Short Break - The Morritt Hotel & The Garage , Greta Bridge, County Durham

PUBLISHED: 00:31 23 August 2013

A luxurious bedroom, similar to the one Rachael stayed in

A luxurious bedroom, similar to the one Rachael stayed in

Adrian Ray Photography

Head north and refuel in County Durham, at the Morritt Country House Hotel and Garage spa

Hot tub fun: splashing around in the water Hot tub fun: splashing around in the water

If you need to recharge your batteries or fine tune your inner motor, head north of Cheshire to the Morritt Country House Hotel and Garage Spa in County Durham, for a blissful countryside escape.

The relaxation lounge of the Garage Spa is instantly calming, with warm colours, big armchairs and in winter, a log fire. The ‘garage’ theme goes all the way from the car wash showers – hot and cold jets and a cold bucket if you dare – to the small spanner towel and robe hooks.

A luxurious bedroom, similar to the one Rachael stayed in A luxurious bedroom, similar to the one Rachael stayed in

I started my tune-up with the ambient salt relaxation room, a halotherapy environment with a wall of salt blocks and ever-changing mood lighting. Then for a soak in the three indoor hot tubs, a hydrotherapy tub, very refreshing plunge tub and hot bath, before detoxifying in the steam room. From here I stepped outside into the secret garden and the very relaxing hot tub, surrounded by the sounds of nature, before more detoxifying in the shepherd’s hut sauna. The hardest decision I faced was whether to soak inside, enjoy an iced tea in the secret garden jacuzzi, or read a magazine in the hanging egg chairs while the sun went down.

The treatment list continues the garage theme with oil change facials, racing green tea scrubs, tune-up treatments and valet manicures in the paint shop. I chose an ancient hot stone massage with Simon, the senior holistic therapist. He applied long, sweeping strokes alternating between hot and cold stones. My partner opted for the hammam and dry float. He was exfoliated with a salt scrub and showered while lying on a warm, marble bed, before being covered in algae, wrapped up and placed in the cosy dry float machine to relax.

One of the spa’s signature treatments is Simon’s Thai foot massage: 55 minutes of strokes, pressure point work and massage. It was delightful.

In the evening, we enjoyed the hotel’s two AA rosette restaurant, Gilroy’s, with its menu bursting with local and ‘on trend’ ingredients. I enjoyed diver scallop with smoked eel, apple, truffle and chervil, followed by Teesdale lamb cooked with hay, a mini hotpot, samphire and parsnip and for dessert, burnt honey cremeux with puff pastry, saffron and coffee sand. All the staff were friendly and accommodating, but could do with a little more knowledge about the menu’s finer details.

The hotel’s more informal Dickens bistro – Charles Dickens passed through Greta Bridge while researching Nicholas Nickleby – serves tasty pub grub, with quality ales. I would recommend the Morritt.

Our platinum room was at the front of the hotel, with a huge bed and palatial bathroom. It was the perfect place to sleep after a hard day’s relaxing. Like my car, I think a regular MOT may be in order for me.

The Morritt Hotel & The Garage

Greta Bridge, Near Barnard Castle

County Durham DL12 9SE

01833 627232 , www.TheMorritt.co.uk

01833 863100, www.TheGarageSpa.co.uk

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