Shortflatt Tower offers the perfect spa retreat
Pulling up the drive, it was hard not to be impressed by the solid fortress of Shortflatt Tower. We were greeted by Octavia and Jono, the current owners of Shortflatt Tower, and as we walked through the front door we were surrounded by the sensual scents of candles and the welcome roar of the open fire in the Tower Keep drawing room. With it’s high vaulted ceiling and 6 foot thick walls, this impressive room is simply furnished with elegant, yet comfortable leather sofas and antique furniture.
Each room has been decorated with beautiful furnishings and quality materials, like the Brazilian marble in one of the bathrooms, while retaining the character of the grade I Pele Tower, which delivers the 5 star Gold accommodation rating they have been awarded.
We settled into the upstairs open plan kitchen / living room. We had decided to arrive by train as we felt that this would be the best way to enjoy a weekend of relaxation. As we didn’t have a car we came well prepared with food for the weekend and planned to stay ensconced in our tower and pampered in their Fullerton Place Spa over the next couple of days.
For those that want a little more luxury Octavia and Jono have connections with local restaurants who can cater for your stay and one party even organised a butler for their stay.
Although the accommodation normally sleeps 14, we never felt over whelmed by the size of the accommodation, it felt comfortable and welcoming and very quickly we began to unwind.
It is easy to see why families choose to stay here for special occasions and friends join together for celebrations.
The Master bedroom makes a wonderful Bridal suite, I can easily imagine a bride using this room and gliding down the stairs to their licenced room, and this year they will see their first Winter wedding.
Past and present generations of the family have taken great pride in creating and maintaining the wonderful garden and the grounds around the Tower. The flower borders have been planned to produce colour and blooms throughout the year and there is a beautiful rose quartz fountain.
With a variety of areas to stroll or to sit and relax in the garden and parkland, it’s a wonderful space to explore. With prior permission, it is also possible to walk around in the surrounding fields on the other side of the ancient haha and there are several footpath and bridleway routes that pass through nearby. There are also great views of the house from every direction. The drive is nearly a mile long so there is great privacy, very little traffic noise and uninterrupted views.
Balancing tranquil surroundings with energy and vitality, Shortflatt has an exceptionally calm and relaxing atmosphere making it an ideal place for rest and relaxation.
Fullerton Place Spa built with funding from Defra has a wide range of treatments and therapies available.Their facilities consist of a steam room, outdoor hot tub, hammam and 4 treatment rooms, and offer a range of quality treatment experiences.
The treatment rooms are beautiful especially the specially created Hammam treatment room (pictured right). Octavia and Jono took inspiration from their travels to Morocco.
Retreats at Shortflatt
Octavia and Jono with the help of their Spa Manager Grace, are organising their first retreat in July bringing their luxury accommodation, spa treatments, local practitioners, and caterers together to create a truly unique experience.
Octavia & Jono Hedley-Dent
Shortflatt Tower, Belsay, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Northumberland NE20 0HD Tel: 01661 881804 shortflatttower.co.uk To book accommodation premiercottages.co.uk
When it comes to the long awaited trip to the spa I am not normally one to opt for a facial, having always regarded them as the sparkling wine of treatments when really all you want is the glass of bubbly. I tend to be a staunch “free me of all the aches and pains from having a 21month old please and massage me to an inch of my life” kinda gal. But this time I thought I would go for a slightly different approach. The Elemis SOS Purifier treatment was idyllic. Deborah (the masseuse) explained the treatments and oils involved which included two face masks to boost, calm and balance the skin. A heavenly stress relieving massage around the eyes, a mind-balancing neck and head rub and an arms, hands and feet massage. The setting at Fullerton perfectly combines an enchanting mix of Buddhist backdrop tunes, calming oils, soft cotton sheets and faux fur throws to sink into; I soon found my mind drifting off to the foothills of the Himalayas with not a child or thrown toy in sight! An hour or so later and I felt blissfully relaxed and a complete convert to facials - the sparkling wine has upgraded to the ranks of Champagne. However, just how long the feeling of calm would last once back in the kingdom of toddler is another question!! Fenella Wood
There is something very comforting about the use of water in a treatment. The Hammam treatment is a ritual of washing and cleansing, including an exfoliation with ‘Savon Noir’, a nourishing soap made from olives and olive oil. Salts infused with oil and fresh herbs are also used followed by the rinsing and cleansing of the body. Grace poured warm water over my body and head, while sitting on the heated, tiled bench. The feeling was very much the same as a small child being bathed by her mother, something I have recently been doing for my little one, now I know why she loves bath time so much! It is quite an intimate experience, however Grace’s gentle voice with her explanation of the process left me knowing I was in very capable hands. ‘Rhassoul’ is then applied to the body and hair while you soak up the warmth of the Hammam and its heated benches. Rassoul is Lava clay sourced from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, extremely rich in trace minerals which treat and purify the skin and extract toxins. The final part of the ritual is a wonderful, relaxing full body massage with ‘Argan Oil’, which has rich, healing and restorative properties for skin and hair. After an hour and a half I was left feeling truly pampered and relaxed and enjoyed a blissful night’s sleep. Rachel Branson