Like the opening scene of a movie, Crewe Hall appears in all its magnificence at the end of a long drive between our world and another. We are now part of its history, an old house warmed with memories.
In a rare moment of forward planning, we are booked into the Crewe Hall Hotel & Spa. The original building, which dates back 1170, is no longer in evidence – it was Randolph Crewe who bought the fallen-down pile, going on to demolish it in favour of something impressive thanks to his employing Flemish, Italian and ‘other foreign’ craftsmen. In 1922, the Crewe Family left. Cheshire County Council declined the chance to buy it and so the hall and much of the estate was sold to the Duchy of Lancaster in 1936 because he only had daughters and – shock – no sons to inherit the estate.
From 1939 to 1946, Crewe Hall was used to house US, Canadian and Australian troops and, later, high-ranking German officers who were prisoners of war. Much later, in 1998, the Crown relinquished ownership, paving the way for a hotel and spa.
Today, Crewe Hall is carefully looked after. We find ourselves in one of the grandest suites, complete with a four-poster, imagining the history of this place while lying in bed gazing out over the grounds. What must it have been like to wander the halls, library and oak parlour, admiring the carvings and the pictures as a permanent resident?
After wowing over our quarters, we head to the spa through a network of corridors leading from the old to the new. A wing of Crewe Hall is a modern affair and, funnily enough, less warm – that is until we reached the spa which had a toasty tropical air temperature and a warm, inviting pool. It was busy with lots of other spa-weekenders with the same idea, all taking advantage of the discounted January deals.
Steam, sauna and ice followed, all of which were so good that a lie-down before dinner was required.
Now at the Terrace Bar, which by summer would be a beautiful stroll on the actual outdoor terrace on a balmy evening. I blame the opulent surroundings and the fact this was a rare treat for ordering a G&T using the not-included-in-the-deal-brand, despite the bartender tempting me with a Gordon’s. I’ve been ruined by the likes of Manchester Gin.
To the dining room in the modern wing for dinner complete with a brasserie restaurant menu and younger staff vibe. I opt for the roasted Cornish hake with saffron potatoes, buttered samphire and shellfish sauce, which is delicious. If I didn’t eat fish, then there’s the plant burger.
Onto the morning and Crewe Hall knows that their spa-breakers love a full English. Which, by the way, was also lip-smackingly good. For the non-meat eater, there are plenty of continental items.
Post-breakfast we return to a much quieter pool and loungers before our spa treatment. First, though, robe and slippers and a relax on the waterbeds in the Elemis spa. Gorgeous serenity makes me consider how to make this a monthly treat. By the time my wonderful spa therapist, B, has delivered her masterful back massage and facial, I am thinking this should be available on the NHS. Imagine how relaxed we’d all feel. Feeling good could be the new GDP.
It felt like saying thank you and goodbye to an old friend when we left. The only downside was our phones had run out of juice and we didn’t have any means of paying for the extra fancy gin. Oh the shame. Luckily the receptionist believed me when I said I’d pay over the phone when I got home. Which I did, FYI.
Thank you, Crewe Hall.
All images courtesy of Crewe Hall
Rooms at Crewe Hall start from £125 per night including breakfast.