In the north-east of England, Rockliffe Hall hotel, spa and golf resort offers a five-star destination embracing wellness programmes, residential memberships and spa days that complement each other perfectly, says spa director Liz Holmes.
“A membership base of 750 ensures a lively class programme and supports excellent facilities, while day visitors drive a separate yet integrated revenue stream,” she explains.
So successful is the spa that revenue is coming in line with that of the 61-bed hotel, which itself won five red stars last year, one of only 10 hotels outside London to achieve the coveted accolade.
Treatments such as the Tibetan Sound Massage, introduced last summer, continue to place Rockliffe Hall at the forefront of spa innovation. “The Tibetan Sound Massage has become our signature treatment and is only available at Rockliffe Hall,” Holmes says. “The 90-minute session uses the vibrational sound from Tibetan bowls in what is a Tibetan medical tradition to remove tension, help relieve stress and ease joint and muscle pain.”
The resort’s stress management and meditation courses are also proving extremely popular, she reports.
Craftsman installed male and female changing rooms when Rockliffe Hall opened four years ago after a £65m-plus (US$106m, €78m) investment by entrepreneur and owner Steve Gibson to convert a derelict mansion near Darlington into a top-flight leisure destination incorporating a five-star hotel and spa, an 18-hole golf course and exclusive spa.
The company returned two years ago to upgrade the female changing facilities as demand grew, installing further three-quarter length lockers more suitable for robes and long coats.
Now arguably the largest spa in the region, Rockliffe Hall once again called in Craftsman to prepare for the next stage of expansion as the resort builds on its reputation and experiences yet another period of unprecedented growth. “As we drive forward spa day and treatment revenue, it’s crucial to ensure that the scale of our changing facilities can cope comfortably with our rising popularity,” Holmes stresses.
Working with customers
Last autumn, Holmes worked closely with Craftsman to meet a brief to enlarge and adapt the female changing facilities, reconfiguring them to prepare for the expected upsurge in demand as Rockliffe further expands its range of heat experiences. It fitted further lockers, cubicles and bench seating together with a new keyless digital locking system to remove the need for spa and hotel guests to carry a locker key during their visit.
“We were keen to ensure that every guest and member could enjoy equal use of the lockers,” Holmes explains. “Some 80-90 per cent of those using the spa are female and some members, anxious to keep their own locker, took their key home with them overnight. On busy spa days as many as 20 lockers could be out of action for day visitors and hotel guests. Under the digital locking system, lockers open automatically overnight. Holmes adds: “The switch to digital locks ensures we provide a tighter level of security for both members and visitors.”
Holmes also worked closely with Craftsman’s managing director John Gibbs to provide additional holdall lockers in the gym itself for those members who come to work out and then go back home to shower and change but who also wish to stow away over-jackets, keys, phones and iPads while they work out.
“These members can exercise safe in the knowledge that their valuables are secure, in a locker sited alongside the exercise area, adding another level of convenience and reassurance.” Holmes says.
“When I arrived here five years ago, the 20m swimming pool and 11m hydro-pool were just holes in the ground,” Holmes recalls. “The period since Rockliffe Hall opened has proven that spa is no longer just an add-on leisure experience but is a sustainable and thriving business model in its own right.