Sometimes we just need to get away. Get away, and be pampered. A contemporary, country house with bespoke facilities is key to an ‘away from it all’ escape – and that’s why we love Fishmore Hall Hotel & Spa. A trip through the glorious countryside, along the Anglo-Welsh border and through the rolling Shropshire hills, brings us to a real luxe retreat – and that’s before you’ve thrown on your slippers and your fluffy robe, sitting book-in-hand in the spa.
Fishmore Hall was built in the early 1800s as a grand, family residence. It was transformed into a school during the Second World War, falling into a derelict state shortly after. The once abandoned building was lovingly brought back to life by the current owner, Laura Penman, in 2007 – and has since become a popular rural retreat – now even more so with the addition of the SPAshell.
We check in and head straight for the spa. A small, Nordic-style outbuilding where you’ll find couples’ treatment rooms, an outdoor cedar wellness pool, oversized hammock for lounging and two thermal cabins housing a steam room and sauna, all with undisturbed views of the beautiful, Shropshire countryside. After a busy working week, it’s time to relax, unwind and appreciate the peaceful tranquility of being ‘lost in the middle of nowhere’. Wrapped up in warm, comfy dressing gowns, it’s time to try out the treatments.
It’s always nice to see Elemis as the chosen spa brand – a familiar, refreshing product that in my experience, works wonders. But for something a little different – warming and soothing – in keeping with the setting and feel of the place, the lovely therapists book my partner and I in for a Lava Shell Thermal Relax Experience. A unique, signature SPAshell treatment using hot Lava Shell massage to create a sense of deep relaxation. A warm welcome to the couples treatment room includes refreshments and a quick consultation to ensure the best possible outcome and exploration of the body. The result: smooth skin, sparkling vitality and a useful dose of aftercare support on how best to maintain a healthy, injury-free lifestyle. Post treatment – and feeling fresh from head to toe – we’re left to roam the health suite at our leisure. As the sun sets in, it’s the perfect place to reflect and retreat. An evening drifting from steam room to sauna and from wellness pool to hammock – oh-so relaxing.
Inside and out, the SPAshell has that cosy, hygge feel. Piles of knit blankets and chunky cushions make you feel right at home. It’s worlds away from the busy, clinical spa you might find in a bustling city destination – it’s snug, low key and intimate. Grab a fleece and snooze under the stars in the oversized hammock, or free up your pores in the dreamy steam room – a fine fix of aroma therapy under the calming light cycle.
The Nordic art of hygge is recreated in the hotel’s design too. The exterior: a beautifully grand, whitewashed building standing boldly in the Shropshire countryside, surrounded by lush fields and close to a small, quintessentially English village. Inside: a recent refurb brings the grand venue back down to earth – cool, contemporary interiors combined with grey, cream and brown hues – something of a Nordic influence. It brings the tranquility of the spa back into the building – creating the perfect venue for a weekend retreat, where you feel relaxed from start to finish.
Good food comes with bespoke luxury, and Fishmore Hall have hit the nail on the head in that department too. The dining room is an elegant space, with uninterrupted views of the rural surrounds through the large orangery windows, or from the terrace if al-fresco is your thing. It’s always nice to see local produce and seasonal inspiration making its mark on the menu – something Head Chef, Andrew Birch is passionate about when it comes to Fishmore’s food offering. The regional detail and innovation put into the meals here make Forellas restaurant one of the finest in Ludlow.
The Brasserie menu serves up casual, Sunday evening dinner – also available for easy-going dining throughout the week. A more relaxed, dining experience is perfect for us; feeling calm and content following our SPAshell experience. For something a little more formal, the Shropshire Tasting menu is available Tuesday to Saturday, serving a three-course and a six-course option – taking diners on a foodie journey of Shropshire.
For an ‘away from it all’ break, Fishmore Hall is a hideaway in the hills worth searching for – perfect for pampering in the new SPAshell facilities and feeding off Shropshire’s finest foods.