March 20th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
If ever there’s a much-needed time for a spa visit it’s during these spells of cold, bitter weather when our complexions are exposed to harsh conditions and our energy levels take a hit. We were therefore delighted to receive an invitation for an indulgent overnight stay at the wonderful Macdonald Portal Hotel, Golf & Spa resort in rural Cheshire, back in February.
As we were heading over to the North West to host one of our Luxury Wedding Fairs at the prestigious Chester Grosvenor, we thought tagging this stay onto the weekend of the event would be an ideal way to recharge the batteries. And so, after our successful wedding show came to an end we packed up the car and travelled 20 minutes from city of Chester out into the countryside to unwind in Portal Hotel’s idyllic surroundings.
Upon arrival we received an incredibly warm welcome and were informed that our room had been upgraded – a super nice touch, which saw us staying in a spacious twin room with large veranda looking out onto rolling lawns and woodland. It was perfectly serene and ensured a we had a peaceful night’s rest.
Having checked out the accommodation, we headed to the bar for an early evening drink before taking our seats for a three-course meal in the hotel restaurant. The service from the waiting staff was faultless and we were well looked after throughout. My mum joined me on this visit and we both have identical taste and so we ordered the same starter and main course; a winning combination of salmon, cream cheese and capers to start, followed by beautifully cooked lamb, accompanied by perfectly cooked vegetables and a tasty jus. For dessert I whole-heartedly gave into my sweet tooth opting for the chocolate tart served with a berry sorbet while my mum went for the slightly lighter cheesecake option. Having polished off a bottle of Rioja we headed to our room and, as expected, had a blissful night’s sleep in our comfortable suite.
Keen to make full use of the hotel’s facilities, I was up early the following day for a workout in the gym ahead of breakfast. As with many hotel gyms, it was on the smaller side but had all the necessary equipment for a full work out. I also enjoyed that its large windows gave gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, making the exercise feel all the more refreshing.
Ready to refuel I joined my mum for breakfast in the restaurant where we had eaten the night before. There was a full continental offering laid out buffet style, including cereals, fresh fruit, juices, and pastries, plus the option to order something hot. As we had time in the spa area to come, we didn’t want to overfill and so enjoyed fresh fruit followed by a comforting bowl of porridge accompanied by nuts and honey. Delicious.
Treatment time was next. As mentioned I felt my skin was particularly suffering from the cold winter weather and so I selected the Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial, while my mum opted for the Elemis Deeper Than Deep Hot Stones Massage.
My therapist Karen showed me to the cosy treatment room and explained details of the treatment before asking me about any skin concerns (of which I have many!) and then informed me how she would tailor the facial to address my combination skin. All I had to do was lay back, relax and be transported to the height of relaxation. The varying lotions and potions were massaged, tapped and smoothed into my skin before a face mask was applied and the pampering continued with a scalp massage – literally one of the best things in life as far as I’m concerned. When my treatment came to an end, my skin was left radiant and glowing as promised. Certainly, an ideal pre-wedding pick-me-up for brides-to-be whose big days are just a matter of weeks away.
Meeting my mum in the warm and dimly-lit relaxation room, she reported equally good things from her treatment saying that all knots had been removed from her back and that she felt much less tension in her shoulders, so perhaps a good one of any of you ladies out there suffering a little planning stress.
December 13th, 2016 | Laura McDonagh
Today’s real wedding couple were married at The Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa in Cheshire, surrounded by family and friends.
Emma and George’s big day was all about the pretty, with a sunny yellow colour scheme, a gorgeous bouquet of roses and daisies and some beautiful woodland detailing.
And a golf-buggy excursion around the hotel grounds really paid off – those romantic cornfield and glorious summer sky shots are, we think you’ll agree, to die for.
With images by James Andrew Photography.
emma says: George proposed while we were on holiday last year in the Dominican Republic. He took me out on a sailing boat one afternoon and as we were relaxing on the open sea, he started to talk about how much he loved me. I was stunned when he then produced a ring which he’d hidden on a piece of string tied around his neck! It was amazing to have that moment, just the two of us out at sea. And I said yes without hesitation, of course!
We chose the date of 25th June 2016 to get married. We’d been together for ten years and so I didn’t want to have to wait very long to get hitched. We chose June for the possibility of nice weather and wanted to get married on a Saturday so that all our loved ones could make it.
Our venue was the MacDonald Portal Hotel, Golf and Spa in Tarporley, Cheshire. We’d looked at five venues in Cheshire and wrote down allof the pros and cons as we went. This was really useful in making our final decision.
We didn’t want to spend an absolute fortune on the wedding and when we saw the package that the Portal were offering, it ticked all of the boxes – plus they had some of the extras we were looking for with other venues. The fact that it was a hotel was also perfect for us as some of our guests were travelling from different parts of the country. It was close enough to home for those who wanted a taxi at the end of the night, plus it had a great mix of indoor and outdoor space in case the weather was less than glorious. Some of the other venues we had shortlisted had amazing outdoor space, but the alternative indoor wedding space needed updating. We couldn’t risk booking a venue like that as rain could have thrown everything off!
The theme developed as we began planning. Yellow has always been my favourite colour, and so I chose it for the bridesmaids’ dresses. The yellow colour scheme followed into the flowers and, using Pinterest, I found I had a love for wooden elements as table decorations etc. This led to the use of brown card for table place cards and favours. We really had no idea what it would all look like together but it really turned out well!
Finding my dress was thanks to the wonderful Tracy Hollinshead at Cherish Bridal in Northwich, Cheshire. Tracy was just amazing from start to finish. After describing my likes and dislikes and some input from my bridesmaids, she produced ‘the one’! The dress was a classic style, with a boat neck and delicate detailing from the waist up.
George and the groomsmen wore grey tailcoat suits with silver patterned waistcoats and lemon cravats to tie in with the theme. The suits were from John at Top That Suit Hire, Hartford, Cheshire.
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