There are many hotels around the world running wellness retreats, but not necessarily here in the UK. Rockliffe Hall in County Durham offers personalised wellness retreats.

Rockliffe Hall is about to shake things up in the hospitality industry with bespoke wellness retreats. They will include exercise, meditation, relaxation, massage treatments, and outdoor activities alongside food and drink.

Our writer, Rachel McAlley recently visited Rockliffe Hall where she trialled some of the hotel’s future wellness activities.

Upon check-in I was offered healthy green drinks in Nu Sana, a restaurant to ‘Nourish Your Soul’. Nu Sana is taken from blending the words Nutritious and Sana, from the Latin meaning Healthy, and has resulted in Nu Sana, a hotel restaurant for healthy dining.

From Nu Sana I enjoyed an hour-long sound bath workshop with The Gong Whisperer in the hotel’s external Glass House. The Glass House is located just a short walk from the main hotel and through the very well-manicured gardens. A giant glass building that is used for events, weddings, and my sound bathing experience.

The Glasshouse Rockliffe Hall

I had never been to a sound bath session before, so this was all new to me. Jill, The Gong Whisperer explained all about sound and how it affects our mood and our mind. She introduced me to complete calmness and tranquillity.

I laid on a yoga mat with cushions under my head and a blanket over my body. Jill gently talked until I was utterly relaxed, and then with my eye mask on I went into a deep relaxed state. She then played gongs, drums, and percussion instruments until all I could hear was the sound of rain, wind, and calming sounds all around.

After leaving the Glass House it was lunch back at Nu Sana. I enjoyed a hearty, and healthy Buddha Bowl. The bowl was filled with chicken tikka, quinoa, cucumber, red onion, mint, and yoghurt dressing. It was a delicious lunch, and I may have even had a side of sweet potato fries as a naughty treat!

In Hong Kong, a Buddha brings calmness, serenity and harmony with it, so a Buddha Bowl is the perfect food for a wellness retreat.

The Walled Garden Rockliffe Hall

Post lunch I had a visit to Rockliffe Hall Walled Garden. The Walled Garden Workshop was hosted by Phil Mennel, Estates and Gardens Manager at Rockliffe. Phil showed me around the herbs, vegetables and fruit that he was growing in the walled garden.

It was a great opportunity to take in the fresh air and fresh produce. Phil explained the plot to plate ethos that the hotel has, and named a few of the ingredients that I would be eating that evening in the hotel’s Orangery, 3 AA Rosette restaurant.

It was a great insight to the amount of time and energy that goes into maintaining such fabulous grounds, which in turn produces wonderful fresh vegetables. I may even have been offered a selection of fresh produce t take away the following day!

The Spa At Rockliffe Hall

Mid-late afternoon was time to enjoy the spa facilities at Rockliffe Hall, and what better place to be than relaxed at the side of the pool. The spa offers both hot and cold experiences including hot Roman sauna, hydropool, outdoor drench shower, foot spa, and outdoor hot tub.

It also includes a tepidarium, salt steam, tropicarium, infrared room, igloo, gym and of course swimming pool. With so much to do, I got changed into my swimming costume and spent a couple of hours trying out every room and every pool in the spa.

Once I left the spa, I took myself to reception to collect my luggage and pick up my room key. There are a number of options for accommodation at Rockliffe Hall, the Old Hall Rooms and Suites, or the New Hall Rooms and Suites, which is where I stayed. Equally, if you’re looking for self-catering there are self-catering apartments, and houses.

My New Hall Room was located on the ground floor with my own personal outside area looking onto the golf course.

The Orangery At Rockliffe Hall

Dinner was served in the Orangery, where Paul Nicholson the Head Chef had produced a delicious 6-course Taster Menu. Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese Scone with Chilled Estate Tomato Broth and Basil, followed by Risotto of Mushroom, Estate Garden Herbs, and 36-Month Aged Parmesan.

The tomato broth was to die for, it was simply perfect. Then I had Pork Belly, served with Estate Beetroot, Onion, and Nasturtium, which was followed by Atlantic Cod, Mussel, Estate Carrot and Fennel. The standout flavour here was the beetroot with the pork belly, it was beautifully fresh and served like a liquorice wheel!

The final 2-courses were both desserts, and what a treat they were. Firstly, Granny Smith Apple with Yoghurt, Estate Lemon Verbena, and Feuilletine, and finally 64% Valrhona Manjari served alongside Estate Mint, Cocoa Nib, and Crème Fraiche. From the light lemon and apple dessert to the decadent chocolate one, the entire meal was a taste sensation.

The Spa Garden At Rockliffe Hall

After a great night’s sleep, it was time for sunrise yoga in the spa’s private Spa Garden, overlooking the infinity pool and golf course. This was an outdoor yoga session, in the cool autumn air, with the birds, and the early morning dew. An enjoyable and relaxing 1-hour session with a private yoga teacher.

Once yoga ended it was time for breakfast, which was taken in the private adjoining room within the Orangery. A beautiful room with an old church feeling and plenty of character. An excellent menu to choose from, I oped for Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon.

The morning was then spent enjoying a 60-minute NEOM Candle Massage Treatment in one of the spa’s upstairs treatment rooms. I chose my favourite scent from a collection of three specific candles that are poured over the body. This made me want to set up my own DIY spa retreat at home.

The wax is unique in that it is made for the body and instantly turns to oil once massaged in. A truly wonderful massage that I can safely say I’ve never experienced before visiting Rockliffe Hall.

Once the massage had ended, I was taken across to the Relaxation Room for a personal 15-minute Meditation with the Treatments Manager, Sarah Usher. Sarah showed me to one of the lounger beds in the relaxation room, where I placed a thick blanket over myself and closed my eyes. Sarah’s meditation took me on a journey to pure relaxation, where I could have easily fallen asleep.

It was them time to check-out of Rockliffe Hall and enjoy a takeaway picnic that the Orangery team had put together for my onward journey.

If you are interested in any or all aspects of my visit to Rockliffe Hall please contact the team directly and they will advise on availability and pricing. Alternatively check out the Rockliffe Hall Instagram for up-to-date news.

Looking to find out more about general wellness products, or fancy learning about healthy eating and a healthy diet? Follow the below links:

Read this Wellness Products feature by our wellness and wellbeing editor Anji McGrandles at House of Coco. The Healthy Eating page on may help with any general food queries you may have.


A veteran in global travel, Rachel also loves to explore hidden gems on home turf. She’s a writing connoisseur of Britain’s best hotels, luxury beauty products, and UK food and drink launches.

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