be used all year round. I look around at the view which is beautifully green and lush with trees for miles. Even the view to the spa is beautiful with the heated log fire creating a warm glow. For the first time all week, I am totally relaxed.
After about an hour I head off to the relaxation room to sit in front of the log fire with a magazine – my busy schedule, endless emails and social media addiction seem very far away.
I am booked in for a back massage, but can barely move. It seems my body has completely lost the plot and doesn’t want to be disturbed! I drag myself up and make my way to the treatment rooms. My therapist has heyfever and she is really suffering – I know the feeling, I suffer from it terribly too. My heart goes out to her and I almost feel like rescheduling, but she goes ahead with the treatment and I have to say, it feels amazing. We talk a bit about beauty treatments, the Staffordshire scenery and London life… until I fall into a blissful sleep.
Back to Business:
Leaving Moddershall Oaks is harder than I thought it would be. I had gotten used to the constant supply of fruit juices, good food, treatments, swimming pool and hushed voices. As I get off the train at Euston station, someone shoves me aside to get to the ticket barrier. Instead of reacting, I calmly get my phone and take a smiling selfie, then Tweet it to my friends. I write: ‘Great to be back in London, but felt good to get away and recuperate…clean and serene.’
Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat
Moddershall, Near Stone
T. 01782 399000
F. 01782 399662