Matfen Hall’s Isabella’s Indulgence treatment day blends super-tech skincare with ancient wellbeing know-how. Kathryn Armstrong checks in.
Matfen Hall Spa

The words ‘technology skincare solutions’ undoubtedly have a tone of intent about them. They sound savvy, techy and results-driven. They sound like they won’t be part of a fluffy, fall-asleep spa experience.

And indeed they’re not. But married with the subtle and soothing forerunner of an indulgent and decidedly fluffy and floral Thousand Flower Detox, they join forces for a bit of a yin and yang kind of spa day.

Isabella’s (not sure who she is but I like her style) Indulgence is one of the newer spa day packages at the Aqua Vitae Spa at Matfen Hall in Northumberland, a place which has its very own ‘off’ switch to loan you the minute you approach its rich landscaped gardens and far-reaching views of nice Northumberland nothingness (albeit just 20 minutes’ drive from Newcastle).

On arrival a member of the spa team invites you for a coffee and your therapist will talk you through treatments and go through any skin or body concerns you might want addressing. And you order your two-course lunch.

Robe and slippers on, a quick tour of the poolside facilities, then it’s time to head to the heated treatment bed. No finer place to get to grips with a detox.

The Aqua Vitae Spa is home to the well-loved Elemis treatment range of products and the Thousand Flower Detox Body Wrap is a 60-minute treatment.

It’s meant to be thorough and do-you-good rather than a relaxing pamper, having said that, after the initial robust body brushing to get the circulation going, it is still lie-back and chill-out pleasant.

After the brushing, skin is gently massaged and exfoliated with a nourishing Green Tea Balm. Then you’re enveloped in warm blankets as the powerful ingredients work their magic – and you enjoy a head massage.

The treatment is invigorating and effective. You shower in the treatment room afterwards and skin feels immediately soft and refreshed.

The day package gives you time to lounge around the pool or even hit the gym if that’s your thing.

Poolside means time for some laps in the water or to feel the restorative powers of the aromatherapy room, which somehow manages to relax the mind and body as you take in the soothing aromas and calm atmosphere.

Steamroom and sauna are ready to continue the relax vibe – but on this occasion the ice-cold bucket shower wasn’t on my to-do list.

Instead I entered the Biotec world. The Elemis Biotech treatment is all about the buzz term ‘results-driven’. So you really get the results you want.

Your therapist will individualise the treatment to address your skin concerns – which might be anything from redness to congestion and blemishes to wrinkles.

Dehydration and ageing always tick my boxes so a dose of oxygen therapy was prescribed along with firming probes and some resurfacing.

The treatment uses some impressive and interesting tools along the way – which can appear alarming. After a thorough cleanse and tone what looks like a soft blade is gently driven across the skin to basically vacuum off the dead skin cells. It’s a nice sensation – a bit tickly as it goes deep! I didn’t look too hard at what it had unearthed.

The next part of the treatment uses micro-current probes to gently lift and firm the skin before you move on to the fun bit – the oxygen boost.

This sounds faintly like a power tool – but it feels great. What seems like a reverse suction tool powers oxygen into the skin. The therapist talks you through it so it’s not a shock – testing it first on your shoulder so you know what to expect. It’s great – I felt mightily energised after the oxygen boost.

The treatment finishes with a super-cold face mask which tightens everything up.

This is definitely a revitalising treatment, to be recommended. It has the effect of plumping lines out to make skin look smoother and the deep peel gives skin a worthy and lasting re-surfacing.

The Isabella Indulgence Day also includes champagne and lunch which can be as healthy as you like – my fish and chips an indulgence all their own. There are lots of impressive sweet things on the menu – such as lemon tart or sticky toffee pudding. Part of the indulgence of course is knowing that after lunch all you have to do is put your feet up and maybe even
have a wee power nap!

Isabella’s Indulgence, £190 includes Elemis Biotech (normally £85), Thousand Flower Detox, (normally £70), two-course lunch, drink on arrival and use of spa all day.

Related Stories

  • 21 ways to welcome 2021

    21 Ways To Welcome 2021

    1. EXPLORE WHAT’S BEYOND… Leave the woes and worries of everyday life behind you and be transported to outer space at Grassholme Observatory. Sitting in a serene spot beneath the Dark Skies...
  • Kielder Observatory

    A Trip To Kielder Observatory

    “Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman. This has always been a favourite quote of mine. It reminds me that all will be...


    Balancing your laptop on your knee with papers strewn across the floor is okay for a while, but working from home can certainly have its challenges. Whether it is...
  • 10 Podcasts You Need To Listen To This Month


    DESERT ISLAND DISCS WHAT IS IT? “Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island? Guests share the soundtrack of their lives.” WHY...