Muddy visits Kettering Park Spa – Ahhhhhhhh
An oasis of calm off the A14 and perfect for a Mother-Daughter bonding break!
This isn’t the first time Muddy has graced Kettering Park Spa, but it’s the first time we’ve stayed. I went for my Birthday a few years back and had a day spa followed by a very good meal that surprised me a little, as I don’t always love hotel food. Located in Kettering, it’s 10 minutes from Wellingborough (not far from the Muddy crib), and with a much needed mother/daughter day, long overdue, I thought it was time to revisit (they’d also made it to the finalists round of the Muddy Awards, so some of you guys love them too). It says on the blurb that Kettering Park Hotel has a four-star approach to everything, earning them a nomination for Best Large Hotel in a recent Tourism Awards; and after our visit, there are definitely elements where you can see why.
The hotel is traditional, so not necessarily for your cutting edge hipsters, but it has a really calming feel about it that I think most people would like (hip or not). There’s not a lot of windows or natural light in the reception, so it feels like you could be at any time of the day or night. The bar and restaurant are traditional with wood panelling and you can imagine sipping red wine by candlelight late into the evening. Lots of people visit this hotel for the spa, and once you’ve stepped into that part it’s very chilled and calm, everything you’d expect really, including the offer of refreshment on arrival. With the unlimited use of the facilities, there’s no feeling that you’re being rushed in and out of your treatments; and you’re pretty much let loose to roam around and do as you please.
As mentioned above, it’s an oasis of calm. The classic robes and slippers add major comfort points too, putting them on and simply reading a book on one of the loungers had me destressing in seconds. You can also sunbathe outside and have an amble around the lovely gardens.
There’s a vast array of health and well-being treatments on offer as well as a spa pool, hot tub, steam room cleansing sauna and energising solarium. The treatments can be spread out throughout your trip so you don’t feel the urgency to do anything, ultimate relaxation right there.
I had an express facial and Mudlet had a manicure, children under 16 can’t have any of the other treatments other than mani and pedi, but this 14-year-old didn’t mind and was just excited to be there.
She loved the smell of oils and chatted away to her therapist like a pro (this new passtime could prove expensive). The express facial was amazing and felt like there were so many layers to it for a 30 minute session. They use Caudalie products which I’ve heard a lot about from people in the know who rave about them. Lauren the lovely therapist was very knowledgeable, had worked at the hotel for a number of years and took care of us wonderfully.
The rooms are set out as either a twin or double so there’s options for couples, friends and mother/daughter dates. They’re clean, bright and well decorated in muted greys with splashes of colour
Parts of the hotel can have a bit of a corporate feel, but it does cater to a lot of corporate guests, so it needs to strike the balance. The rooms are pretty spacious and the sofas can turn into an extra bed for when larger groups come to visit. The teen Mudlet seemed to feel right at home as she kicked back on the sofa and watched TV.
There are nice touches like the vintage phone which is in contrast with the modern aspects of having the menu on the TV. The seating area came its own when we pushed the boat out a bit and ordered some room service to get us through the afternoon to dinner (hard life right ; )
SCOFF & QUAFF
We had a pre dinner drink in the bar which had plenty of drink options, including very decent cocktails. The bar had an almost cosy feel, with various people enjoying themselves and the barman was very friendly, knocking up a brilliant Negroni whilst proclaiming it wasn’t necessarily his best drink (love a bit of humility). The restaurant menu is pretty straightforward British food with a decent choice. Their ethos is to use local produce to create classics with a twist that taste delicious…I think they achieved this quite nicely, more details below.
We ate inside but the pretty gardens allow alfresco dining for when the weather is playing nice. We tried and tested both the restaurant and room service and they were as good as each other (the tempura king prawns were huge and were delish washed down with a decent Sauv Blanc). The restaurant area is roomy, so fine for buggies and wheelchairs should you need them.
There’s a sharing option on the menu which is really good value for money and you can take your pick of the above! The teen was in the mood for some duck and she was not disappointed proclaiming it to be cooked perfectly with a tasty jus and spring greens. I had a deconstructed chicken pie with a sage crumb and sausage on the top. It was really good, but so filling I had to get a doggie bag (as per usual). The roasties weren’t as crunchy as I like, but I’m a hard task master on these!
A special mention to our waiter Billy, who at just 18-years of age, looked after us with warmth, humour and grace and made the evening even more lovely. It wasn’t overly busy when we were there, but not so empty that it felt stark. I went back a few weeks later to pick up the speaker I’d forgotten and the restaurant was full for the evening, so probably worth checking.
Kettering Park Spa is one of those places that I forget is there, but when I go, I invariably have a good time. Keep an eye out for the events like gin tasting, Jazz Nights and Murder Mystery; there are plenty of these on, and although I’ve not been to any yet, I’ve heard good things.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Definitely great for groups of ladies and those who love a spa. It might be just off the A14, but having slipped into your complimentary robe and slippers, the mood and ambiance make you feel miles away. The restaurant is also decent for romantic meals or business meetings who fancy a nice bit of mood lighting. There are often weddings on, so the bar may sometimes be busy, but I think that only adds to the ambiance.
Not for: The hipster crowd looking for the new hot thing or those who prefer banging House to Jazz. The hotel knows what clientele it’s serving to and it seems to be working.
£££: Your usual hotel prices really…around £8 for a starter and £15 plus for mains with wine around £6 upwards a glass and beer £5 plus a pint. Cocktails around £10 for a salted caramel martini and around £11 for a glass of Champagne.