Last month Ash and I were sent off to the Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa in Leek by Red Letter Days, as part of their #LiveaLittle #BucketListThursday campaign, which sees them sending one person (or couple) off on a bucket list item each month.
Where is The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa is located in Blackshaw Moor, near Leek; it boasts amazing views of the nearby National Park and Peaks of The Roaches.
Now I'm not going to deny that getting there was a bit of an experience, after all, we were booked in for one of the only times we have seen snow this year and while on the main roads and lowlands, it didn't make much difference, once we reached the peaks the fog closed in, snow started to settle and we were even stopped by another driving saying you won't make it up the hill, the snows at least 6 inches deep. Thankfully we turned off before said hill and made it to the spa in one piece.
What is at The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
There has been an inn on this site since the early 1800s, with the current owners having been in place since 1981. During the time the Kirk's have been in ownership they have made some wonderful additions to the location, which now includes; a number of different room options, from rooms above the pub and bar for those with a smaller budget to garden rooms which feature their own outside hot tubs. A restaurant that serves everything from breakfast, lunch and dinner, to afternoon teas, as well as of course the spa, which offers a range of treatments and facilities that can be enjoyed by people booked in for a spa stay.
How were we treated at The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
Everyone we came across was so warm, welcoming and went out of their way to help me. You might notice I have quite a few pictures of the spa itself, without any other guests, this is as they actually offered to open up the area for me out of hours so I could take some images and they could give Ash and I a quick tour. Which I found not only really kind but also put my mind at ease for the following day as I knew what to expect when it came to the spa.
What was our room like at The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
We were placed in a superior room, which was on the first floor of the inn and was easily accessible by both lift and stairs. The room was really nicely decorated and included a king sized bed, TV with free view, tea and coffee making facilities, mineral water and mints. While the bathroom featured a shower and whirlpool bath.
We both found the room lovely and comfortable, however, we did find that it was next to a boiler room or similar and until around 1:30-2am we were plagued with banging noises, which started up again around 5 am, so a restful night sadly wasn't to be had.
What was the food like at The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
The restaurant is situated on the first floor of the inn and you do need to climb a couple of stairs into it. The menu offered a wide choice of food and took you through starts, mains and dessert and I have to say we enjoyed the meal we had there.
I personally went for a starter of soup (tomato, which, if it happens to be the soup of the day and you visit you most definitely have to try), while Ash went for some grilled flat bread with garlic butter. For mains, Ash had the longhorn burger and was then defeated by it (but apparently it was absolutely delicious, if a little hard to eat), while went all traditional with a delicious helping of fish and chips. We rounded off the meal with one of their famous syrup sponges and left the dinner hall feeling absolutely full.
As well as dinner, our package also included breakfast, for which there was a selection of cereals, pastries and toasts to help yourself to, while a menu allowed you to order anything from a full English to Staffordshire oak cakes.
After breakfast, we had a choice of what to do. We could go to our spa day anytime from 10 am, or we could relax for a bit longer in the room till our 11 am check out. As I was booked in for a facial at 11, we headed down a little early, got our luggage into the car and then changed to spend a few hours in the spa.
Heaven Mini Facial
My first call of the spa day was a Heaven Mini Facial, I wrote before about having had my first facial in many years only a couple of weeks before and so I was really looking forward to this one. The treatment room is lovely, above the treatment bed is a wonderful arrangement of soothing colouring changing lights.
The mini facial takes around 30 minutes and uses products from Heaven by Deborah Mitchell, which is all-natural and organic. As the treatment took place, I was told everything that was going on and the products used and at the end I really could see a difference in my skin, which for me makes for a pretty successful facial I would say and for anyone who is new to facials this is a great one to start with.
What is the spa like at The Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa?
The spa area of the Three Horseshoe Inn and spa takes a lot of its inspiration from the local area, working mills and alongside offering those treatments you expect from a spa, it has developed some really interesting ones that are unique to the Mill Wheel Spa.
The Mill Wheel
The first thing you notice when you walk into the main spa area is the mill wheel, this is not only a big nod to the local area (in particular James Brindley Water Mill in Leek & Cheddleton Flint Mill) but also a spa treatment.
