October has been a fabulous month so far for one main reason: I’ve had afternoon tea on two different occasions, and were not even half way through the month yet. How did I get so lucky?
Well, the first occasion was a celebration of mine and my boyfriends two year anniversary, in which he took me to a Staffordshire venue, which you can read about here. The second occasion was a fantastic spa day and afternoon tea sitting back at home – in Manchester. Myself and 5 other lovely bloggers headed to The Midland Hotel – part of the Q Hotels group – to indulge in a day of Champagne afternoon tea and a relaxing day at the spa.
The day was planned by Spa Seekers, giving us all the menu of treatments we could try out, which led to me quickly securing myself an ESPA Radiance Facial. Bliss…
Anyway, before I jump ahead, I’ll start by giving a run down on the afternoon tea itself, because I actually thought it was by far one of the best afternoon tea’s in Manchester I’ve had.
Firstly, The Tea Room was extremely plush and luxurious, with thick royal carpets and that quiet, traditional British Tea Room feel. There are so many gimmicky afternoon teas popping up around Manchester at the moment, but The Midland really bring it back to its origins. A classic, premium tea room without anything over the top of brassy – just traditional, classy and sophisticated. 6 of us met up here to tuck into the lovely food…
So I found out that The Midland had a refurb earlier in the year, and although the hotel has been serving up afternoon teas for over 110 years since it first opened its doors in the city, but has now invested in a major revamp, including The Tea Rooms.
The freshly made sandwiches and delicate cakes and scones in the Tea Room sit on those afternoon tea stands, with various shelves. Upon my visit, the tables were decorated in muted creams, violets and beige with classic white linen and bone china on every table. It’s always nice to have the excuse to dine from real china…
After browsing the tea menu of up to 10 loose leaf teas (if you’re an indecisive person, you’ll never handle this!) I opted for the Green Flamingo tea, which was a lively and fruity version of a regular green tea. It was super delicious, but in all honesty, if you’re a tea fan like I am, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice with the tasty options.
For the rest of the food: So the sandwiches include a rather impressive selection, followed by a just as impressive array of cakes. I decided to include the full selection below so it’s clear and concise:
Goosnargh Chicken & Barbequed Sweet Corn on Brioche Bun
Goat’s Cheese with Beetroot Chutney on Walnut Bread
Honey-baked Gammon with Garden Pea Mousse on Granary Bread
Smoked Salmon & Lemon Verbena Crème Fraiche on Dark Malt Bread
Duck Egg & Mustard Cress on White Bread
Plain & Sultana Scones served with Devon Clotted Cream & Mrs. Darlington’s Jams
Scottish Strawberry, Champagne Mousse, Victoria Sponge
Dark Chocolate Delice, Feuilletine & Gold Leaf
Passion Fruit & White Chocolate Tart, Italian Meringue
Pistachio & Olive Oil Cake, Orange Curd, Orange
So the Goats Cheese and Beetroot sandwich was literally incredible – believe me when I say it tasted like a creamy jam sandwich! It was sweet and rich and just bloomin’ delicious, more of an unusual one for me, and one I wanted more of.
I’m such a scone person, so I opted for two scones with jam and clotted cream (the cream was absolutely amazing: thick, creamy, slightly sweet and intense) – you can tell I LOVE scones! Most people are satisfied after consuming just one, but I could scoff three whole ones and still have room for cake!
My favourite of the cake options had to be the Dark Chocolate Delice, decorated with Gold Leaf. It was like a soft chocolate mousse with a rich surrounding, so a bit like a firmer mousse you could actually eat (if that makes sense!)
As well as sipping a cheeky glass of champagne, I overly enjoyed filling up with copious amounts of Green Flamingo Tea, whilst watching the sadwiches, scones and cakes slowly disappear.
Another note to add is that I found the sandwiches much larger and more filling than at previous places. The Gammon sandwich was packed with thick slices of the meat, adding to the overall high quality and overall luxury of the dining experience.
After our Afternoon Tea was consumed, we headed down to The Midland Spa, in which I was booked in for the ESPA Radiance Facial – a relaxing 55 minute facial treatment aimed at those with dull, tired, and dry skin in need of a boost of vitality. Its an advanced treatment which helps restore the skin’s vitality and reveal a bright, smooth and radiantly youthful-looking complexion.
I’m currently trying to improve my dull, pigmented and sleepy looking skin, and as I’m 31, I’m also cautious about how dry its getting, along with fine lines and dehydration around the eyes and mouth. The therapist did say to me upon analysing my skin that my skin does show signs of dehydration, therefore she was going to use some intensely nourishing cleansers, toners, exfoliators, masks and moisturiser which would give my skin the intense moisturisation it needs.
I snuggled under a warm towel on the massage bed, and prepared myself for 55 minutes of pure facial bliss, all using ESPA products. One particular thing that really impressed me about the treatment and the therapist in general was that she spritzed two different oils onto cotton rounds and asked me which scent I preferred. Once I answered, she would use that for the toner and for any oils used during the treatment, so that the scent was suited for me.
She used a suitable pressure on my face, and when it came to leaving the mask to sink in, carried out the most relaxing head massage I’ve ever had. It was literally dreamy, and I can only tell you how disappointed I was when the head massage – and facial treatment in fact – came to an end.
Once the treatment had finished, I admired my clear, radiant and moisturised complexion before changing into my costume and hiding underneath the biggest, comfiest dressing gown. I wandered to the pool and Jacuzzi area, in which I spent a good half an hour soaking in the warm bubbles of the jacuzzi before having a refreshing swim.
The pool area is dimly lit and a little bit moody, so the ambiance from the facial remained throughout. It was just lovely – so high end and luxurious. But my very favourite part was the relaxation lounge. All I can say is WOW – I did not want to leave this silent, relaxing, sleepy room that made me want to hide away from the world in pure bliss.
If you’re a busy lady like me, you’ll understand just why I got excited about this cool, dark relaxation area filled with comfy beds, hanging pods and warm herbal teas. But I really can’t put it into words just how much this quiet place was so fantastic, so I’ll highlight below what it entailed of:
Three sleep chambers ergonomically created for comfort and tucked away to ensure privacy whilst you rest your eyes and snooze the hours away.
The feature pieces: four hanging cocoons that can fit one or two people each. Just slide in, curl up, and read, snooze or just try to imagine how you could really be in the centre of Manchester right now!
Settle into two mini relax zones, which can be closed off for groups on prior booking basis or just enjoyed for their deep benched seats you can just kick back and relax on.
Kick back, relax and take in the ambiance of the relaxation suite in the sound counselling egg chairs and deep set seating. The perfect escape for a much needed moment of peace
Overall, The Midland Hotel hosted the most incredible afternoon made up of luxury afternoon tea and the most perfect relaxing spa day and treatment. My skin was left glowing, my belly overly satisfied, and a huge smile on my relaxed face.
Thank you to Spa Seekers and The Midland for organising such a fantastic day!