Ye Olde Bell Hotel in Retford: Spa review
Tucked away in the scenic Nottinghamshire countryside is Ye Olde Bell Hotel: a 1680s coaching inn that has been sympathetically modernised and extended to accommodate those seeking a soothing escape from the city.
Ye Olde Bell is situated in Barnby Moor, at the midway point between London and Edinburgh, four miles from Retford train station. The journey from London Kings Cross is a breeze, totalling a mere hour and a half.
The grand entrance opens into a charming reception area and communal lounge, packed with antique furniture, Blue Willow china and original paintings. Welcoming staff direct customers to their rooms, ours being at the top of an attractive sweeping staircase.
The hotel boasts individually designed rooms, equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay – period antiques, fluffy bedding, a flat screen television and luxury toiletries. There are various packages available: classic (£205), superior (£275) and suites (from £360).
No expense was spared when developing the multi-million pound spa, which offers a world of ultimate relaxation. Several packages are available, to suit every need – a morning visit includes four hours’ access to the spa and a two-course lunch, while the full spa break permits an overnight stay and breakfast in the hotel (from £160 per person).
The deluxe changing rooms, complete with vanity stations, 11 hot and cold thermal experiences, indoor/outdoor vitality pool and nourishing Herb Garden Brasserie ensure every step of your journey will leave you feeling invigorated. Outside, you can snuggle in the rattan apple and alpine chalets or kick back on a heated lounger.
There are six treatment rooms, including two doubles, available for 30, 60, 90 or 120-minute appointments. We selected the signature Turkish Ritual Massage, which foucses on releasing tension in the neck, back and shoulders. It combines a unique feather ritual with specialised massage movements and aromatic saffron oil to melt away lingering stress. Further along the corridor, the Express Beauty Lounge offers manicures, pedicures, waxing and threading.
All day AA Rosette dining is available inside the hotel and spa restaurants. If the weather permits, al fresco dining in the beautiful gardens is welcomed. Otherwise, Restaurant Bar 1650 is the ideal setting for a decadent evening meal. This impressive oak panelled room features a contemporary art deco bar and award-winning cuisine, made from the finest local ingredients.
We highly recommend the breast of Gressingham duck, which is served with sweet potato puree, buttered kale, black cherry and port jus. Meanwhile, the toffee pudding, topped with butterscotch sauce and clotted cream ice cream, will satisfy any sweet tooth.
The following morning, we indulged in a hearty breakfast at the hotel’s St Leger Bistro-by-the-Bar. This mouth-watering menu comprises continental, cooked, vegan and gluten-free options, accompanied by a selection of tea, coffee and juice.
Open to residents and locals alike, this bar is also stocked with a range of hand-pulled ales, extensive wine and champagne choices, and a brand new gin menu, so you’re certain to find a suitable refreshment at any time of day.
For further information about Ye Olde Bell Hotel, and to book your stay, visit here.