Adjacent to the Mill Wheel you will find a pull cord when you pull this from the wheel will pour out 2 hot and 2 cold buckets of water, straight onto your head. However which one will come first is a complete surprise.
The Cedar Plunge Pool
Behind the mill wheel lies the Cedar Plunge Pool. This pool is just 9 degrees in temperature and you are meant to quickly plunge yourself under the water after a heat experience, With a 30-second dip being said to help stimulate circulation, as well as help alleviate joint pain and muscle stress.
Now I have to admit I didn't manage to get in further than the bottom of my legs and while Ash managed to get into up to his chest, the slightly rickety steps in meant he was unable to do it quick enough to completely plunge in.
The Farmers Sauna and The Peak District Stonebath
The two heat rooms are of course accessible off this area, with the farmer's sauna offering a herbal steam room and the peak district stonebath a more dry heat. Both of these we found a little too hot to stay in for long, so a quick peek around the door was all we did.
Lastly in this area is the Rasul, this is a private spa treatment, which is only accessible to people who have booked in to take part. Open to single users or couples, the Rasul is a mud treatment that you do yourself, making it perfect for spa treatment newbies.
Both Ash and I tried the Rasul and we had a bit of fun in there, you start by applying 1 of 3 mineral rich muds to your skin (the colour of the mud dictates where you apply it and don't worry it's all explained before you go in), for the next 20 minutes you then sit back and let the steam open your pores, while gentle relaxing music plays and if you are anything like Ash and I occasionally fling mud at each other.
As the treatment comes to an end, a shower rains down on you washing away the mud and hopefully leaving behind wonderful nourished and healthy skin.
The Relaxation Suite
Next door to the mill wheel room you will find the relaxation suite, a room filled with seats, tables, magazines and water, allowing you a space to relax and unwind between activities. From this room, you can also order food and drinks at the push of a button.
This room also looks out towards the spa gardens and vitality pool. The vitality pool is set to 36.c and allows users to turn on hydrotherapy jets as they please while relaxing. The day we were there it was absolutely freezing out, but once in the pool, it was wonderful and warm, though running from the pool to inside was a bit brisk.
The Beach Hut
As you walk into the relaxation suite you are greeted to one side by a beach hut, this is home to the completely unique beach hut experience. A treatment that I was really looking forward to as I know my body lacks in vitamin D and I do suffer from SAD over the winter months as well.
The Beach Hut replicates a day at the beach from sunrise to sunset, relaxing music is piped into the room, while essential oils help you really feel by the side of the sea.
This treatment sees you laying on a warm bed of sand (which I have been told a number of the people who regularly visit the spa say is good for their fibromyalgia and I can well believe it having experienced it). Once laying down the treatment is set in action and all you need to do it lay back and put your hands and feet in the sand if you want.
For me, this is a treatment I really think could make a big difference when used long term.
What was our overall opinion?
We both enjoyed our time at the Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa, we would both definitely be happy to go back, though we would try and make sure we were placed in a different room to avoid any late night banging.
We found all the staff we came across extremely helpful and friendly, the hotel had lifts making it disability friendly, while the spa was all on the ground level and offered disabled changing facilities which were kindly opened for me. The only issue within the spa itself, was the movement of the steps going into the vitality pool and the plunge pool, I personally would have felt more at ease, if they didn't wobble quite so much.
I would most definitely recommend the Mill Wheel Spa to anyone who is looking for a spa day around Leek, the fact they offer some treatments that are so different is amazing and the Three Horseshoes Inn really offers a friendly atmosphere towards all its guests.
You can, of course, find out more about the Three Horseshoe Inn & Spa on their website as well as book vouchers from Red Letter Days and read a bit more about #BucketListThursday on the Red Letter Days Blog.
What do you think about the sound of the Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa, would you fancy a spa day there?
*We were offered an overnight spa break in return for helping Red Letter Days out with the #BucketListThursday post (linked above), I was not asked to blog about it, I offered to, as I had such a good time.