Newest Review: ... we were given in favour of following a smell of chlorine, we got there in the end. The spa facilities include: Gymnasium We didn't... more
It was nice enough, but not worth all its stars.
Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa
Member Name: SugarSpun
Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa
Advantages: Close to Southport, easily accessible by road
Disadvantages: Not as nice as you'd want in places.
We arrived at 2pm and the reception staff was nice, pleasant and helpful. Off we went to our room, which was comfortable enough - lovely big bathroom, comfortable bed, controllable heating, reasonably sized desk with enough power points (does anyone else get annoyed by the Total Lack of enough plugs for a laptop, a phone charger and a hairdryer in front of the desk/big mirror combination in most hotels?). The only problem was that the advertised cable TV had a signal so compressed that whenever lots of people had their TVs on, like getting ready for dinner time, late evening and early mornin, the picture kept scrambling, the sound would go and it was all a bit annoying.
Anyway. Our spa appointment was booked for 3pm, so off we trotted. It was cold and raining, so we went through the hotel rather than across the carpark, but the ladies at the spa desk stared at us like we'd arrived naked and covered in warpaint ready to pillage their unprotected rear flank (we had not). The correct way to approach is to go through the main entrance at the car park (yes, even if you are a hotel guest), alert the lady at the downstairs desk that you are there to use the spa, then go up and inform the upstairs desk ladies of your presence. Full use of the spa facilities were included in our package, but you can just use the facilities at a cost of £25.
After we went downstairs, said hello to the downstairs desk lady and returned the Appropriate Way, we were given a tour of the spa and a cup of fairly good coffee, then given a robe, towel and slippers and pointed in the general direction of the changing rooms. We got lost trying to find them, but upon regrouping and ignoring the instructions we were given in favour of following a smell of chlorine, we got there in the end.
The spa facilities include:
We didn't use it, but it seemed the kind of busy where you know people are actually working out properly, but you wouldn't have to wait for a machine.
I used it. There's a single lane for swimming lengths, and despite signs up warning of kids' swimming lessons going on on Saturday mornings only, they were happening after school time and the kids weren't supervised well enough to stop them veering into the path of people swimming lengths.
They were certainly present but weren't actually turned on.
My husband was insanely excited by this, but only because there were two ladies kissing in it. It was big enough for four but we felt a little rude hopping in alongside them.
Not only were they not working, but they were dismantled with a couple of repair men in there. I wish we'd been warned of that ahead of time.
Thermal Heaven (sauna,steam room, experience showers, ice fountain, foot baths and loungers)
The sauna was quite nice, as was the steam room. I love the heated loungers, you get a view of the golf course and flight training patterns flown from the RAF base next door. Experience showers in here were working only for "regular shower with some white lights" and I was sorely disappointed not to get my "atlantic mist" shower.
Tranquility suite (adjustable loungers, water feature, relaxing music, magazines)
Nice enough, but water features always make me want to pee.
Treatments are carried out in one of several treatment rooms. We'd opted for a couples' Rasul mud treatment, billed as:
A must for any globe trotter wanting to relax and restore the natural balance and rhythm of body and mind. This treatment can be shared with a friend and begins with applying the rare natural mineral-enriched clay with elixirs of Jasmine or Rose to soften and restore suppleness to the skin. Whilst you sit back and relax, covered in mud, the room fills with steam to infuse with the mud to release any toxins and tone the skin. Then the heavens open up and monsoon rain shower cleanses you from head to toe.
Sounds lovely, right? We'd been told to come back to reception five minutes before our treatment was due to start, and so there we were, snug in our robes on a leather sofa and very conscious of the sofas' tendency to make rude noises whenever we moved. Nobody came for us. Twenty minutes after the scheduled start time, my husband wandered off to find someone, who admitted she'd forgotten us and turned up five minutes after that holding a bowl of white mud and a jug of water. She took us to a tiny treatment room containing two showers, one steam room and a little open area big enough for two people who know each other *very* well. The "treatment" involved us putting smears of mud on ourselves, then sitting in the steam room and smearing it more and more as it melted in the heat. The room was missing a lot of tiles, the showers were quite dirty, and the steam room was so small our knees were touching as we sat in the two little seats facing each other. It was definitely fun, and my skin maybe felt smoother afterwards (but it does after just a steam room session, so jury's still out on the mud), but if I'd paid for that treatment separately and been given DIY mud and a grotty little room I would have been quite annoyed. The steam in that room was much hotter than in other areas, I think it would be a bit much for someone suffering from asthma (my poor husband didn't stay in there the full half-hour, he was getting really wheezy). It cleared my runny nose right up though.
Other stuff about the spa: complimentary drinks are available throughout the day, you just help yourself.
A lunch menu is available, mostly sandwiches, salads and soup costing from £3 to £7. We didn't order from it, but as we were drinking our coffee there was 3/4 of an abandoned sandwich on a table next to soup so thoroughly enjoyed that the glaze off the bowl was almost scraped away.
Opening hours for the spa are:
Monday - Friday 10.00 - 20.00
Saturday - Sunday 10.00 - 18.30
After the spa we went back to the room and showered there. Lovely walk-in shower stall, nice big bathtub. And we went for dinner in the restaurant (there's also a bar with a standard bar-snacks menu).
Dinner was amazingly good. The £99 package gives you a set menu, or if you prefer you can order up to £18.95 of food from the a la carte menu or order more and pay the difference. I had a lovely glass of Pinot Noir (about ten wines by the glass and a lot more by the bottle are available), and we ordered three starters and two mains to share. The chicken parfait was really good, the black pudding with poached egg came like a tarted-up eggs benedict and was delicious, but the Scotch egg with piccalilli was nothing short of amazing. Three quails' eggs with different stuff done to the sausagemeat bit, homemade piccalilli and a little salad. Absolutely delicious; I wish we'd just ordered loads of those.
The mains were a cheese souffle and a venison burger. The burger was a little overdone but very tasty, and the souffle tasted wonderful, although they'd already sunk when they arrived at the table and mine still had a little paper disc underneath it. I looked at the dessert menu and it seemed fairly standard, nothing stood out to me so we left it and went upstairs again.
It was nicely quiet all night and the bed was cosy enough that I fell asleep watching Masterchef. Downstairs for breakfast in the morning, we were fiendishly excited for the deliciousness coming out of the kitchen based on our experience the previous night but we were disappointed. The buffet was filled with cheap sausages and black pudding, scrambled eggs in a disturbing shade of beige, fried eggs gently marinating in oil and a very limited continental breakfast selection. My optimistic husband ordered scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and it arrived as a small mountain of eggs (they looked like the sort you make up from powder but I couldn't swear to it) on top of half a flatpack of folded smoked salmon. Sadly inedible, and the waste was really upsetting.
So, in short, nice enough. If I was booking that offer again, I would book well ahead of time and take both the spa treatments for myself - also available are a facial, a massage and some sort of exfoliating deal. And I'd send my husband onto the driving range or the golf course.
Summary: Nice enough.