I love a hotel which has character, and independently owned Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa, located in Barnby Moor, in rural Nottinghamshire, is steeped in history from the 17th and 18th Century. Whilst it has had a modern revamp to bring it line with modern accomodation, it has retained its charming traditional exteriors and interiors, as a nod to its colourful past as a former coaching inn.
It has had some famous guests in its time, and in the 1800’s Queen Victoria even stayed there with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, in what is now aptly named the ‘Victoria Suite,’ as well as Charlie Chaplin and One Direction!
We were there for the weekend, the main purpose being to experience the Spa on Sunday, and after a 3 hour drive from London on the Saturday, we arrived at the charismatic venue, which had lots of ample parking, which we were really pleased about.
There were fields all around, with sheep grazing, adding to that countryside feel.
The hotel is split into rooms, lodges and suites, totalling 59 rooms in total, and there is an adjacent Spa building, an addition to the hotel as of June 2017, and had outstanding reviews, having already been awarded 5 Bubbles by the Good Spa Guide.
Check in was smooth and seamless, and everyone we met was lovely and friendly and incredibly welcoming, and we felt like we were at a home away from home. I always find it crazy how we get so used to people ignoring each other on the tube, never offering smiles in London, and as soon as you leave London and breathe in the fresh country air, everyone seems so happy, relaxed and content!
Our room was inside the main hotel building, and was on the first floor, and a gorgeous eclectic mix of modern fittings versus country themed furnishings with its bright and pretty interiors, and of course, my favourite part, a roll top bath in the spacious bathroom.
It was well equipped with coffee and tea making facilities, and the bathroom had toiletries by Duck Island, a UK based company, and whose toiletries I had experienced previously at another hotel we stayed at in Devon.
The hotel has 2 restaurants and a cosy bar, where we spent most of our evening upon arrival, and is decorated throughout in period features, adding to its character and personality, with the use of oak, leather and cosy fireplaces.
The food served both at the restaurant adjacent to the bar and restaurant 1650, was absolutely divine, and we enjoyed dishes such as Pan fried seared scallops with chorizo foam, Potato Gnocchi with a Spinach and Mushroom sauce and topped with toasted pine nuts, and a Slowed braised lamb shank with herb mash and a red wine vegetable sauce.
Desserts were Iced Chocolate Parfait with mascarpone and chocolate banana sauce and a Rhubarb and Ginger Fool served with stem ginger short bread biscuits.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and had a really good rest before my much anticipated Spa day the next day, after a lovely breakfast in the restaurant 1650, where we enjoyed a breakfast buffet, choice of cooked breakfasts as well as freshly brewed coffees and teas the next morning. It was the perfect escapade from the January blues in London.
The Ye Olde Bell Spa
Having already been accoladed the prestigious 5 Bubbles by the Good Spa Guide, the bar had been raised for my expectations of my Spa day at the swanky new Spa. As I walked in to the building, I instantly felt relaxed. There was a colorful reception area, with lots of comfortable seats, and I was welcomed by the Spa receptionist who asked me to fill out a little questionnaire pre-treatment.
After that, I was given a really informative tour of the Spa facilities, and was amazed at just how fantastic everything was! There are even Spa butlers, who you can ask to bring you refreshments whilst you relax.
I couldn’t wait to change into my robe and try everything out, as I had some time to relax before my Spa treatment, which was booked in for the afternoon. The changing room was amazing, with lockers, hair dryers, straighteners on demand and vanity areas, in case you wanted to re-do your make up after your session. There was even a spin drier, where you could dry your swimwear, making it easier to transport!
There was just so much to choose from, including a vitality pools (inside and outside and interconnected), a steam room, a sauna, a specially custom made ‘snow storm’ experience, a salt inhalation room, which is decked out with the most comfiest chairs, that I can guarantee you will end up snoozing on, as well as an outside area, with heated chairs, the cutest après ski lodge inspired seats complete with a fire pit, and a cosy rattan apple bed to snuggle into.
I started off in the Alpine Sauna, which is constructed of Swiss Stone Pine with the distinct aromas of pine drifting in the room. This aroma is meant to have a positive effect on your well-being as it aids relaxation and sleep. The heat aids circulation improves joint movement, flushes out toxins and open pores improving skin condition. I could already feel my skin feeling a little better whilst sat in there.
I then moved on to the Vitality Pool, and braved the outside bit at first, pressing the button to get all the bubbles going. It was amazing and so lovely and warm, that it really didn’t even matter that I was outside in the heart of winter!
After that I moved into the inside bit, before heading off for a light lunch in the Herb Brasserie, before my Spa Treatment.
We decided to have some Bolney Bubbly, which was recommended by our server, and I went for a main course and a dessert whilst Amit went for a starter and a main.
We had homemade rosemary bread to enjoy for nibbles, which was heavenly.
Amit couldn’t stop raving about his starter, which was a Spiced Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato soup, even finding out what it was spiced with for me to try and re-create it a later stage.
For mains, he was delighted with Baked Hake, served with Sweet Potato, Pan Fried Winter Greens in a Red Wine Sauce.
For my mains I went for the Walnut and Cranberry Tart served with Red Onion Chutney, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese. It was really tasty and really filling!
Dessert was a joyful Chocolate Yul Log served with White Chocolate Ice Cream and Orange Textures. It was sublime and so beautifully presented!
After lunch, we were given a tour of the upstairs section of the Spa, where they have some relaxation rooms, including a Steam Bath, a Sabbia Med, where if you spend 30 mins you get your daily recommended level of Vitamin D, and a Rasul.
My treatment was a 30 Minute Turkish Massage, which focuses on releasing tension in the neck, back and shoulders. Just what I needed and so dreamy! The therapist carried out a unique feather ritual first, using a light silk fabric, before embarking on an amazing massage, and I was sad when time was up as I could have sat there enjoying it for hours! I felt so relaxed and zen after!
I had a fabulous weekend at Ye Olde Bell Spa and thoroughly enjoyed using the Spa facilities as well as the gourmet excellence at the restaurants at the hotel and adjacent spa. The hotel was lovely, welcoming and the perfect venue for a weekend country escape.
If you are looking for a Spa break this would be ideal, with really affordable Spa packages and fantastic treatments, and at an award winning Spa, which is worth the hype, as it was truly incredible.
For more information and to book you can visit their website here.
Disclaimer : My stay at Ye Olde Bell Spa was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.