WITH Christmas shopping and cold weather beginning to dominate many of our weekends, you may be looking to treat yourself to a well-earned break during the coming month.

If some rest and relaxation - as well as some excellent food and prize pampering - is on your radar, then I’d look no further than the Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, near Thornton Hough on the Wirral Peninsula.

Indeed, you may wonder if Christmas hasn’t come early as you indulge in some of the venue’s standout spa treatments and facilities, including an incredible ‘snow room’ - a subzero chamber worthy of Lapland itself and perfect for emulating those pore-cleansing Scandanavian-style dashes from the sauna to the ice and back.

My wife and I were booked onto a little luxury spa package, which included a night in the hotel’s executive garden view suite and a 25 minute back and neck massage in the dual treatment room, before a three course meal in stunning Lawns Restaurant and breakfast the following morning.

However, there are dozens of different treatments and packages available, so it’s really up to your preferences to mix and match your perfect day, weekend or longer – though booking in advance is recommended.

On site is a holistic, clinical and hair spa, a health club consisting of nine treatment rooms, an indoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hydro pools, sauna, steam room, Rasul Arabian treatment chamber, fitness suite, and aerobics studio.

Having never had a professional massage, it was nice to be able to enjoy it alongside my wife in the dual treatment room, so that we were both suitably relaxed following our drive to the hotel, which is located around an hour from Manchester and 21 minutes from Liverpool.

Thereafter, as hotel residents, we were free to use the spa facilities for as long as we wanted and, given it was a nice day, spent a fair amount of time in one of the hotel’s two outdoor hot tubs, where a handy intercom service lets you order drinks from the hotel’s extensive bar.

Framed by the open countryside that surrounds the picturesque village of nearby Thornton Hough, it was a wonderful way to unwind from the stresses of the week, and indicative of the luxury yet to come.

Having been to various gyms and hotels, I can say that Thornton Hall’s offering is right up there with the best around. Indeed, the snow room and rainforest shower were completely new experiences to me.

I thought the spa treatment would represent the highlight of our short break, but The Lawns restaurant took things another step further.

It’s easy to see why this place has won awards. The food overseen by executive chef, Andrew Richards and head chef Ben Mounsey was outstanding,

I had pigeon and my wife had venison, accompanied by a Malbec from their extensive wines list and interspersed with some show-stopper amuse bouche including a beetroot and goats cheese ‘snow’ lent its frosty finishes with some clever use of liquid nitrogen.

The service was highly professional - extremely attentive without feeling over the top. Our waiters and maître d were very informative about the dishes and wines available and guided us through the dishes we were interested in, allowing us to make an informed choice.

The portion sizes were perfect, leaving us just full enough after three courses.

The opulent environs of the restaurant must rank as one of the most stunning surroundings I’ve dined in. It was like sitting down for dinner in a stately home. But for all of the luxury it never felt stuffy or overbearing.

After a comfortable night in our well-appointed and modern suite, which overlooked surrounding fields and featured a television, radio and double sinks in the bathroom, we were back in the restaurant for a buffet breakfasts.

All you can eat choices ranged from full English to continental breakfast items, cereals, fruits, juices and a selection of hot drinks.

My wife and I were left in agreement that the luxury at Thornton Hall is matched by their excellent customer service.

With de-stressing spa treatments, unique experiences and show-stopping food, a stay at Thornton Hall will help you will forget your workday worries, while you gain some wonderful memories.

Fact file

Matthew Taylor experienced the Little Luxury spa package, starting at £135 per person, which included:-

Full use of spa facilities while resident.

Either an Elemis or Espa skincare 25-minute back, neck and shoulder massage, or a mini facial.

Three course meal from the a la carte menu in the Lawns Restaurant.

Accommodation in a Club Bedroom

Full English and continental breakfast