Moddershall Oaks: An idyllic cold season getaway relaxing in Staffordshire's sylvan surrounds
As the end of winter draws near, many will be starting to feel the full brunt of its effects - from dry skin to a general sense of glumness.
But instead of languishing until spring arrives in full swing, why not take shaking off the cold season blues into your own hands?
I was recently offered the chance to try out Moddershall Oaks, a luxury spa destination in Staffordshire, along with a plus one. With five-star suites for accommodation, an in-house restaurant, massages and facials on offer, and a plethora of spa facilities, it seemed like the perfect way to take charge.
As a non-car owner, making my way up from London was surprisingly simple. A train from Euston Station to Stoke-On-Trent only took about an hour and a half, and then it was a quick and affordable Uber ride from the station to the spa - although I gather there's also buses available which travel nearby. I also found it was easy to get an Uber back even from Moddershall Oaks' countryside setting, so out-of-towners have no need to fear getting stranded.
Here's how we found the rest of the experience:
Soaking in the country charm
Moddershall Oaks is set in the bucolic Staffordshire countryside. Framed by rolling green fields, an enchanting wood, and a lovely little lake - which when we visited, was covered in a crisp layer of ice - it felt just far enough way from Stoke to actually feel like the countryside, while still having all of the luxuries and amenities of being just a stone's throw from a city
A stay came with use of the spa facilities, which include a range of heated pools, steam rooms, and a few more specialised offerings - like the 'experience shower', which was indeed quite a unique experience, reflexology-inspired foot baths, and ergonomic poolside heated loungers indoors.
The spa's varied inside-based offerings were quite enjoyable. A personal favourite was the high-humidity steam room infused with eucalyptus milk. It was quite intense, obviously being incredibly hot and humid, and it really makes you sweat. But the sharp, herbal smell of the eucalyptus and cool blue lighting evoke a peaceful sense akin to being in a tropical rainforest, and when you emerge, both your pores and your sinuses feel clearer, and your body feels refreshingly lighter for it.
No spa experience would be complete without massages or facials, and Moddershall Oaks has something for everybody available - whether you're more of a hot stone massage or mud rasul treatment person, which excitingly has a treatment for two option - where you get to slather yourselves in nourishing muds in a steamy, private room. I opted for a demi glass beauty facial, a quick but powerful treatment involving an exfoliating massage (plus a scalp massage which is always a winner) and lovely, citrus-scented oils which left my face feeling pleasantly lifted and glowy.
In terms of accommodation, the suites made for a truly tranquil stay. Even with neighbours our room was gloriously quiet - a far cry from the bustle of London, which really helped make the whole trip feel like an actual getaway from the city. With lovely, casual relaxation lounges dotted around the premises, wandering to your room or down to the restaurant always felt so serene and still. The Oak House, the in-house restaurant, served up elegant, classic fare, from pasta dishes to steaks and favourites like fish and chips. The range of desserts was particularly enticing, and the sticky toffee pudding was a decadent end to a wonderful day.
Warming up in the winter air
But the real treat was what Moddershall Oaks had to offer outdoors. The private spa pool - which does need to be booked ahead of time - was idyllic after dark. The warm, roiling waters and shroud of steam were both the perfect protection and the best possible juxtaposition to the frigid night air, the warmly lit area and peaceful countryside evoking a real sense of privacy and serenity.
For the daylight hours, the shared outdoor spa courtyard is an almost equally enjoyable place to relax. Even more so when the deli is open, and you can enjoy poolside cocktails or some Staffordshire oat cakes; a moreish regional delicacy. Once the brisk morning becomes too much, you can warm up in the glass-walled sauna, still soaking in the peaceful surrounds whilst working up a pore-clearing sweat. You can even ladle more water onto its kiuas yourself - enjoying the satisfying hiss and sudden burst of steam.
Possibly one of Moddershall Oaks' more overlooked assets, however, is its woodland, but it truly is one of its most spectacular. We started our day by walking the trail in the bright morning light, made extra special by a crisp layer of freshly fallen snow - pristine besides the delightful imprints of cotton-tailed rabbits making their morning journeys outside the burrow.
The charming little wood is a perfect chance to ground yourself and reconnect with nature. Nuthatches and treecreepers are easy to spot scaling the oaky boughs with uncharacteristic boldness, the only sound the noisy chattering of jackdaws in the distance, and the quiet peeping of flocks of long-tailed tits hopping their way from tree to tree.
Overall, even just a night at Moddershall Oaks was a whole experience unto itself. We left feeling a little better in both our bodies, and in our minds - I'd highly recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in need of a welcome break from the business of everyday life, which all too often catches up with us once the holiday season comes to an end
A relax and revive spa break at Moddershall Oaks, which includes an overnight stay, a treatment, dinner and breakfast at the in-house restaurant, and use of the spa facilities starts at £262.50 per person. You can find out more about the packages on offer here.