Lady Golfer Well Being: Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa HotelApril, 2013
Justine Board visits this North Yorkshire retreat
IT is freezing and starting to snow as I pay the 40p toll to cross the ludicrously quaint 18th-century Aldwark toll bridge (notable for once being hit by an iceberg!) on the way to the Aldwark Manor Golf and Spa Hotel.
The bridge crosses the River Ure which also cuts picturesquely through the 100 odd acres of parkland and golf course surrounding the hotel. Aldwark Manor sits between York and Harrogate in
the Vale of York and overlooks misty, rolling moorland, the Howardian Hills and, further on the horizon, the North Yorkshire Moors loom ominously (for me at least, remembering a recent cycling trip with unanticipated gradients).
It was commissioned in 1865 by Lord Walsingham as a wedding present for his eldest daughter and the original manor house now forms the heart of the hotel. I pull into the discreet, sweeping driveway and despite the weather there are a couple of hardy golfers sauntering to the 1st tee, but I’m not here for the golf, thankfully I’m heading for the spa.
I’m greeted by the soporific site of spa-goers mooching around in robes, chatting in pairs while, I’m told by my therapist, their other halves are out on the course. There is a gym with the full range of training equipment but the only sweat-inducing activity I have any intention of pursuing involves sitting in a sauna.
I’m led away to one of seven treatment rooms for my blissful Espa full body massage, only managing to stay awake on the heated bed through fear of what somnolent noises I might produce.
Apart from the beauty treatments on offer, life revolves around the pool with its picturesque views over the course – it was particularly gratifying to sit in the Jacuzzi
Service was never less than charming and a friendly atmosphere pervades with guests chatting amicably to each other whether be-robed or fully dressed. and watch snow fall peaceably on the adjacent green. There’s also a sauna, steam room and for the brave/masochistic, a bucket shower which dumps ice cold water on the souls below.
Lunch was a healthy Cajun chicken salad in the buzzy spa brasserie although this isn’t one of those monk-like ascetic retreats and no-one will disapprove if you order a glass of wine.
If you’re staying overnight, other eating options include the highly regarded Brasserie Restaurant (robes definitely not permitted) or the less formal Terrace Bar overlooking the 1st fairway, a choice spot in better weather.
Service was never less than charming and a friendly atmosphere pervades with guests chatting amicably to each other whether be-robed or fully dressed.
Aldwark Manor is perfect for a short break and close enough to both York and Harrogate to combine golf and spa with a shopping or cultural trip. The course is a gentle walk that tests accuracy if not length, but rewards with lovely views including a scenic footbridge over the Ure.
This is also a beautiful part of the world for walking and there are some great village pubs to discover in the surrounding countryside including the Punchbowl Inn in Marton-cum- Grafton and the Durham Ox in Crayke, both run by the excellent Provenance Inns who specialise in locally sourced produce from God’s Own County.
Read our exclusive, Wharton Park, Play Away feature HERE
Read Bonnie Friend’s ‘Spa breaks for mums’ article HERE