Leeds may conjure up connotations of hectic cosmopolitan living, but just a few miles outside the city centre lies an area of tranquillity where you can get way from it all and recharge the batteries.
Located in an incongruous nook between the M62 and M1 motorways, Oulton Hall’s location means it is easily accessible from the north’s major centres of population.
Travelling up the tree lined driveway you are suddenly greeted with the magnificence of the 18th century mansion house which has been transformed into a four-star hotel, spa and golf destination.
The stunning scenery - with the 27 hole golf course enveloping the hotel - is the perfect setting for the grandeur of the lobby where you are greeted with cavernous ceilings, sweeping staircases and elegant chandeliers as well as staff as welcoming as the surroundings.
Oulton Hall combines period beauty and modern facilities, none so much more in the hotel’s spa where you can treat yourself with a range of treatments designed to release the stresses of life.
Overlooking the good-sized swimming pool, we are seated for a couple of minutes before being whisked away to a private treatment room, where after a short consultation I opted for the GELeration Foot Spa Ritual, A luxury foot and leg treatment including a relaxing massage and moisturise, followed by a full pedicure and nails painted with Jessica's long lasting Gel polish. I love a pedicure, and was impressed with my pretty toe nails.
The spa, with a sauna and steam room is a great place to relax, or with full gym burn off the stresses of life, but with glorious weather it seemed a bit foolish to squander the rare opportunity to bathe in the sunshine.
With beautifully landscaped gardens as the backdrop, the champagne bar’s terrace acted as a perfect sun trap where to sit back, relax and enjoy a couple of refreshing drinks - the rhubarb gin being a great tonic to the weather.
Oulton Hall prides itself on it’s food with two restaurants - The Calverley Grill and The Claret Jug.
We opted for The Calverley Grill. Decked out in dark wood with subdued lighting and red accents, the food on offer is modern British, celebrating the seasons.
A great range is on offer with the attentive waiters ready to talk you through what’s on offer for those unsure what to choose.
For starter, we both opted for the scallops with asparagus and apricot, perfectly seared and not overcooked - the real standout was my main of pan fried fillet. The steak was spot on cooked with the braised oxtail bon bon, melting in the mouth. Slightly underwhelming was the orange mousse with chocolate sorbet. A kind of reverse chocolate orange, the mousse was light and flavoursome but the sorbet did not really have the cleansing effect you would expect. but I must also declare that I’m not the biggest dessert fan.
While hearty and definitely setting you up for the day, the breakfast menu of traditional cooked breakfast, pastries and fruit, was slightly limited compared to other hotels of a similar stature.
Our standard room was exactly that. Clean and light there was nothing wrong with the functional room but admittedly it was a slight anti-climax compared to the splendour of the rest of the building. A minibar would also have been a welcome addition especially with temperatures in the mid 20s.
Oulton Hall is ideally located for a quick and peaceful getaway and definitely worth a visit, for if no other reason, so you can be mesmerised by it’s entrance.
Whatever the occasion, Oulton Hall won’t disappointed!