Reviewed by Erica Bourn
We visited Clumber Park Hotel and Spa in Nottinghamshire last weekend, which occupies a superb location on the edge of Sherwood Forest, conveniently placed for the M1 and A1, making it an easy jaunt from our home in York.
We received a warm welcome as soon as we stepped through the doors, as we checked in with the polite and attentive reception staff. They provided an overview of the facilities on offer, and went through our dinner reservations and those for our treatments in the Spa booked for the following day.
Our Executive style room was located on the first floor, overlooking the internal courtyard garden of the hotel. It is a fairly large hotel, and took a little time to get our bearings locating the room, but the friendly housekeeping staff were on hand and pointed us in the right direction.
The room itself was generously sized, with very comfortable king sized bed, armchair, Elemis toiletries, robes and slippers, refreshment tray and fridge with high quality complimentary snacks and drinks. On a fresh February day, it was also lovely and warm and although the hotel is located on an ‘A’ road, no road noise was audible.
After freshening up, we donned our swimwear, fluffy robes and slippers provided, and made our way down to the New Leaf Spa. There are large windows around the pool area on one side, allowing you to take in the natural environment, and doors onto the inner courtyard garden on the other. There is a pool, well equipped gym, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, as well as a decking area with hot tub. Chill out comfy sofas, cafe and plentiful loungers around the pool completed the facilities, and all was to a very good standard and done in a tasteful manner allowing users to recharge their batteries and relax in a fantastic environment – indeed sitting in the outdoor hot tub following a lovely swim after dusk there were few places I would rather have been.
Perfect for couples or groups of friends, the Spa users were predominantly adults, and alcohol was available in the area for those wishing to partake although this was in a responsible manner and there was no abuse of this by guests. Children are welcome to use the pool, but only during restricted hours of 4-6, ensuring that relaxation remained the emphasis, and must say that having a rare night away from our own three little people, something I welcomed.
For dinner that evening there were two dining options, (both serving the same menu), the more informal Normanton Inn or The Courtyard Restaurant. We dined in the latter and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in the very pleasant lounge area, whilst perusing the menu. There is an emphasis on locally sourced food and a good mix of traditional staples and those with a more modern twist, so should be something to appeal to everyone. We both ordered a salad to start, crispy pulled pork for me whilst my husband had the pigeon, black pudding and pancetta, followed up by the steak for main course.
After ordering we were shown through to our table in the conservatory part of the dining room, which overlooked the garden. Staff were all very pleasant and polite. I think it is fair to say some of the waiting staff are fairly young and inexperienced, and some of the service might not have been as slick as it could be, yet their friendly manner did make up for this. The dining area was nicely decorated, and a good atmosphere, with welcomed touches such as water provided on tables without having to be requested. The salads were nice but would have benefited from a variety of salad leaves rather than just little gem, but the star of the show was most definitely the main course steak, which was perfectly cooked, full of flavour and served with excellent chunky chips and marinated onions, highly recommended. Having seen another table’s onion ring order, my husband put in a late request for these to be added to our order, and this was dealt with in a very professional manner by our young waitress and certainly did not disappoint. After dinner we relaxed in the Normanton Inn. This was a lovely space, which was modern yet cosy and decorated to a high standard, a lovely end to our evening.
The wonderfully comfortable beds saw us refreshed the following morning, and we enjoyed the complimentary newspapers whilst pondering the breakfast menu, which was again served in the Courtyard Restaurant. We arrived for breakfast just before 9, as it would seem did everyone else which made it a very busy time for the waiting staff and consequently took a little time to order our breakfast. Being a Sunday morning however, a relaxed pace was certainly not an issue, and the good coffee and papers whiled the time away, and also gave ample time to enjoy the cold breakfast options – juices, cereals, variety of fresh and dried fruits, yoghurts and beautiful croissants. A good range of hot options, including full English (and vegetarian equivalent), eggs benedict, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and Whitby Kippers. I opted for the latter which was lovely and great to see once again an emphasis on locally sourced, quality ingredients running through the menu.
We had a twin treatment room booked later in the morning in The New Leaf Spa, and after packing made our way down. Once again, the staff who greeted us on the reception of the Spa were lovely and we completed a questionnaire to high light any potential issues to the therapists and understand what we were looking to achieve from our chosen treatments.
It’s fair to say we are not regular spa goers, and on previous visits to other establishments I haven’t felt entirely at ease, but the atmosphere here was very welcoming and staff’s attitude and professionalism ensured that this was not the case here, (this was my husband’s first massage and he was also a little apprehensive).
The treatment area was all very calming, and the therapists explained what our individual 25 minute treatments would entail (I had the Skin Booster Facial and husband the New Leaf back neck and shoulder massage). Soft music played in the background and it’s fair to say that the duration of the treatments was absolute bliss, and perfect tonic to recharge and de-stress. Both of us left feeling wonderful and having been very unsure whether he would enjoy the experience, my husband I think is now a convert and we wouldn’t hesitate for a return visit.
We couldn’t return home without enjoying some of the area’s wonderful attractions. Walkers and cyclists are spoilt for choice in the locality, but being on the doorstep of Clumber Park this National Trust Property seemed the obvious choice for a couple of hours stroll before our return home. Hotel staff are more than happy to provide tourist information, and walkers pack lunches and maps are available at request. The park itself is a beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods covering more than 3,800 acres. We only had a taster of its delights but have already said that we will be back to visit again.
To conclude, a wonderful short break enjoyed by us both tremendously.
For more information, package deals or to make a booking visit www.clumberparkhotel.com.
For details of attractions, places to eat and stay in Nottinghamshire please visit the official tourism website of Nottinghamshire www.experiencenottinghamshire.com.
Clumber Park Hotel and Spa, Blyth Road, Worksop, S80 3PA | 01623 835 333